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Hey, Feminist Ryan Gosling.

How r u?

Thanks again for beta-ing my X-Men First Class fic. You were more than a beta -- you were my sounding board, support system, and collaborator as I figured out where I wanted the story to go. You were there from start to finish, and it made a huge difference in my fic.

So I was wondering, if you have the time, would you also beta my new fic? I actually haven't even started it yet, but ... I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of things I need to talk through. You might even find it kind of controversial.

It's cool if this is not the kind of project you're comfortable with. I myself am sort of going back and forth.

-keyboardvirago83
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Hey girl,

You know I'm always up for betaing, cheerleading, whatever you need. I'm happy to help, and you know I love your fic, especially the way it seamlessly blends a robust eroticism with semi-ironic metacommentary on the portrayal of gender roles in canon.

Send me your ideas so can talk.

-Feminist Ryan Gosling

PS Thanks for reccing that book on intersectionality -- LOVED it.
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Hey frg,

So here’s the thing. I’m really into RPS right now. Because writing about hot actors who play hot, slashy, angsty, soulmate-y characters with mad hot chemistry onscreen? Is hot. And I am shallow. LOL okay, the hotness is not the only reason. But you know I think writing from your desires is a good thing. Especially for women. Didn’t Helene Cixous say we should write with our bodies? Well, I interpret that to mean we should write with our clits lol. But obviously that doesn’t mean we have to think with them. We can still use the big brain ;)

So here’s the issue. What I really want to write is Michael Fassbender/James McAvoy smut. But Fassy was accused of really shady misogynistic abusive horrible stuff by a former partner. And it’s not like I’m an expert, since honestly all I know about him is the videos of him flirting with James in interviews. And I understand that an accusation is not the same as proof. But… it’s really bad to pretend the accusation never happened.

And yet. I find that this doesn’t quell my desire to write Fassavoy . You’d think it would.

Weird.

So of course I’m questioning. But I feel like telling myself to just stop thinking about this stuff is the wrong answer. I want to figure out why I feel what I feel. But I also, to be totally honest, kind of really want to write a hot fic with James and Michael. And this whole thing kind of pulled at a lot of fandom baggage that a lot of us talk about – the way male celebrities and male characters are so often at the center of fandom discussion and squee, even though many – usually much more than half – of fanfic comms tend to be women. So I have mixed feelings about all this stuff, and now here I am, jonesing to write an epic porn about someone who might be … you know.

At first I thought about just writing porn and then putting a disclaimer that says that this fic bears no resemblance to the real people and there is no intended brushing under the rug of real events, etc., but that seems like a cop-out. So I think I want to write the porn, but somehow address the issue in the fic as well.

So I understand if you don’t want to work with me on this fic. I know that when we beta for each other, it’s more than a beta, it’s a long process – brainstorming, drafting, editing and everything. It’s a real collaboration, and I would TOTALLY get why you might not be into it.

 

kv
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Hey girl,

You know I’m here for you, if this is really the fic you want to do. Nobody but you wanted to talk over my 20K gender-swapped Drive fic set in a steampunk dystopian AU, so, well, this is the least I can do ;)

Let me know what you decide and what your plot bunnies are.

 

-frg
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Hey frg,

On the whole domestic abuse thing, there are conflicting accounts (as with MANY domestic abuse accusations of course). But what really bothers me is that it feels like nobody cares. Like nobody even thinks it’s possible and if it is possible, nobody thinks it really matters. I wouldn’t be so upset maybe if everyone decided he was innocent and then had reasons to support their opinion, but people act like EVEN IF IT’S TRUE it’s no big deal. Like everyone JUMPED to his side without needing to know more. I’m not saying I know what happened, but I don’t see the mainstream media keeping an open mind about both parties. And to be frank, given the history and pervasiveness of the issue and the stigma against speaking about it, I tend to believe the victim is generally much more likely to be correct if the stories are at odds.

And then of course people say that you should never ever accuse someone of something awful without solid proof. Which is very true. For example, you shouldn't accuse a woman, who is charging her ex-partner with abuse, of lying for money and attention unless you have solid proof that that's what she's doing. But I see people doing it all the time. The media portrayal was just horrendous, sexist and racist and victim-blaming, and even if you believed that he was just a nice man falsely accused, there is no excuse for acting like anyone who would make an accusation like that is a dumb whore. There is no excuse for contributing to an environment that makes all victims feel ashamed and silenced, as if speaking out will subject them to ridicule instead of help. And fandom was even worse, in a lot of places anyway. Like, people were saying that abused women never stay with their abuser after an attack, and she stayed, which proves his innocence. WTF? Do people know nothing about abuse? Read a newspaper much? People stay with abusers for MANY reasons. I repeat: W. T. F.?

Don’t get me wrong. SOME people in fandom really took up this issue and talked about it and didn’t act like this at all. But most didn’t, from what little I saw in my corner of fandom.

Anyway, I personally may not be an expert on any of this, but it's clear that the media and to a large extent fandom just decided that it was going to go old school misogynistic on this one. Like, it was just a collective decision that this would not affect how we see this man. And the media I kind of expected it from, but call me silly, but I kind of thought fandom would hold itself to a higher standard. Like, even if they don’t want to talk about it, at least refrain from making her seem villainized or repeating the mainstream media bullshit.

I mean, really, is there like a hotness scale, where above this level of hotness you can pretty much do anything and people still want to fuck you?
Or fic you?

And am I any different? Does the fact that I'm obsessing over the politics of this mean that I'm any less part of it? Because I really do want to read and write fic about Michael nailing James into next Tuesday and then having sweet cuddles afterward. So where does this leave me as a feminist?

This whole thing is giving me a headache.

So then I asked myself: is it possible to write feminist Fassavoy porn? Is it possible to write a fic that is ABOUT fandom’s relationship with Fassavoy? And what exactly would that be? And how exactly do I fit orgasm denial and temperature play into this? I’m not kidding, that’s a totally serious question lol.

kv
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Hey girl,

It would be the ultimate in male privilege to act like I know how we should approach someone who's been accused of something so repugnant, something that is being so readily dismissed in large part because of the white male celebrity privilege that he and I share. I mean, really, I'm not totally comfortable with the fact that there are some people who seem to like feminist theory better when it comes from my tumblr than, say, an actual feminist theorist. So I don't know how to really approach it. Like, how can I say that people should cut the celebrity adulation when I have benefitted so much from it? The whole thing almost makes me feel like I should refrain from trying to assert my opinion, because it's almost like that would AGAIN be making the conversation all about (men like) me.

But I think that it's great that you're into these ideas and that you’re going to write a fic about how this relates to the politics of sexuality and the female gaze. I know you're going to do something amazing and thinky!

-Feminist Ryan Gosling
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Hey Feminist Ryan Gosling,

That's just it. I don't want to write about this stuff. I want to write porn!

Simple dirty smutty panting porny porny porn.

Since when does porn have all these complicated gender politics....

*ironic wink*

No, really. I have my porny ideas but I also have my political ideas which are really different, and I know intellectually that there is no borderline between the sexual and political, but I’m kind of having trouble right now reconciling the two. You know?

Should I just give up this idea? Who’s going to read a smutfic that criticizes people for wanting smut about this person? Like, I’m writing this to explore my OWN reasons and desires and conflicted feelings, but I don’t know if it will come off that way. Maybe this is just the worst fic idea ever.

Also… I kind of feel guilty for wanting this fic so badly. Maybe because I still think Magneto is really hot. And maybe, sort of, some little tiny part of me still finds Fassy hot. And I want to write a fic where Fassy is sweet and respectful and sexy and amazing. I want it SO much. But I don’t want to want it.

LOL I don’t even know why I want it so badly, I mean he seems cool in interviews and is really good looking and does a good job playing characters whose rugged vulnerability appeals to you (sound like anyone, frg? ;) and the chemistry with jm is off the charts. But I can’t put my finger on why I want fic about him even when there’s this other side of the story.

But then there’s this part of me that thinks that I should not burden my own sexual desire with, like, everything in society. I mean, not that you can separate the two, but for example, if I got off on having someone call me sexist names, then I wouldn’t feel feminist guilt, I would just think ‘Oh good, I’m turning misogynistic crap into a kink I can get off on. More power to me, and screw society for feeling otherwise.’ But this is different. You know? Because it’s not roleplay, it’s real people.

But even more than that, I want to know WHY fandom is so much about the menz – and honestly, is this part of why we ENJOY it so much? Honestly, I hate to admit it, but I’m starting to wonder if it is for me. I don’t think that’s all of it, but I feel like I need to at least investigate this a little more, for my own sake if nothing else.

So even though I should probably just forget all of this, I don’t think I can.

LOL I hope this wasn’t too navel gazing for you.

But anyway, as for your celebrity, there's no reason you can't participate in these discussions. LOL though on knowing your celebrity male privilege is part of it, not to mention how you give that 'sexy eyes' look when talking about Kristeva, & don't act like you don't know what I mean ;) But since when is privilege a reason to not have an opinion, lol, just having the education and resources to read and write online puts us in a place of privilege. Like, I'm willing to admit that before I realized you're a great beta, I mostly thought you were cool because it's so refreshing to see a movie actor who cares about gender roles and makes theory seem fun and sexy. So we're both part of this thing we're analyzing. We're part of everything we analyze, so no point in pretending to be a disinterested observer. If we're bothering to think about it, we're probably an interested party.


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Hey girl,

Wow, as usual, you are really making me think about the relationship between theory and praxis. And lol on calling me out on my celebrity status. You’re right. I’m part of the problem, and I can’t deny it. But I think that's a really good point -- it would probably be better if I own that privilege rather than using it as an excuse to hide from the conversation.

Anyway, I also agree that your desires should not just be shoved under the table because you find them problematic. Whether you re-appropriate and embrace them or problematize and subvert them, it’s cool that you are taking your own desires seriously. In a society where female desire is so suppressed, it’s really cool that you plan to reject that suppression the way that YOU want to.

Remember, you always say that desires don’t have to fit into neat little boxes of good desires and bad desires, and the point of fic is to imagine alternative ways to think about desire, not to police the desire that people should be allowed to have. Desire can be wondrously amorphous, gorgeously inexplicable, and imho it’s dangerous to let societal erasures deny your desires a place in your thoughts and actions.

tldr: Go for it :)

-Feminist Ryan Gosling
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Hey Feminist Ryan Gosling,

Thanks for the cheerleading :) It's just, I actually thought about doing this as a meta. Like about how fandom should really rethink its whole approach to male celebrities. And I am DEFINITELY including myself in this. But then it's like, I want to celebrate fandom too. I don’t want to be about critiquing us. The mainstream media already portrays fanfic writers as celebrity-obsessed immature women with no agency who unthinkingly latch on to objects of lust and obsess over them. Do I really want to reinforce that crap? But on the other hand, I don’t want to just say that everything fandom does is totally great and we have no need to think about our representations.

kv
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Hey girl,

I see why it's hard to fight the misogyny within fandom and the misogyny-driven stereotypes against fandom at the same time. It's like Chela Sandoval says -- many people have read having multiple anti-oppression subject positions as disloyalty, but these liminal consciousnesses can actually help your social movements thrive under the layers of globalization and postmodernism we live in today.

-Feminist Ryan Gosling
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Hey Feminist Ryan Gosling,

I don’t know. I guess part of the whole thing is that I feel like the politics of RPF differ from the politics of fanfic for already fictional characters. Like, what does it mean to change or ignore someone's past behavior for a fic? It’s cool to take a fictional mass murderer and make him a woobie, you know? So with a fictional character, you can also make them more to your political liking, and that's sometimes positive. Like you're bending canon in a better way, or you're having a real discussion ABOUT the character. I can even ignore it when characters in canon do something so awful that I don't even want to address it in fic -- my friends list and I will just call it "That Episode that Shall Not be Named." But with RPF, I worry that just ignoring things that have really happened or things that person has done is totally different. It's like being an apologist or rewriting history or denying the victim.

And that's not even getting into how this all relates that classic RPF question of whether it's just original characters with the names and appearances of celebrities, or if it's supposed to reflect what they're "really" like.

Like, are you even anything like Ryan Gosling ? You know, the real one? The one in Hollywood, who may or may not spend all day reading feminist theory?
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Hey girl,

 

The who in the what now?

 

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Never mind.

 

Anyway, I guess I feel like the genre questions of RPF and the political questions of celebrity, and then the horrible sexist way fandom is portrayed or "Othered" in the mainstream, all make it really hard for me to understand what I want to do and how I should feel about my own desires. You know? Like they're all entangled threads, and when you pull at one, the whole tangle moves.
What do you think?

 

kv

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Hey girl,

I think I get what you’re saying. That’s some heavy stuff, though, and I don’t know if it makes sense to mix those broader RPF questions into that.

frg
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But they ARE mixed up with that. Honestly, the more I think about it, the more I feel like I’m a character in a bad RPF.

Like, there are people in Hollywood who think “female fan” and they make up a story about what kinds of movies I like, and what kinds of “romance” appeals to me, and what stars I will pay to see, and they say that I won’t want to see a woman-driven non-romantic movie, and that I want the male hero and villain to be so much more interesting and badass than minor characters, and oh yeah female characters are usually minor characters. Or they make up a story about what comic book geeks like and they assume that this is a story about teenage boys who don’t like strong women unless they’re dominatrices. And I’m a comic book geek! So their RPF about me is TOTALLY UNREALISTIC. It’s a fake story that is not really about me and just imagines me in a way that pleases them. Which would be fine if they were doing it for fun, but they’re not – they’re doing it to make decisions about what kinds of movies get to come to the theater in my town.

Not to mention all the rather libelous fiction that is written about what it means to be a woman, both historically and today. That’s an RPF that does some real damage.

LOL okay, I’m ranting now. But what’s so wrong with ranting?

Anyway, I was thinking about all of this, and thought, hey maybe I can write a fic where like there’s a stereotypical fan that interacts with James and Michael. And like, she’s the sexist stereotype of what fans are, and the fic shows how wrong these stereotypes are.

But then how does that address real issues of male-centrism in fandom? And what if it just comes off like I’m really saying fans are like the stereotypes (and these stereotypes are of course so sexist as well)?

And how would I even write something like that? Would it be cracky? Would I actually call the character “Fangirly Sue” and have her, like, watch James and Fassy go at it, and maybe direct their action? Like she would be a stand-in for an unrealistic stereotype of a fanfic writer, and she would be yelling at Fassy to finger him harder and then James and Michael would just roll their eyes and wish they could get back to their sweet lovemaking? But then another fan comes along and says “Hey I read in the news that Michael –“ and then Fangirly Sue cuts her off and refuses to even listen to the discussion about domestic violence and doesn’t let the other fan watch the sexings any more.

Lol, I’m not really going to write it this way. This fic would suck, I know that. But you get my point. Even if I did, though, I would think my point is totally obvious, but some people would probably think I’m saying that I really do want people to not talk about any accusation and some people would think that I’m just making fun of all of fandom. I just don’t know how to make it simple without also oversimplifying all the complicated stuff out of the equation.

What did I get myself into…

kv
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Hey girl,

Don't be so hard on yourself. These are, as you noticed, complicated questions.

And I understand how tough it is to negotiate that line between ironic appropriation of patriarchal conceptions and complicit valorization of those conceptions. I mean, look how I start my communications.

Believe me, girl. I understand.

-Feminist Ryan Gosling
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Hey frg,

;) Yeah, no kidding. I’ve been meaning to ask about that.

Okay, but really, I had another idea for the fic. What if Fangirly Sue is cooler than the mainstream media stereotype? And she watches James and Michael have sex but the whole time she quotes Judith Butler and Michel Foucault on the cultural construction of erotic desire. And she keeps doing this, and it's so disturbing or challenging to their view of the world that James and Michael both lose their erections. But the fangirl totally gets off.

kv
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Hey girl,

That sounds like it would be a great ot3!

-frg
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Hey Feminist Ryan Gosling,

Thanks. But I realized after I wrote it that it wouldn’t really do much to talk about how much of fandom is devoted to male celebrities and how great every little thing they do is.

Maybe I could write about how there are two stories and they don’t have much to do with each other. And then like they bleed into each other at the end. For instance, I could have the main story about the sweet gentle Fassavoy sex, and then interspersed with that could be italicized snippets of news reports, not just about the accusations against him, but also statistics about how much money his movies make, how his name is trending on search engines, how women are portrayed in articles about celebrities and film in general, etc. Like to contrast the business side with the fantasy. And then by the end, the two stories start to merge and the sweet love gets more crass or less pleasant and more like a bodily need than a pleasurable experience. Like to show how commercialism and gender and historical baggage all seep into pleasure, and we can’t really pry them apart even when we try. IDK. Too preachy?

By the way, before I decided against it, I ran that first Fangirly Sue idea by Feminist Hulk, one of my other friends who also sometimes betas. She didn’t like it either.

kv
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Hey girl,

Hm, I would love to read a fic like that 2-stories-becoming-1-story idea. I like experimental stuff.


BTW, what did feminist hulk say about your Fangirly Sue idea?

frg
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She wanted to smash it.

 

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Naturally.

So is your new fic idea the one you want to go with? Will it fulfill your desire for hot porn as well as saying what you want to say?

-frg

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Hey frg,

IDK. It’s super late. Let me email you in the morning.

Kv

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Hey girl,

That’s cool. You know I have tons of respect for the way you interrogate the politics of pleasure. It’s like Laura Mulvey says, resisting the male gaze entails more than merely reversing the direction in which the filmic apparatus looks. ‘Night.

-Feminist Ryan Gosling
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Hey Feminist Ryan Gosling,

So I slept on it. And I came up with another idea. You might not be thrilled.

I was thinking that maybe James discovers that Fassy is violent at times and hasn’t changed since nobody held him accountable. And so James decides to date feminist Ryan Gosling, and then you both go to Narnia and have a threesome with Tilda Swinton.

kv
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Hey girl,

 

Um… what does that have to do with misogyny within/against fandom?

 

-Feminist Ryan Gosling
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Hey Feminist Ryan Gosling,

 

It kind of relates. Also, I had a dream last night about the three of you in that snow castle thing. It was really hot.

And, not to sound manipulative ;) but you did say that desire is wondrously amorphous, gorgeously inexplicable, and dangerous to deny.

 

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Hey girl,

LOL I did say that. And you know what? That actually sounds like a fic I’d really like to read. So it sounds like a go to me :D
But does this mean that you aren’t going to try to write the fic that says what you want to say about fandom?

-Feminist Ryan Gosling
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Maybe. Maybe another time. Like I said, I have a lot more to think about before I figure out how to write Fassavoy porn that deconstructs the gender politics of fandom AND portrayals OF fandom.

On that note, I was thinking about posting our email discussion so other people could comment with their opinions. I’m still working through a lot of this stuff myself, and so it could really help me out to hear from people who agree, disagree, have new perspectives, whatever. Would that be cool or would you prefer the conversation stay private? Either way is totally fine with me.

kv
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Hey girl,

That’s fine. But I’m still looking forward to that fic.

-Feminist Ryan Gosling
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Hey Feminist Ryan Gosling,

Good, because if I ever write it, I’m still planning to ask you to beta lol :)

kv

PS I read your fic about the MPAA censors having an orgy in the ruins of the film preservation society. Loved it!

 

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