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I was talking with a friend about how some fandoms are super fun to be a part of.  And some...not so much.  I regret to say, as much as I love Korra, it's not a particularly fun fandom for me.  Neither was Avatar.  (They're FAR from the only fandoms that suffer from the problems I'm going to be "talking" (word-vomiting) about, but they're the ones I've had the most experience with.)

Fandom has become a dirty word.  I have literally been accused of participating in fandom.  Wait, accused of what?  For me, the whole idea of "fandom" can be summed up in one word: excitement.  Man, I love getting excited about shit.  And I LOVE talking to other people who are excited about shit!  And then our excitement spirals around each other's and then we make awesome creations with that extreme excitement.  EXCITEMENT-BENDING!  This is what happens EVERY time I post a fanart, and I can feel your guys's excitement coming through the...internet-waves.  Those are real.  And it makes me want to create more.  That's how my excitement manifests -- in creation.  

So it's shocking and upsetting to me how many people spend their excitement energy propagating negativity.  Shipping wars, (WTF?!) whitewashing indignation, and even petty disapproval of artists' excitement (preoccupation, obsession, whatever lol) really upset me.  I understand, particularly with the whitewashing issue, that this is a piece of a greater social issue and that raising awareness is pretty important.  However, I'm not convinced that the kind of negativity that's frequently celebrated in fandom is really the best solution.  Are there any blogs that are dedicated to fan images of Korra that have the "right" skin-tone?  Even if there are, they are outshined utterly by negative ones.  

These comics.  <edit> I've been having links issues.  Hold on a sec while I figure this out...! </edit> Here and here

One represents the artist's standpoint, and one represents the critic's standpoint, and both are sadly fairly accurate of the kind of behavior that goes on constantly in fandom.  And yet no one has created a comic in which both parties explain their points of view and grow to understand where each other is coming from in a cool-headed mature fashion?  I don't really want to participate in the wider debate that features those comics so I'm not going to make my own, but if I did, it would go like this:

So you've done some fanart of Korra but her skin seems too light.  WHAT DO YOU DO?

This is "behaving like human adults."

"Hey, artist.  It seems like you've drawn Korra's skin lighter than it is in the show.  Whitewashing is a pretty important issue for me, so I wanted to let you know that I noticed this and it lessened my enjoyment of the picture."

"Hey, critic.  You're right, it is lighter than it is in the show.  I guess that issue wasn't on my mind when I was drawing this picture.  Thanks for bringing it to my attention."

...That's it.  Comic's over.  We don't need an asshole example.

Instead, both of these comics come from parties who KNOW that THEY ARE RIGHT, and the other one is WRONG.  And this is far from exclusively a race issue.  The entitlement and indignation of a "wronged" fan is frequently expressed for things like wrong costuming, unconvincing likeness, anatomical flaws, the characters being the wrong age, *cough*inappropriatebodyhair*cough*, or any number of complaints.  

One example of this persistent negativity in fandom is the widely accepted misuse of the word "though."  

If I had a nickel for every time someone ended a comment with "still a nice pic though." I would ...okay well to be fair probably it would only cover last month's unpaid utilities.  Maybe a semi-nice dinner.  But you see my point.  "Though" implies that there's a substantial flaw with the piece which prevents it from being, all told, "good."  But the thing is, the comments that usually end like this don't usually really have a critique.  They're usually like "he looks a lot older than in the show" or "I thought this was the other brother at first!"  

So then, why the "though?"  These are...not bad things.  You're right.  I draw them all looking a lot older than they look in the show.  I'm not trying to hide that.  And, yeah, you're right.  I draw Bolin looking SUPER different than he does in the show.  In fact, if I didn't state that it was him, you probably wouldn't know it.  And you're right.  I have drawn Korra's skin lighter than it is in the show.  I am not trying to hide ANY of these things for you.  I mean, there it is, right in front of you.  100% airtight proof that he looks about 10 years older than he does in the show.  I drew it like that.  So why would I stand next to my piece and get pissed off when you point out the choices I've made?

9 times out of 10, when I respond to comments that contain some form of criticism, the commenter is surprised that I acknowledge the perceived flaw and don't get pissy and defensive about it.  And on the (not-infrequent) occasions when I've confronted the commenter about their less-than-helpful wording which was overly aggressive or insulting, they usually reveal that they were anticipating me to either pretend the comment wasn't made, or get, you guessed it, pissy and defensive, and that they were compensating for my expected reaction by being overly forceful.  

And on multiple occasions, I've had some really lovely interactions with people which have started out accusatory and combative, and then when they realized I wasn't going to engage them that way, we both got over it and simply talked about the issue, whether it was whitewashing, anatomical inaccuracy, or premature shipping.  On all of these occasions I know for a fact we've both come away feeling not only neutral about the exchange, but POSITIVE and feeling sappy gooey warmth towards mankind that we could have such a civil and helpful conversation.  

I cherish these interactions.  It shows me that the fandom is NOT made up of ignorant butt-hurt children, rather, people who have accepted a certain code of conduct based on the assumption that the other party is going to get pissy and defensive.  People who are completely capable of having a sincere conversation about an issue when presented with the chance, it's just that we're so USED to handling it with negativity.  

"Though" is one such example of propagating a standard of negativity without thinking about what it means.  To the "though"-ers:  I'm not trying to call you out.  I know that you're not trying to be negative or insulting, and that the "though" doesn't come from malice.  All I'm trying to say is that "though" is, by definition, stating that you have pointed out a flaw in the work.  It is putting a negative spin on something that needs not be negative.

And to the artists: a lot of the "ending the perpetuation of negativity" responsibility lies with us.  Sure, sometimes commenters are prematurely combative, but if you the artist have a history of getting defensive then there's no wonder.  You created the piece, so accept their associations, even if it's a critique, and even if it's just "that looks like my cousin Gary!  I hate him!"  One critique doesn't mean you have to change it, or shy away from drawing it again.  However, if 20 different individuals say that it looks like their hated cousin Gary, then you can "feel out" if it bothers you that this association limits the enjoyment of the piece for so many people.  It doesn't have to.  But if it does, then maybe it's time to tweak the piece, or adjust your process for the next one.

Well.  This journal has visited the farthest corners of the map of what could possibly be considered a "point."  All I mean is, this negativity, it's everywhere and we are desensitized to it.  Even the small things that we don't bat an eye at, like saying "though" at the end of a comment, are a symptom of the overall unquestioned code of negativity in fandom.  If you have read any of my other preachy journals you will notice that I am merely applying my standard soapboxes of "positivity is more helpful than negativity" and "think about what you say" to the concept of fandom, but I still think it's worth saying.
Add a Comment:
operaghost Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2013  Professional
Your post made me think. Isn't fan art artists view of the subject that in a way inspired ? Adding your own touch to the figure and say 'thank you' this way to original artists/creators.  I have never understood people, who go out to judge artists, who do any form of fan art. So what if artist's style or vision changes some details - it's FAN art, not official promo picture.

I have done very little fan art, but i guess one of my most commented (and it never made it to DA toug) - negatively - was  painting "all so positive" Enya (yes, that irish singer-composer) as gothic, gloomy and eerie (Because Enya has some gloomy tracks that inspired me). To that image I got also death threats and comments that I am sick to have dared to see Enya demonic not angelic that 99.99% of fan arts do.  I found it funny. Although must say Enya-team must have found my works funny too as they sent me signed autograph for my works back on days. And that contrast really said it all.

And to be honest artist should have also balls and attitude not to let the self-appointed-world-moderators judge your art. If you see your fave book character as stick figure and red eyes, be it so. No random internet hero has a thing to say. 

Whole different thing is if feedback is constructive. Be it positive or negative. Constructive feedback is golden to every artist and I agree with the end of the journal. Changing should come, when there's reason to not  just because some random dude doesn't like it.

Pardon my English. Not my forte.
godeyes Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
i agree with all of your points really but i have one question thats been bothering me.........what the heck is a ship? is it like the one that floats?
jaytpk Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
A ship is when you want two people to be together.

A relation'ship'
taeMoonie Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2012  Student Digital Artist
It means "pairing". "Ship" is just the chopped off piece of "relationship".
fictograph Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012  Professional Filmographer
What? The Internet? People saying shit because they think the more trouble they stir up, the more attention they'll get? What?

Honestly, I think race is more about culture than skin color or skull structure. For example, Avatar takes Asian and Inuit influence in its food, its costume, it's architecture. Who gives a shit if someone didn't reference a lighting shot?
airagorncharda Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012
You are a really skilled writer. It's refreshing to see so much well thought out and nicely polished text. Thank you. ^__^
LadyBolet Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This is why I don't pay attention to the fandom audiences (especially on Deviantart) anymore. There's still really cool people in fandoms, but when it's bad it's horrid. :<
Nikki0417 Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2012  Student General Artist
I just got done ranting the Avatar fandom on my tumblr before reading this. I wish I would have read this first, I could have saved myself some typing and just linked to this. XD I couldn't agree more.
lychi Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2012
Same feelings here. Negativity seems especially rampant on places like Tumblr where people might feel like they can say whatever the heck they want since they're reblogging things onto their own personal page-- without consideration that the OP can still see their comments, and whatever impact their negativity may have on the rest of the community. It's pretty baffling how some people feel entitled to pass judgement on the quality of fanmade works, and to do so in such an indignant manner, as if aspiring artists and writers OWE them!

It's a real shame that "fandom" has a bad connotation (especially "fangirls"). I love what fandom can be-- a bunch of people being excited and inspired together, and producing and sharing creative content because of that positivity!

Anyway, all that aside, thanks for this entry! Glad I can relate to it.
fictograph Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012  Professional Filmographer
Lol. Hi.
lychi Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2012
Haha hey you! Talk about random.

I heard your new place is really big! I'll have to drop by sometime~ :D
fictograph Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2012  Professional Filmographer
I was like, "well isn't it ironic that Cristie read this! LOL"

And yes, yes you do. You can WALK here. I have nothing to do this weekend, so you should come over.
BlueMaxx86 Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2012
I agree so much. I don't think the self-righteous realize that they're coming off as just another bad example of an upset, can't-please-this-nerd kind of nerd in a fandom by ironically and indirectly making light of the serious subjects of racism and sexism and the instutionalization of. They hop on an unnecessary soapbox to say the obvious, or something beyond trivial, and make it a crusade. They're wanting of progression, but I have to tell you, alienating scrutiny, condescension, and lack of reciprocated dialogue, logic, and empathy is not very progressive at all. And like you said, addressing a problem someone has with a work is perfectly fine. It is a critique that is telling without accusing, it showing you care about the work without hating on anything or anyone. Disliking something is rational, hating something can be irrational, whether in the sense of hyperbole or not. Trivial matters that are supposed to be in the realm of fun are mucked up by someone who feels that your stylings of an outfit has too many buttons, I imagine, doesn't give artists a boost of creativity or deserved validation of talents.

Though... ;) should keep up the good work anyway. You're an incredible artist.
medievallass Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Well said :icontoerning: I really agree there is a lot of negativity in the Legend of Korra fandom right now. I hope things will calm down as soon.

Hayley :floating:
kyubiefox Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2012
A little late on commenting about this, but...

I'd like to thing people are more mature than that the majority of the time... People should be free to draw what they like without it getting bashed for not being canon enough or anything. I draw what I like... but, I know how much such negativity can hurt, especially when it's in regards to something you really care for or put a lot of effort into.

I think -- er, hope -- that this sort of thing will die down a bit once Korra is a little less new, since details about the Korraverse aren't exactly set in stone yet, and that seems to make people want to get all up-in-arms and debate-y more quickly? Or something. I don't really have an explanation for this sort of behavior. I'm not very experienced in being on the receiving end of it, and I know for sure I'm not on the other end of that either.

Hope you feel better about it, though, and just so you know -- I like how you draw Bolin, I don't care about whether or not you give him body hair. I like how you draw Korra and Mako too. I've been showing off your stuff to a friend of mine and we both are pretty much in love with your work. : )
tguillot Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2012  Student General Artist
I generally dont make enough fanart to get involved in fandoms because I know that my skills and syle and coloring methods would probably make something or someone look really different than they do, and I know that if someone within the fandom sees it who would be rude sees it, I'll have one hell of a time about it. Igenerally try to stay out of them because I dont enjoy those people who are generally really aggressive.
I do participate in fandoms by sometimes critiquing a peice when I see something that could be changed or that could have been done to make it look better.
And I generally do it in a polite way. usually I dont see the overly-defensive artist stereotype though. Usually I see moreof the overly aggressive critique-er.

Ive recently done a few avatar fanarts, because like many, korra has reignited my passion for the show and its people, but honestly I dont want to post it because of this. I know im not generally as well-seen as alot of people on da, but if it does happen, I'd be upset. Flamers irritate me.

Sorry i'm kinda ranting, lol. ^^;
Keyshe54 Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2012   Traditional Artist
Ah I hate it when I hear of people acting all butthurt over a fandom or anther's options in general. For the record when you drew Bolin, I knew who it was right away, even if your style was different then the animation, I saw him.
When you started talking about "whitewashing" I was thinking it had to do with people still bitching about some live-action-movie, I really did face palm when it was brought up about skin tones in fanart.
All I was thinking was "so what? Why dose it HAVE to be 'whitewashing'?" Why dose it have to be an issue?! I loved your example comics by the way XD

I sadly do think I have been a little too annoyed/butthurt before when I heard of others talking about a fandom I was in with what I considered false information, (I probably was right though on it) but reading this has made me consider and be inspired to work on that. lol. Thank you for that.
Noe-Izumi Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I agree totally, people need to grow up. A fandom is for fun, for enjoyment! But human beings love to cause a problem out of everything...
arswiss Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Oh and to add... I am now legitimately scared to make Korra art. :(
arswiss Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Ok, I commented on this journal a few days ago, not even aware that this was out there.
NOW I KNOW AND I SEE IT EVERYWHERE. On almost every Korra picture there is some kind of "Whitewashing!" comment. It's making me sick!
I grew up with Avatar and loved it, now all this Korra drama is ruining it the second time around!

And ever since you linked that blog to me... my blood has boiled.
elmenora Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2012  Student General Artist
I never noticed a grumpy/uncivil/obsessive/whatever fandom during Avatar's run... but I've definitely noticed it with Korra. It's enough to make me wonder if some fans are getting defensive about the whole sequel-ness of it or something.
toerning Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2012
Who even knows. I was sort of "aware" of it during Avatar but I was never actually privy to it. Though if it was anything like the shit that's going down for Korra, it's no wonder we have a bad rap. It's fucking embarrassing is what it is.
elmenora Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2012  Student General Artist
Yeah. It's a shame that such an awesome show could have such awful fans.
ShimmerStar Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2012   Digital Artist
Oh goodness, preach. I saw where one of those sites devoted to Korra's skin color actually RECOLORED an image to make it "right"....and that made me legitimately scared to draw Korra fanart because I am shit at picking appropriate colors. HA.
toerning Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2012
That's the root of why I hate all this negative bullshit. It's suppressing creativity! You're literally afraid of doing fanart!!!! THAT IS SO ABSURD! (not saying your feelings are absurd, they're totally natural and I have them to, it's absurd that we're made to feel that way by all this aggression.)

Makes me so sad. :no:
ShimmerStar Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2012   Digital Artist
No I completely agree with you! It IS ridiculous! I am a grown ass woman and I am terrified of a fandom. HA. It really makes me sad because I drew a LOT of fanart from the first series, but the fandom wasn't as ragey unless you got into the shipping wars (which I managed to steer clear of thank goodness).
Ningen-Demonai Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2012
I never participated in the fandom, of which I was glad for, because I've heard all sorts of horror stories regarding shipping wars and white-washing. It's actually really sad, since this is such a wonderful show, and I've seen many who were put off of it because the more eccentric people of fandom scared them away.
TellerofTales Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2012  Student Digital Artist
I think your art is amazing and I love your Korra pieces! I think it's such a shame that people get hung up on silly things and can't just appreciate the art for what it is without getting offended because you depicted something differently than they would have.
writerontherun Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2012
I agree 100%.
rabby Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2012
I think my ex killed the Harry Potter fandom for me when her shipping got to be all she talked about and I felt really alienated. O_O; I mean, why should something from a made-up universe have such a big (and negative) impact on the real world relationships we have?

I've been lucky enough in ATLA and Korra to avoid shipping wars because I just don't care that much - I ship who I want to ship (and that means I ship Sokka with, like, 3 different people). And if you wanted to take it a step further, you could even say that ATLA itself said No to shipping wars in a way - in that it DID go and pair Sokka with two different people, kinda weaving it in there between each other. (Sokka, you dawg. XD) But generally I'm able to sneak over to my preferred ships when I want to and to avoid all the rest of it. People who wine about ships I usually attribute to being young and infantile, so it's hard to give them real credence.

In art... I think Korra herself is lookin' pretty "white" in PLENTY of scenes. And I mean, why does Water Tribe have blue eyes? Are people arguing that that is a smaller way of white-washing the Inuit culture Water Tribe is inspired by? I don't know, and I really don't want to know. If someone draws Korra looking white, what usually happens with me is... I do not notice. And then I see comments that say, "WHAT ON EARTH SHE IS TOO PALE," and I'm like, ORLY? **scrolls back up** ... "Yeah I guess?" and I think a lot of people are all "I gotta be the first one to say it! HA!" like it's some sort of competition. Whyyyy~?! It's so annoying. I'm more interested in Korra as a character, not as a skin tone - I respect that she is darker-skinned, and I love it (sooo pretty), but I'm not going to jump on anyone about it. I mean, my boyfriend is Italian/Filipino, so people often have a hard time figuring out what ethnicity he is. He's obviously not white, but he's pale for Filipino. In high school someone thought he was black. O_O; What? But you know, he didn't care, and still doesn't. And I think he's the most handsome thing with two legs, and I love his skin tone (darker than my gamer-girl-tan), but I'm not jumping - NOBODY IS JUMPING - on anybody if they say they think he looks white, or pale, or ANYTHING. He just IS.

Why can't Korra just be, too? She's making statements, yes, about North American perceived beauty, but oddly, I'm more excited that she has hips and muscles. Maybe I live somewhere that is very culturally diverse? I don't notice colour - probably in part because I'm white, I'll admit it. I have hips. I have no muscles. I like her darker skin tone (it looks faboo on my bf, it looks faboo on her). I have whitey-mc-white skin. But most excited about her hips.

I guess I'll probably hear more of the arguments if I start posting more art, but in the meantime I'm most grateful for your post as a reminder to artists to remember patience and to embrace it and help others embrace it. Why isn't THAT what the Avatar-verse is more about? Teaching and sharing understanding of one another's unique points of view?
MissPaperJoker Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
I could say a lot about this issue and praise you for your good grasp of it, but IŽll refrain. Just because it was probably already said and I donŽt need to repeat things here.

I just wanted to tell you that I like the way you do the things you do.


Over and out.
JialingPan Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I have to say first and foremost, thank you for actually taking time to post all this up in a cohesive post because it really echoes my sentiments and to some extent, my disgust at how ridiculous the negative side of the Korra fandom has become. I adore the shows and I adore the characters, but I take so much effort to avoid all the ridiculous negativity that its actually getting to me.

The irony of the white washing to me is that, while I am very sure that is the issue, the thing about Avatar is the way the characters are drawn, leads to ambiguity on their 'true' racial background even if there's a lot of it based in the real world. To me as someone brought up in Asia and who lived in a part of Asia where ATLA pulls a lot of roots from, until the advent of the tourism, we never had much contact with Caucasians or other people of colours much. But we have our own people of so called 'darker skin tone' though we hardly refer to them as people of 'colour'. They were just of a different ethnic race to me and something a lot of people don't seem to get is, a lot of artist draw from what is around them.

Am I as an Asian, supposed to get angry everytime someone draws a character like Mako or Zuko looking like a Caucasian man with dark hair even though to me they are both clearly Asian that probably draw a lot of ethnic lines with the Chinese? Of course not, it may not even be intentional on some people's parts, you draw from what you know/most familiar with. Much as people would disagree, perhaps because of my upbringing, I personally don't see Korra as an African American descent person but that's just a personal opinion and it pisses me off to have people make it such an issue. I highly doubt the creators even had this problem in mind and thus stuck to a manner of ambiguity which the Japanese anime-esque style allows.

I guess the internet is just breeding louder whiners by the day. Its not even stuck to just one fanbase, its almost inherent in every other fanbase. I feel as the days go by, those who shout the matter of 'ignorance' are perhaps for more ignorant themselves. There's also the artist perspective geez. To me I think before you want to bitch at an artist about their choices of colour, go and look up ethnic skin colour bases and colour theory first for Christ's sake. People of darker skin tone cast off different colours under different lighting as opposed to those with fair skin. The darker it gets, sometimes it doesn't even cast highlights of different colours, it can go straight to blue or stark white and this affects an artists' depiction. Sometimes this doesn't even look flattering so some tweaking occurs. Would you rather have over specified accuracy but have the picture be unappealing in the end because of horrible colour combination and light clashes?

I should stop or this is going to become a rant fest on my part. I personally feel like even on tumblr and dA, I;ve seen your responses to these people and I think you've handled them very well. A lot better than most people would considering the amount of untactful nonsense thrown your way for it. I'm a firm believer of courtesy being a good way to bypass unnecessary unpleasantness despite opposing views. So thumbs up to you for that, and this post : )

Also, I love your artwork and I'm glad it doesn't stop you from wanting to draw more of these things despite the negative backlash that has happened every so often!
MacCarrickLuv Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I never see flaws in art, just different perceptions of ones view. To put any kind of leash, or law to creation to itself it limiting and opressive. You handled yourself in a very mature way and I resonate with being in a loving place at all times.
toerning Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2012
Cheers, friend. I wish more people shared your visions. Unfortunately, thinking anything other than your own opinion is a clear-cut "flaw" is a chronic condition of being a human. Not to say that it can't be fought, but most people don't even know they do it. Clearly you're enlightened ;)
Mudora Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2012  Student General Artist
I'm a huge fan artist myself. But I already intentionally... like REALLY... move away from any kind of canon content, and I get a lot of crap for it sometimes.

I'll also admit, I did a "though" comment once. It was on Tumblr. But it wasn't because I didn't know who the characters were, it was because it was a domesticated Korra pic... and it didn't have a lot of context, so it didn't feel true to Korra's character. But, I still feel bad because I could have worded my uncomfortable to the pic a lot better. Korra already defies gender roles, so why put her back in one? I guess... either way, I definitely could have handled it better, and I feel bad about the comment and I can't take it back.

Especially, considering how my own fan base treats my stuff. Everything should be open to interpretation as well as criticism. But it's hard when the fans are set on their own vision of what your fandom is.
toerning Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2012
Oh no, there's nothing at all wrong with using "though" in a comment that actually expresses a critique! It's a very useful sort of a "softening" word, like "maybe." All I'm saying is that people tend to throw it into a comment which contains absolutely no critique, thereby creating a negative critique where this is none.

For instance- if I said "this cupcake has sprinkles." It's totally neutral. Optimist that I am, I would even read it with a cheery tone. But if I were to say "this cupcake has sprinkles. Still a good cupcake, though." That's the shit I'm talking about. Because now, the sprinkles are suddenly a bad thing, detracting from the enjoyment of the piece.

When it's intentionally used, I have no problem with the word. But I receive SO many comments with though on the end that make no sense at all, even ones with COMPLIMENTARY first sentences, and so it's an example of the kind of pervasive negativity we don't even notice any more.


I am such a nerd.
Fionabus Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2012
Kudos lady, that was a good post. If you like fan-art, you like fan art. It's fun to draw characters you're excited about. And we love it.

BTW, that comic was brilliant.....
toerning Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2012
Haha I'm so glad you've been enjoying it! Fanart is one of my greatest pleasures in life, and I'll be damned if a bunch of nay-sayers are going to ruin it for me! I"LL BE BACKKKKK

Fionabus Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2012
Yarrr! And we love your fanart. After I saw the ones you did for How to Train Your Dragon, I went out and rented the movie!

Now I'm going to run away and amerce myself in Korra.....
noriko-kikhio Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
I am personally silent a lot of the time and just fav things I truly appreciate or get a kick out of. I'm lazy in this way but from time to time I will spend hours giving comments and critiques. Let me just say, I have always loved how you owned the characters. You brought them to your style and you weren't afraid to put your own spin on things. If I wanted to see something just like the series style of whatever fandom, I would go get posters or prints. The great thing about artistic fandom is the creative expansion on someone's characters or story. It's so fun to see the scenarios others come up with and the ultimate payout is when you are pulled into the emotion of the piece.

I totally agree with your points here and admit that a few times I was guilty of getting defensive. I think it's part of growing as an artist though too. We have to learn to take critisicm properly. It's not a negative thing in 97% of the cases, it's meant to help. Fresh eyes see better, and many times we can improve composition or color or even story through these critiques.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Your journals always bring to light good topics of discussion and are rather enjoyable.
toerning Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2012
That is really amazing to hear, thank you so much for taking the time to let me know! I enjoy bringing the characters into "my" world, so to speak. As my sister points out, a lot of this involves drawing all my male characters looking like my roommate hahaha :heart:
DumonchelleDraws Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2012
You're saying nice words and all, and your commentary makes sense in other areas and I agree, but you're hitting home on the comment of negativity being something we're desensitized to.
Because in your nice words, you're also saying people who are angry about whitewashing should calm down because you don't think it's the right way to handle it, when you have no right to. Which threw me off the rest of your post to be honest.

What you think is an appropriate response to that doesn't matter, because you don't get to decide that. Whitewashing, whether intended to be or not, is a tool in systematic oppression, and it is a hell of a lot more perpetuation of negativity than just about everything you mentioned here otherwise by a longshot. Stopping whitewashing in the first place should be the top of the agenda if you want everyone in the fandom to be less negative. And people have every right to be upset about it.

You responded like a champ when confronted with people being angry about whitewashing in your work. Great, that's fabulous you get that that's a good response, and awesome you mentioned it here. But tone policing is not okay. And not many people respond like you do even to the most calm and collected of comments on whitewashing.

Case in point: your link in the comments to the korraisnottan blog. You say it's purpose is to 'flame' artists, and yet the post you linked to is in direct response to an already combative post which seems to be a completely missed point.
In fact the inherent negativity of whitewashing a character in the first place seems to be missing in the discussion here.
Why exactly, should they not respond in kind and defend themselves? Because they might hurt someone's feelings, and whether they were deeply offended or not doesn't matter? What then, do you think whitewashing does psychologically in the first place? :/ That one should be pretty self explanatory.
Whether the artist intends it to have that effect or not, it does.

You said yourself it's a greater social issue. We're obviously not talking about something worthy of a thorough 'critique', because it's not about aesthetic choices.

And the frustrating thing is, the original offense of whitewashing itself is often TOTALLY OVERLOOKED for the same reason you're putting out here: TONE. Which is exactly why it's a problem, whether you meant it in that respect or not. You may not overlook things simply because of how they're said, but way too many others do.

Re: asking if there are any blogs that are dedicated to fanart with the right skintones: does a fanart friday.
Every friday they post all fanart that depicts the characters right.
This blog however is one of the blogs a lot of fandoms have a problem with for being 'too negative', and they get a lot of shit for it. Despite the fact that a. they only get truly snappy when provoked further, b. they only address the character, specifically not the artist for a reason and c. they never call someone a racist from the get-go.

Like it or not, this issue is almost always taken negatively, no matter the circumstances. I've seen the mods there post perfectly helpful criticisms, they post tutorials, and followers, when the mods respond with their usual 99.9% of the time sarcastic commentary, will often take up the spot of long winded explanation and critique.
I've done it myself, posted long winded hopefully helpful critiques, totally calmly, and gotten chewed out for it.

Thing is it doesn't matter how it's said more often than not. And not once have I ever seen them call 'RACIST' upon initial post. People still just lose their shit anyway. It's the nature of the thing. And starting off 'maturely' doesn't often make a difference in response. Saying they should do this as if there is only a certain response allowable here only furthers oppression, and gives people 'a reason not to listen'.

I've got a few links that would probably be useful to read, if you're not familiar with the idea of tone-policing: Defenses of bigotry I: Tone policing
Damnlayoffthebleach: FAQ
toerning Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2012
OH ALSO I didn't mean to ignore your helpful tip about fanart fridays- thank you, that makes me happy!
toerning Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2012
Thank you for truly going out of your way to post your opinion. I'm not anywhere near as well-educated or motivated on this topic as you are, but I certainly have been having my own internal dialogue about how I should be handling it. My own ignorance is almost a physical entity at this point, and while I have had no experiences that would lead me to educate myself, it matters to me that an entire group of people not be excluded from enjoying my artwork because I've unintentionally excluded and insulted them.

As to your specific comments- I apologize if it seemed like I was saying you didn't have a right to get riled up. You have EVERY right to get riled up. You should see me in my kitchen getting riled up about how people insist upon drawing Korra so skinny, and that doesn't even compare in magnitude. What I was trying to say, which I've said somewhere else in this thread and probably worded it better, was that if something is important to you, I believe it's worthwhile to find a palatable way to say it, or else whoever you're saying it to is NOT going to listen.

And with this fact being proved a billion times daily on the internet, it seems to me that blogs like KorraIsNotTan (and MANY others on all sorts of different topics) aren't at all interested in getting through to the artist.

It's fine to not have that as a mission statement. But I'm hard-pressed to find a mission statement that is compatible with the outcome. Awareness? But snark and negativity is not necessary for awareness-raising and in fact it is detrimental because it breeds so much dissent and defensiveness. And so it seems like their only to express indignation.

I wouldn't dream of trying to tell the people who run the blog that it's not enough of a reason, but it all comes back to my gooey, idealistic view of the world in which people handle conflict with grace. It seems to me that a blog with so much anger couldn't possibly be about trying to work towards a solution, instead, it's just about getting mad and making people feel bad.

All-told, I recognized that race was a very volatile issue to use as an example for my feelings about negativity, and I did so anyway because A) it's a very well-known source of discord within the fandom and I thought it would be a good standard example and B) I am trying to educate myself on the best way to handle it. Race is a very new element in my work, and I'm still figuring out the vocabulary and etiquette so I do really apologize if I rubbed you the wrong way here. I know I have a long way to go, so thank you for helping me out with some of the pitfalls of this journal.

p.s. Sorry, which link are you talking about? I don't think I linked to any specific articles other than the comics in the Journal, but I know I did link to the front page. Just making sure my links aren't messed up- that wouldn't do!
DumonchelleDraws Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2012
The link thing! I did find it, however my brain is just fuzzy. You actually linked to the blog's front page like you thought, so don't mind me. This post: [link] just took up the entire page at the time I read, so I thought it was a direct link haha. Sorry! It is a good example of what I talked about either way I suppose, so at least there is that? Lol.
DumonchelleDraws Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2012
Hey I appreciate you responding to me so thoughtfully. And I'm glad my commentary could be helpful. No need to apologize to me, I'm white, and not really affected by this directly. I just want to stand in solidarity with people of color who have that right to be angry and handle it how they see fit, because the nature of those conversations are frighteningly volatile, and oftentimes downright dehumanizing. And the scariest part is white people are 99% of the time totally unaware of it, and upholding it in seemingly benign ways. I used to do it too.

I definitely get what you're saying about not being able to see how it would be helpful. When I first stumbled upon blogs like that, I also had trouble seeing past what I saw as only negativity at first.
But again I say, whether it seems useful to you or not, being calm and considerate does not work in this case like it might in others. It may work for you, and me, but the experience of systematically oppressive racism is not something we, as white people, would be aware of. There is no way for us to judge this unless we listen to POC on the subject. The number of times POC have to sit down and argue over this has to be maddening. They're only human.
I watch an extremely small number of blogs on tumblr run by people of color. Not by choice, I would follow more, but the level of outright hatred thrown at these people with no rhyme or reason is horrendous. The number of times a day stuff like this is provoked on them, literal actual harassment with no prompt, and blatant ignorance from administration in response, it's horrifying. And it's just not fair for us to say what is effective or not a response to any kind or level of racism. Again, we don't have those experiences to judge fairly by.

The ultimate truth is that people of color are the experts here, because they have lived it. If they're responding to something to do with racism with what seems to us needless anger and negativity, the white experience has no place there, and also is oblivious to those problems and experiences, thus has no say in the matter. If you don't understand the reasoning, the best thing to do is listen until you do.

If you want to respond to this calmly to other white people, that is your choice, and it's mine as well. But again, pressing that ideal on people who are oppressed by this, when you're not affected by it in the same way, it's not fair. I get being all about treating others respectfully, I certainly try to do that as well and I think it's of utmost importance, but oppressed people, especially people of color, don't have the luxury of getting to expect an equally respectful response, nor the luxury of expecting people to listen to them either way.

In rare cases, such as with you, it does work to be calm. But when it comes down to it, given how often this happens, it reaches a point past all fairness to say that responding with the full force of their emotions over it is ineffective. We wouldn't actually know what does or does not work against racism. We haven't lived it to know.

And truthfully, it DOES work for POC to respond however they feel necessary (one example, but there are other cases! [link]) Sometimes abrupt confrontational responses are the only way to get people's attention on this matter. The fact that you had so many responses that were shocked by your calmness on the subject speaks volumes on this. It's unexpected to be HEARD, no matter how it's said.

I can't seem to find the link I was talking about earlier! It wasn't your comic links however, it was a link in one of your responses to comments to a specific blog link. I'll look again when I get home and send it along if I find it! (on an old dinosaur computer right now haha)

Also I wanted you to know, that race is also something I have only recently begun to deal with in my work as well, you're not alone! It's a scary stumbling mess at first, but it's really important to be self aware, and you totally get that, which is awesome! Especially in this line of work. Illustration is ultimately a part of the media after all.
So, it's awesome you're very receptive to this. It seems a little overwhelming and scary, it was for me too and still is as I'm still learning too, but the great thing is there are resources for allies all over the web. Reading about this stuff really helped me, and if you're interested in educating yourself more, this is a great place to start: [link]
At the bottom there are links and titles of books and resources you can find to do so. Furthermore, blogs like that exist all over tumblr. They talk about all points of racism, from the subtly destructive to blatant white supremacy, and provide even more resources. One really excellent one, that has fully well written and educational posts: [link]

Anyway I hope that all helps. And I'm glad we could talk about it. I really respect you as an artist, and truthfully I do agree with a lot of other points in this post. Especially the call to artists to take responsibility for the perpetuation of negativity. It seems like that is something college does a really excellent job of ripping out of you, haha. The excitement!bending was pretty magical as well.

ps- YAY! Fanart fridays are awesome and inspiring, I hope you think so too. They especially like posting about korra at every chance it seems :D
toerning Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2012
I have to say, I'm honestly impressed with your level of savvy. Seriously, to be able to talk about this stuff, having clearly educated yourself, and to not just learn enough to not feel guilty, well, you give me hope for white people hahaha.

Usually at this point in a comment exchange I would gracefully agree with everything you've just said and call it a day, so please consider it a compliment to your intellect and comportment when I don't play the yes-man right now.

Having read your comment, I agree with everything you've said. I think your points about white people having had no experiences to understand the kind of constant systematic oppression that minorities face every day are particularly spot-on. And despite all that agreeing and back-patting at the good work we've done today, I still cannot overlook the blatant negativity that is CELEBRATED on KorraIsNotTan, and many other blogs. I was taking another look today, and one particular quote from Deedee stood out to me: "But the “harsh”ness gets people talking. If were were nice about it, people could ignore us easier."

It makes me so sad that they are aware of the mean slant of the blog, and yet continue to do it. Yes I do think the blog gets more traffic because it's snarky, and you're right, many people have written in saying that they found the blog helpful and it inspired them to educate themselves further. But the vast maturity of the responses it inspires are even more angry and immature than the stuff they are posting. How can that be constructive?

I know I cannot judge what is and is not appropriate in these cases. But on a simply mathematical level, I don't think there's anything wrong with me thinking about the effectiveness of a message, any message, being spread. And on a level that has nothing at all to do with race, I will never believe that negativity is EVER more effective than positivity.

I'm sorry I keep nailing this home, it's just that negativity and the deterioration of human behavior on the internet are really important issues to me, and, just like all these blogs, I'm just trying to do my part to represent an issue that I see as pretty critical.
DumonchelleDraws Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2012
Hey, it's cool. I think that issue in and of itself, deterioration of human behavior behind the anonymity of the internet, is definitely an important factor to be critical and mindful of. And I'm impressed with your receptiveness to my commentary. I think this is the first time I've not gotten someone who just whittles down to annoyance and outright denial no matter what lol.

I just want to make it clear that I'm not arguing this fact to 'get cookies' as it were, or pats on the back (though I'm not saying that to throw the kindness you shared in your face, your kindness is much appreciated), and I'm not doing it to accuse you of anything either.
None of this is accusatory, I'm just pointing out some undesired effects certain opinions and statements have.
The sad truth is, this kind of stuff should be common knowledge, but society prevents that in a major way, I'm just trying to do my part to spread some of what I've learned.
So, I'm going to continue with my point, but again, not for the sake of argument, or to get you to 'admit my rightness' or some such thing (because I mean honestly I still have a lot to learn myself). I'm continuing for the sake of trying to help facilitate safety, understanding and respect on the part of POC.

So I definitely get what you're saying, hatred breeds hatred, simple and it makes sense on a basic level. But that statement is working from one very broadened point of view and kind of sets aside a few important things, and I only say this because you specifically mentioned blogs like korraisnottan to exemplify this. Not saying anything is wrong with you or the point against negativity in general, but that the equation you're backing is very overly simplified in this case and is oddly placed and seemingly kind of ignores the initial aggression in the first place. I'm using your direct example, of looking through the korraisnottan blog in this assumption. Which is basically, I assume from what I've gathered so far, something like this: korraisnottan mouths off at artist for whitewashing> artist mouths off in return > nothing constructive is seemingly gained. Thus korraisnottan is at fault for perpetuating anger.
But I haven't seen any posts from you thusfar discussing the much worse problem that is the initial whitewashing. Maybe you assume this is a well understood fact, but that assumption causes a few problems.

It's great you're supporting positivity and understanding in general. But you can't isolate the act of whitewashing from racism, and even seemingly simple acts like that are still microaggressions because they back something as violent and genocidal in tendency as racism. The artist who whitewashes is not often purposely being aggressive no, but they are obliviously perpetuating a system that is. So by associating your specific view to an inherently racist problem, it's in turn supportive of the negativity. Because it's not possible to talk about a response to a specifically racist practice and say that your opinion on it is separate from race. The act it responds to in itself is just that, a racist practice. Everything about it is tied up in race. They can't be separated. And racism is not any kind of simple hatred or anger, I'm sure we can all agree on that.
Racism does not deserve delicate treatment or simplification.

So it boils down to disagreeing with anger in response to a racist practice then. I sent you before to a write-up about tone-policing, so I won't repeat it and be all redundant, and you repeated that fact yourself just now anyway and obviously displayed a good understanding of it.

Though it's not only that. 'Being nice about it' is giving in to another form of oppression, and saying it in any way shape or form pertaining to arguments about racist behavior is a problem, because it supports easily shifting the blame on the POC and also because again, racist behavior. Why should systematically oppressed people be nice to the people that are perpetuating that oppression?
It happens so often that is literally asking them to sacrifice their mental health. That is the part that is not constructive, helpful, or right. You actually end up supporting MORE negativity by even implying this, because the aggression against POC in the first place is SO FREQUENT their aggression in response is absolutely microscopic in comparison. (Take the number of anti-whitewashing blogs and compare it to the number of whitewashed artworks they post every day, for example. And that doesn't even include the ones unseen.)
People take this idea, hatred only feeds hatred, and read it as support of tone-policing no matter how benign it seems. (I.E. the flood of anonymous tone-policing asks on korraisnottan's blog immediately after you linked here. Not blaming you at all, you can't control what people do of course, but the effect it has is important to be aware of)
I'd also assume by this, you would be suggesting a supportive educating response from POC in regards to it instead of anger, which is fair in the case of non-oppressed people. But asking this from an oppressed individual is asking people who are already demanded on a daily basis to educate the people working against them, out of a sick sense of entitlement, to do it anyway. And repeatedly, hundreds of times over, only to more often than not, have those people turn around and deny it or throw it in their face and/or use it against them. We are not entitled to education from POC. And even if they were 'polite' about it it would again, be used against them more often than not.

So I will put it this way. Their anger against whitewashing, as with other forms of racism, is self-preservation. And it deserves to be treated as such.

If you want to say that 'hatred in general should be prevented' and that 'hatred is not constructive and only breeds hatred' to a large group of followers who value your opinion, I think it would be a lot more helpful and less detrimental to make sure to separate the whitewashing from this simplified equation rather than associate it, and specify instead that the act of whitewashing itself is the initial source of hate. That is the place to stop the perpetuation of negativity from happening in the fandom. Not the angry responses to it. That anger after the fact, in response to something that comes from a violently oppressive system, is the effect. And there's no real fairness or justice in placing the blame and responsibility for respectfulness and education on those who are forced to fight it or die by any measure.
toerning Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2012
*insert lengthy sequence about my respect for you. We've established that we're both enjoying this conversation and not trying to be argumentative, right? Totally.*

Huh, you're completely right. I have been thinking of the reaction to whitewashing as the source of hatred, instead of taking into account the actual act of whitewashing. You hit the nail on the head: I think whitewashing as a "bad thing" sort of goes without saying, but unfortunately, as everything we've been talking about demonstrates, it does not. But in the case of tracing the hate back to whitewashing, where does it end? You can trace why we whitewash, and you can trace the roots of racism and you can trace it backwards all day, but that doesn't change the fact that people today right now are making the choice to perpetuate rudeness and, excuse the sandbox language, bad behavior.

Something from your comment really stuck out to me and reminded me of some of your past points: "Racism does not deserve delicate treatment or simplification." I can see now that the sheer scale and ridiculous persistence of racism in modern culture is so absurd that it almost DEMANDS an absurd response- if only to establish that this extremeness of prejudice in this sophisticated a culture is inherently unbelievable. But I also think that singling out the issue of racism for special treatment might not be truly constructive. The thing is, white people have had it pounded into their heads from grade-school that we cannot possibly imagine what racism feels like. And that's true. We can't. And that means that a lot of what you have said about white people not having a right to judge anyone's reactions to racism in any form is very true. But the more we polarize the issue of racism and tell white people that we can't possibly understand it and we don't have a right to make judgements (and be wrong, and hopefully learn from it,) frankly, the less we're going to try.

Person A learns by making mistakes, and being corrected, and I think it's pretty clear in this scenario that it should be a person who has experienced racism, Person B, trying to educate the person who has misconceptions about it. But if person A is told that they have no right to an opinion, they're going to not form one, not express it, and not be given the chance to correct themselves and learn. If we keep accepting a separate set of rules for how we handle the immense and horrifying burden of racism, we're going to continue to send the message, whether intentional or not, that white people shouldn't have an opinion about it, should just shut up and listen until their opinion magically alights and they are enlightened. But listen to what? You said yourself all we can do is keep listening until we understand, but how can we hope to understand something we've been repeatedly told we CANNOT understand, and have no vocabulary to even try? Since I was a child I've had this voice in my head whenever I've had a thought about race: "you're doing it wrong." But I don't even know what "it" is! And so it's taken me until the age of 22 (not counting a particularly horrifying year of high-school) for me to even begin to assess how my understanding or even awareness of racism measures up.

Sorry, I know personal anecdotes aren't categorically helpful when talking about sprawling social issues, please forgive this instance but I think it's significant to the ...tirade haha.

I'm wary of ANY topic granting automatic immunity to either its activists or dissenters, because it shifts the focus from conflict resolution, to just reiterating conflict. And wow

I've just made myself realize, by saying that, that there's no way for me to say that it SHOULD be conflict resolution. If KorraIsNotTan is just about expressing anger, I guess there it is and there's nothing I can say to change that, and there's no reason for me to say "that's not how it should be." It's not my place to say. But I can't help but imagine what a force for good the energy that gets poured into that blog could be, instead of a den of resentment and snark. (not trying to bring it full-circle it's just that we've used it enough times as an example yadda yadda yadda)

As always, thanks for making me think. Also, if you noticed that I posted my last journal around the same time as you sent your comment, it had nothing to do with it- I only saw your response after and as I mentioned, I am glad to keep talking about it with you.
DumonchelleDraws Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2012
Ah! I wrote up a really long response to this, but upon reading over a few times, I think you've drawn the points together anyway really well yourself, and also made me rethink again some points I myself lost sight of even as I argued for it.
Arguing anything much past this point would most likely be me just expressing my own views on the fact, which may or may not be helpful, but it would probably be better for you to go to the racismschool blog and read their posts about being an ally etc, and form your own conclusions. I don't want to press my personal views on you (though I think your added personal experience was well called for, especially since it helped to come to conclusions). They will be a lot more helpful in clarification in this regard than I can be.

There is one thing I want to clarify though, and that is the immunity talk. I can definitely see where you're coming from with the 'granting immunity', because I agree! And I haven't said yet and I should have, granting immunity is not what I meant by that. Harassment, actual harassment (which is hard to differentiate in some cases when opinions are often tainted with racism, because many people will 'cry wolf' essentially when they're being talked to perfectly reasonably) is definitely not okay. Nor is unprovoked non-defensive violence. But general mean talk and sarcasm is a far cry from those things. So that's really what I was supporting here: the divide between those being acknowledged. And I realize that a 'wildfire' of hate can spread in this sense and turn to those things, but the problem is it spreads no matter what in this case. Whereas white privilege immediately makes it so we are listened to as reasonable long before a POC would be.

I also wanted to share with you a blog about whitewashing that chooses the path of education, They specify that that is their purpose, and you will see them still supporting the other more personal need-driven blogs, but they're known for more detailed and explanatory responses, and less negativity. So perhaps here is a place you could choose to lend support more fitting of your opinion :)

Anyway again, it was good to talk to you about all this! And I hope my novels didn't exhaust you too much haha. Also no worries about the journal, your openness is admirable and I didn't think for a second it had anything to do with our discussion.

Thanks for a great talk!
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