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Empathy is for white men

sugarfey:

I’ve been having some thoughts about fandom and selective empathy, and this is my attempt to get them down into some sort of coherent post.

Fandom is far more inclined to empathise with white male characters, I think this is fairly common knowledge. I’m interested in discussing how this comes about.

I think the reasons are twofold. The first is that in white male-centric fictional media (ie. the media that usually gains the largest and most active fandoms), the narrative overwhelmingly positions the audience to empathise with the cis white male character over the non-cis white male characters. Take Captain America: The Winter Soldier, for example. Steve Rogers; a man with super strength, twice takes hold of Black Widow’s arm in a forceful manner, and once pushes her against a wall. In both cases, the narrative positions the audience to take Steve’s side, because he’s the All-American White Dude unleashing his righteous anger against the mysterious, morally grey foreign woman. Maybe we’ve even supposed to admire his restraint, even though he has superstrength and she doesn’t. The fact that he’s taking hold of her against her will goes unchallenged in the film and unchallenged by fandom, because our empathy in these scenes is reserved for Steve, not Natasha.

Similarly, every Marvel film and tv series since Avengers has featured a female character getting killed, either for plot progression (GotG), to further a white male character’s arc (GotG, Thor 2) or to show how evil the bad guy is (Iron Man 3, Thor 2, Cap 2). These deaths are barely a blip on the fandom radar, and if someone does criticise it, there will be dozens of responses trying to explain how necessary the death was and how disposable the characters are. By this same reasoning, Coulson’s death in Avengers should have had the same response from fandom, and yet there was a massive movement to bring him back. Why does only Coulson’s death create such outrage? Is it because we’re used to seeing women murdered on screen as a plot device, but white male characters should be worth more? A white man’s death has to Mean Something. Dying for plot progression? That’s for female characters.

I do think that most mainstream media narratives have more empathy for white men and a lot of problems stem from that, but I’m not giving fandom a free pass either. Even when the narrative asks us to feel empathy towards a non-white male character, fandom often dismisses it. Look at the way Pepper’s response to being woken up by an out of control iron suit was bashed by fandom, or Jane’s emotional responses are used to discredit her, or Natasha’s moments of vulnerability are taken as evidence of her failure as a character. Even when fans claim to like a female character, the response is often to place that character on a pedestal as a ‘flawless goddess,’ a porcelain doll to be placed on a shelf and admired from afar while you play with the flawed toys you actually love.

There is a reason that I’ve seen several gifsets linking Rocket’s speech in GotG to Bucky Barnes rather than Gamora, who is in the same scene, or to Natasha. Part of it is the text itself, because Bucky’s trauma was given narrative importance through the use of close up shirtless brainwashing shots, and Gamora’s trauma was glossed over in a few lines of exposition. But the other part of the reason is that fandom is more inclined to feel empathy for white men in the first place. It makes me uncomfortable that when we see a character who isn’t a cis white guy, our instinct is to dehumanise and criticise the character, rather than squeeing or shipping or analysing blinking patterns. This doesn’t occur in a vacuum.

For Those Questioning Their Gender Identity and/or Sexuality

depressionresource:

I understand how great it feels to finally find a word for your life experiences and a related community, but a lot of “questioning” people find the process very stressful, and it doesn’t have to be! Here’s some advice from me, a queer person.

  • You don’t have to figure it out right now. You have the rest of your life to ponder these questions. Be gentle with yourself and try not to stress over it. You will understand yourself better as time goes on. You are not a puzzle that needs to be solved with clues, but more like a map that you draw yourself as you explore new territory.
  • Gender and sexuality are both fluid. So if you felt like your assigned gender when you were younger, or were only attracted to the same gender until this point and find yourself attracted to someone of another gender, remember that what you experience now doesn’t necessarily reflect on your past. For example, maybe you were bisexual earlier in your life, and later in your life identify as gay. That’s normal, and fine, and happens to a lot of people. Don’t feel like new information invalidates your past experiences.
  • —And they are complex. Maybe you feel like a boy some days but androgynous others. Maybe you are only romantically attracted to women but only sexually attracted to men. That’s okay, and you don’t need to rush to find the “best fit” label for something that might not even have a word yet.
  • You are never too old. Many people, ages 9 to 99, feel that however old they are is “too old” to transition, or think that they could never find a partner at their age. Lots of queer people of all stripes feel that they should have “known earlier,” causing invalidating thoughts and poor self-treatment. People discover these things at all points in their lives, and it’s totally normal for these things to come to the surface at age 5 or age 55 or age 105.
  • Reasons don’t matter. Don’t get hung up wondering “why” you’re queer. It could be life experiences, it could be genetic, it could be something else entirely. This is something not even scientists can figure out. I feel like this is most prevalent in people with a history of abuse, but please remember that nobody has enough power over you to change your sexual orientation, whether you would want them to or not.
  • If you find yourself ruminating or worrying too much, try journaling, talking to others, and/or seeing a therapist. For some people, this sort of structure is very helpful, and if you think it would make you feel better, then go for it!

*In this post I’m using the word “queer” to describe all non-heterosexual orientations and non-cisgender identities. Please keep in mind that many people believe that heterosexual, cisgender people using this word is very harmful. Homophobia and transphobia are not tolerated on this blog.

assbutt-in-the-garrison:

micdotcom:

11 ways to solve rape better than nail polish

The more we depend on women to prevent rape, the easier it is to blame them when it happens to them. Here’s a look at the well-documented ways we can actually stop rape. Maybe it’s time we invest a little more time and resources into implementing them before we send gallons of nail polish to colleges across the country.

Read the full list | Follow micdotcom

And here’s the thing. I see so many people taking this the wrong way. They claim feminists are saying women shouldn’t learn defense techniques or find things that are useful in defending themselves, when the reality is we’re not saying that at all, we’re saying women are tired of only being told to do those things, while they are also receiving the blame of their assaults, as if they “asked” for it by somehow not fighting hard enough or not carrying a weapon or not having pepper spray, ect. This seriously happens all over the world and is ingrained in our culture. This is part of the reason why only 5% of rapists in the US will ever spend a single day in jail. This is why 1 in 6 women will be raped in her lifetime. This is a part of living in a rape culture.
And so I don’t get messages from dudes telling me how I’m excluding them, yes, male rape is also part of rape culture. And it is serious. And the definition for vaginal encasement of a penis needs to be another definition of rape. And the idea that women cannot ever rape men needs to be eradicated. The biggest reason why that idea prevails though, is because people are still socially ingrained to automatically view women as weak, incapable of over powering a man. Sexual assault is a huge problem in this country, and worldwide. Rape and sexual assault is the MOST unreported crime. And there’s a reason for that.

catboi:

hippyveganchick:

fffcuk:

lzbth:

‘got herself pregnant’ is the dumbest phrase in the world like forreal if it was possible to get pregnant by ourselves we’d have eaten all the men long ago

it actually is possible to get pregnant (without the sperm of a man whatsoever) using bone marrow from another woman! a child conceived this way can only be female so actually, men are entirely useless. fun fact

let’s begin the feast (✿)

*hides*

furbearingbrick:

aimeefrommars:

septemberism94:

schim:

Cats who can’t figure out walls [x]

PLEASE TAKE YOUR CAT TO THE VET IF YOU SEE THEM DOING THIS BEHAVIOR OVER TIME.

It’s called “head pressing” and it occurs in dogs and cats. 

Head pressing is characterized by the compulsive act of pressing the head against a wall or other object for no apparent reason. This generally indicates damage to the nervous system, which may result from a number of varying causes, including prosencephalon disease (in which the forebrain and thalamusparts of the brain are damaged), or toxic poisoning.

http://www.petmd.com/cat/conditions/neurological/c_ct_headpressing

http://www.vet.cornell.edu/FHC/health_resources/toxoplasmosis.cfm (head pressing is listed as a symptom)

http://sevneurology.com/patients/clip-multilobular-osteochondroma (About a dog’s brain tumor but head pressing is listed as a symptom)

I wasn’t going to reblog this until I read the important caption dang thank you!!!

YOU JUST SAVED THE LIFE OF MY CAT THANK YOU!

SPREAD THIS LIKE WILDFIRE. THIS COULD SAVE YOUR KITTIE’S LIFE!

(Source: fuckyeahfelines)

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