[TW CSA/Sexual Abuse]
I once had a guy tell me that I was beautiful and he wanted to taste me. I wasn’t sure what he meant, but I found out before it was over. I was ten… and he did a lot more than taste me.
(submitted by anonymous)
stop tagging your trauma shit with like, “kidcore” and “toycore” type of tags ok sometimes i want to see fun cute stuff and not posts about like a fucking child being molested ok
Traumacore art dump
I stumbled across the reddit /molestation sub and expected it to be a safe space for survivors to discuss their abuse.
Turns out most of the people who frequent that sub are actually pedophiles looking to jerk off to victims’ stories.
“In detail please.”
“How can I join a group like the one that abused you?”
“Embrace it and enjoy it”
This is disgusting, but you know what’s not remotely shocking? Every single one of these disgusting fucks had a page that was entirely full of posts on pedophile, incest, and rape kink pages.
They’re using ACTUAL VICTIMS to play out their “harmless fantasy”.
They’re encouraging victims to retrauamtize themselves by reenacting their trauma with these guys.
One of the “this is a harmless kink that you should enjoy post-abuse” posters, who I did not get a screenshot of because I reflexively blocked him automatically, had a username like “LovesLittleGirls3”.
All of these predators are telling survivors that it’s healthy to cope by retraumatizing themselves and participating in harmful kinks.
It’s not “just fantasy” when you sick fucks are seeking out victims to get off to their pain, and encouraging them to hurt themselves further.
DONT REPOST / okay to rb if you are a csa victim/lost a child/struggle with an ED as well
Don’t repost my fucking vents. I came here to feel safe and now I feel fucking violated. This is disgusting. Ask for permission you daft piece of actual shit. How dare you repost personal vents like this. I don’t care if you link back, ASK BEFORE REPOSTING SOMEONES CONTENT. ESPECIALLY VENTS LIKE THIS.
I don’t care if you reblog my vents, but don’t you dare post them elsewhere. My abusers are out there. I’m so goddamn scared they’ll know if they see, I’m so afraid of them retaliating. My trauma isn’t an aesthetic. I just want somewhere I can vent and be safe.
Criminal Law, nsfw fic, and ao3 (pt. 1?)
So first a clarification, this will be regarding US federal law because ao3 is hosted in the US and thus US law would apply to any legal cases. I am not well-versed in other countries’ laws so I am unsure if similar situations would be the same under those laws. I’m also going to be using federal law when I can because I do not have the patience nor time to look at the millions of different state and territory criminal codes that exist.
tw pedophilia, child abuse, sexual exploitation, rape, etc.
I wanted to do a piece on (you guessed it) what the title is about. Recently we’ve been seeing a lot of rhetoric arguing against the ability for nsfw fic to exist in fandoms originally marketed as kids shows (but also other fandoms).
First, I’ve seen accusations of pedophilia towards adults that do write such fic and then arguments saying “semantics” don’t help the situation. I think that first and foremost there should be the realization that “semantics” are how the world operates. The law operates in semantics, really petty semantics but semantics nonetheless, and in debate word choice and clarity are what matters most (I personally suck at debate so I hope this is clear).
[I’m going to get into the whole issue of morality v legality later dw]
Pedophilia, in criminal law, does not actually exist as a piece of law. Instead what is considered pedophilia falls into two main categories: sexual exploitation of minors and statutory rape. Federally, sexual exploitation of minors (18 U.S. Code § 2251 - Sexual exploitation of children), which includes child pornography, refers to visual depiction of minors in sexual situations (this is a vast oversimplification that works for this purpose) - I believe that state/territory criminal code is similar in the main points. To my understanding, it specifies visual depictions because those images/videos are permanent with the state of the internet today and can negatively impact that individual. Visual depictions show an individual’s face in a way that other media forms do not.
Criminal law is charged with protecting people who exist in the real world and can be negatively affected by something.
This is not to say that writing underage sex is not a bad thing (I do believe that it is) but to say that accusing someone of pedophilia/child pornography/etc. is not right and can have a negative impact for people’s irl lives.
If writing pedophilia/statutory rape was illegal (it is not), many forms of media (books, tv, movies) would be impacted (e.g. riverdale, easy a, secret life of the American teenager, gossip girl, euphoria, pretty little liars, 90210, one tree hill, Lolita, skins, prep, the twilight series, perks of being a wallflower, vampire academy, and many, many more). The crux of the matter is really: is it a visual depiction, and is it a real life person.
Morality seems to be the case that most people are making regarding nsfw content of characters that were underage in their canon material.
The case here is a little more grey rather than black and white and I firmly believe that we can all go around in circles arguing about it because it is grey. You might think it’s immoral to write nsfw content (whether it’s smut, gore, etc.) of characters that were underage in their source material (though I ask you to realize that people age, fictional and not, and perspective change with it), but those are your morals. And while you can attempt to convince people otherwise, it is not right to force people to ascribe to your morality over something as trivial as fanworks. Other topics would definitely have me saying otherwise, but these are fanworks. They’re meant to be a way for people to explore themes and content in different ways
Here’s the other crux of the matter, characters are fictional. They can age. Their creators have aged and are exploring themes interesting and important to them through their content. You might not want to see nsfw content, and you don’t have to. Many creators don’t want their nsfw content viewed by people who don’t want to engage with it (for whatever reason) or underage people. And there are ways to not see that content, which people should employ.
[The internet is a place where this kind of content exists, has always existed, and should always be able to host because otherwise the implications for free speech, etc, are terrible - which I may tackle next.]
The moral and legal argument kind of sucks and I get it, I don’t want to see nsfw sexual content sometimes (for various reasons, and I did engage with it as a minor) and I take steps to ensure that I won’t (through blocking tags, filtering them, etc.) when I feel that way.
And one last thing, I am sorry to say that underage people have sex (the objective proof for that would be teenage pregnancy). It happens (because of a lot of different shit that’s a whole different topic) and its not bad. Consent is important and will always be sexy but the view that sex is always a bad thing comes from conservative voices (and other things i’m not particularly well-versed in so i won’t go further into). Sex is not bad. Sex is normal. And people should be free to explore it in whatever way they like (as long as it is legal, safe, and healthy).
[And in my opinion, fanworks can be a healthy(er) way to explore sex. As a minor, the sex ed I got was atrocious and fic actually taught me a lot. But by choosing to engage in that material (even just choosing to be able to view it), I knew what I was getting into. If you don’t wish to see it, block it, don’t look for it, and utilize filters.]
growing up extremely catholic is so wild because like twice a year they made us watch these videos about what to do if a priest or otherwise trusted adult layperson tries to fuck you and we were like “UGH NOT THE VIDEO ABOUT HOW WE SHOULD LEAVE IF OUR YOUTH PASTOR SHOWS US PORN AGAIN!!!”
i didn’t even realize how traumatic it was until i was bonding with some random guy about it over a cigarette and realized everyone around us was like. horrified.
John Mulaney openly platforms and supports transphobia
Guillermo Del Toro signed a petition calling for a child r*pist to be allowed at a film festival
Chris Pratt is one of the top donors to an ultra homophobic/transphobic mega church
Clint Eastwood is a shameless, violent racist
Lin Manuel Miranda and his family openly support and help fund PROMESA, a federal law that allows the united states to forcibly colonize and gentrify puerto rico to this day
I could spend YEARS listing every shitty garbage celebrity and why theyre so awful, meanwhile I could probably count any “unproblematic faves” on one hand.
Is it okay to like the media these people create/star in? Absolutely. The shale of water is my favorite film. I enjoyed guardians of the galaxy. I think spiderverse is one of the greatest animated movies ever made.
BUT LIKING THE THINGS THESE PEOPLE ARE IN DOES NOT MEAN YOU HAVE TO IDOLIZE THEM!!! im not saying this because im mad at folks for doing it, I just want yall to stop building yourself up to be hurt. Because I was like this too, and finding out stuff about my favorite celebrities used to genuinely upset me. But now I know better and I want yall to too. Because you’ll be happier people once you remember that THESE PEOPLE ARE ALL PIECES OF SHIT AND YOU DO NOT NEED TO LOVE THEM TO LOVE ART THAT INCLUDES THEM.
Warning: This gifset contains material relating to domestic and sexual abuse that may be triggering. Proceed with caution.
Begin description for this set
Gif 1: Flashback to ten years before the beginning of the show in the junkyard, season 1 episode 6. Teen Isobel is sitting with one hand raised, having just eaten a french fry. She is looking at Michael (off screen) in surprise and shock, she looks taken aback. The text reads “he took a flower in its prime”.
Gif 2: Flachback to ten years before the beginning of the show in a cave, season 1 episode 10. Isobel (who is possessed by Noah) is gripping Rosa tightly, her left hand over Rosa’s mouth. Her fingers glow red, and as the light intensifies Rosa looks more afraid. Isobel’s mouth is open and her brown furrowed as though she is expending effort. The text reads “and then he used it”.
Gif 3: Inside the mindscape at the gala on the dancefloor, season 1 episode 11. Isobel is standing, clearly terrified and unable to move. Noah is behind her, leaning over her shoulder and whispering in her ear; sinister and obviously in control. The text reads “and he abused it”.
Gif 4: Outside in the desert at night, season 1 episode 13. Overhead shot of Noah lying dead on the ground, his shirt open to show marks where he was struck by Max’s lighting. It is raining. The text reads “it was a murder, but not a crime”.
Little Book Review: Dietland
Author: Sarai Walker.
Publication Date: 2015.
Genre: General fiction.
Premise: Plum Kettle, ghostwriter for a teen magazine in NYC, is just waiting to have weight-loss surgery so her “real life” can begin. In the meantime, she’s meek and practically reclusive. Then a strange young woman points her to a group of unconventional women who encourage her to live her life a different way. At the same time, a shadowy organization, identified only as “Jennifer,” starts violently striking back at sexism in society.
Thoughts: When this novel is focused on Plum’s struggles as an unusually large woman in a fatphobic society and her journey to self-acceptance, it’s on pretty solid ground. Plum does little for her current self; her days consist of working a job she dislikes, eating tasteless food, secluding herself in her apartment, and ordering clothes for her future “thin self.” It’s exciting to follow her as she comes to accept that she deserves nice clothes, good food, recognition from others, and dreams now, no matter what size she is. Unfortunately, the novel has grander ambitions that it can’t fulfill. Its attempts to address sexism as a whole often come across as juvenile at best, and horribly offensive at worst.
Take, for example, Plum’s shifting attitude towards the advice column she ghostwrites for. At the beginning of the story, she’s offering empathetic, practical advice to a teen girl with an abusive home life. Towards the end, she answers another letter, from an eighteen-year-old woman who has graduated from college and is trying to decide between using her savings to go to Italy to study art or using them to pay for breast implants. Plum answers with a Sliding Doors-style reverie about what would happen in each scenario. If this young woman decides to study art in Italy, she’ll have many interesting experiences and grow as a person. If she gets breast implants, she’ll become a vapid party girl who eventually settles for a brief dental hygienist career, followed by an unfulfilling marriage to an old, unattractive, and eventually unfaithful dentist. I mean…I agree that it’s sad and infuriating that so many women feel pressured to change their appearances to the point of seeking painful, even potentially fatal surgery! I’m just not sure that “getting breast implants will automatically turn you into a bimbo and drain all meaning from your life” is actually a feminist message. I’ve read eerily similar passages from the POVs of fictional “nice guys” who are upset that their high school crush went to the prom with the quarterback instead of them. Whatever, someday Bryan will be a super-rich computer scientist with several model girlfriends and Ashley will be a dumpy mom driving her four kids around in a minivan while Jake (balding) works at his dad’s car dealership. Wait…is “Sk8r Boi” feminist?
And it gets worse! The organization known as “Jennifer” targets various men–rapists, porn moguls, etc.–but it also straight-up murders women. The most prominent victims are a porn actress (grotesquely portrayed as a CSA survivor who’s had so much on-camera sex that she had to get her vagina replaced) and the girlfriend of a Joe Francis type who publicly refuses to comply with Jennifer’s demands that she not sleep with him. You know how, during and shortly after wartime, people will sometimes publicly strip, beat, shave, and otherwise humiliate women who have slept with the enemy? You’ll be glad to know that this is actually feminist…as is Jack the Ripper. Muslims are broadly singled out as backwards misogynists who speak a “nonsense language” (for views that fundamentalist Christians also hold, but you don’t hear about them). I don’t know if Walker is a TERF; there’s a passage where Plum muses about her uterus, but a woman can have feelings about her uterus without it being a statement on all women or all uteri. However, the book is obviously SWERF-y, racist, and absolutely brutal to any woman who doesn’t toe the party line, so I don’t like those odds.
Hot Goodreads Take: “Hip-hop is singled out as the most misogynist genre,” points out one reader. I knew I forgot something!
leaving your teen years is realizing that you don’t know who you became, that you’ve changed too much. it’s crying and clutching your baby blanket, mourning the childhood you should’ve had. why do i want to cry when i eat? why do i flinch so hard at every touch? why am i unable to accept love? i’m supposed to be an adult now.. everyone knows how to do these things! i don’t have my liscence, i don’t have a good job.. i’m failing college.. i just want to be a kid, but without the beatings and self harm and molestations. without the shame every time i ate, beatings when i opened the fridge, showers with dad and dvds in moms room. a childhood where i was loved and believed.
Hearing your kids bio mom get mad that our son is cussing more and making inappropriate jokes/blaming their internet usage and trying to decide how to ‘punish them’.
Me a queer, csa survivor, that is seeing all the warning signs and wanting an open talk with our kid so they know they’re safe and valid
Coparenting is hard at times y’all.
Warning for those who watch Mayans MC of triggering content in Season 4, Episode 4
The final scene of the episode has sexual abuse of a child. There is dialogue and blocking that suggest it, but nothing is seen forthright. It was very jarring, though, obviously. So please be aware and take whatever necessary steps you may need to.
Hey so netflix is advertising a movie called The Perfection, but the scene in the preview is VERY misleading. Please be aware that the movie features realistic CSA, a rape scene, one person drugging another, and a lot of close ups of bugs. It hit a LOT of triggers so if you have those triggers please do yourself a favor and avoid it or at least go into watching it fully informed and prepared. That shit was NOT advertised for what it really was.
yes yes yes yes yes yes I had a breakdown after watching it all I wanted was ALLISON WILLIAMSSSSS
hey psa block @a-beautiful-struggle-of-life, they write pedophilia fics (specifically starker, a 16 year old kid with a 50+ year old man). they just randomly followed me, stay safe and block these freaks
they seem to especially be into marvel and good omens (both fandoms i’m a part of so assuming that’s why they followed me), so especially watch out if you post frequently about those.
wow i really was a fucktoy as a kid…
i didnt realise ao3 was started in response to lj deleting account relating to p//edophi|ia and they explicitly support the posting of such works yikes
it wasn’t, like, ~~~we luv pedophilia, it was way more complicated than that!
although it’s true AO3 does allow all fannish content provided it’s properly warned for, there’s a long history there - of spaces being used by fans until the host decided whatever we were doing was too weird and distasteful and either kicking us off, banning certain content, or changing the nature of the site until it was no longer viable as a host.
you’re referring to the LJ Strikethrough of 2007, which, being an ancient crone, I lived through, and since I was hanging out in the last vestiges of SGA and in bandom, I saw some of the fallout. this was before LJ was sold to the Russians (which is a whole ‘nother story), when it was still owned by Six Apart; in an effort to clean up LJ’s act, Six Apart decided to delete all accounts using tags like underage, incest, rape, etc.
this was supposed to get rid of actual child porn on the site, and I hope it did, but it also targeted fan communities. this was a problem for a couple reasons; for one thing, not every story tagged with these words is in favor of them; for another, these things happen to real people and these personal posts were also potentially in danger of being attacked; for the last one, look, I ain’t into this kind of fic but people write about what people write about, and if it’s fictional and not explicitly banned in the TOS (correct me if I’m wrong; I don’t think written content about this stuff was banned?) then it’s not cool for a content host to just start deleting communities without warning.
but that’s what happened! these deletions were also primarily targeting slash communities, which smacked of some serious homophobia since things were deleted that had nothing to do with any of this kind of content.
eventually someone found out it was this super conservative religious group who’d sent a list of journal names to Six Apart, and who if I remember correctly targeted slash fic on purpose, even after it became clear that the fic was, well, totally fictional. after a while, Six Apart admitted they’d made a mistake and started to reinstate journals, but all of fandom was pretty shaken up.
THEN Boldthrough happened, which was essentially the same debacle several months later, at which point fandom began its long slow migration from LJ to GJ, IJ, and eventually AO3, Twitter, and tumblr.
AO3 was opened in 2008 in response to several incidents, of which Strikethrough was a really intense one. remember, also, that back in 2008 the stigma surrounding fandom was significantly greater and more shameful than it is today, so finding hosts willing to archive fic was difficult unless someone had the dough to pay for server space - often not an option. this was also back when fanfic.net’s HTML restrictions were so great that users couldn’t use any special characters or bold or italicize anything, and it didn’t allow R-rated content, so it was clearly not ideal. in addition, although cease & desist letters were much less common than they were in the early 2000s and before, DMCA takedowns were still a phantom on the horizon.
LONG STORY SHORT, even though pedophilia is reprehensible and I personally cannot stomach fanfic that involves that kind of content, AO3 was founded specially as a safe space for fandom communities that could not find homes elsewhere. it requires warnings precisely for that reason, and if you find a story that is not properly warned, you can alert the admins and get the story labeled appropriately.
IDK, maybe it’s just because I am, again, ancient, but I was in and around fandom before homosexuality was legal in all 50 states. so were most of the people who started AO3. for most of my formative life, being gay was associated with pedophilia, and so was writing about gay characters. just - it’s a lot more complicated than you might expect, and there’s a reason many older fans who have been involved in several generations of fandom were so grateful to have AO3 as an option.
I don’t read, for example, Hydra Trash Party fics. They squick me, and I generally feel they are pretty gross. But writing noncon body-horror is not the same as saying “yeah, I totally want to go out and rape and torture people for years while brainwashing them!” or even “yeah, I wouldn’t do it myself, but it would be totally okay if someone did!” Nobody is hurt by it, and nobody is going to be hurt by it. So should I have the right to go, that is gross, you don’t get to write or read that? No.
In the same way, writing about underage teens getting it on–sometimes with each other, sometimes with adults, sometimes consensually, sometimes not–is not the same as child pornography, nor does reading a fic about Hermione and Snape getting it on while she was his student mean someone thinks that would be a good and/or healthy thing in real life.
Fiction affects reality, but fiction is not reality. And writing about something does not mean you want to do it in real life, or believe that anyone should.
Let’s take a closer look at that “Ao3 supports pedophilia!” shall we?
1) The only fics I have ever come across that had actual pedophilia (i.e. someone having sex with a child), it was clearly and explicitly abuse. It was not meant to titillate or arouse. It was meant to horrify. It was seldom explicit.
2) There’s a lot more incest, but it is usually portrayed either as explicitly mutually consensual (i.e. Sam/Dean) or as abusive.
3) I’ve been in fandom for a decade and a half. When people start getting upset at “omg pedophilia, think of the children!” the fics they are usually objecting to aren’t actually pedophilia. Usually, it is teenagers having sex, especially queer sex. And people don’t like that, and use pedophilia as an excuse to shame people for writing/reading sex they don’t like.
Let’s look closer at Strikethrough, shall we? I hope that, if there were any communities of actual pedophiles on LJ, they got taken down, too. But here are some of the communities that got taken down that were not in any way supporting pedophilia and/or rape and/or incest that got taken down:
1) at least one support community for survivors of sexual abuse.
2) a literary book discussion group that was reading Lolita.
3) lots of slash fanfic communities, for things like Draco/Harry fic set in their fourth year (when both boys would have been 15).
Basically, this very conservative “family values” group hated porn, and they hated queer stuff even more, and used “but think of the children, it’s pedophilia!” to pressure LJ to get rid of huge swathes of things they didn’t like. And one time taking down the worst of it wasn’t good enough for them. No, this was step one on a moral crusade. If you acceded to their demands, all that did was whet their appetite, and soon they would be back with a new list of demands. This is why the 2007 strikethrough was not an isolated event, but rather one of a series of events, nor was LJ the only website thus targeted. It starts with anything that can get labelled “pedophilia” or “incest” because that’s low-hanging fruit. But they use that to go after anything relating to queer teen sexuality. Then anything with teen sexuality. Then once the community is already divided and diminished, they go after anything with non-con. Then whatever is next on their list. It doesn’t stop until they’ve won the point and nothing but suitably “family-friendly” fics that match their purity test are allowed.
Which is why AO3 has no morality content in their terms of service. You can’t break copyright beyond fair use (and AO3 has an expansive view of “fair use” and a team of lawyers on call). You can’t use AO3 for commercial advertising. And you can’t post ACTUAL child pornography, i.e. the things that are legally prohibited, i.e. actual photographs or videos of actual children (not teens) in sexually explicit positions–you know, the stuff that actually hurts kids. Other than that? It’s fair game. You can post anything you want, and the archive will not judge. There is no handle for the Moral Majority Family-Friendly Thought Police to latch onto, no cracks they can exploit to divide and conquer.
We’ve been down that road. It doesn’t lead anywhere good.
Reblogging this for the excellent explanation of what exactly the moral crusaders did last time. They had an explicit agenda of anti-queerness, and they specifically targeted slash and femslash communities in particular, such that many ship communities became (or started as) deliberately members-only. You had to apply, and your personal blog had to look like a real person and a fan. You were vetted, a la 1990s private servers.
During this period, Dreamwidth was also targeted by attacking its payment processor. They had to get a new one. These “Warriors” (literally called themselves that!) were totally on board with destroying fandom as a side effect of destroying the parts of fandom they didn’t like.
If you’re carrying out harassment of people right now because they’re posting works with sexual elements you don’t agree with? (And it’s always sex, never non-sexual violence, how strange….) If you’re doing that, you’re also totally on board with destroying fandom as a side effect of destroying the parts of fandom you don’t like. Because your tactics are fandom-destroying, and so is your agenda.
reblogging because this is important: strikethru and boldthru and all the various “purges” that fandom went thru about 10 years ago: this had to do with OUTSIDERS deciding that fandom in general and fanfiction in specific were evil and needed to be destroyed; unless we were writing and shipping good vanilla M/F married people. These were outsiders, going after fictional writing about fictional characters.
AO3 and OTW are HUGE, because now we have an organization, with very smart women and a lot of lawyers, that have our back. Fannish history is important, people! It has not always been this way.
This is so, so important: there’s that other post about AO3 and fanfiction floating around, about our history. People decry violent video games but no one is trying to force companies out of business. But people can and do attack fanfiction: an activity primarily written by women for women, about fictional characters. And often about sex. We have to constantly defend ourselves, protect ourselves, support each other against charges like “paeodophilia”.
^^^rebageling again for excellent commentary
Throwing this in because I was also present: This was during the American Government’s attempts to pass censorship laws on the internet. As MOST of those domains had their serves in America, they were beholden to those censorship laws. A great deal of fanfiction.net was removed because they happened to lose a goddamn courtcase. I’ve been on the site since 2002. They may not have ‘officially’ allowed NC-17 rated content (what it used to be listed as in the filters), it never did a damn thing to remove it. Ever. They had it listed as a rating option during ‘New Story’ uploading after all. It was i nthe search filters. After they lost the courtcase however, they legally had to start doing things about the mature content reports they got. The admins and mods were not actively looking for fic to remove, they were just responding to reports they had already received.
tl;dr - I know tumblr is all about black and white “you’re either all right or all wrong” thinking, but it’s important to understand what actually happened before going “ew ao3 was made to give pedophiles a safe place to post” because that is 110% not what happened.
This is why so, so many of the comparatively older fannish folks on tumblr like me are so vehemently against stuff like the anti movement and “all ships are valid UNLESS”. It smacks of censorship and content policing - and we’ve been there. We got our shit deleted and our accounts banned because someone else thought what we were reading or writing or talking about needed to just… not exist. No warning. Literally overnight. We just woke up and stuff was gone.
And yeah, the group was legit called Warriors for Innocence (or maybe of). I knew several people that were members of survivor/support groups that lost their groups - and their main support network - when Strikethrough happened (ten years ago holy shit).
You antis need to listen when us older fans tell you that the censorship you’re advocating for, when put into practice, is NOT a positive thing; it’s an extremely scary thing!
I can guarantee that you would be very, very upset if another event like LJ Strikethrough were to happen today because *you* are just as vulnerable as the rest of us! If you support the rights of marginalized groups of people, if you’re a slash or fem slash shipper, if you support gender identities that aren’t defined by biological sex, if you care about representation, if you support women, if you have any kind of kink, if you care about fandom in any capacity beyond its eradication, YOU DO NOT ACTUALLY WANT THE SORT OF CENSORSHIP YOU’RE ADVOCATING!!
People were terrified during Strikethrough. I was there. Communities were being shut down, individual users were being shut down. People were losing access to their own fics, their feedback, their comments – a LOT went on in comments on LJ. Think more coherent reblogs, much more personal, very widespread. Comments were also very important, and in terms of networking/communicating, were absolutely critical.
LJ was, for many people, central.
It was a fundamental part of the infrastructure of fandom at the time.
Having it attacked, having parts of your fandom’s territory just deleted like that, was very very scary. People didn’t know who was next. Every day, the list of stricken journals grew. And not all of them came back, not all of them recovered their content. Some people even voluntarily deleted their content as a form of protest. It was a bad time.
Youdo not have to interact with fic that grosses you out or makes you uncomfortable. Tagging is a thing. And even outside of tags, you are responsible for curating your own fandom experience. It is not right to expect it to be curated for you. And it is not right to lash out when someone refuses to do so and expects you to walk away from things that do not concern you.
I was gonna say “things that don’t harm anyone” but I realize you can argue that. If you get triggered, that’s upsetting. That could be considered harm. And I have sympathy for that. I do.
I have run across fic that triggered me. I have pretty specific triggers, and people don’t always think to warn for them because they aren’t that big a deal for a lot of people. Or it’s sort of bundled into kink and is presumed, that if you’re okay with certain kinds of kink, you’re okay with this. So I’ve been blindsided by it before. And it sucks for a couple of days while I get over it.
That was not the fault of the authors! You could argue that tagging should have been used, and maybe it should, but ultimately that’s not an ironclad obligation. It’s a tool people provide out of courtesy.
That was not the fault of the site! The site is there to give authors a way to make fiction available, not to judge each work and interrogate its validity and make sure everything is tagged so that nobody has to see anything bad, ever.
That was not even my fault! It was my responsibilityto try to curate my experience, and I tried, but it wasn’t my fault because I didn’t deliberately set out to trigger myself.
When I get triggered, unless it is by a deliberate act, it is actually the fault of the people who hurt me in the first place! And I refuse to let them off the hook and blame perfectly innocent people who just wanna write their fanfiction! I may hate that fanfiction, but that is irrelevant to the question of whether or not people should be allowed to post whatever they want.
Also, some people cope by writing about fucked-up shit. My best friend in the whole wide world has shared her fic with me, and HOO BOY it is messed up. She wrote it during a time in her life when she was in and just coming out of a horrifically abusive relationship. I mean, it was exactly the kind of relationship all of us here on Tumblr love to hate. She was married to a shitty, abusive man who preyed on someone younger than he was and used his influence over her to treat her in a way that would be right at home in that Lundy Bancroft book Why Does He Do That? He was a real rapist, a verified grade-A bad fuckin’ guy. (She was lucky to escape. I have immense respect for her.) And she wrote some fucked up fic to deal with it, and she shared it, and people were invested in it. And because this was early 2000′s, she had to host it on a foreign server and cover her tracks, because at that time no-place was safe to post it.
“Yeah, but if she’s writing it for therapy, she doesn’t have to post it where other people might have to see it!” I hear you say.
But like … what the hell??? “Shut up, don’t talk about it, it’s bad to talk about these things, because these things are bad!” is something used against folks with trauma.
“This isn’t good for me, I can’t talk about this, I can’t be your audience for this,” that’s fine, those are boundaries that people with trauma use to defend themselves. You should learn to say those things! It will help you!
But expecting other people to never create and share art about trauma is just so thunderouslyoppressive I lack the ability to fully articulate it.
Andnobodyshould have to disclose their history of trauma to prove their motives are pure or virtuous enough for their speech to be protected. I’ve only really been able to openly say “I was assaulted, it was traumatic, I am a little fucked up from it” for the past couple of years, tops. I couldn’t talk about it before that. Couldn’t! And it was over 20 years ago!
I also believe, very firmly, that you don’t need a history of abuse to find writing really messed-up shit satisfying, or to find reading it cathartic. I believe 100% in the freedom of creative expression, and the freedom to read whatever fucked up shit you want to read.
All y’all fandom youngsters can spit nails all you want over gross rape fic, incest fic, whatever.
Fine, I don’t like it either!
But that fucked up shit? That fucked up shit helped carve out the spaces we have today. You don’t have to like it, but campaigning to get it deleted, harassing content creators, calling people rapists and pedophiles who have never done and would never ever do such a thing, that is not the way to improve the world, it doesn’t keep actual kids or teens or assault/rape victims safe. It wouldn’t have made me feel safe when I was 16 and did’t want what was going on. It doesn’t make me feel safe now. I can say with the perspective of someone 24 years away from that event, it doesn’t make the world safer for people like I was. It actually makes it worse.
Learn to steer clear of the messed-up stuff you don’t like. It’s a skill, you get better with practice. Have someone else vet stuff for you if you need help doing it now.
Everything that is sketchy and gross is not criminal, and writing about a thing is not morally the same as doing it. Pleasestop acting like writing about an adult and a teenager having really questionable, gross sex is as bad as theactual registered sex offender they caught hanging around an actualelementary school two neighborhoods over from mine, just trying to talk to the kids. The former is, at most, in poor taste, and potentially triggering to abuse victims. The second makes me want to vomit because even though he was just talking, that guy was gearing up to try something and create another abuse victim. A g a i n.
The first can be avoided because it is imaginaryand you, an adult, have power over your back button so that you don’t have to witness harm to imaginary people. The second, those very real kids had to rely on real adults and real law enforcement to keep them safe from very real assault. (It worked! The neighborhood rallied! He was arrested for violating parole!)
Pretty sure Sleazebag McDongface didn’t read some gross NC-17 Draco/Lucius fic before deciding to harm an actual human being. Pretty sure not having read it didn’t keep him from doing it. ‘Cause he fuckin’ did it. And he would have done worse. But actual people stopped him.
Iget wanting to protect victims when so many of us are victims ourselves, but man, going after fiction is not the way to do it.
An author is not a perpetrator. Stop trying to make those things synonymous in the minds of other fans, and in the minds of other recovering victims.
I’m a crone who also lived through strikethrough, and all y'all young fans need to read this and understand it if you don’t want history to repeat itself someday.
Here’s the thing, also: it doesn’t stop with fic about objectionable stuff.
If you have a website with TOS that includes any kind of “objectionable content” rules, there will be parties who will use those rules to try to silence other people whom they want silenced.
Let’s look at the alt-right and MRA movements today, or GamerGate a few years ago. What is one of their primary weapons? They report black or feminist or really any leftist YouTube channels (or Twitter accounts, or whatever) whose message they don’t like and claim those channels are are violating TOS by posting hate speech or incitations to violence or whatever bullshit they can come up with, in an attempt to silence those channels.
When Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequence came under fire for starting a crowdfunding endeavor to fund the production of her Tropes vs. Women in Video Games series of videos, male gamers tried to get her KickStarter and various social media accounts shut down by reporting her for for hate speech and promoting terrorism.
Luckily, that became a big enough story that the dudes failed and their efforts backfired. But a lot of times, these tactics work.
How do I know this? Because it happened to me. Not over major shit like the examples above, but over something completely petty.
Back in the mid-to-late 90s, before LiveJournal really became the place for fandom, before FF.net was really a thing, you had to create your own personal website on whatever free webhost you could find (GeoCities was popular, but there were others) if you wanted to host your fic somewhere.
And back then, TV studios and book authors were still sending their lawyers after people who wrote fanfic, issuing cease and desist letters to not only the authors, but also to their webhosts.
At the time, I was writing perfectly het Mulder/Scully fanfic. No rape, no pedophilia, no slash. Maybe a little BDSM. But largely it was unobjectionable.
Then the 8th season of X-Files started, David Duchovny decided he only wanted to be involved part-time, and the show decided to bring in another male character. The fandom lost their shit–as fandoms do–over the idea of “replacing” Mulder blah blah blah.
One of the most popular fanfic mailing lists–one that had previously had no restrictions on what characters or pairings could be posted–decided that if you wrote fanfic involving this character, you were no longer welcome. Well, this was the mailing list with all the readers. Sure, authors could go to other mailing lists, but they wouldn’t have exposure to the sort of readership this other list boasted.
I spoke out, saying that this change was unfair to fic authors and that the moderator of this list was behaving in a pretty vile way. The moderator and her friends took aim at me and began a campaign of harassment, and a few days later, suddenly my website with my XF fanfic was TOSed because someone had reported it. So was the next site I tried to create to host my fic, and the one after that.
Thanks to the way AO3s TOS are constructed, that sort of shit doesn’t happen now. I can speak up if I need to, and while I may receive harassment on my various social media accounts, there’s no chance they can have my fic taken down just because they have an agenda and don’t like me for reasons not relating to my fic.
So yeah, AO3′s rules protect fic a lot of us might find objectionable. But they also protect fic that is in no way objectionable from being targeted by unrelated harassment campaigns. And since any of us could find ourselves in the sights of those sort of campaigns at any time, we need to thank our lucky stars for that.
I like this last addition.
When I helped write the ToS for AO3, I wasn’t primarily thinking about strikethrough. I was primarily thinking of FFN, where so many people post things that are technically against the ToS but that the community tolerates. Any time someone gets pissed off, they can go on a grudge-reporting spree and target their enemy’s work. Often, that means guys targeting slash or Twilight fic because it’s “for girls” and thus sucks. Sometimes, it’s one ship vs. another. I was also thinking of Miss Scribe and all of that other Harry Potter fandom drama. (And if you think fans are above destroying an entire archive just to strike at one enemy, think again!)
We can’t force people to like each other. We can’t force people to be nice to each other. But we could take away fandom bullies’ favorite tools.
So we did.
Watching young (ostensibly liberal) bloggers and fans take up the deeply conservative rhetoric and moral crusading of the right wing and evangelical groups from the 90s has been both fascinating from an anthropological perspective, and fucking horrifying for someone who lived through this time period and the death of LJ.
This thread keeps getting better.
It galls me to think that those of us who went through all this shit might have to go through it again because people who were still in primary school at the time don’t see anything wrong with harassing us over
Like, I hate to pull this argument, but we are your fandom elders, we did what we did to preserve fandom for y'all, so y'all would have space to safely explore the sane things we did and still do. And in doing so we rightly realized that if we wanted to protect the comfortable, cuddly parts, we also needed to protect the dark parts.
You can hate non-con fic all you want, and I will always advocate for adequate tagging/warning (especially with franchises that are aimed at younger audiences, e.g. MLP:FIM and SU) so that you don’t have to see it because I sympathize, but I will never support people who want to make sure that it isn’t even there to be seen. I’ve been through that once. It didn’t help anyone. It didn’t fix anything.
Please, learn to curate your own online experience. You are responsible for not clicking, or clicking away. Don’t try to force others to do it for you. That’s not cool. You aren’t protecting children. You are asking fandom to treat everyone like a child. There is a massive difference.
Also… maybe parents should do their job in monitoring kids’ content? When my parents found out I was looking at age inappropriate things when I was a minor, like they intervened.
Strikethrough 07 was such a well-conducted operation that communities dedicated to survivors of sexual abuse and fans of Lolita fashion were suspended, but the journal of the baby rapist, ohbutyouwillpet, stayed up. And it’s still up to this day, though it hasn’t been updated it over a decade as its owner is still in prison.
Whooo, I guess it’s my turn to take a shot at this.
I’m a nold. I’m in my 40s. When I came out as queer, in the early 90s, it was in the middle of what were called the “feminist sex wars”. If you want a really good book to read about that period, which has a LOT of resonance with Strikethrought and with the current Tumblr discourse, I cannot recommend this highly enough:
Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex, and the Fight for Women’s Rights by Nadine Strossen
Apreview is available on Google Books, or it should be readily available secondhand, or in academic libraries (though it’s not a very heavy academic read). I recommend Booko for finding cheap secondhand copies. Support independent bookstores!
I haven’t read “Defending Pornography” for a while – I actually last re-read it about a decade ago because of the impact that Warriors for Innocence were having on Dreamwidth’s payment providers at the time, subsequent to Strikethrough itself – but here’s a quick summary, as I remember it.
1. In the late 80s and early 90s there was a vocal group of radical feminists who believed that pornography inherently harms women, not just in its production but also in its consumption (i.e. watching/reading pornography caused people to develop attitudes that were harmful to women). All explicit content was considered to be harmful, from eg. girlie magazines to hardcore XXX videos to a book like “The Joy of Gay Sex”, no matter who made it, its purpose, its intended audience, or its context. (Yup, even m/m content was considered to be degrading to women for reasons that didn’t make a lot of sense tbh.)
2. These anti-pornography feminists teamed up with the religious right and managed to get anti-porn laws passed. In particular, a law was passed in Canada preventing the importation of “obscene” material. Canada, of course, imports a lot of material from the US. Stuff started getting seized at the border.
3. Guess what was seized first? “The Joy of Gay Sex” and the like. Guess what businesses started finding alltheir shipments seized or delayed – sexually explicit or not – to the point where they were being put out of business? Gay bookstores. Guess what wasn’t seized at all? Mainstream porn made for straight men.
Around this time, Little Sisters bookstore in Vancouver (a gay bookstore) found that huge amounts of merchandise was being seized at the border, regardless of the actual content. They were being discriminatorily targeted on the basis of their sexuality. The queerness of the material they were importing was seen as inherently obscene.
Remember that this is before there was much information available online for LGBTQ+ people, so if you were a young person maybe just coming out and trying to understand things, or wanting to learn about safe sex (and yes it was at the height of the AIDS crisis, too) you’d go to a bookstore like this. Which now had empty shelves. I remember endless fundraising and activism in the LGBTQ+ community to try and keep Little Sisters open. In the end they spent half a million dollars on court cases. Read more about their struggles.
(You know what businesses weren’t impacted and didn’t have to basically ask their friends and community for help to stay open or spend a decade in the courts to defend their right to run their businesses? The powerful companies making porn by and for straight men.)
The book goes into a large number of analogous situations. Time and time again, anti-pornography laws intended to protect women are disproportionately used against women themselves, against LGBTQ+ people, and against basically any marginalised or minority group, rather than against the mainstream male-oriented porn that would seem to be its primary target.
Here’s the key point: Strossen is a legal scholar who’s looked at a lot of attempts at censorship, and you know what she found happened every time? When you try to censor pornography, even in the interests of protecting vulnerable people, that censorship will be applied first, and hardest, against the people who are most vulnerable. They won’t come for actual abusers, they’ll come for the abused, and prevent them from accessing resources, education, talking to each other, creating art to express themselves, or organising against those who are actually causing harm.
Read the book. The stories it tells are from the early 90s but they perfectly mirror what happened a decade ago with Strikethrough and what’s happening now with all this Tumblr discourse.
This is old, old business, we’ve seen it more than once before, and it never goes the way the antis think it will. Censorship is a tool that gives power to abusers and lets them inflict more harm on those who are abused, vulnerable and discriminated against. Don’t fall for it.
History they should have known: The Comstock laws in New York were this one dude (Comstock) who managed to get a mail regulation re-written to categorize anything related to contraceptives as pornography, which was already illegal to mail.
(Which is one reason for the pornographic playing cards etc, because the 19th century was almost as big on mail-order goods as the 21st, because getting to shops in person was hard for a huge subsection of Americans.)
Comstock built a non-profit with the support of the YMCA and oh shoot, some millionaire whose brand is still going strong, to enforce this law because the postal system didn’t have the personnel. They were granted the right to do so.
He and his posse of honorary mail inspectors with police powers (I kid you not) spent years engaging in endless skullduggery to prosecute people for selling contraceptives by mail. Which was how everyonegot them in the 19th century, you couldn’t walk into a shop for a pack of condoms but mail-order packages were nicely anonymous. They dragged Margaret Sanger into court repeatedly. There was a huge cottage industry of contraceptives in NYC at the time, most of the manufacturers being female, Jewish, immigrants, or some combination of the above.
There was one woman whose name escapes me they kept trying to prosecute for selling contraceptive devices and the juries kept nullifying it because the average New Yorker in the 1890s were like ‘yeah no condoms are not a crime,’ but not everybody had her stage presence and resources.
You know who they never even tried to touch? The big rubber companies were were getting into mass production of condoms. Their big funder owned the company that produced Vaseline, and was claiming in ads at the time that it worked as a spermicide.
Only the poor and vulnerable felt the impact of the Honorary Postal Inspectors of righteousness.
It’s been touched on a little before but really it’s hard to explain just how confusing and scary the crackdowns were. I was only a reader on FanFiction when the crackdown came but it felt like I was standing in a coal mine full of canaries. Canaries that were either silent or /screaming/.
Every where you looked, authors where posting warnings about how x stories were getting deleted. All of the warnings feeling rushing, panicked, most of them including notes about how they didn’t know how long they had before their warnings were taken down or they were deleted. It felt a bit like all the stars going out, everything just dying around you. Like a stampede of people had fled from some oncoming unnamed horror leaving silence in their wake. Finding AO3 later on was like finding a safe haven in a world gone mad.
Also FanFiction doesn’t really encourage socialisation aside from authors notes to readers on their chapters or homepage. Meanwhile all the warnings of the crackdown were really rushed and vague. So, as a not very sociable reader, I really didn’t have a clue what was going on at the time of the crack down and the confusion and uncertainty was almost the scariest part of the whole thing. (Not knowing if the authors should come back and if fanfics were gone for good was scarier.) It’s only years later, reading fanfic history posts that I’ve started to piece together what happened.
Also an interesting point was that during the crack down all I ever heard about was /gay/ stories being deleted. Perhaps this was just because I was reading gay stories but I didn’t even realise it was mature stories in general that was supposedly the aim of the crack down until much later.
Hot damn, this post just keeps going!
I very much second the rec about the feminist sex wars. Understand those, and you’ll understand why those of us over about 30 are so opposed to tumblr’s purity crusade.
If you haven’t been TOSsed you really don’t get it, imo.
If you haven’t spent your time wondering if the thing that will get your content deleted is the dark stuff or the nipples, you really don’t get it, imo.
Hell, way way back in the day, I had moderator types private message me going “I really like your writing, but you need to be less obvious about it, or I will have no choice but to tos you.”
A long reblog, but a worthy read. So much history and experience recounted here. If we don’t remember our past, remember why AO3 and many fandom spaces work the way they do now, we will be condemned to repeat it.
Please do not let us return to the dark ages of fear, censorship, and oppression in fandom.
I hated - hated fandom back when this LJ shit happened, but I was there. I’m both glad this thread is here, and irritated that it was felt necessary. How many times do we need to learn this lesson?
i didnt realise ao3 was started in response to lj deleting account relating to p//edophi|ia and they explicitly support the posting of such works yikes
I didn’t realize that as an anti, I am perpetuating the oppression of women and queer voices that ao3 was explicitly created to protect us from.
I didn’t realize that my personal feelings of disgust, while valid feelings, are not reasons to take away others’ freedom of expression.
I didn’t realize my perspective is anti-queer, anti -feminist, anti -art.
Yes, fandom is loudly, proudly writing about trauma, processing rape, processing fantasies, loudly queer, loudly kinky, loudly feminist, and proud of it.
We don’t like it when you shame us, and we want to offer you this history so you understand why. You don’t need to read anything you don’t want. All you need to do is click away, and not shame us.
But you need to understand that survivors of Child Sexual Abuse, and all people who live in a world where the threat of that abuse exists, have a right to write about it and don’t deserve to be silenced or shamed.
That’s why ao3 exists.