Monday, July 28, 2008

Are You... Consistent?

Johanna Draper Carlson, here, touches on a subject I've already explored a bit, here. Yaoi, that is. And I must say I'm heartened to see that she's not up in arms against yaoi, and doesn't think it should be expunged from existence because of the prevalence of rape themes in the comics.

Because, after all, it IS fantasy, even if it can contain potentially disturbing themes for a fantasy. I mean, GAY RAPE HOLY CRAAAP EW EW EW.

Mad Thinker Scott, in various places, has put a caveat in many of his pro-fantasy statements, to the effect that "there is evidence that writings which promote the myth that all women secretly want to be raped can result in an increase in rape", and, well, okay, if he says so, but I'd have to see a detailed, impartial analysis before I completely buy into that. Still, if it is the case, one wonders whether that applies to yaoi comics where men rape men to "demonstrate their intense overwhelming love" or "convince them they really want to be gay" or whatever rationalizations the pro-yaoi crowd can trot out.

A quote from the reactions to Ms. Carlson's post:

The context reminds me of when there’s arguments over established ‘tropes’ of superhero comics (like the look and role of female characters) and you see responses and defences like “it’s normal, what’s the big deal?” and “wait, you see it like THAT?”.

And that, I think, is an important point to consider. Consistency, that devil, that foiler of dogma. I've already covered that (check the comments in that last link), but it becomes all the more important when you bring in things like rape fantasies into the mix. Tell me truly, do you think any of the rationalizations offered as to why rape in yaoi is "okay" would not generate an utter shitstorm of protest if they were applied to the abuse of some superheroine?

This is the conundrum of yaoi: how do you support the perverted, sick fantasies of one gender while condemning the perverted, sick fantasies of the other gender, and not look like a complete hypocrite? You gotta dance really really fast to pull off that gag...

AN ADDITION, because there seems to be some meat left in the comments filtering in:

Overall, I just feel that fantasy life and real life are two completely separate realms, and I would say most yaoi fans are aware of this. I can’t imagine any fangirl saying she’s read so much yaoi that if her or her friends experienced actual rape they would somehow think it was ‘normal’. That seems like an incredible leap to me, and something that would indicate a total break from reality. There are so many example of things people do when they fantasize and play that they would never consider in real life- kids playing ‘guns’ and ‘killing’ each other for instance.
Awesome. NOW, if we could just get that kind of sensible outlook implanted into the perspectives of those who fret about whether the way superheroines fare in comics stories is somehow going to birth a new generation of mysogynist serial killers.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is the conundrum of yaoi: how do you support the perverted, sick fantasies of one gender while condemning the perverted, sick fantasies of the other gender, and not look like a complete hypocrite?

You are asking for consistency from the same people who support slash fanfics out one side of their mouth, while decrying that Joss Weadon rapes his own wife based on the fiction he writes?

Why don't you just ask to get water from the moon. You'd have a better shot of seeing that happen, sadly.

quietprofanity said...

anonymous:

Actually, the commentator who said that vile about Joss Whedon hates slash.

But the day anti-feminists don't think of feminists as the Borg is the day the sun explodes, I suppose.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the commentator who said that vile about Joss Whedon hates slash.

But the day anti-feminists don't think of feminists as the Borg is the day the sun explodes, I suppose.


And yet, none within the feminist community called that crazy psycho out on her ravings did they?

Support through silence seems to be one of the fenminist communities greatest weapons.

Anyway, the point remains, that to expect fairness and consitancy from theic feminist crowdike expecting to get water from the moon.

And if you want "anti-feminists" (i.e. read: anyone who doesn't drink the radical feminist line of koo-aid dogma) to not view you as "Borgs," maybe you should all step up and call out the wackos on your end of the issues, with same im and vigor you seem to reserve only for those who you always see as "the enemy."

Of course, if you could do that, we wouldn't be talking here right now, would we? Oh, and nice catch of coming in TWO WEEKS after I said what I did. Guess not having WFA to point you to all the "evil misogynists" in one easy to go location is slowing you guys down a mite, huh?

Anon, A Mouse said...

Ooooooookay, let's sort this out:

RE: "THE BORG"

There's a certain irony in complaining about "anti-feminists" treating feminists like "the Borg". Oh look! Both sides can dismissively generalize. To both sides: let's not, please.

RE: "TWO WEEKS"

Oh, come on. There's plenty of blogs I don't follow if WFA doesn't link to them, there's no need to browbeat someone over not keeping up-to-date with my own blog. Challenge ideas and concepts, not browsing habits.

RE: HATER OF BOTH WHEDON AND SLASH

Okay, hey, if Madam I-Know-Joss-Whedon-Rapes-His-Wife is also against gay rape in slash fic and/or yaoi, then she is at least consistent, which I can respect up to a point (though it's difficult to completely respect someone who's consistently a nut-bar from start to finish).

Anonymous said...

There's a certain irony in complaining about "anti-feminists" treating feminists like "the Borg".

Well, don't forget: "There is no hive-vagina!" Until, you know, they need to make themselves look like a majority or powerful force, when they have something to rail against, but that doesn't count, right?

There's plenty of blogs I don't follow if WFA doesn't link to them, there's no need to browbeat someone over not keeping up-to-date with my own blog.

I agree that not everyone can keep up with every blog. But, point of fact, the only reason it took "quietprofanity" so long to respond to this topic (and me specifically), is because the "bloodhound" at WFA didn't link it until today. And if they wouldn't have done so, I be she wouldn't have responded to it at all (thereby living up to the first half of her handle, rather than the latter half).

So, given that she would never have seeked out you, me, or this post on her own and can only play the part of the mindless attack drone from WFA linkage, I feel no remorse or any sense of charity towards nailing her for the time between my reply and her's. She obviously didn't care enough to respond sooner. So, she should just keep on with that tact, rather than come over from WFA to snipe at the "evil anti-feninists", whom she couldn't even be bothered to monitor on her own (makes you wonder how deticated she is to "the cause", doesn't it?).

Okay, hey, if Madam I-Know-Joss-Whedon-Rapes-His-Wife is also against gay rape in slash fic and/or yaoi, then she is at least consistent

Yeah, in the same way crap is consistent. Which is very fitting, given how much both of them stink.

Anyway, back to my original point, which is simply that the online comic feminist crowd is incapable of showing any consistency, because they are willing to back (or give a pass to) the nut-burgers that fight for their "cause-du-jour," but are completely unwilling to do it for anyone they deem "the enemy" (which is most likely anyone with a penis). They are as two-faced and hypocritical as those they claim are against them. And if you, or anyone, expect anything else, you are simply setting yourself up for an enevitable disappointment... to say the least. And the words and action of "quietprofanity" here are just another example of such.

Anon, A Mouse said...

"I feel no remorse or any sense of charity towards nailing her for the time between my reply and her's."

I, however, think that if you feel a need to combat someone on that kind of a point, then you have moved from reasoned consideration and critique of stances and viewpoints into throwing every possible attack into the mix just so you can beat the other side down, which is a tactic I don't care for, regardless of which side of the fence it comes from.

Anonymous said...

I, however, think that if you feel a need to combat someone on that kind of a point, then you have moved from reasoned consideration and critique of stances and viewpoints into throwing every possible attack into the mix just so you can beat the other side down, which is a tactic I don't care for, regardless of which side of the fence it comes from.

I can respect that. However, I'm just the type of person who gives you what you give them.

Look at the response you've given me here (as well as your previous one). It was well-thoughtout, intelligent, rational, and respectful. And you must have noticed my replies to you have been the same.

Now, look at her response to me. Nothing but a cheap and petty barb, devoid of any respect or consideration. Thus, her response from me was the very same. In a way, I'm playing up a form of what this post talks about: consistency.

When I'm given respect and treated like a human being, I also give that to those whom I respond to. When I am cheap shotted, my response will reflect that back at you in kind.

My posting consistency boils down to respect. If you have it and show it to me, I will do so towards you. If you don't, then I will reciprocate your pettiness right back at you (and feel no remorse for having done so). In short, how you treat me is how I will treat you.

I'm an online mirror, basically. What you will get out of me, is exactly what you put in. If you are a good and fair-minded person, that will be reflected in my responses to you. If you are an ugly and disrepectful person, that will be reflected to you, as well. And just like how stupid a person looks for blaming a mirror for their bad relfection, so to are people who complain about my replies to them, when they treat me with disrespect and discourteousness.

Anon, A Mouse said...

"I'm an online mirror, basically. What you will get out of me, is exactly what you put in. If you are a good and fair-minded person, that will be reflected in my responses to you. If you are an ugly and disrepectful person, that will be reflected to you, as well. And just like how stupid a person looks for blaming a mirror for their bad relfection, so to are people who complain about my replies to them, when they treat me with disrespect and discourteousness."

Although there is a certain sense to meeting negative responses with negative responses (I'm certainly not disposed to treat my ruder/denser critics with sweetness and light, myself), in the end, being a mirror adds nothing to the equation. If what one gets back is only the reflection of what one gives to the mirror, what's the point, besides an ongoing tit-for-tat?

A mirror produces no improvement, no refinement in and of itself. A mirror cannot claim to have a better idea, cannot stake a claim to higher moral ground. If all you ever get out of a mirror is the same obnoxious crap you put in, then why have the mirror at all?

To carry the metaphor further, if a hideously scarred face is next to a mirror, in which we see the same hideously scarred face, now we're looking at two hideously scarred faces instead of one, and that doesn't do anybody any good. Even polite agreement meeting the exact same polite agreement is, in a thermodynamic sense, entropy.

Anonymous said...

A mirror produces no improvement, no refinement in and of itself. A mirror cannot claim to have a better idea, cannot stake a claim to higher moral ground. If all you ever get out of a mirror is the same obnoxious crap you put in, then why have the mirror at all?


I can see where you are coming from here. And I certainly agree that the mirror, in and of itself, will not produce any change. It simply will show you what is there.

But, for me, the hope is, that as the mirror, if I reflect to those who bring nothing but negativity to me, the same kind of negativity bad, one of two things will happen:

1) They will see that their tactics are not getting them the desired response and they will be fore to take a different approach themselves, their by forster the very change that the mirror itself will not make happen.

2) They will become so disgusted with the situation, that they will simply refain from even looking in the mirror (i.e they will go away and leave me be). Simply because they no longer want to see the image it will show them.

I grant you, sometimes that is a hard road to hoe. It isn't a sure fire way to make the changes you talked about, but it is what works for me.

If nothing else, at least I don't end up like some of those who've I've seen you dealing with, who are so obviously carrying around tons of emotional baggage and rage, which they will direct at any target that has the misfortune to cross their path. Any disrespect given to be is quickly returned, thereby giving me release from the pent up anger most of those who've verbally assaulted you tend to vent on you (and other who raise the sometimes uncomfortable questions they don't want to think about or look at). As you can see from my replies with you, I'm a fairly centered person, who isn't given to fits of rage and extremely venomous screeds. And, best of all, I know whatever neagtivity I let out, was directed at the person responsible for it and thus, they are derserving of what they get, not some innocent bystander, who is taking the hit for someone else who caused that feeling in the first place.

Even polite agreement meeting the exact same polite agreement is, in a thermodynamic sense, entropy.

Ah, but you see, that's not what I;m saying at all. I'm not saying be kind to those who agree with you and unkind to those who don't. That's a tact I've seen too many others use and it actually sickens me.

Being polite, doesn't mean you have to agree with me. You can be polite while you disagree. You don't seem to agree with me on this 100%, yet you have remained polite during out discussion. And, as you noticed, so have I. Discourse doesn't have to be discourteous. "quietprofanity" handled it that way and I gave her the reaction someone who does that is derserving of. You have handled it completely differently and I have given you the response that is in accordance to that.

I don't expect everyone to agree with everything I say or think. Not only because that would be highly egotisical of me to do that, but what is the fun in it? I DO expect, however, for the discourse to remain courteous at all time. When someone is willing to discuss a matter with you, you have no cause to do otherwise, even if you fail to come to mutual agreement at the end.

The fact others do not take this to heart, is why I give them back the negativity and venom they seem only too willing to dish out. Maybe doing that will cause them to change their habits of debate, or maybe it won't (of course, I always hope for the best). But whatever the case, for me it helps me to keep my center and not allow discouteous jackasses, to make me act out as one towards others who are innocent of the anger they might cause me.

I don't know is any of this makes much sense to you, but it is how I feel. I certainly don't wish to cause you more hassles here than you already endure, but neither will I try to "kill the jerks with kindness," either. If you want respectful discourse with me, you had best bring it to the table yourself. Otherwise, what kind of response you get from me, is squarely on your own head.

However, if that is unacceptable to you and you wish me to no longer come to your blog, I will respect your wishes. It is your house, after all, so it is your rules that count most.

Still, thanks for discussing this with me in a mature and civil manner. There are many people out there on the Internets who could learn from your example here.

Anon, A Mouse said...

"However, if that is unacceptable to you and you wish me to no longer come to your blog, I will respect your wishes. It is your house, after all, so it is your rules that count most."

Philosophical musings about mirrors aside, what I would prefer, in general, is that people who reply to this blog try to add something to the conversation, as opposed to the equivalent of "oh yeah? well, YOUR MOM!"

Leave us not get into the internet drama of "I will fall on my sword if you command it, o Sire". This isn't that damn critical. Just, y'know, the next time you feel like a mirror, maybe step back, think "hey, does this reply I'm about to make REALLY contribute anything meaningful to the discussion?" and adjust accordingly.