giandujakiss: (fandom)
[personal profile] giandujakiss
So, now we know what kind of fans Kripke wishes he had. Thanks for that, Kripke. I'll try to do better.

Oh, wait. No, I won't.





See, yeah. That.

I woke up this morning and my opinion is unchanged - and the interesting thing, to me, is that a lot of people on my FList who had previously enjoyed the meta episodes (I hated them from Day One) found that their tolerance had been exceeded here. A lot of people on my FList were angry about the onanism, the fact that we had yet another episode that seemed more about in-jokes and self-references than actually telling a story, and, of course, the mysterious case of the genderswapped fans.

At least I don't feel quite so alone anymore :-).

The reason I disliked the previous meta episodes so much was aside from the fact that I felt like they were rummaging in my underwear drawer (and casting judgment), is that, unlike many others, I could not take the slaps at fans as affectionate humor. The show is so consistently terrible about its portrayals of women that when it reached out to then attack the fans as crazy and sexually inappropriate women, it didn't come off as all in good fun - it came off as part of a pattern of contempt for women and what women do.

This episode just brought it all home, even as it was, in a way, more watchable because it was less personally invasive. Still, we learned that women fans are still creepy and sexually inappropriate; male fans' activities are justified and explained, men are humanized, and men get to be heroes. Women, apparently, aren't even interested in being heroes because apparently it didn't occur to Kripke that women could have dressed up as Sam and Dean - or, at minimum, have dressed up as Jo or Ellen or Pamela and also had fun adventures. Women just want to fuck heroes and they aren't terribly particular about which ones.

The episode also fits into a pattern I posted about once where shows actually instruct fans on how to be fans. And more often than not, they are instructing female fans on how to be fans, and specifically telling them not to write fanfiction, or at least not to write the kind of fanfiction they currently write. Here, we had yet another lecture on how to be fans - specifically, in the form of men fans telling us what's important about Supernatural, what we should see, and what we should value.

Or, as [livejournal.com profile] kitsune13 put it, "fanboy activities are mocked (quite gently) but ultimately legitimized; fangirl activities are OMG CREEPY SCARY INAPPROPRIATE. And fangirls exist PURELY on a sexual axis, while men are smart and engage with the text."

I have to assume that at least some of the contempt for women fans comes not just from the inherent sexism of the writers - they were fans once, they look back on their fandom days with fondness, but they just don't understand these alien womenfolk - but also from the fact that men interact with the text by adopting it. Women, however, can't - because the texts aren't written by and for women, and women shape it to make it more like what they do enjoy. Women alter the text; men don't have to. And creators don't, apparently, like it when someone doesn't accept their text uncritically and without alteration (See, e.g., critical German fan). It kind of reminds me of the immortal words of Sady at Ladybusiness on Ginger Snaps:
[I]t is, I have learned, impossible for me to be totally objective about Ginger Snaps. It is made, I think, specifically for women who used to be awkward teenage horror fans, and have ingested a substantial amount of feminist theory since then. When something caters so specifically to your experiences and your concerns, it is hard to tell whether it is any good. Then again, I realize, dudes must feel this way all the time!
You don't like the story we're trying to tell? You see a different story? Well, you must be crazy, then!

It just pains me to think of how they could have had almost the same episode, but fifty times less offensive. Keep the fans women - let women have an adventure with Sam and Dean, let women say what they get out of the books and why the story is important to them. For God's sake, how about something as simple as making the "Hooters waitress" an actual fan, and then having her be brave and play her part well, instead of trembling with fear and barely able to stammer out the words?

And it's not that I'm saying that every instance of fan mockery - or even fan fiction mockery - represents sexism. For example, check out this series of stories by [livejournal.com profile] entangled_now, or [livejournal.com profile] thenyxie's most recent Big Bang. These stories absolutely mocked fan fiction - but they also celebrated it, by having the characters acknowledge the allure. That's not something it would even occur to Kripke to do.

And you know, I saw the "previouslys" with the clip from Asylum and I actually got verklempt because I thought about how Sam has now more than once called Dean weak and pathetic while under a supernatural influence and how much that hurts Dean and I was thinking - why can't I watch that show again? What is this other show that has taken over my show?

Anyhoo, I traditionally offer a list of the good points as well as the bad, so ... I liked the mockery of the growly voices. I thought the names of the panels were kind of funny. I enjoyed Chuck's attempts to keep the audience occupied, particularly in the tag, with Sam and Dean making death gestures at him.

Oh, and we had creepy little boys this time? Which enabled the German fan to complain about the overuse of "creepy children" without recognizing that until now it's always been creepy girls?

And ... yeah, that was all.

Date: 2009-11-13 01:37 pm (UTC)
cathexys: Victorian girls: good girls don't meta (goodgirls (by copracat))
From: [personal profile] cathexys
As you know I liked the ep more than you do and yet on a meta level, I am getting really fascinated with this mandated fan and viewing behavior. I love your post and the idea that we're supposedly taught/told how to be good fans.

And the thing that's bugging me most is that I can already see the academic essay hailing this ep as a fan-embracing one (written by an acafanboy, of course who isn't invested in SPN much :)

Date: 2009-11-13 01:43 pm (UTC)
gnatkip: Monty Python and the Holy Grail, "What do you burn apart from witches?  MORE WITCHES!" (witches)
From: [personal profile] gnatkip
Yours is the review I wanted to come read first, to see what you had to say about the genderswapped fans and the genderswapped creepy children, and I don't really have anything to add. I know what you mean, though, about it being somehow more watchable because it was less personally invasive. The con-goers were so bizarrely fictionalized, so clearly springing from the writers' ego-place as the fans they wish their stories cultivated, rather than the fans their stories actually cultivate.

It's unfortunate that this is the show I'm most equipped to vid right now, considering all the mutual contempt between us.

Date: 2009-11-13 03:11 pm (UTC)
kelliem: waffle with a whipped cream star (waffle)
From: [personal profile] kelliem
Here via cathexys-- it may not help your perception of the ep, but I wanted to make a note that my son and I are pretty sure the Bobby cosplayer (the one sitting next to the Ash cosplayer) was actually a crossplayer- a woman dressed as a man.

For me, making Becky actually helpful at the end, and having Barnes and Damien turn out to be not only helpful, but to have them serve as a revelatory vehicle for Dean, and also to make them a gay couple and thus challenge Dean's (and the production's and/or viewer's) homophobia, saved the ep. For the first time in one of the meta-eps, I felt like they were being a bit less mean-spirited about their fans.

Date: 2009-11-13 03:22 pm (UTC)
kelliem: waffle with a whipped cream star (waffle)
From: [personal profile] kelliem
Fair enough. I agree it was weird and wrong to see that room full of boys at the con- I even commented on that to my son when they panned back to show it. Becky-- let's just say I've known a few Beckys in my day so I understand where that portrayal is coming from, even if it makes me cringe and I wish they had made her less extreme.

Date: 2009-11-13 03:31 pm (UTC)
kelliem: waffle with a whipped cream star (waffle)
From: [personal profile] kelliem
Yeah, their track record for women's roles is truly abysmal. The only decent female character on the show is Ellen and she is woefully underused.

Date: 2009-11-13 06:08 pm (UTC)
cofax7: climbing on an abbey wall  (Default)
From: [personal profile] cofax7
SPN was pre-empted last night for football, so I haven't seen this yet.

I am considering not watching it at all. Why subject myself to this? I already know they don't want me (or you, or Mely, or any of us women) watching.

Date: 2009-11-16 03:51 am (UTC)
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
From: [personal profile] darkemeralds
I'm sitting here chatwatching the S3 episode "The Kids Are Alright" while I read your meta and that of Cathexys, who reminded me to come here, and holy crap it's hard not to be overwhelmed by the horrific misogyny of Show.

I won't detail everything I'm seeing, but life-sucking little girls, and a boy who likes the strange handsome drifter better than his own mother, are two examples.

I was horrified by the "fanservice" of The Real Ghostbusters, and nearly didn't make it through the episode. I hadn't seen Shakesville's cartoon but it's very apt: as I said to Cathexys, "I dislike shopping in stores that don't want my business, and I HATE it when what that store is selling is something I really kind of want." I'm a fan who watches the show, buys the DVDs, and writes and reads fanfiction in a private (and, I hope, harmless) context. I hadn't thought of TRGb as Kripke's attempt to school me in how to be a fan, but I think it's a valid reading of the text of this ep.

Thanks for your thoughtful writing on the topic.

Date: 2009-11-16 04:03 am (UTC)
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
From: [personal profile] darkemeralds
I suppose it's just silly to feel doubly angry/sad/betrayed by SPN because there are women--young, intelligent, well-educated women--in key writing and production roles; and equally silly to blame said women for valuing their hard-to-get jobs in Hollywood too much to buck the writer's-room system.

But still. Sera, Sera, what's your excuse??

Date: 2009-11-16 04:41 am (UTC)
darkemeralds: Photo of fingers on a computer keyboard. (Writing)
From: [personal profile] darkemeralds
I hadn't heard that. How does having sex with a braindead female body differ from Dollhouse again?

But given Hollywood, I suppose Sera's contribution was not nothing. At least the issue occurred to her.

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