You Are Responsible for Your Own Monsters

gatekeepers

[Image description: Black gate with the text “The Gate Keepers” included in the bars]

[TW: Rape and abuse]

In my younger days I participated in fandom. Nowadays it’s an inevitability of new writers. Fandom is so easy to access, and many times it goes hand in hand with the social justice movement. If your audience is under thirty you probably want to give some heed to fandom-dominant sits like tumblr.

Nevertheless I am dismayed at some aspects of tumblr-culture. In this article the policing of who gets to participate in “dark” fandom (using themes of sexual and other kinds of abuse in works). Some blogs go so far as to demand a person lay their personal history of abuse bare to them so they may then decide if they can participate in such creation. Please read that again. Some people believe they are gate-keepers of other people’s personal histories of abuse.

This has got to stop.

My friend wrote this piece recently which mirror my own feelings on “problematic” fiction. (The title of this piece is from her essay, so I recommend you read it.) Nevertheless I do want to even further on the idea of “dark” fiction being a place to confront fears. Of being a safe-place to confront harmful realities of society.

I have a confession to make; I didn’t wake-up one day able to write a fully formed villain who gaslights and abuses his sister, stepmother, stepsister, and everyone else around him. He rapes his mother’s former lover for decades because she cannot ever say “no” to him due to a magical caveat. I didn’t haphazardly come upon the ability to portray not only the abuser but the ruined lives of those he has come into contact with.

I practiced, for years. And where did I practice? In fandom. Yep, I was one of those who would ship “bad” ships. I was always against romanticizing abuse however; I just always wanted one to kill the other. For me it was the ruination, the slow but steady decline into despair and death. How many people however do you think ever asked me why I shipped what I did and instead made assumptions?

And no I would have never, and still never would, tell a stranger about all the fucked-up shit that has happened to me. It is my right to hold within myself things I never want to speak about ever again. It is a basic right. I don’t exist to justify myself to gate-keepers.

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