Your OTP Is Not An Excuse for Slut-Shaming

Author’s Note: Before reading this, please make yourself familiar with the term “slut-shaming.” Thanks very much.

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I decided to write this post on Knife Ink Reviews because even though it has to do with The X-Files, it’s certainly not just about The X-Files. This is something that crops up way more than it should, even, it turns out, in the fanbases of shows that are praised for having female characters that are more than props.

When I started becoming more involved with X-Philes on Twitter (for the uninitiated, “X-Philes” are fans of The X-Files), I was pleasantly struck by just how nice, supportive, and dedicated fans they are. That is still true. My opinion of X-Philes has not changed. You guys still rock.

What I was sad to see this morning is evidence of some of the grosser aspects of Internet culture having leaked their way into the fandom: in this case, slut-shaming.

I’m not going to name names, because that’s not the goal of this post and you can find out for yourself easily enough if you go on Twitter. What I want to do is talk about sexism, hypocrisy, and make a sincere apology to the actress who was on the receiving end of some pretty nasty comments (like I said, names are unnecessary, nor do they really matter).

When I was a young girl, a wee young lass, if you will, I asked my mother why it was acceptable for guys to go shirtless at the beach and girls had to cover up. I don’t remember what her response was – knowing my mother, it was very smart and sensible – but the question never left me.

Flash forward to years later, and here I am, witnessing the same sexist attitudes whirl around my favorite show in what seems to me to be an unrelenting firestorm of sexism, hatred, and stupidity. Let me explain.

For most X-Philes, the One True Pairing is Mulder and Scully. That’s obvious. And X-Philes are very, very passionate about their OTP. So much so that anyone who dares get in the way of Mulder and Scully had best find a very, very isolated home in the mountains and stay away from the internet in the interest of their personal safety.

Most of the time, X-Philes are passionate and have their hearts in the right place. I’m sure the same is true of other fandoms. We don’t want anything to happen to our OTP, so we get really, really angry when we hear news like this (even though we don’t know yet what Chris Carter has in mind, Philes, but that’s a conversation for another time). We get angry. We get defensive. We sometimes even get a little mean.

There is a smaller but equally passionate sub-fandom of Mulder/Scully shippers: those that “ship” actors David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, who, unlike Mulder and Scully, are very much real people. This is a tricky sort of thing to talk about because I don’t want to tick anybody off that hasn’t been saying any of the nasty stuff, nor do I want to blame all Gillovny shippers for the actions of a few.

I’m not going to pretend like I don’t have personal problems with the idea of “shipping” two people who are very much real. I, for one, do not have anything resembling interest in David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as a couple. I’ve always been more invested in their characters, and I tend to not delve too deep into the personal lives of the people behind the characters I love. I realize that’s not true for everyone, but for me it is. I just don’t care.

And because I don’t care to know about the intimate details of celebrities’ personal lives, I do have a bit of a problem with the idea of shipping “Gillovny” at all. Not with the people, mind you, just the idea itself. These aren’t characters. They’re real people. David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are two gorgeous human beings with a lot of wit, charm, and chemistry. They’re sexy together. I’m sure they’re fun to be around.

And I’m sure that’s what a certain young actress was thinking when she posted a photo on the internet the other day – a photo of herself standing in between Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny. All three were smiling and looked like they were having a great time. It was a cute pic.

As this photo circulated around Twitter, people began to edit the photo. They chopped the woman in the middle out, making it another David Duchovny/Gillian Anderson photo. Which I wasn’t a huge fan of, but the act itself was relatively harmless. Fine. Whatever. Have your OTP.

A line has to be drawn.

In an effort to figure out who this mysterious woman-in-the-middle was, some dedicated fans found her Instagram, where the photo had been originally posted, and saw another photo – the photo that launched a thousand ugly comments.

This photo was a picture of this actress wearing a bikini. At the top was a quote from David Duchovny’s novel. She’d tagged him in the photo.

That was all it took for things to get nasty.

Most of them were deleted, but a slew of comments on this Instagram photo called this actress nasty names. I managed to screenshot the one that was probably the tamest:

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Curious, I took to Twitter, in an effort to hunt down more comments launched at this poor woman. There were a lot. But this was the one that got me the angriest, and indeed the one that I think encompasses most of the, ah, sentiments expressed:

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First point. This is a great example of the hypocrisy I was talking about, and it also brings back the point I was making about shirtless men. I can assure you if David Duchovny had posted a picture on Instagram shirtless with the name of a woman tagged, there would have been no response like this. Why? Because it’s acceptable for a man to associate himself with a woman in almost every way imaginable without having to endure slut-shaming. 

This actress is a “bitch” not because she said anything bad about David Duchovny, not because she publicly shamed David Duchovny, not because she did or said anything negative relating to David Duchovny, but because she posted a quote, correctly cited the source, which happened to be David Duchovny, and posted a picture of herself in a bikini.

She did not throw herself at David Duchovny. You, relentless, rude commenters that fancy yourselves fans of David Duchovny and, I’m sorry to say, “Gillovny” shippers, you threw her at David Duchovny.

The bullsh*t continued:

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Oh I’m sure she’s now gotten used to people “telling her off.” Now that this crowd has gotten to her. As I’m sure most women in the public eye are. And here we go with the slut-shaming! This actress obviously has no talent because she has a nice body. She “gets ahead” because she’s a slut and a famewhore, not because of her abilities.

And as much as I’m sure David Duchovny appreciates this crowd “sticking up for him” by publicly slut-shaming another woman, I really don’t think tagging David Duchovny in an instagram post is going to help anybody’s career. Just sayin’. It’s entirely possible that, I don’t know, that wasn’t even her intention? How about maybe she liked the damn quote? And as for the picture, it’s not a selfie. She’s a model. That’s what she does. 

Another point: even if most of the people making these comments are women – and I strongly suspect they are – it doesn’t mean that it isn’t a product of the rampant sexism that exists on the internet, especially in fandoms. And that is why crossing the line of fiction to real life in a fandom is dangerous; that’s why there is a huge difference between someone who innocently ships David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson and those who are aggressively and unhealthily passionate about it. As much as others might try to say it, shipping Mulder and Scully is not and will never be the same as shipping two real-life people.

We can talk about how it’s wrong to slut-shame anyone, fictional or non-fictional. We can talk about how the flack this woman is receiving could be compared to what characters like Diana Fowley received during the show’s run. You can treat this like a normal ship. But it’s not. When a real-life person is being slut-shamed and called everything from a skank to a fucking bitch to a whore in the name of The X-Files fandom, a line MUST BE DRAWN. Your OTP cannot be your excuse for saying harmful things to real people. Your OTP is not an excuse for slut-shaming.

Final words to the people involved in this scenario.

To the shamers:

Please stop. It’s immature, it’s rude, and I’m pretty sure David Duchovny wouldn’t support it. And it makes the fandom look really, really bad.

To the fandom:

Please just continue doing what you’re doing and be the nice, kind people I know most of you are. I love this show and this fandom, and we don’t need to participate in behavior like this. We’re better than that. Let’s remain that way.

To the actress:

On behalf of X-Philes everywhere, I’d like to say I’m sorry you were bombarded with comments like that. And I hope you had a blast with whatever role you play/played in the revival.

To the rest of the world:

As an X-Phile and a fairly decent human being, I do not support this. And neither should you.


You can read Knife Ink’s more frequently updated stuff on thereviewisoutthere.wordpress.com, an X-Files review blog. You can also follow her on Twitter. Warning: she pretty much just tweets about The X-Files. 

Top Ten Internet Games from the 2000s (That I Played)

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If you (like me) grew up in the 2000s, internet games were probably a part of your childhood. The internet was (and still is) this big, developing thing, and since we were developing right along with it, we took advantage of every minute. I remember kids playing internet games in school, of all places – presumably because the public school system hadn’t yet figured out how to block certain websites on school internet servers. In any case, these games (most of which are still online and absolutely playable) were great time wasters and usually tons of fun.

All of the games on this list are games I personally played. They may or may not have been the most popular games out there, but these are the ones I remember really enjoying, whether by myself or with friends. So, here they are: these are my picks for the Top Ten Internet Games from the 2000s.

10. Rainbow Sphere

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This is a kind of weird one, and most probably wouldn’t consider it very fun. It involves moving this ball from colored platform to colored platform using the arrow keys and spacebar. The tricky part is the ball has to be the same color as the platform, or you lose and have to restart the level. There are these little glowing dots that change your color so that you can jump to the next platform. It’s actually really hard, and I don’t think I ever made it very far in the game. I think what I liked about this one so much was the music – on the first level it starts out as this calm, relaxing piano riff, and then once you get to a certain level the music turns sinister and mocks you as you play, telling you you’re about to die. Which you usually are. Perhaps not the most well known but it does stick out in my memory.

You can play Rainbow Sphere here.

9. Star Island 

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What I remember most about this game is how visually appealing it was. I loved playing it as a kid because the colors were so bright and happy and pretty looking. The object of the game is pretty simple – you have to go through each level and collect all the stars before you can go to the next one. The trouble is that there are currents, squirrels with nuts, rolling boulders, and other things that are all out to get you. In general, this is a really fun, creative, and cheery game. Not much to say about it except that it could always get me in a good mood.

You can play Star Island here.

8. The Impossible Quiz

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Ah, yes. The Impossible Quiz. Everybody – and I mean everybody – at my school was playing this game. It makes no sense, some of the questions and/or answer choices verge on weirdly inappropriate, and for the most part it’s full of completely random nonsense that no one in their right mind would ever put on an actual quiz. But that’s kind of the point. The only way you could really beat the quiz was by literally memorizing all of the answers.

The quiz went beyond just “click on the right answer choice.” It often had you move your mouse out of the game screen, click on the dot of the “i” in the actual question, etc. I remember on one of the levels you had to right click and move your mouse cursor along the “settings” option just so you wouldn’t touch the pink. Despite it being a pretty immature game overall, it was also clever at the same time.

You can play The Impossible Quiz here.

7. Territory War

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 Sometimes, we just needed a little badass epic awesomeness. This game is the epitome of badass, epic, and awesome. I mean, just look at the title screen. It looks pretty badass, doesn’t it? And even though you can’t hear the music, you can still see that the song playing is called “Speeding Rampage.” That gives you a pretty good idea of how badass this game is, right?

Basically, the game goes like this. You have a team of stick figures, a 3 person team, if I’m not mistaken. You can either go against another person or the computer. Basically, each member of the team gets the chance to move a certain distance before they have to throw a grenade, use a rifle, or give the other player the boot. It’s not quite as violent and bloodthirsty as it sounds, I promise (they are stick figures, after all). It’s a great game for whenever you want to make something explode.

You can play Territory War here.

6. Ultimate Flash Sonic

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This game is colorful, fast-paced, and addicting. It’s pretty much your basic Sonic game, downgraded for a flash format. You have to collect all the rings and avoid spikes, monkeys, and evil owls. Eventually it gets fairly difficult, but you don’t care because you’re just having so much fun!

I’m not sure what to really say about this one; it speaks for itself. Just start playing it and watch your afternoon go by.

You can play Ultimate Flash Sonic here.

5. 4 Second Frenzy

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I try to refrain from using a lot of profanity on this blog, but FUCK THIS GAME.

I’m serious. This game is evil. It latches onto your brain the second you begin playing and won’t let go. In fact, this list probably would have been posted a lot earlier if I hadn’t spent so much time trying to beat this thing.

Basically, the game goes like this. You have a series of tasks which are completed using the arrow keys and spacebar, and you only have four seconds to do them. They range from filling up a balloon to putting sunscreen on a guy to destroying the planet. Some of them are easy, others are extremely hard. You only have a certain number of lives before you die completely.

This was another game I remember everyone at my school playing. It was almost like a contest; people tried to see how much further they could get in this game than everyone else. Some were good at it and others weren’t, but everybody tried.

You can play 4 Second Frenzy here. (Don’t click on the link if you value your precious time.)

4. Castle Cat 3

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There are few games on the internet more bizarre than Castle Cat 3. Now, I never played Castle Cat 1 or 2, so I don’t know how they compare. I was never really interested in finding out, anyway. There’s just something about this game that is so…odd it’s honestly kind of captivating. You play Castle Cat, a gray cat with, well, a tower-looking thing on his head (what?!) and run through deserts with aliens and snakes, fight a monster in Las Vegas, avoid these cute, creepy little bouncing Venetian things, and battle a giant, rolling Sphinx. Yeah. It’s bizarre.

But what I liked best about Castle Cat 3 was the music. The music is weird as hell, and somehow perfectly matches with the wacky tone of the game. It’s really a game that can only be experienced. I really encourage checking it out.

(And yes, I did play this game before I saw The X-Files, so I didn’t get “the truth is out there” reference. But now that I do, I love Castle Cat 3 even more.)

You can play Castle Cat 3 here.

3. Raft Wars

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Looking back on it, Raft Wars was kind of the ultimate internet game for kids. The protagonists, after all, were children with tennis ball guns. They weren’t army captains or racers or weird magical creatures, they were kids that wore diapers and floated on floaties and had to protect their precious treasure from the world of adults (that came in the form of pirates, vikings, neighbors, bikers, and weird masked people).

Perhaps there’s a deeper meaning to Raft Wars, and maybe in the future I’ll spend some time to uncover it. But for now, all I can do is say that this game probably took up way more time than I ever had as a kid and I don’t feel much regret.

You can play Raft Wars here.

2. Fancy Pants 2

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It’s hard to imagine an internet game with a more defined style than Fancy Pants. All three games are tons of fun, but if I had to pick the one that wasted the most of my time, it would definitely be Fancy Pants 2. And why not? The game is just creative. The backdrops are awesome, the movement is unique, and Fancy Pants Man himself brings a whole new meaning to the concept of “stick figure.” It’s just a unique, creative, and often pretty game with awesome graphics. Definitely worth a checking-out.

You can play Fancy Pants 2 here.

1. Bloons

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But even after the stick figures, after the crazy cats, rolling stars, bouncing rainbow balls and vengeful children, there can only be one victor: Bloons.

Bloons was the only internet game that I saw people still playing in high school. And not Bloons 2 or Bloons Tower Defense, either; just the good, original Bloons that we all know and love.

What makes this game so appealing? Well, for one thing, anyone can play it. There’s no blood, no violence, not a whole lot of strategizing, just throwing darts and popping balloons. As a monkey. And boy, did we love it.

I played Bloons in between studying for high school finals. I played Bloons while on vacation. I played Bloons yesterday.

It’s just a great game, and that’s why it’s #1.

You can play Bloons here.

Special Mention: Coma 

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This one unfortunately didn’t make the list because it came out in 2010, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention it. Coma transcends the world of mere internet flash games. It’s a work of art. It’s the most visually striking, interestingly made, unique internet game I have ever played. It’s also the strangest by far. You know how I joked that Raft Wars could have a hidden meaning behind it? Well, Coma actually does. I won’t ruin it because you really should check this one out. It’s absolutely breathtaking and by far the best game I’ve ever come across on the internet.

You can play Coma here.

Well, that’s my list. What internet games do you like to play? Comment below and have fun!


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Random Stuff – Legend of Korra Season 3, Other Random Musings, with Special Guest!

I’m excited to share with everyone a lovely conversation I had with a very good friend of mine. We discussed Legend of Korra Season 3 and other random things. I split our conversation into two videos, 1 about Korra, 2 not about Korra. If you haven’t seen Avatar: The Last Airbender or ANY season of Legend of Korra, do not watch the first video. And then go watch Avatar: The Last Airbender because it’ll change your life. 

Thanks to my friend for having this conversation with me, and hope everyone enjoys it!

Disclaimer: We were drinking tea during this recording so there is much scuffling, clanking, and general annoying-noise making. I apologize. One day I promise to record with something better than an iPhone. 

 

VIDEO 1: LEGEND OF KORRA SEASON 3

VIDEO 2: RANDOM MUSINGS (NOT KORRA)