sqbr: me pointing to a hat with neon sign saying Mod on it. (mod hat)
2019-09-22 08:23 pm
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[sticky entry] Sticky: Things you should know

This is my Serious Business journal. Are you perhaps looking for my fannish/personal journal [personal profile] alias_sqbr?

My old comment policy, I don't care about this as intensely as I used to but it gives some idea of how I'd like people to interact here.

Absolutely anyone is welcome to read/subscribe, and noone is under any obligation to give me access.

This is the stuff I assume you know about me.
sqbr: pretty purple pi (Default)
2017-08-15 02:58 pm
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Thinking about how I blog about racism (and other topics)

(this started out as a reply to this tumblr post)

When I first started posting about social justice online, on my fannish livejournal, I posted about racism a LOT, with lots of self righteous LET ME EXPLAIN A THING. And then two of my non-white(*) friends said it was ruining my blog for them: one because she felt like I was speaking over her experiences, which didn’t match the monolithic How POC Feel Narrative I was ‘explaining’, the other because it was causing my clueless white friends to say racist crap in the comments. I had to fight back a defensive “But DON’T YOU WANT ME TO FIGHT RACISM??” reaction.

Ten years later and I’m still trying to figure out how to discuss racism in ways that actually help fight racism, and make the spaces I control supportive of POC/non-white people, rather than simply making the loudest possible noise about how it’s REALLY BAD YOU GUYS.
Read more... )
sqbr: pretty purple pi (I like pi!)
2017-08-14 01:34 am

Drawing dark characters in flat colours

I feel weird making a post about this as a super pale white person, but I keep seeing other artists draw dark characters really badly in the sort of flat colouring used in animation and comics etc, and don't know of any better guides. So here's what I've figured out. If people know of better techniques or guides, or if I've inadvertently said something wrong or offensive, please let me know.
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sqbr: She's getting existential again. It's ok I have a super soaker. (existentialism)
2017-08-03 03:24 pm
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On Privilege and Age

I keep seeing people modelling ageism towards the young with a simplistic privileged/marginalised dichotomy, and while there is a huge power differential between adults and young people(*), I think this kind of model is really unhelpful.

I mean, simplistic privileged/marginalised dichotomies are a flawed way to describe anything. But there's cases where it at least kind of works, and age isn't one of them.
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sqbr: exploding train. This is fremantle station, this train terminates here. (train)
2017-07-29 05:47 pm

So I just reported a game to Steam for being antisemetic!

A while ago I bought the hidden object game Alchemy Legends: Prague Legends on sale on Steam. The description is:
Follow orphan Eva on a trip to mystical Prague in Alchemy Mysteries: Prague Legends. After a relative's mysterious death, Eva inherits an ancient house in Prague. Knowing nothing about her past, she goes looking for answers. There she uncovers secrets about the house, her family and an insidious plan of the black alchemist. A wonderful and dangerous adventure is about to begin. Are you ready?


Sounds pretty run of the mill, right? And then today I got around to playing it.
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sqbr: A cartoon cat saying Ham! (ham!)
2017-07-09 10:57 am
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Frigging Woo

So one problem with having lots of chronic illnesses and food intolerances is constantly crossing paths with health quackery. Sometimes by sheer chance they can actually offer some helpful recipes. Paleo blogs are a good souce of recipes with meat but not dairy, for example, even if their reasons for eating that way are ridiculous. But often I just get pissed off when I think of how sick I would be if I actually listened to these charlatans, and how much harm they do to the genuinely sick people who are taken in.

A relatively minor irritation from today I just feel like ranting about:
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sqbr: (up and down)
2017-06-03 02:55 pm

On abuse and atonement

A reply to this post about the importance of paths to redemption.

I agree with this but think there’s a few important things it misses that don’t go without saying. Specifically: no matter how much someone atones, the people they hurt have a right to want to avoid them anyway, and people in general are individually within their rights to still not like or trust someone post atonement.
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sqbr: pretty purple pi (Default)
2017-05-09 08:05 am

A thought about speculative fiction with human-like non-human species

It is in the interests of the creator to play down the full variation of human psysiology/psychology/culture etc. That way they can make their "alien" species "consistently different" to humans without having to make them genuinely different, and thus unrelatable and hard to write.

Inspired by a comment I just got on a Dragon Age fic I wrote about the experiences of a human with dwarfism in a world with fantasy "dwarves". I was thinking about why I haven't seen anyone else take on this pretty obvious plot, and realised it's because doing so is an uncomfortable reminder that (a) This is a real group of people we're exotifying into another species here (b) For the most part, fantasy dwarves (as well as halflings) are indistinguishable from especially short humans. Point this out, and they stop being cool and exotic.

And of course, as has often been discussed, this tendency has the implication that any experience too far outside the human "norm" is alien and weird. Where this "norm" is usually "WASPy American", as well as straight, cis, able bodied, etc. "Let me tell you of this human food called hamburgers" etc.
sqbr: pretty purple pi (Default)
2017-05-03 08:20 pm

Problems with equating "The Female gaze" with "what women want"

I read a really great post about this by someone with Actual Media Studies Knowledge but can't find the link and people keep being wrong about it on the internet, so here's my less informed ranting.

In short: "The Female Gaze", as the term is usually used within fandom discussions of media, makes no sense and is actively harmful.
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sqbr: (up and down)
2017-03-16 12:32 pm

There is no single underlying oppression

(I wanted to argue with someone on twitter and this is way too complex for 140 characters)

A hole a lot of activists seem to fall into is thinking that the axis of oppression they're fighting is the central oppression, the one from all others flow. If people just put their energy into this, the REAL fight, all the others would fall like dominos.

I have seen people argue this about ecomonic inequality, sexism, homophobia, ableism, racism (both in general and against specific ethnic groups), everything. I once read a very compelling argument by bell hooks that the Real Underlying Oppression is against children.

In every case the argument is (a) if you fight X, all the others improve and (b) There is an underlying element of X to all oppressions.

Which is true! But it's true for all of them. Everything is connected. It's all the same struggle. If you battle one, you battle them all. If one becomes worse, all the others become worse too.
Read more... )
sqbr: And yet all I can think is, this will make for a great Dreamwidth entry... (dreamwidth)
2017-02-08 10:25 pm

Big ol' link spam

This has been building for like 8 months, which means I look back on the me who collected some of these with weary nostalgia. But here we are.
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sqbr: A giant eyeball with tentacles (tii)
2017-01-24 11:40 am

On being a non binary femslasher

This post is part of Femslash Revolution’s I Am Femslash series, sharing voices of F/F creators from all walks of life. The views represented within are those of the author only. Originally posted to tumblr.

Hi, I'm Sophie alias sqbr, a fic writer and fanartist, mostly into Bioware games, anime, and Jane Austen.

This post is basically just a bunch of thoughts about my personal experience, I would be really interested to hear from other people with different experiences. In a sense it's the third in a trilogy:
First, Why do we femslash?, written back in 2009 when I identified as a straight cis woman.
Second, Personal Experiences of Femslash Fandom as a Queer Space, written in 2013 after I started identifying as a bi woman.
And now we have this, written in 2017, now that I identify as a genderfluid biromantic grey asexual. I guess we'll have to wait and see where I'm at in 2021 ;)

So! I've been into f/f since before I even realised queerness existed (my childhood feels about Anne/Diana let me tell you them), and into femslash fandom for about ten years. I have always identified much more strongly with female characters than male ones, and while I enjoy m/f romance I get tired of it's ubiquitous heteronormativity. So when I find good f/f I really enjoy it, and I get a kick out of making it.

When I realised I was bi a lot of things made more sense. I was a bi woman, no wonder I identified with female characters and like m/f and f/f! But when I realised I was genderfluid it made things a little more complicated.
Read more... )
sqbr: A giant eyeball with tentacles (tii)
2016-12-27 06:09 am

Most blatant search and replace of "women" I've seen in a while

50 Ways People Expect Constant Emotional Labor from Women and Femmes

Right down to a link about how "women and femmes" have a pay gap... that leads to an article about women vs men. I am not expecting anyone to have access to data that includes non binary people but they could say that rather than erasing our existence.

If they'd not done the search and replace I'd just have had a moment of "sigh, non binary people exist" but otherwise be ok with it.

Discussions of gender which erase non binary people are annoying but they are not as actively gross to me as ones which "remember" us by just assuming some portion of us are "basically women" (whether it be femmes or "women aligned" non binary people or some other arbitrary subset) and implicitely treat the rest like "basically men".
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sqbr: (up)
2016-12-25 11:46 pm

The Broken Lamp Test

Namely: Can this disabled fictional character be replaced in the plot by a broken lamp?

For example: Man's [wife] is [sick]. He gets into debt to try and fix his [wife]. [Wife] has no lines and no other effect on the plot except to be a loved burden.

You can replace "sick wife" by "broken lamp" and the plot works just as well. Thus, like almost every story involving a sick wife, the example passes the broken lamp test.

Inspired by the sexy lamp test and Cam ranting to me about the ableism in the OA. And while most 'sexy lamps" get some lines and some choices, even if they're vapid and meaingless, many "broken lamps" don't get any lines or agency at all and could quite literally be replaced by broken lamps.

I mean I think these "tests" can be overused and unhelpful when a deeper and more nuanced analysis would be more productive. But I am still pretty happy with this as a term.
sqbr: Nepeta from Homestuck looking grumpy in front of the f/f parts of her shipping wall (grumpy)
2016-11-03 04:13 pm
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I feel like it's a matter of time before I see "Yuri on Ice is the most feminist show ever"

With arguments including:
  • Made by a woman of colour (directed by a Japanese woman in Japan)
  • Aimed at women, female gaze (don't get me started on 'the female gaze'. Just. Don't)
  • Does not objectify women (because it's about men)
  • Multiple well drawn female characters (who are secondary to the men)
  • Canon amab genderqueer gay asexual protagonist in canon relationship with a man (is about two mildly gender non conforming guys being homoerotic-with-plausible-deniability)
  • Ethnic diversity (a Thai character has had a few lines)
  • Title is clearly a queer feminist deconstruction of male gazey yuri anime (title is very confusing if you are looking for actual yuri)


Which is to say: it's a lot of fun and less problematic/more progressive than most sports anime. I really like it! But it's still a mainstream anime about dudes.

I haven't actually seen any arguments along these lines for this show in particular but I was replying to a friend's post about the way people twist themselves in knots to argue that stories about dudes are THE MOST FEMINIST EVER and went "What would my example be? Well I just watched an episode of Yuri on Ice, and...oh God. I know exactly what someone out there is saying about this show".

Now later when I see such meta I can say "I KNEW IT" :)
sqbr: She's getting existential again. It's ok I have a super soaker. (existentialism)
2016-10-23 10:02 am
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More thoughts on creating a better Discourse

Removing the allcaps because I find them hard to read, but I really agree with
the one thing both those positions share is fear of critical engagement with a person who disagrees with you, which is the one thing you absolutely need in order to progress a discussion past whatever stalled you in the first place.

from this post.

I think the only way to move past this is not just to criticise those we most strongly and angrily disagree with, but to seek out and acknowledge those points of view we disagree with but can respect, and to not act like everyone who disagrees with us is the same as those we disagree with most. Also to avoid uncritically promulgating the opinions of those who are “on our side” but engage in uneccesary cruelty, overgeneralisation or outright misinformation. And if you're afraid to voice your qualms about someone "on your side" because they might turn against you...they're not really on your side.

And then I started rambling, nothing I haven't said before )
sqbr: I lay on the couch, suffering an out of spoons error (spoons)
2016-09-22 11:24 am

Bad science misled millions with chronic fatigue syndrome. Here’s how we fought back

Bad science misled millions with chronic fatigue syndrome. Here’s how we fought back

From all accounts the effects of the PACE trial were most horrific in the UK, but the idea that my fatigue is all in my head and is best treated with exercise has come up repeatedly for me, too. Ironically it's actually made me exercise less: I'm not willing to try exercising without the help of a medical professional I trust to say if I'm pushing too hard, and I've yet to meet any. They all set the baseline for "mild exercise" at a level I know would make me sicker, and have seen other people with cfs harmed by listening to this kind of advice.

I'm also really glad none of the psychologists or psychiatrists I've seen subscribed to the "tell patient to ignore their understanding of their own health" approach to CBT. Blech.

The "you don't have exercise intolerance you're just neurotic about exercise and need to believe in yourself" attitude is so appealing to able bodied people, and can seduce people wth cfs, too. For a while. Back when [livejournal.com profile] cfids_me was more active we'd always have people touting the Lightning Process.
sqbr: A giant eyeball with tentacles (tii)
2016-09-15 10:00 pm
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Trying out they/them pronouns!

Honestly not sure I'll stick to it, and if you slip up and refer to me as "she" I won't be destroyed (unless I thought you were doing it out of pig headedness or something) But I feel like it's something I need to try out and see if it fits!

If the usage confuses you: it's like if I was a person of unknown gender. Which, being genderfluid, I kind of am! "Can you ask Sophie if they are ready for dinner?" etc.

Oh, also: this is my Tii-from-Glitch icon, since they are a non binary maths nerd giant :D
sqbr: She's getting existential again. It's ok I have a super soaker. (existentialism)
2016-09-13 01:38 pm
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Criticism and fanworks

Got most of the way through this before remembering I was going to put all my long tumblr responses on dreamwidth haha.

Post I am replying to:
There’s a post that appeared on my dash earlier... the tl;dr summary of said post is that fandom ‘isn’t required to be a safe space’. ... Fandom isn’t here to create a safe space for creators either: it is literally a community about sharing. And sharing is a two way street.


“It’s ok to criticise fanfic just don’t attack the person” shouldn’t be such a rare point of view, but here we are. Anyway, I agree in principle. I’ve seen pushback against excessive criticism which goes past “don’t send death threats” and even “don’t criticise racism” to end up at “don’t criticise plagiarism” which is something I thought everyone agreed was worth criticising.

I think a major problem here is a flattening everything from “has a pairing I don’t like” to “actual hate speech” into “problematic”, and flattening everything from sending death threats to saying you didn’t enjoy something into “criticism”.
Read more... )
sqbr: Hannelore: Worry hat! Bravery plus 10, charisma plus 5 (worry hat)
2016-09-03 08:34 pm

How certain parts of "anti" shipping culture hurts me as an abuse survivor in fandom

This is very hard for me to write, so I apologise if it's disjointed. But I keep seeing people I like and respect behave in ways that claim to be about protecting abuse survivors yet are actively harmful to me as an abuse survivor. I have a probably vain hope that by explaining how it's hurtful we can find a better way to help all survivors in fandom, and generally make fandom more safe and enjoyable for everyone.

The aspect of "anti" shipping culture I have a problem with is the tendency to classify certain fictional relationships are inherently harmful and working to prevent them from being portrayed or discussed positively under any circumstances, as well as other behaviours I will go into. I'm not talking about people who publicly dislike a certain ship but don't actively try to silence those who like it.

Content warning: Rape and abuse, both real and fictional. I'll try not to be more triggering than I have to be but given the topic there's only so much I can do.
Read more... )
(Posting this publicly so I can link back to it as necessary, since usually when I want to make these arguments I'm too triggered to be coherent. It's basically the same as the locked draft I posted, but with a few edits here and there)