Aunt Zelda Wank Edit
On Sep. 13, Dreamwidth user aunt_zelda (AZ) wrote a post in the DW Yuletide community exhorting participants to nominate women and characters of color to the tagset and to work with other participants to do so. Her post implied that participants were obliged to nominate diverse characters, in particular for the sake of other fans who wanted to participate in the Misses Clause and Chromatic exchanges:
Who is your cast list comprised of for your fandom? Are there women, are there characters of color, are there characters with disabilites? If someone who likes this fandom wants to participate in Misses Clause, will they be able to? If someone who likes this fandom wants to participate in a chromatic challenge, will they be able to?There were hallelujahs from perennial fandom wankers Rosefox and Elf, and some support from Muccamukk that was later qualified with a backgrounder on fandom's history of using SJ in the service of shipwars. However, most commenters politely challenged AZ. maeve_of_winter said that while she agreed with the goal of the post, and admired both its sentiment and its encouragement to participate in Chromatic and Misses Clause,
I don't think it's entirely necessary that Yuletide participants reconsider the characters they've already nominated. Presumably, those are the characters they like and want to read and write fic about, and I don't see why their preferences require self-examination.AZ’s reply was snippy and defensive. She replied similarly to paradisi, and even more so to saiditallbefore, who disclaimed that AZ meant well but that she came off as condescending — and that saiditallbefore genuinely likes diverse characters and doesn't want dutyfic.
The entire thread, as well as the subsequent discussion on the Yuletide Discord server (which was copypasted into the anon communities), was picked apart on FFA (Post #734, Post #735) and yuletide_coal. Main points of discussion:
- Many people agree with saiditallbefore that they don't want issuefic, which is what aunt_zelda's post is most likely to elicit. There were the inevitable comparisons to wankers like Aja. As a nonny said,
Good old gold-stars, eat-your-spinach social justice. Definitely makes people on the outside of it want to make an effort to change, not for any reasons of quality or actual enjoyment, but just so they can check it off.
- A coalie said, "All this is gonna do is make me more judicious about my bucket offers." Another said that they were now less likely to nominate diversely (other coalies tried to encourage them to do so anyway). Similar worries from a nonny who likes diverse characters.
- AZ's claim that the Misses Clause challenge "promot[es] fics that pass the Bechdel Test" is wrong.
- AZ, who is white (see this Tumblr post, as well as her sidebar), let people on the Discord believe she is black.
AZ spent the next day and more whining and raging on the Discord. "Various people are trying to explain why she got a negative reaction and it's not working at all." The entire conversation is been linked on the admin posts there, and there are multiple copypastes of the discussion on FFA (one, two, three, four, five). Highlights:
- AZ claimed, "All I did was make a post suggesting people coordinate more with other fans. That's it.” A coalie: “She doesn’t seem to understand that THAT’S NOT WHAT SHE SAID.”
- She unsubscribed from the comment notifications to her post: "Yeah I'm done with these angry anons. If people wanna talk trash to me they can say it to my face. If not, I'm not bothering." Nonny: “Those comments *are* directed 'to her face', tho.”
- She compared the civil pushback she was getting to "YouTube comments."
- Both FFA and _coal gave Yuletide mods Rosencrantz and Morbane high marks for their patience and diplomacy in dealing with AZ. Morbane, in particular, was lauded for her subtle comment “I feel disagreement is a sign of a healthy community.”
- AZ: “Honestly I'm getting the sense that if the post makes some people uncomfortable, it should have. If me suggesting people coordinate with friends to nominate more diverse characters offends people that much, no amount of tiptoing around is gonna be satisfactory.”
- AZ said the "negativity" she's received has made her want to write treats less. (“We're not missing anything.”)
- She'd also floated the idea on Discord before posting to Dreamwidth. She got some disagreement, which she also categorized as being “dogpiled with all this nastiness.”
- AZ blatantly admitted she didn’t want any disagreement at all: “So many people have said ‘I agree with the sentiment BUT’ how hard is it to keep your comments off the post then? Or make your own post? Or talk about this on your own journal? Or PM me?” A coalie:
I mean, I COULD make my own post in the comm to disagree, but if everyone did that the community would just be flooded. The point of a comments section is to discuss what's been said in the post. If you don't want disagreement, you disable the comments. It's not that complicated.Another coalie:
Which is basically what she's doing right now, by keeping comments screened. I think that's really disingenuous--I personally thing the mods should step in and unscreen everything. If you want to hide evil nasty comments that aren't praising you, then you don't have the right to post in the comm in the first place.
- AZ noted she had turned on comment screening. Interestingly, a few anon comments defending her were allowed through. FFA and _coal were pretty much unanimous that they're from AZ herself. So was saiditallbefore, who replied to that first comment and held nothing back.
- AZ repeatedly asked why people who disagree with her can't ignore her post, the way she ignores Crueltide posts? This analogy was dissected on FFA.
- Both in Discord and on her DW post, she concern-trolled that the reactions to her post would turn fans off from the MC and Chromatic challenges, a claim that elicited scorn. Another coalie: “Translation: 'I'm in white guy fandoms. I feel guilty for not caring about the side characters with almost no lines. You should feel guilty too so I can feel better about myself.’” And, indeed, a glance at her AO3 profile reveals that to be the case. Yet another coalie spotted this telling update on the MC comm:
We try to keep this very low key with absolutely no pressure to participate, and yet we're continually blown away by the support and the number of folks who take on the challenge as well as the types of awesome fic that you guys create year after year.”Finally: "This isn't the first time she has tried to make diversity stuff all about her and then accused everyone of hating diversity if they don't agree with her guilt tripping, creepily projecting posts."