not ready to play nice

30Jun09

In case you don’t pay attention to online fandom, the shit hit the fan last week in a way that manages to drag me out of my sort of hiatus state and into a ranty frame of mind.  It started out in bandom (indie band RPS/F, which personally, I don’t get the appeal of, but whatever floats your boat), but now has become an issue throughout the community, mostly because some fairly big names got involved on both sides.

Basically, the deal is that some people writing fic don’t feel the need to warn for certain traumatic issues. (Catch up via this very helpful linkpost. Triggery links possible.) And then they whinged about it, and how it messes with their intentions and artistic integrity and a bunch of other bullshit.  And some people who should have known better said some things about how they should just walk away from fic if it bothers them.  Or avoid fic altogether.  ‘Click the X’, basically.

So: the argument that people who ask for warnings, people who experience triggers in reading due to experience of trauma, are privileged in asking for warnings on fic.  The fucking slippery slope argument of ‘oh, then where do we stop warning’.  The ‘stop whining and grow a pair’ argument.  The ‘then just don’t participate in the community’ argument.

Any of those look familiar to anyone?

From people who should KNOW THE FUCK BETTER, no less.

And what for?  The sure feeling that they are right, I suppose?  Not wanting to think about the fact that what gets them off is someone else’s nightmare?  Why?  I can’t parse it.  I wish someone would explain it.

I will admit this: I don’t always get specifically triggered by most of the issues that arise in fandom.  But I have OCD, and I have triggers, and I know what those feel like, at least for me.  It is horrible.  I try to avoid my triggers as much as possible, but I sure as hell don’t want to stop doing anything I do in my daily life because they don’t define me entirely.  It’s just very real and very painful.

And I don’t presume to speak for those who have experienced those traumas, and I don’t want to assign them the label of illness without their consent.  But this is the same old shit that goes on with ablism as regards mental illness; suck it up and deal, basically.

No, we fucking won’t, in any way, shape, or form.

ETA: I missed Lauredhel talking about this as regards blogging a couple weeks ago. She makes some very good points.



2 Responses to “not ready to play nice”

  1. 1 aH

    I would say there’s an obvious solution for those who don’t want to warn on every post— somewhere obvious, warn that you won’t be warning. There is the argument that no matter how much you warn, you may miss something, and that on occasion, warning for something may ruin suspense or tension. I get that. I don’t think every fic should list every possible squick or trigger. But I do think that if you’re going to talk about violent crime, noncon, character death, and other obvious potential triggers and you DON’T want to warn every time, a statement in user info or at the top or something could be a compromise.

    I guess the same argument could be made for community standards. Certain archives could have the standard that at least some list of things are always warned for, the rest at the discretion of the author. Or that no warnings are required.

    Fair warning at some point is only polite. I don’t really care at what level it happens, only that it happens.

  2. I heard about this the other day – I don’t have the time to participate in fandom as much as I once did, but I can’t help but find a blanket refusal to post warnings appaling. It’s a common courtesy, and something that I’ve even seen incorporated in LiveJournal posts or whatever. Of course, like aH, I’m not suggesting that every little thing be listed because that isn’t practical, but overarching themes and obvious triggers certainly should be. Whether on the individual piece, or a disclaimer attached to every piece linking to a “trigger policy” – this will take into account that fic can be reposted, or show up on RSS feeds and friendlists.


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