give4:

I got a message saying that this young man was feeling a bit down being in the hospital so the #ChampionsOfSanAntonio and I decided to pay him a little visit. Needless to say, we made his day. #batmanofsanantonio #ChampionsOfSanAntonio #TeamIsEverything #DCcomics #DCUniverse #Marvel #Batman #CaptainAmerica #WonderWoman #Flash #GreenLantern #Shazam #Nightwing #UltimateSpiderman #Polaris #UltimateCap #GreenArrow #Minion #hospitalvisit #methodisthospital #SanAntonio #ILoveMyJob #PayItForward by batmanofsanantonio http://ift.tt/1Jtm50r

Awwww.

“True Fans,” Fandom, and Gatekeeping

If you’ve been active on social media at all, or even taken part in something that would get a lot of spread on social media, you know how volatile people have become.

A lot of people are getting their names and reputations dragged through the mud, receiving harassment and death threats online, and some have even been SWATted (where a fake threat is called to police to get a SWAT team to raid someone’s house – which can result in actual physical harm and threats) and essentially chased out of their homes.

All of this activity can ultimately be traced back to one thing: the concept of a “true fan”, and attempts to dominate fandom and control who is or isn’t considered a fan.

As much as I’ve been active on Twitter, I haven’t been nearly active enough about this on Tumblr, and it’s time for me to say something here.

There is a lot of loaded language wrapped up in this concept, so there’s no perfect place to begin. We have to just jump right in and elaborate from there.

We’ve seen a lot of volatility as of late in fandom everywhere. There’s GamerGate, full of people who insist they’re fighting for ethics in games journalism – when really, the language of most GGers is stilted in things like “fighting the SJW menace” and “exposing <insert female critic, developer, research, etc>’s lies.” Many GGers insist the people they target are “not real gamers.”

When the Batgirl cover referencing the Killing Joke came out, and many people complained and criticized it (I believe rightfully so), many people insisted demands to pull the cover amounted to censorship… and some of the people who demanded the cover be pulled received harassment and death threats, and calls that they weren’t “true comic book fans” or “true Batman fans.”

I’ve experienced this first-hand, of course. Nowhere near to the same degree as so many others have received it. But practically any time where I’ve criticized a company or product or shown concern that something bad might happen to something I love, there will be someone who comes along with this insistence they’re a “true fan,” and that I’m not because I said something they didn’t like.

So here’s the critical question in all of this: what makes someone a “true fan”?

If I buy absolutely anything and everything a company makes, even if they openly insult me as a consumer and all the things I care about – am I a true fan?

If I buy absolutely nothing, never have and never will, and say something needs to radically change into something else before I’ll buy it – am I a true fan?

We know the dictionary definition of a fan, but there are so many individual, personal semantic definitions. One person thinks you’re not a fan unless you defend a company and what it does to the death, no matter how bad it is. Another person thinks you’re not a fan unless you mercilessly criticize everything and show no appreciation. Still another person thinks neither route is correct, that you need a mix.

Or is it something else? Are you a true fan if you play X number of games or read X number of comics featuring something? Are you a true fan if you paid to commission fanart, or write fanfiction?

Depending on your definition, who counts as a “true fan” changes.

Suddenly, a person who’s read comic books about their favorite character for years and bought countless comics and art commissions isn’t a “true fan” because they’re willing to complain about the company that owns that character’s rights.

Suddenly, a woman who makes experimental video games or cares about better representation for women in video games isn’t a “true gamer”, while a man who’s never played a game before and has regularly insulted gaming as a whole is an “honorary gamer” for supporting certain people and playing a little bit of one video game.

Suddenly, people who deeply love and respect something “don’t count” as “true fans.” And here’s the reason: power.

Fiction has cultural power, and whoever has the loudest voice gets the most say in its shape. Whether explicitly or implicitly, most people are starting to realize this.

Want a character to get raped? Silence all dissenting voices, and it might happen.

Want a certain person to quit the video game industry? Send him or her enough death threats, make up things like “she has sex with dogs” or “she’s a rapist”, hack his or her bank account, all sorts of nastiness, and it might happen.

That is the shape “fandom” is increasingly taking right now: smear jobs, character assassination, real life harassment even to friends and family just for being associated with the intended target.

It’s all gatekeeping. It’s all an attempt to take possession of the keys, and then dictate who’s allowed to have them. “You’re not a true gamer unless you accept games as they are.” “You’re not a true Batgirl fan unless you accept her being presented first and foremost as Joker’s victim.” “You’re not a true Polaris fan unless you never complain about Marvel and never worry they might do something bad to her.”

And while it looks recent, this has actually been going on for years. Probably far longer than I’m even consciously aware.

When Anita Sarkeesian launched her Tropes vs Video Games Kickstarter in 2012, she received a wave of harassment and threats simply for the IDEA of criticizing video games through a feminist perspective, suggesting that as great as they are, they can be better.

When a woman working for Bioware said video games should permit a “skip gameplay” option to be able to enjoy only the story, also back in 2012, she received a swarm of harassment for daring to suggest games don’t need gameplay.

This behavior looks new, but it’s not. It’s been a very gradual escalation across several years. It only looks new because most people weren’t watching the horizon and what was slowly spilling over it.

The more people who think this is the right approach to fandom, the more extreme people will become when they get desperate. Right now, GamerGate laughs off the idea that any of the people they target will ever get killed. But is it really so laughable? In the span of 3 years, we’ve gone from internet harassment and some online death threats to women like Anita Sarkeesian, to people getting SWATted, and smeared as supposedly being rapists or fucking dogs or selling their kids for drug money.

All in an attempt to become the gatekeepers of fandom, and terrorize and chase out anyone who disagrees with them. If 3 years is enough for people to turn out like that and think it’s perfectly acceptable, what will 3 more years bring us?

Any time you see the words “true fan”, always, ALWAYS ask: who’s using them, how, and why. We can’t afford to not ask those questions when lives are on the line – right now, professional lives, the ability to actually get a job. But perhaps some day, the ability to continue living at all.

ashesofadoll:

Classic Harley Quinn is Back

It’s nice to see actual Harley Quinn again after several years of DC being terrible. If Rocksteady releases the Batgirl DLC as standalone, I’ll buy this. If you have to buy Arkham Knight to play this, then nope, not happening. I’m not going to buy a game I don’t want to play due to it having not-Harley just to get to the DLC I actually want to play that has actual Harley.

I know you’re a Marvelite but what do you think of Wonder Woman’s newest outfit?

peppermonster:

You are correct. I’m a Basic Bitch who buys Marvel. I DID see Wonder Woman’s new costume tho. 

image

Call me a third-wave feminist, but I love the fact that they covered her up. Like, not slut shaming, or arguing that a woman with agency can’t show off as much as she wants…but 1) she is a cartoon character, she doesn’t have agency, she only has what her writers (who are predominantly historically male) give her, what they understand agency to be. and 2) no one says anything about Batman being covered head to toe. Or Superman? Like, a majority of male heroes are covered completely, and no one claims it stifles their sexuality. I really think the uniform she has worn for the majority of her comic book career is deeply impractical, but iconic, and people have never taken to changing it kindly. And they ultimately have kept her in the same basic style with mild updating redesign, keeping it despite impracticality and sexism for the sake of history, iconism, and tradition. I don’t hate hr classic look in any of it’s modern incarnations, but I would be lying if I didn’t roll my eyes as her strapless bodice, and booty shorts.
Her new look still has its sex appeal (with thigh high boots and skin tight) while also giviing her the courtesy of not only pants, but sleeves!
I call this the Captain Marvel update. From Swimsuit to Flightsuit. Its still iconic, clean, recognizable, but with the added bonus of functional. 
She is a fighter. a scrapper. She isn’t Emma Frost. She can’t get away with underwear and stripper heels because she is psychic and not a fighter. Diana is supposed to run in there, and break necks with her thighs. 

I like the look. I mean, it looks nice, i still recognize her, and I would be able to cosplay this. 

IDK if people are complaining (wait, its the internet, of course they are!!!) but I can imagine people are complaining that they covered her up in a slut-shaming over correction, or complaining that they are messing with an “iconic” character (Like that has NEVER happened before!!!) and any number of other complaints looking to complain for the sake of complaining. I have read WW comics. I know her character. This costume looks like something she would honestly pick out to battle in. It doesn’t look try hard or like it has an agenda. It looks like some fancy armor, and some sexy battle clothes. all fantasy with a little practicality and just enough sexy for me to wanna wolfwhistle mentally at her just a little bit.

This is my first time seeing this. It looks pretty cool. The most important part is that it maintains all the core elements of her visual identity: the hair, the tiara, the lasso, the colors, the Ws, the stars.

Which also makes what they’ve done to Harley so annoying to me. Unlike Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, etc, the “Harley” they have right now has been stripped of everything that visually makes her Harley and made more into a female Joker knockoff. They got rid of her jester hat, her jester boots, the jester mask, the collar, half the time she doesn’t even have her diamonds.

Most of the time, DC’s definition of Harley’s visual identity is “She’s vaguely clown-like because Joker, and her colors are red and black.” And the most annoying part of it is how they only did this, and then proceeded to make this huge marketing push to get people to accept the new look, because they saw interest in her Arkham Asylum costume and decided that meant she shouldn’t even look like Harley Quinn anymore.

I’m seriously waiting until they bring Harley Quinn back to actually having a visual identity that fits her codename before I touch DC Comics stuff. I don’t care about how much cover she does or doesn’t have, I care about the way they represent the character’s identity, and DC doesn’t seem to care at all about that right now.