So there’s been a lot happening the last few days, some of it centered around the most recent TopJoe server event. It’s also come to my attention that another “list” was made and accusations of racism.
I don’t think it’s a secret that I’ve written a number of TopJoe fics that have darker themes: underage, dubious consent, immoral!Joe (in an AU setting), unsafe sex, tentacles, etc.
I like dark, morally grey, weird shit. Those are things I like to write about. Not all the time (you may notice if you look at both of my profiles that I’ve also written femslash, Non-Romance Crossover fic, Character studies, Meet-Cutes, Slow Burns, etc). But yeah, I like weird stuff, and I try to tag for it extensively so that anyone who does not like the idea of the fic can avoid it. And then I write extensive author’s notes warning people about the content in greater detail so that you can backspace it if it’s not your thing.
But it seems that writing Joe in certain ways (again, always in AU settings for me) is unacceptable because depicting him in these scenarios can only be maliciously racist and is part of the larger systemic racism present in many societies.
Okay, so what if the premise of my most controversial fics were flipped? Joe is an underage Muslim teenager and begins a relationship with an older white man, or Nicky makes revenge porn to blackmail Joe, who has blackmailed older men to further his own career. I can totally understand why you wouldn’t like a fic with Joe in those roles I’ve described, and that’s why I tag so much. But a white man preying on a POC man can also be extremely problematic.
(Also I’d love to have it known that I don’t write Nicky as an uwu helpless white boy in the face of the aggressive brown man. If you think that’s in my story after reading it, please DM me, that was not my intention and I have edited my fics after getting feedback before.)
So if a Muslim man doing these things is feeding into dangerous stereotypes, a white man doing these “awful” things to a brown man is… what? Not reminding people that there’s a long, hateful history of white men being hyper-aggressive toward people of color? Both scenarios can be disturbing to certain people, and the repeated dismissal of that fact by the people in this fandom who only go after “TopJoe” fics is galling.
Nicky gets abused too much, and it should be Joe instead because we like him more and only people who are abused or whumped get sympathy. Does this sound right to you? Because this is a hottake I’ve heard making the rounds a few times. If you like extreme kinks and want to see Nicky, or Joe, or Andy, or Nile, or Booker, or whoever, being the focus of that, that’s up to you. Everyone has their reasons for what they want to write/read and I don’t know anyone here well enough to make assumptions about their motivations.
Also, I have never told people, not once, what they could or couldn’t write. I have never said that people should block another person’s content because I felt it was disgusting. Everyone’s thoughts and feelings and what might be disturbing to them is unique. It’s up to individuals to decide what content is safe for them to consume, and so to allow someone to do that for you, without an explanation as to why you should besides “here are the bad people”, is something I find extremely disturbing.
By all means, though. If you need to block me on ao3, please do so. I have absolutely no problem with that. The same goes for the #TopJoePornathon2021 event. There are several people that I have blocked on tumblr and ao3, and it’s not for personal reasons, but because their content makes me extremely uncomfortable.
However, I don’t believe the main architects of the most recent “discourse” are genuine. I have never spoken to any of them personally, and when I started writing “problematic” fics, not one of them approached me about it. Instead, that’s when the vagueblogging started (though to be fair, the originator of the “list” was not one of them. In fact, she left a lovely comment on one of my fics in October, so I guess I wasn’t that awful then- even with my ~problematic~ underage fic already published). I have since blocked many of them because of how they vagued me or because they’ve vagued people I know, or because I don’t think a constructive conversation with them is possible, for one reason or another.
I’ve always considered myself a reasonably open and friendly person. If you come to my DMs or my askbox, I won’t be dismissive or rude. I’ve thought a great deal about my own stories, about how I’m portraying the characters, since I’ve joined the fandom, and I really do invite the opinions of people who are respectful, who aren’t interested in condescending to me or assuming I must have bad intentions because of what I like to write.
But I don’t hate anyone in this fandom. I don’t know any of you, not really. We’re all strangers on the internet, no matter how well you think you know a person whose blog you follow or whose fic you read or whose art you like.
Emotions are high right now- there are so many awful things going on in the world and this feels so small in comparison. Especially stories written for a small fandom that are tagged for their potentially triggering content and rarely get over 3000 hits. So again, please block anything that you feel needs to be blocked. But don’t pretend that the current discourse is anything other than a tumblr performance.