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TheFangirl

The Fangirl

Long time geek, fangirl, mother, and reader. I've got a lot to say, you might not like it all, but it will be honest and hopefully helpful.

The Problem with Privileged Feminists: Further Deconstruction of Anne Jamison’s Fic.

Fic: Why Fanfiction is Taking Over the World - Christina Lauren, Lev Grossman, Tiffany Reisz, Rachel Caine, Jen Zern, Heidi Tandy, Rukmini Pande, Samira Nadkarni, Wendy C. Fries, Jolie Fontenot, Randi Flanagan, Tish Beaty, Cyndy Aleo, V. Arrow, Brad Bell, Andrew Shaffer, Darren Wershler, Anne Jamison, Jules Wilkinson, R

“I would speculate that a great deal of the stigma surrounding Twilight and its fans- among other fans, even among other fan writers- has to do with internalized gender and genre prejudice.” 

 

Here we’re presented with the astoundingly obvious “speculation” that the “stigma surrounding Twilight and its fans” is based in sexism, but not just any run of the mill, culturally based prejudice against any and all things connected to women. No. This is the insidious “internalized gender and genre prejudice.” Basically women’s sexism against all things associated with women, especially the romance genre.

 

Now, this isn’t an untrue, but it is an over simplification of the pervasive culturally based sexism at the root of the Twilight hate in popular culture. It’s also an explanation that seeks to indict certain women “other fans, and fan writers,” for daring to point out sexism even when present in women’s entertainment, and lumps them in with the misogynist mob.

 

It’s especially interesting to note how Buffy fans and their “really strong feminist critique of Twilight” is lumped into with this, while none of the actual critique is explained or shown. Jamison instead summarily throws these feminist Buffy fans under the bus, in an effort to invalidate their legitimate issues with sexism in Twilight, and characterize them as "living in a glass house." 

 

“But frankly, I can do [a feminist critique] for Buffy, too, and that’s a feminist show of which I’m a big flaily fan.”

 

 

I’ll just let feminists and/or Buffy fans swallow that bitter pill for a second, while I point out how this “we all like problematic stuff so don’t be a jerk by point it out” brand of critical argument didn’t work for John Green and it isn’t working here either.

 

Jamison goes on to further demonstrate this with an example of what she considers a legitimate feminist critique. 

 

“...lots of Twilight fanfiction itself explores feminist critique from a variety of different perspectives-including the one that says, ‘We’re grownup women, and our sexual fantasies don’t govern our politics.’”

 

This is a great example of a brand of supposed feminism that, many call privileged feminism or white feminism, is not actually about feminism so much is it is about the using the idea of female autonomy to excuse any and all things problematic that adult, professional, women of privilege do, say or enjoy. 

 

It treats feminism like a “get out of jail free” card, where the oppression they experience as women is assumed to balance out very real misogyny (not to mention racism, homophobia, ableism, etc) in their actions and/or entertainment, like a dieter would drink a calorie free soda to assuage the guilt they feel over eating a candy bar.

 

Worse yet, this brand of feminism seeks to vilify legitimate feminist critique. Trying to rebrand it as bullying or even more laughably as sexism, and paint themselves as innocent victims, because the mean ol' feminists are trying to ruin their enjoyment of something by daring to show them just how deeply problematic it is. 

 

This is a common thread through out this section on the Twilight fandom. So don't expect for me to be taking off my ranty pants any time soon.

 

*rolls up sleeves and goes back to reading*