I know I said in my last post that I was ready to have some fun, and I am more than ready to do so but… I haz thoughts. and I need to say them out loud. I probably shouldn’t add to the drama, just remain quiet about it all instead, but it’s something that’s important to me so I have to say it. my thoughts center around the incident that caused the shirtless Crucible pics uproar and how I feel it’s being misrepresented, also “Armitage Protection Mode” and what it’s really about for some of us, and the way this fandom turns on each other repeatedly and how that makes me feel.
It’s My Party and I Can Perv if I Want to
there has been some talk about a certain FaceBook fan page telling others that they shouldn’t objectify Richard in the latest Crucible shirtless photos that have been making the rounds in the fandom, that this kind of behavior takes away from the message of the play. quite a few bloggers have been stating their opinion that we, as fans, should be able to “appreciate” anyway we choose and we should not tell other fans how to fangirl. I feel that this particular situation has been represented unfairly.
1.) the fan page in question is not just a general Richard Armitage fanpage, it’s one that was set up specifically to discuss and celebrate The Crucible. and it says in the description “Please keep this a Fun, Respectful, and Friendly place to visit”
2.) when a situation arose that made the administrator of the page uncomfortable (drooling over said pics apart from their context in the play), she made a post explaining her feelings about the issue: that the play was meant to be more than looking at a bare chested man, and therefore she felt it was best to not discuss the pics on the page until more fans had a chance to see them within their original context. there are plenty of other places within the fandom where one can go to see and discuss those particular photos
3.) she has every right to control what is and is not discussed or viewed on her page. saying she does not approve of the current reactions to the images does not automatically mean she is telling others how to feel about them. and saying that she does not want the images shown or discussed outside of the play because they’re meant to be taken much more seriously than they have been, does not mean you can’t view or feel differently about the play than she does
This incident has turned into a cause for the right to objectify shirtless Armitage if anyone so chooses, however they choose. by stating her opinions of these photos in relation to the play, the page administrator has been seen as chastising others for not feeling/understanding the weight of the play. but see, this is where I get confused: bloggers are using their own platforms to say that the administrator should not tell the fandom what to do and are getting applauded for it, yet when the administrator did the exact same thing- using her own platform to say that she didn’t like the tone surrounding those pics- she gets ostracized. how are those two things different? they are all using their own spaces, that they are in control of, to state their own opinions. but because one didn’t place the words “I think/feel” in front of her sentences, she’s automatically seen as policing others. have pronouns really become that important?
APM: fandom enemy no.1
this isn’t about the photos themselves and the drooling for me, this is about double standards. this is about those who set certain boundaries for themselves and their spaces, getting shamed for not adhering to the status quo. I often make sexual innuendos on this blog and occasionally post a bare chested photo myself. the tone of my blog is light and I take things completely out of context with the gifs and captions that I post, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have lines I won’t cross. one example: bare bum screen caps/gifs. I don’t post them because I feel that it’s disrespectful to make light of some of those particular shots out of context. while it may be fun to tease about some of them (as I often reference Paul leaving his socks on) I wouldn’t be able to do that with the shots of Lucas. that scene, where he was undressing in order to appease his former captor, is wrought with underlying emotion. it’s about submission, it’s about sacrifice, it’s about Lucas reliving a very difficult time- one that caused him to try and take his own life. I wouldn’t post those pics even if they were being discussed within their original context though, because I also feel that doing so would be disrespectful to both Richard/Lucas and also to my husband as well, who sometimes reads this blog (seeing his wife drooling over another man would hurt him. I don’t want to do that). when I say “disrespectful”, I’m not only talking about who is in the picture or who may see them but I’m also talking about how they make me feel- my own sensibilities about them. so often I see the defense “Richard is a grown man who has chosen the type of career that will make him desirable to others. he knows this and can take care of himself, he doesn’t need you to do it for him” true, all of that is true. but it’s not just for his sake, it’s for my sake. I don’t want to see certain characters and certain emotional situations made light of, for various personal reasons. I don’t want to see Richard’s body discussed in certain ways because of my respect for the man he is on the inside (because I get embarrassed about it *blushes*) and so I don’t do it in my space. I don’t tell others they can’t post them in their spaces or react to them in the ways that they want to. when I see those things in other spaces, I just keep walking. it’s not always about policing and telling others how they should or should not act, it’s also about us protecting ourselves and our own sensibilities. and yet, we get shamed for it. in trying to promote their own right to view the pics in the fashion that they choose, often fans turn the tables and shame the supposed shamers instead. we all have our reasons. whether we agree with those reasons or not, it would be nice to try and honor the other person’s feelings towards the matter.
Smells Like Teen Spirit
I’m sharing what I think- you don’t have to agree, of course- I’m not telling the fandom how they should feel or act. my hope is that we could not only treat Richard/his characters with respect, but each other as well. that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun, that doesn’t mean we can’t “appreciate” his physical attributes, it just means that we shouldn’t force our will on anyone. but it seems like we’re constantly picking at each other, getting offended over grammar, our rights, who belongs and who doesn’t. we say that our community is a welcoming one and that we all want to celebrate Richard together, but our actions speak differently sometimes. I suspect that if Marlise Boland would have just used the pronoun “we” when talking about the fandom instead of “they”, then there wouldn’t have been nearly as much offense taken when she talked about fans making ring tones out of interview sound bites or captioned gifs. and now that we’re on the subject, since she is a fan herself she should know to ask better questions. I mean, come on! how many times have us seasoned fans heard those same ones before? she clearly does not know the history of this fandom, What. A. Newb. I say that with sarcasm because it’s a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation for her (whether you consider her a fan or a journalist or something in between). take my summary above about the Lucas North undressing scene: were you offended at my summary of what that scene means? if you didn’t exactly agree with my interpretation, you probably just brushed it off and continued reading because you understood that it was my opinion of the scene, even though I didn’t put that ever important “I think/feel” at the beginning of the sentence (or tack on that “in my opinion/just my opinion” safety net at the end). which is why I think the incidents as of late really don’t have all that much to do with what is being said about them on the surface, it’s about negative feelings towards the particular people who are at the center of them. if nothing else, I just wish we could be real about it.
so yeah. there it is. my thoughts. agree, disagree, or agree to disagree- they are mine in my space. I might end up losing some readers over this. and it certainly does not fall in line with my penchant for trying not to give drama the power. once upon a time I wrote Richard a fan letter. in that letter I mentioned how hard it is for me to exist in any type of community because I just want to enjoy myself, do my own thing, without getting caught up in all the politics and rules. but the interactions I’ve had in this fandom have bettered me as a person, both the good and the bad. I enjoy learning about other people who live far away from me or who live different kind of lives than I do. it’s fun to see what we have in common and to learn about our differences. I like broadening my horizons that way, through the fans and the things that trickle down from Richard’s career choices. what has been the most surprising to me about it all is that people seem to enjoy when I share my enjoyments with them. we can laugh and be silly on this blog, inadvertently breaking down stereotypes and prejudices at the same time, while getting to know each other through discussing Richard and his work. that’s what it’s all about for me. heading up The Thorin Project was a very meaningful experience, not only because of all the heartfelt and personal things we included in that book, but that we did it together. maybe it’s not realistic to hope that we can all be nice to each other, look out for each other, and just have fun as Richard implores. but I’m going to try. for my own sake.