Posts Tagged ‘privilege wank’

The Anatomy of Fail

January 27th, 2010

Fan History’s admins make an effort to try to document some of the major fails and wank in LiveJournal media fandom.  When we cover it, we tend to really cover it, making a major effort to build comprehensive list links that cover all perspectives.  Some of the major wank/fails we have covered include Race!Fail, Mammoth!Fail, Privilege wank (also called Warnings!Fail), Russet Noon, Lambda Fail and the Slash Debate.

The Slash Debate is the one that is ongoing at the moment and I was curious as to how this particular fail’s life cycle compared to other fails.  I went to the Fan History pages, which sorted posts by date they appeared, and counted.  I got the following chart:

This chart only looks at the first 30 days of fail.  For The Slash Debate, numbers are only current to January 25, 2010 and may be subject to change as we find more posts.  The Slash Debate “officially”  kicked off on January 29, 2009.  Russet Noon kicked off on March 23, 2009.  Lambda Fail kicked off on September 16, 2009.   Race Fail kicked off on January 8, 2009.  I stopped counting and moved new post totals over to Mammoth!Fail, which started on May 4, 2009. Privilege Wank started on June 18, 2009.

There aren’t any days in the first 30 where all wanks moved up or down together.  For the second day, Slash Debate, Race Fail and Mammoth Fail both had a decrease in posts, whereas Privilege wank, Russet Noon and Lambda Fail saw an increase.  Some of this might be the metafandom effect: Posts that are listed on and play to a metafandom audience have a lag as people use the list to find fandom news.  Posts that play to smaller groups on LiveJournal, get featured on unfunnybusinees or fandomwank, or get a lot of attention and play to a wider audience than metafandom see a major interest in posting about it right away: There is no delay in timeliness because metafandom is slow to focus on those issues.

Between day 10 and day 14, there tends to be a big drop off in posting volume with an increase after that.  (The exception is Privilege/Warnings wank, which ended on Day 8.  Considering the topic, it makes sense.  People complained of being triggered by some of the posts.)

On Day 26, three of the four still active wanks saw bumps in interest: Slash Debate, Mammoth Fail, Race!Fail.  The exception was Russet Noon.  By day 26, if the discussion continues to be ongoing, there is a greater awareness by a wider audience who might not have seen earlier posts and people who were silent, seeing that the discussion is not dying down, may feel compelled to speak up rather than remain silent.

For all the aforementioned fails, minus Russet Noon, we have a list of people who posted.  I was curious how large the population was that participated across those fails as often, it seems like the same people are participating again and again and that people are not learning lessons from one fail to the next.  I compiled those lists and then created the following venn diagrams that show the people in common.

Some of the participants across multiple fails surprised me and there were some names that I thought would be on there that weren’t. For the second, it could be because people who are known to be involved in fail and wank are less about posting and more about commenting on other people’s posts.

Still, interesting bit of data worth keeping in mind when you see the next fail coming. You can begin to get an idea as to how long it will take, what the posting patterns will be and who to look out for as their involvement could signal major fail.

Privilege!Fail has shorter life expectancy because emotional stakes are so high

June 29th, 2009

People on unfunnybusiness, lcsbanana’s blog and elsewhere have been making comparisons between Privilege!Fail and RaceFail!09.  The tactics used by the racists and the anti-warning supporters have been scrutinized and found similar.  (Some onlookers are saddened that avowed anti-racists are attacking sexual assault survivors and their allies using the tactics they recently so heartily condemned.)  But an important comparison has not been made: how long it will take/has taken for each discussion to wind down.

I think Privilege!Fail is going to end really soon… if it hasn’t already.  Liviapenn is never going to apologize; she won’t need to.  zvi-loves-tv only needs to wait another week, maybe less, before everything returns to the status quo.  Unlike Race!Fail09, nothing will really change and the audience will be smaller and much more self-contained.

Why?  Race!Fail09 allowed a certain degree of emotional distance.  For all the rage that poured out, it was easy enough to step back and think logically.   You could be dispassionate about it.  Privilege!Fail allows no such detached intellectual analysis.  For one side, the whole issue involves emotion, deep gut-wrenching responses to the worst kinds of violation.  And if you’re on that side, you just can’t sustain the response.   It is exhausting.  For some survivors, the whole discussion is potentially triggering, making it detrimental to their mental health.   The only way to really prolong the discussion is to continually feed the rage… and really?  That’s not the sane or emotionally healthy thing to do.

So Privilege!Fail just isn’t going to last as long. The emotional stakes are far too high.

Privilege wank: Where sexual assault victims are not the real victims

June 27th, 2009

I’ve seen and dealt with a great deal of fandom drama.  When you’re an active participant in the community, it is just hard to avoid.  I sat out Race Fail 2009 because what could I say?  The extent to which I commented involved analytics relating to it.  It just did not feel like my place to speak out because I did not want to offend and I felt I could learn more by reading.

But now we have privilege wank.  Actually, it is more like Privilege!Fail.  What is the privilege in this case?  Well, according to aukestrel, being sexually assaulted and a rape victim makes one privileged.  And this then became worse when some people like zvi-likes-tv appeared to imply that being a member of that class was voluntary.

Before I get into it too much more, some back story. There were two cases of stories being posted with out warnings for rape.  In both cases, people asked the authors of those stories to post warnings because those stories were triggers for victims of sexual assault.    Both of  those authors complied but one grumbled about how she had to give in to a reader like that.  Another person took exception to that and posted a criticism of the author’s actions.  And it all went down from there with what started out as Warnings Kerfluffling before it got to the point where… well…  Let’s have some of these quotes speak for themselves:

[info]aukestrel:
1. One could argue, however, in this discussion of victim “privilege,” that the hurt might in fact be the result of dismantling of that privilege. I’m not saying I am arguing that. But in our current culture – in which apparently this victim, and her emotional well-being, is placed above and beyond courtesy, respect, and even common sense – and to abuse other women in fandom because they do not elevate the victim or place her rights above their own – it could be argued that cyatnite is, in fact, dismantling a privilege.

2. I don’t think they want to think of those who disagree with them as “women.” They want to dehumanise and abuse them; they want to take away their “humanity” so that they can feel justified in saying things to them that they would never say to another woman in real life. (At least I hope not.) They want to abuse people for holding the “wrong” opinion, even though they can’t really articulate what the “right” opinion is, just that it’s compassionate, displays empathy and consideration, and is a recognition that we belong to something larger than ourselves. I have seldom been so dismayed at the actions of fans as I have been in this post, and I’ve been in fandom for 10 years. I do not know cyatnite (had never run across her before tonight) but I am honestly appalled and even disgusted at the personal attacks she was subjected to for simply having a differing opinion on this subject. One hopes that, should impertinence display a differing opinion with her followers in the next few weeks or months, a similar “compassionate” and “correct” response is not the outcome.

[info]mara_snh:
1. Perhaps it’s best to note that the lack of a specific warning of the sort you and others advocate might be a good enough reason to just not read that story. How much of a hardship would that be? It would also show sensitivity to the writer who worked hard to write a story filled with surprises, and to readers who enjoy being surprised. Works both ways, you know.

5. I’m wondering if what we’re seeing here is a form of free-floating rage. It’s not uncommon for survivors of trauma to manifest this. They’ve never been able to confront their abuser and direct their anger toward him or her. They may also experience self-hatred; it may not be appropriate, but many victims of rape, especially, have been socially conditioned to accept some level of responsibility for the horrible thing that happened to them, and women carrying that awful baggage around with them might well hate themselves for it on some level. All this externalization of blame seems to me a warping of the otherwise healthy process of letting go of any sense that they brought the abuse on themselves. There’s some pretty serious pathology going on here on a community-wide scale. I wish I understood more about it, or that I had access to the therapist I can no longer afford, to get a better handle on it.

I’m just disgusted.  I’m speaking only for myself and not for Fan History or any other admins… but I’m beyond disgusted.  I’m repulsed at the total lack of sympathy and inability to take 10 seconds to prevent a segment that is too large in our community from being inadvertently harmed by the texts that our community published.    We should not lose sight of that when see members of our community supporting anti-warning for rape, underage and BDSM positions while attacking victims of sexual assault for being fragile snowflakes who shouldn’t be online.  We need to focus on the fact that many members of our community are victims of sexual assault; they’ve been violated.  In many cases, they have doubted themselves.  They aren’t trying to exploit fandom for attention.  Rather, they are trying their damnedest to go on each day surviving something of such horror that I cannot even imagine it.  It takes ten seconds of our time, if we’re writers of fan fiction, to warn for rape, non-con, BDSM and underage. (That’s all that is being asked for.  No warnings about cutting Blair’s hair.  No warnings for the color orange.  No pairing warnings.)  By spending those extra ten seconds, we are being good members of the community.

And that’s what we should strive for. If, by using this one small, quickly-made addition to our fics, we can keep from triggering someone who has been violated, why shouldn’t we do it? It just feels like the ethical thing to do.  I’d want the same from others and I’d do the same for others because fandom is a community.  In many places where we publish fan fiction, it is a wonderful community full of supportive women whom we can count on inside fandom and out.  This one small thing requires no work and helps prevent harm to large numbers of people in our community.   I fully support warnings for rape, non-con, underage and BDSM.  I hope you do too.

And if you don’t and you’re on my FList on LiveJournal on I follow you on Twitter, let me know so I can unfriend/unfollow you.

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