ThingsWithWings is a popular fic writer and BNF who has been discussed on meme since its very first post, as she was involved in Vividcon Slingbaby Wank. A year and a half before FFA came into being, she stated that if the TV show Merlin became popular, the racists would win. This was also discussed on GoGoFandomFail. A few months after her FFA debut, TWings asserted that the lighting choices on Leverage are racist because they prevented her from seeing Aldis Hodges’ (Hardison’s) face as anything but “a dark-shaped blob in the foreground.” She lightened some clips from the show using Final Cut and posted before-and-after pics showing that even with her edits, Hardison remained darker than the other characters. (Note that she was watching DVD copies to begin with, and they might have been ripped, both of which would have affected the quality of the lighting.)
Darkrose replied to her, “Speaking as a black woman, a former lighting designer, and one who’s lit shows with mostly-black and mostly Asian casts, I don’t find the lighting in Leverage to be racist in any way.” DeepaD, who has done lighting for stage, argued that the Leverage crew “were not making enough of an effort to meet the needs of their cast, and work against a system that privileges whiteness.” Darkrose politely maintained her disagreement, especially as she had just rewatched several episodes and not seen that Hardison was “lit any differently from any other characters—the whole show is dark and their are weird shadows everywhere.” After this exchange, TWings added an ETA to her post: “which isn’t to say that it's intentionally racist, but that because it's some combination of badly done/underfunded/lazily done/unthinkingly done, it ends up reinforcing racism.” FFA discussed the matter here.
TWings also once got mad at Leverage writer John Rogers for writing a scene in which Nate and Sophie distract a secretary by telling her that her boss is a “murderer-slash-rapist.” On his blog, Rogers quotes TWings’ entire comment:
@thingswithwings: here was a lot I loved here. But was it completely necessary to open the episode with Nate and Sophie conning an innocent secretary through the threat of sexual violence? “Your boss is a mass-murderer-slash-rapist, you’re his type, and he’s coming back tomorrow”? Really? REALLY? Way to advance the culture of rape in America. Way to pander to the assholes who think jokes about rape are funny, or that making women into victims is funny. I hope lots of twelve year old boys learned their lesson, that threatening women with sexual violence will help them get their way! The really amazing part is that the little threat-of-rape-and-murder plot was completely unrelated to the main plot, and they could’ve distracted the secretary with ANYTHING - which I guess means yall think it’s just a hilarious and funny joke when women are made to live in fear. I expected better from this show, which is why it hurts more to see this here than it does to see it everywhere else (which we do, every day). Do better. I love this show. Do better.
Rogers pointed out that (a) the show was “pretty obviously parodying the culture of fear bullshit, particularly the modern American procedural, sold in American media,” and (b) that they have taken pains not to “traffic in exploiting rape, sexual murder, and an irrational fear of violent super-predators” the way so many U.S. shows do. TWings showed up in the comments to say she appreciated Rogers reading her comment, but “dudes, I expect better, and you made a mistake here, and I think you should be more careful.” Rogers didn’t reply again to her, but he let stand an anonymous comment telling her, more or less, to piss off.
In early October 2013, TWings tried to explain how she differentiated between "specfic with queers" and "queer specfic." Welcome to Night Vale, she said, is a beautifully SJ canon, and she went considerably beyond the usual queer-theory rhetoric in explaining why:
- And it's worth it to note the queerness of bodies in Night Vale, of course: Coach Al Mujaheed pulling his tongue from his body, Michael Sandero's extra head, the recipe for cooking your own heart. The way bodies aren't whole, complete, impenetrable fortresses of consciousness, but broken apart and strange and capable of strange pleasures (do you get . . . sexually aroused from carpal tunnel syndrome?). This is a classic horror trope, body horror, in which we are forced to realize the squishy or gross or bizarre things inside us, but Night Vale does it with such fondness and fascination and eerie delight that it reminds me of guro kink a lot, exploring that shivery place where the strange penetration of the world into your body, or the strange excess of your own body, becomes sexual or sensual.
So, Night Vale has those queernesses built into it.
- ...The narrative structure being weird and meandering is very cool — but trying to claim that as a strike in the fight to smash heteronormativity? No. Really, no.
Some of these arguments get stretched to the point of creepiness. Only heteronormative families want to keep their children safe? Children in Night Vale are routinely kidnapped, disappeared, destroyed, or murdered, and lots of people take it for granted, and we’re supposed to chalk that up as a point in the “what a wonderful queer subversion” column?
Other commenters and TWings herself implied that SailorPtah would have appreciated the post better if she were more familiar with queer theory. In the ensuing debate, SP asserted that “queer theory itself degenerates into uselessness if we get to the point of defining 90% of everything as ‘transgressive’ or ‘non-normative’” and reaffirmed that belief more than once.
TWings has possibly never pissed meme off more than when she argued in June 2013 that the concept of “dubcon” in fic supports rape culture and should be eliminated: “Because, especially when situations that exist in real life and that would be called rape in real life are labeled ‘dubcon,’ I think it does real harm to us all.” Note that TWings was/is not only a mod at but the maintainer of the kink-bingo community.
In her comments, TWings got pushback from the equally wanky Zvi and LiviaPenn, and especially from fans named Busaikko and Thirdblindmouse. TWings passive-aggressively implied in all these exchanges that she was being misread or her words misrepresented. She also asserted in reply to Thirdblindmouse that she has “a right to make an argument for what I think is an important moral and social aspect of our community standards,” which was quoted with disgust on FFA and which prompted an anonymous comment on her DW:
- When more than one person is responding to the author in a way the author didn’t intend then maybe it’s time for said author to accept that their intentions are not as clearly stated as they believe. Dismissing people as ‘misreading’ your work isn’t winning a debate, it makes you sound like someone who cannot bear to consider the possibility that maybe, just maybe their arguments are flawed and/or they're on the wrong track.
Overall meme discussion was long and heated:
- “Wow, even if this is just a regular meta post and not a Kink Bingo essay, this is one of the most nasty, kinkshamey, and downright condescending essays on the subject I’ve ever read and I’m shocked that someone who mods a community based on kink fic wrote this.”
- “Idk, the whole thing reads to me as ‘you should label thing my way, because of reasons.’
Maybe I don’t agree with her definition and will label my fic as I view it.”
- “If we lumped everything together under noncon the way twings wants that takes a lot of that choice away from readers. I’m really disappointed to see this from her, and I think that's me done with kinkbingo, as my fics often fall into the area she’s talking about and I use the dubcon label extensively.”
- “Rape/noncon/dubcon aren’t sociological definitions of RL instances. They’re about fictional genre and widely understood as such. If you don’t want to read dubcon, don’t, but don’t frame all the people who do (mostly women in this context) as evil or deluded supporters or RL rape culture.”
However, at least one nonny agreed with TWings: “The only reason I can think of not to define these as noncon is authors being overdefensive about how to define their kinks. You’re getting shit from fandom because your kink is rape? Still not a good enough reason to basically lie to your audience, especially about a subject like that.” This produced a great deal of discussion and wank, in which it turned out the nonny in question wanted highly fine-grained and idiosyncratic warnings such as "dubcon - coercion" and "dubcon - mistaken identity". Other nonnies were not impressed.
Ironically in light of the above, TWings wound up arguing in early 2015 that not liking a certain kink, listing it as a DNW for giftfic, or stating “I don't usually like kink, but…” is highly offensive and perpetuates oppression against kinksters — a position she and the other kink-bingo mods often push. Whenever someone disagreed with her in comments, she ignored some of their points, claimed that reading kinkfic made her an expert in kink, and argued that (what she considers) anti-kink speech is just like anti-gay speech because that's what it feels like to her.
Meme discussion of this ran to nearly 350 comments. Topics covered were how TWings’ post was mostly about her personal issues and “her personal bad faith interpretation of other people's motivations”; how she was disingenuously asking for a discussion when what she wanted was unanimous, unquestioning agreement; her “history of this sort of overreaction, not just with kink”; how “she has been beating this exact same drum for I think four or five years now, and not getting her way”; how “joyless” her kinkfic reads to nonnies; her hypocrisy in that she’d just written a post whose initial title apparently was “Star Trek for people who don't like Star Trek”; and the recent wank involving implicated2, who the previous fall had put up a snowflakey post whining about how people who don’t want certain kinks for Yuletide need to tiptoe around the issue in their letters so as not to “kink-shame.” Implicated2 ended up pimping TWings’ later post on their own LJ.
The thread also got a visit from an apparent friend of TWings’:
- “They’re fine with your fucking boundaries. Boundary away. All they want is for you not to shove your boundaries in their face when you comment on their fic (in their comment section: guess what? it’s their space not yours). Like, just say ‘You’re pretty’ instead of ‘You’re pretty for a fat girl.’ I hear that’s polite in most places.”
This comment was not received well, needless to say.
August 2015, Roxane Gay, author of Bad Feminist, tweeted that she found an egg-laying dildo gross. Sasha_feather (of HC bingo wank) called Gay out for kinkshaming, while TWings chimed in.