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. 

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Update – Knife Ink Reviews is Going On Hiatus

This blog, Knife Ink Reviews, is going on hiatus. I will not be posting regularly here anymore, not that I’ve ever posted here regularly, but you get the point. Posts on this blog will be few and far between.

Is this permanent? Certainly not. I definitely want to get back to reviewing fairly regularly, as well as reviewing more varied material. But I just don’t have time at this point, for several reasons.

1. I’m working and in school.

2. I often struggle deciding what to review, since I rarely watch/read things for the sake of reviewing them.

3. The X-Files.

The first two points are easy enough to understand, but the last point might cause a few eye-rolls for the few non-X-Files readers I might have. A big part of the reason I’m not focusing on this blog so much is because I want to devote my blogging time to my X-Files review blog, The Review is Out There, especially because of the recently announced X-Files revival. I want to get as many episodes reviewed as I can before January. Another huge reason is that since I’ve already seen most of the episodes multiple times, I’m so familiar with the material that reviewing them is quite easy and fun for me to do. I enjoy reviewing X-Files pretty much more than anything (an exception might be the Legend of Korra audio reviews, which I also enjoyed doing).

Don’t worry. This blog is not dead. It’s just going into hibernation for a while. You might see an occasional #Billbored post (in which I review songs on the Billboard Hot 100), or maybe even a movie review if I ever get around to seeing more movies, but from now until January, it’s going to be mostly X-Files. 

But, I will still be doing occasional livetweets and posting stuff on Twitter, so be sure to follow me there if you’d like to keep up.

Also…I got a Tumblr? I guess I felt I needed a place to really fangirl, but feel welcome to follow me if you’d like.

Thanks to everyone who follows,

Knife Ink

Knife Ink Reviews Update – “Schedule,” The New Year, Etc.

Hi everyone! Since the new year has started, I thought I’d make a very quick update on what I’m planning to do with Knife Ink Reviews in 2015. The short answer is I have a better idea but I still don’t really know. However, I do have a few things planned.

First, I’ve made a semi-New Year’s resolution to kind of get more organized-ish. To go along with that, I want to try and release reviews on a reliable schedule. Now, bear in mind that I am horrible at keeping up with schedules and depending on my crazy real-life schedule, it’s not going to be completely regular. But I still want to give it a shot.

Here’s how it will (sort of) work: Every Monday afternoon, I will release either a normal review/post on Knife Ink Reviews, an X-Files episode review, or an audio recording. I will rotate between these each week.

The X-Files reviews (on my separate blog The Review is Out There) are straightforward enough, but the question is, what am I going to be reviewing on Knife Ink Reviews?

Well, firstly, I want to do the audio reviews again. I had so much fun doing them with The Legend of Korra that I’ve decided to try a new show, and thanks to Doug Walker and his vlogs I became aware of a cartoon show named Gravity Falls. Now, believe me, even though I love Doug and his work, it is not my intention to copy everything he does. I saw Avatar: The Last Airbender before he did, and since the announcement of Matrix month I’ve decided to put off reviewing The Matrix for a while.

With that said, I would like to emphasize that I will not be watching any of Doug’s Gravity Falls vlogs whatsoever when I do my audio recordings. I chose Gravity Falls not because I wish to imitate Doug, but because I watched the pilot and really liked it, much more than I thought I would. I’ve never been a fan of modern cartoon shows, especially the Disney ones, but after some research into Gravity Falls I discovered that the creator is a fan of Twin Peaks and yes, The X-Files – but even if I hadn’t read that, I can totally tell from the show itself. In other words, it’s right up my alley. I’m excited.

Now, as for regular Knife Ink Reviews reviews, that’s the part where I honestly have no idea. I’ve been meaning to see some new movies – particularly Selma and Interstellar – but I don’t know if I’ll have the time. The Top Ten Best Songs of 2014 list should be out soon – I haven’t yet decided which one of the three segments I want to start off this new schedule. In any case, expect something up by tomorrow.

Thanks to anyone who follows this blog, and see you later!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter. Goodness knows your life would be so incomplete if you forgot that.


Very tentative schedule:

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Also The Top Ten Best Songs of 2014 will be squeezed in somewhere.

I Don’t Think I Can Do It – Random Stuff

***WARNING. If you are currently watching The X-Files right now for the first time, DO NOT READ THIS POST. It will contain some serious spoilers.


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As most of you have probably guessed by now, I am a huge fan of The X-Files.

No. “Huge fan” doesn’t even begin to describe it. I am obsessed, but obsessed in a way that is entirely unhealthy and satisfying at the same time. You see, I’m the kind of person who goes through phases of fandom. I’ll always love The X-Files, but there are periods of time I won’t watch it, and then suddenly I’ll have this sudden urge to watch an episode and before I know it I’m watching episode after episode and I can’t do anything else or think about anything else. Every thought I have is somehow redirected to The X-Files; every situation I find myself in I relate to the events in the show.

When I first watched the show, however, I stopped at Season 8 because Mulder was gone. This isn’t so unheard of; many of the fans did. The show is about Mulder and Scully, and it just wasn’t the same without the two of them in the foreground. However, when I went through the show a second time, I told myself I would watch the whole thing.

Well, I made it through Season 8. And yeah, it wasn’t that good. But it was not good in a way that was totally flip-flopped for me. The parts I expected to be terrible weren’t, such as new characters John Doggett and Monica Reyes. The parts I expected to be good – like Mulder coming back, for God’s sake – were really awful.

I have a new X-Files review blog, so I won’t go into any specific detail. But I will say that Season 8 became a sort of tedious thing to watch after a while. Usually a season of The X-Files manages to crank out a whole slew of good episodes, but Season 8 only really gave two – “Per Manum” and “Alone.” They were damn good episodes, though, so I guess that’s something.

But now I’m on Season 9. I’ve just started the second episode, and as I was watching it a little voice came on in my head and wouldn’t shut up. It kept saying “This isn’t right. This isn’t right,” and as I continued to watch, it grew louder.

And now I’m wondering if the voice is right. I’m thinking about leaving the show hanging and skipping straight to the finale.

Because here’s the thing. The X-Files, at its core, is about the relationship between Mulder and Scully. It’s about how they handle their work and their lives and each other, and that’s what made the show so great. The alien bounty hunters and government conspiracies are all exciting, but the heart and soul of the show reside in these two wonderful characters, characters so real they jump off the screen, the kind of characters that make you depressed to be living in the real world. These are the characters The X-Files gave me, and they aren’t there in Season 9.

Although I do legitimately like John Doggett and Monica Reyes, they don’t have that same magical quality I saw in Mulder and Scully, and since I’m not a TV watcher normally, I don’t know, I guess they just don’t do it for me. Or perhaps it’s because they don’t feel like The X-Files any more. And that’s the problem. It just doesn’t feel like the same show, and I guess that breaks my heart. I don’t think I can do it. I’m not sure if I can get through. But that feels like betrayal.

So, I’m going to have to make a very serious life decision. Season 9 – to watch or not to watch? It’s a tough, tough choice. WHY MUST THINGS CHANGE?!

As Doug Walker so eloquently put it: