The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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surveyfail: this is never going to end, is it?
children of dune - leto 1

Via zvi_likes_tv:

I have a problem with the fact that people are creating [sexually explicit fic and art of the Surveyfail "researchers"] with the intention of maliciously shoving them in the subjects' faces, specifically for the purpose of humiliating them." -- by sohotrightnow

This is in regard to the protest art by alchemia here. Warning: NSFW, and potentially triggering. It also refers to RPS written about the researchers.

Warning: This entry may be triggery from mention of rape.

I really want to fall into the passive voice on this because my feelings, as such, are mixed enough that I keep coming back to the concept of protest art as a viable defense. Which I cannot argue; it is protest art. I won't dispute it. I dispute the idea that it is not representative of sexual humiliation, sexual degradation, and weaponizing the idea that sex is dirty, which being a porn writer and a sexual being, I'm kind of against.

Sex and sexuality and the free expression of are fraught in the personal, the political, and the moral spheres already. Sexual humiliation really just is not okay, and I will defer to someone else--anyone else--on getting a more academic view on reversing objectification on men by women, because I am seriously unqualified to make an assessment on that in the general sense, not being a theorist, but I'll take the personal. It's a rape fantasy about someone used as a method of protest; I don't see on any level how this is not comparable to people who verbalize how rape would be beneficial to a powerful or prominent woman. I do not think at any time, it should be acceptable to equate rape, sexual assault, unwilling sexual degradation, take your pick, with them getting their comeuppance when it is still an active method of one person showing their power over another. This shit is used against women all the time, in implication, in in-jokes, in flat out statements; using it against men doesn't change the inherent idea in rape that having the power to do something means you have the right to do it.

Note: I can't argue this academically; I simply don't have the education to state I understand the patriarchal gender issues that I've seen argued as part of this. I also don't think I should have to be to both hate what it represents and for that opinion to have value. And I think--scratch that, I know that I'm uncomfortable with how this is being defended under that umbrella.

ETA: To clarify--the kink is not the problem, since this doesn't even read as kinky for me, as I associate kinky with things that make people feel good. The problem, for me, comes up in the disconnect--kink is fun and good and leads to orgasms. It's the fact that kink is being used against him for the purpose of humiliating him, in the knowledge that it will humiliate him. Repurposing something I find personally rewarding and incredibly fun as a form of punishment pretty much goes against everything sexuality and kink are to me.

ETA: To anyone who read this and was hurt by my lack of sensitivity in discussing kink, please accept my apology. At no time did I mean to imply in any way a judgment on kinks in general or anyone's kinks in specific. I'm very, very sorry to those who were hurt or felt marginalized or judged by my clumsiness in wording this. There's a clarification in the last paragraph behind the cut which I hope will make that clear.

ETA: Feel free to continue discussion, but I will not be participating in it any further.

ETA of the ETA: Lack of participation, however, does not equal a lack of attention. In other words, I want to use the dirtiest in the English language--play nice. I understand this is because I am a girl and conditioned to niceness or something. Whatever.

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The art makes me go :| :| :| :| :| a lot.

I twitch a lot just thinking about it.

Within five minutes, I've seen this pop up twice on my itty-bitty FList, and I've got to say I like that. I like that people are thinking about what is being done (under the umbrella of fandom and all just fun and games) and are stepping up to say, "This, here? This is not cool, guys. This is directly against a lot of values that fandom purports to hold in regards to sexuality."

We can't say writing porn is a fun, harmless activity, that within fandom, it's perfectly healthy expression of ideas *and* simultaneously do things that effectively use human sexuality and personal humiliation into weapons. It's hypocritical and it makes me feel skeezy that fen can defend that and think it's okay. In any way.

This. All of this. The skeeve is legion in this one.

I know this is important but it's just getting me to a place where I can't even deal any more. (Edited for clarity. NOT YOU. Just, fandom is my home and I am NOT DOWN with this and I am tired, and, and)

*throws up hands*

Have some Vivaldi. It made me feel better!

Edited at 2009-09-04 02:16 am (UTC)

Oh, I feel you with this one. I seriously had to make myself post.

I read a description of the art. I'm not going to go look at it. I'm just not up for that. It makes me extremely uncomfortable that a medium that I love and enjoy is being used in an intentionally hurtful way.

I'm tired.

Yeah, me too. *leans on you*

Yeah, I've been going back and forth about this all day. I'm down with the protest. But that art made me deeply uncomfortable, in a way that the playful badfic didn't. Supposedly, the context of the art is Ogi fantasizing about Sai-as-tentacle-entity; it wasn't intended as a rape/revenge fantasy. But someone glancing at the art and not reading the context could come away with a very different impression. I don't know. I'm here, being all ambivalent.

I knew something was wrong, but it took a while to separate it out; the thing is, I can't separate the political and the personal. The imagery used reads as threatening because that's how it is depicted when used with a woman. I can't remove the subtext that this comes from, becaues that subtext is what makes it protest art. For me, it's exploiting the known threat implied in this kind of art when it depicts women; it feels like it's exploiting me. I really don't know a better way to put it. Stupid English language. [scratches head]

[peers at picture]

I honestly don't know what I think about that. I think I like it better than the RPS that someone posted *in Ogi's LJ*, because one of the first rules of Fight Club Fandom is that you don't talk about Fandom. And the second rule of Fandom is that you don't talk about Fandom. And the third rule is...well, no one cares what the third rule is. Isn't the eighth rule that everyone has to be shirtless? I think that's a good rule. But that's just me. [grins] So yeah, the fact that a story was posted was IN HIS JOURNAL (to be fair, I'm sure he was deleting all those comments unread, but still) seemed to cross a line.

This? Well...oh, sheesh, at least it isn't in his journal. It's not my thing, certainly, but I don't know if I have the right to tell the artist "this is bad" or "this is good" because--I don't know. Like you, I keep thinking "protest art...but rape=bad...but political statements aren't always pretty...but it's non-consensual...head hurts..." and I get all mixed up in circles.

For what it's worth, though, Ogi did seem pretty into those tentacles. Just running across the picture on my own, I'm not sure I would have been sensitized to the potentially non-con implications of it. (But then, fandom tentacle-porn--my main source of exposure--tends to be of the "whee! moar tentacles plz!" variety, and so my own mental classification system doesn't think of the entire genre as one of rape-fantasy.)

Just running across the picture on my own, I'm not sure I would have been sensitized to the potentially non-con implications of it. (But then, fandom tentacle-porn--my main source of exposure--tends to be of the "whee! moar tentacles plz!" variety, and so my own mental classification system doesn't think of the entire genre as one of rape-fantasy.)

I think that may be part of the disconnect; tentacle porn in our part of fandom was reclaimed from rape-porn into whee-tentacles! But it had to be reclaimed to do that; that doesn't change its original purpose, just subverts it. Part of the mockery is that fact--we claimed it and subverted it. It was, and is, a genre that is rife with rape.

The rest--I want a nap now, kthx. *wishes for pillow*

I have not stumbled across any of this art and I have no intention of searching for it. This sort of behavior is not the sort of behavior any reasonable, responsible adult should be engaging in. These researchers may not have shown us, as fans, much respect, but doesn't that mean we are in some way obligated to take the higher road and show them a little respect as human beings, with human failings? I am shocked that people are acting with such obvious intent to hurt.

I don't even know. I think I hit saturation point with this entire mess.

... oh god. NO.

See, I was just wondering to myself earlier (out loud, for the record) how long before SurveyFail motivated some sort of porny fic challenge because hello, we are fandom, this is what we DO. But I imagined... *waves hands around* I don't know, lots of switch porn, or genderbending, or other things to demonstrate how much we (general we) sooooooo don't fit into those stupid fucking boxes they had in mind.


Yeah. The RPS was kind of a warning, but the tentacles were in fact a surprising development.

Two wrongs do not make a right.

'nuff said.

*sighs* Everything is problematic these days. I really want a nice fannish meta dry spell. Or like, a ship war. Something less stressing.

*delurks long enough to say*

I've been keeping the Significant Other abreast on this whole thing because, while he's not particularly into the whole fandom thing, he likes hearing about a lot of the goings-on. When I told him about the art, his response was, "In other words, "We're not weird and we'll prove it by..." being as weird as possible."

I have to agree.

Yeah, it's--I don't know. Tiring. I seriously, seriously want someoen, somewhere, to start a ship war. In retrospect, those were so much fun and not as exhausting.

Yeah, I saw one of the tentacle links a few days ago. Unnecessary. I'm not wild about it. Sure, it's protest art/commentary. But depicting rape of any kind as retribution is pretty inappropriate, even in cartoon form. Moral high ground people, we want the moral high ground.

Though, as a counterpoint, I spent some quality time thinking about the authors of Freakonomics, and how they studied the economics of crack dealers and gangs. If a crack dealer had found out the researchers were misrepresenting themselves, a rude cartoon would have been the least of their worries. Perspective here is important. I've met researchers who have studied everything from white separatist militia groups to former IRA agents in Northern Ireland. Understanding your participants and being ethical isn't just to keep them safe, it's to keep YOU the researcher safe.

*nods* Yeah, and he ran the risk that fen would use their weapon fo choice on him. That makes sense.

How many Fails have there been this year? Is this the Year of Wank or something?

I seriously think so. I was checking my tags and I'm getting disturbed by how many are hitting hte fail category.

Actually< I kind of want ot make a tag called FAIL and applhy it to all of them, just to get an idea of how much I am posting on things that fail so mightily.


I'm profoundly uncomfortable with this sort of public humiliation. I thought we'd got rid of the stocks and ducking stool as punishments, centuries ago. But you know, if it's a choice between the stocks and rape as a punishment, I think I know which I'd prefer.

I don't want this sort of crap done in fandom's name. In *my* name.

This and yes. I am all over getting him academically, where his fail is great, and professionally, but I am really not on with personal sexuality being the means to punish someone. That just doesn't work for me at all.

I'm tucking this here 'cause I was trying to explain why what they did was bad science and poor manners, and fables is how i roll, i've edited it from an im conversation, please to forgive any goofs 'cause I'm tired

"DFG: well ok let's say I was going to study the behavior of fire ants using a similar research methodology.
DFG: so first I would contact some prominent fire ants and make nice with them
DFG: how I wanted to learn about fire ants and stuff
DFG: then I would put on my special fire ant proof suit and kick the heck out of some colonies
DFG: putting various samples of them in jars etc
DFG: then I would pat myself on the back for having done such a good job
DFG: then I would write back one of the fire ants about how great the data that I had collected was, and that yeah I had expected people to get upset just not as fast as they did"

*bites lip* I totally laughed.

Here's what I'm uncomfortable with: okay, so it starts here with these guys, but where does it end? Apparently some people are seriously arguing "it's okay to write/draw porn about people (and then shove it in their face) for the purpose of punishing them for offenses against Fandom, because they did Bad Things and made me Really Angry," and I want to know where exactly we're going to be drawing the line now. Is it okay to write humiliating, degrading porn about Cassandra Clare? Laura Hale? Russell T. Davies? The Stargate PTB? How about someone who asks embarrassing questions of actors at cons? Let's write RPS about her and spam her journal with it, that'll show her!

Yeah, blah, blah, slippery slope, but I am REALLY uncomfortable with any argument that basically states "it's okay that I did this because they are bad people and they made me really angry." If it's not okay, then it's NOT OKAY, period, whether or not "they started it!" And I seriously think this is not okay.

I don't think it's "pro-kink" to write or draw kinky things about people for the purpose of angering or embarrassing them. And I do not want to see what is basically a form of sexual harassment become an acceptable fannish response to controversy.

I am REALLY uncomfortable with any argument that basically states "it's okay that I did this because they are bad people and they made me really angry." If it's not okay, then it's NOT OKAY, period, whether or not "they started it!" And I seriously think this is not okay.

I read that, and I still have no idea what to say about that as a philosophy much less as a practical application. I keep coming back to "Really? That's where this is going?" I don't even think from what I read it was slippery slope to think that's the direction this could go; it was pretty much stated.

I don't think it's "pro-kink" to write or draw kinky things about people for the purpose of angering or embarrassing them. And I do not want to see what is basically a form of sexual harassment become an acceptable fannish response to controversy.

This. It's basically working against the idea that kink is normal and healthy and awesome when it's being used as a device to punish. The very fact it is used as a punishment/disincentive implies it's function is not good, healthy, etcetera. I can't see how an argument works that states "kinky is awesome, but if you piss me off, I am going to punish you with it."

Actually, you said this much better. Yes, all you said, this.

Ok, I've been mostly staying out of all of this due to life time constraints, but this hit my buttons so hard... I'm sorry, using sex to hurt or "teach someone a lesson" is a form of rape - it isn't kink, it isn't fun-happy-CONSENTUAL (hi people, remember "safe sane consentual"?) sex, it isn't subverting things which have been used to violate into things which are fun, it's JUST non-consentual. And the moment you are involving him in this process (which I feel is a key difference between this and writing tentacle porn about Elijah and Dom, as someone brought up earlier - we don't WANT them to see it, they aren't supposed to be a party, but HE IS), he is a party with the right to consent OR NOT.

And personally, as someone who has been in situations that called themselves kink but stripped away the fun, the happy, and the consent, I feel pretty qualified to say what you have left when you take those things away from kink? Is ugly, and not even remotely okay. And that this puts me, as a member of fandom, and as a viewer of the picture who feels assumed to fall on the side of the artist, in a position of feeling culpible - I feel like, to my own horror and without MY desire or consent, I am now a participant in this violation.

I don't really see how saying "It's protest art!" fixes that, to be honest.

Side note: this is also why giving RPS to people it's about who don't want to know is squicky to me (or part of why, anyway) - it involves them without their consent. There's an important difference, though, between doing so through obliviousness or stupidity or whatever, and doing so through maliciousness. Both are wrong and not okay, but this is just beyond what I know how to TALK about it's so wrong and sick.

And my favorite thing about fandom is how I feel deeply apprehensive posting this - my strongly-held opinion - in such blunt terms, but I'm doing it anyway because yes, I was triggered god damn it.


Always feel comfortable posting here whatever you think in whatever terms you think you need to use to get it across. I don't think you would ever be malicious, and I know the feeling of just wanting to say it.

And *HUGS HARD*. I'm so sorry this has affected you this way.

Thank you for articulating this. I'm creeped out and unhappy, and I'm thankful to see somebody saying it.

I spend part of my life -- not much, I'm privileged -- dealing with misogyny, and I don't want to turn around and consciously use the oppressor's techniques.

Okay, I said I was not participating, but I don't want to come across as ignoring you, as you have been for a while someone I enjoy reading.

Thank you for the comment. I had to withdraw from this discussion topic due to the level of freaked-outness I was hitting and it was worrying me how I was feeling a sincere desire to say something I might not regret.

This is a very long version, comparatively speaking, of "I agree, yes, this."

(Deleted comment)
Would you? Please? I think everyone needs it at this point.

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