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12 October 2012 @ 06:01 pm
discussion post:: fandom's treatment of blair post 5x24  

Physically punishing woman for being so very mean to men always is the way to do it.

Same old story: As soon as a male character's feelings are hurt, especially by a female character, fandom has their pitchforks ready. Not a new thing, especially not in Gossip Girl fandom. But maybe we could talk about the treatment Blair recieved ever since she broke up (or didn't break up) with Dan.

Ever since last season's finale people wished awful things on Blair ("I hope Chuck beats her up for real this time") and had this really pervert need for her to be "punished" for hurting Dan. And then there was this big "Dan should hit Blair back" controversity, that ended in someone hilariously screaming "THIS REEKS OF MAN-HATE" on anon_xoxo.
All of this is coming from former (or not-so-former) Dan/Blair shippers, which is funny, because from what I gathered Dan/Blair was supposed to be the GOOD, "FEMINIST" ship.

Also, there is this on-going trend to believing Blair doesn't deserve defense, epsecially not feminist defense, because she's an "anti-feminist" character. (I don't even know how a female character can be anti-feminist, tell me how it works.)
So, is Blair a well-rounded, awesomely written character that screams "FEMINIST ROLEMODEL"?
No, she isn't. But she also isn't with Dan. Blair's value (on the show and in fandom) can't depend on the man she is or isn't with. There seems to be this big misconception in Dan/Blair fandom that Blair with Dan is another, better Blair and Blair with Chuck is this whiny, pathetic bitch that "deserves everything she gets", when really the writing for Blair's character just sucked for 4 seaons straight. You can criticise Blair and the writing for Blair, there's plenty reason to, but shaming her and wishing awful things on her because she broke up with YOUR PRINCE is absolute, utter bullshit and makes me sad for womanhood.

Anything you wanna add? If you found some really gross posts around and want to share (I haven't really tried with my research tbh), totally do!
 
 
 
a.: don't kiss trainwreckslookinglassgirl on October 12th, 2012 05:14 pm (UTC)
This is why I stopped going to anon. I feel like not only pertaining to this Blair thing, there are usually a bunch of problematic discussions going on. Fandom makes me sad. I don't even have the energy to be angry at this sort of thing anymore because it's so expected. Especially since any discussion of sexism always ends up in opinions being discredited because someone is ~a stan (it doesn't matter that it's in anon mode or if you're actually a stan or not, if you defend any character, you must be their biggest fan). Part of the problem is that everyone always thinks someone's accusing them of being a sexist and no one understands that you don't have to hate women to make a sexist comment. People are extra defensive.
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Caitiecaitie on October 12th, 2012 11:05 pm (UTC)
And listen, I can't sit around and stan for Blair anymore, because I just don't believe in her as a character.

This is the crux of the issue for me. After the finale, Blair wasn't a real character anymore. And it's not just Blair, this extends to Serena as well. They don't make sense as characters. They seem, like, sociopathically awful to the people who care about them and to each other, and their arcs are incredibly misogynistic and depressing. I think during the season, all of us had hope that they would resolve in sense-making ways, instead they resolved in ways that were soooo much worse than I'd ever even though of because I somehow had no idea that Gossip Girl was as gross of a show as it turned out to be.

I think it's sort of different for Chair and Dair fans because I think shipping Dair for a lot of people was about wanting Blair to break the patterns of self-sabotage, and when she didn't (and the show TOLD she had while SHOWING the exact opposite) it was just time to cut it loose and my ability to care about Blair as a "character" just evaporated because she isn't one and the show doesn't make sense, and I assume that's what happened to a lot of Dair fans. But that in no ways excuses any gross, misogynistic comments they might have made.
margottenenbaum: Blairmargottenenbaum on October 12th, 2012 08:33 pm (UTC)
UGH. This has been bothering me a lot lately - tho I don't go on anon anymore, I've been seeing a ton of stuff like this on tumblr - and I just...idgi. I do not understand. I'm obviously not pleased with the writing for Blair, but those feelings are both unrelated to the actual character (as she was originally presented) and unconnected to her treatment of Dan. I'm just mad at the writers and the world we live in that is gross. And whatever, REGARDLESS of what she does, wishing awful things on her and shaming her is bullshit. I remember post-5x24, when I wrote like fifty D/B breakup fics, a solid amount of the comments I got were along the lines of that - hating Blair, being glad to see her suffer. And I was just sitting there like ...not my point. I can really only be sympathetic and pity her, because Blair was my everything when this show started and her characterization has just been slowly destroyed for Chuck's sake. I wish ppl could separate the writing from the character, or just at the very least not be assholes.

Idk, did any of that even make sense? I feel like I am just nonsense rambling.
12cubed: Sky12_12_12 on October 12th, 2012 11:14 pm (UTC)
I can really only be sympathetic and pity her, because Blair was my everything when this show started and her characterization has just been slowly destroyed for Chuck's sake.

Yeah, I get this, though I don't feel much sympathy for her myself anymore--that is, I feel sympathy for her because of Chuck, but I look back at her S1 self and my reaction to her is completely different from what it used to be. I see her saying to Jenny that "Chuck likes to brag about his conquests. Not his victims." And I'm seriously put off, TBH. I don't know if I would have loved her in the same way if I were coming to the show now for the first time. IDK. But bottom line, I absolutely agree with this: And whatever, REGARDLESS of what she does, wishing awful things on her and shaming her is bullshit.

On the issue of people feeling disenchanted with Blair in general, though, and now I'm not talking about the OTT grossness that comes from people being angry at her for rejecting Dan, but rather people just falling out of love with her because they finally reached a breaking point, IDK, I think people have differing levels of comfort with this:

I wish ppl could separate the writing from the character

The thing is, I can understand the POV that, canon is canon, the writing *is* the character, etc. I think it's just different ways of reading a show, and while I totally respect your POV of separating your conception of the character from what the show gives us, I also respect the POV of people who don't feel comfortable doing that (I also feel like it requires a certain level of emotional investment to do this, which I'm not surprised that a lot of people have lost. I can also understand seeing a character completely differently--or rather, reacting differently to her on a visceral level, now that the emotional investment is gone.) I mean, I've gotten mad at the other characters, like Serena and Nate and of course Chuck, for how they treated Blair, and that is the writing, too, so...I'm not sure where the line gets drawn with separating the writing from the character. It doesn't help that GG does this thing (we've talked about this before) where it always keeps the characters believably consistent IMO, just the worst versions of themselves, which makes their actions harder to handwave.

IDK, ultimately I guess I think it's a pity that fandom seems to have swung from one extreme to another with Blair, going from free-passing her way too much (which I freely admit I was guilty of: I mean, I knew when she did horrible things, but it didn't make me less sympathetic towards her on a gut-reaction level) so that anon was originally started to discuss her treatment of Jenny, etc. when the rest of fandom wasn't calling her on it, and now it has people shaming and vilifying her for Not Treating Dan Right.

Edited at 2012-10-12 11:17 pm (UTC)
margottenenbaum: Dan; o rlymargottenenbaum on October 12th, 2012 11:41 pm (UTC)
I don't think I was quite expressing myself clearly. I know it's different for me because I write so much fic and the characters exist in a different place for me a lot of the time. It's easier for me to focus on my Blair as opposed to actual!Blair. I don't actually expect people to do the same thing, that's not really what I meant. I just wish people could appropriately express their dissatisfaction. Don't say you want someone to hit fictional character Blair Waldorf, direct the anger where it really belongs - at the writers who created this disgusting misogynistic clusterfuck. And yeah, maybe not have it totally be the result of her mistreating Dan. And also not be assholes to people who do still like Blair, as she was, faults and all.

(no subject) - 12_12_12 on October 12th, 2012 11:47 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Caitiecaitie on October 12th, 2012 10:27 pm (UTC)
I honestly think GG is such an awful, misogynist show that it just begets more awfulness and misogyny. Kind of sad anon-xoxo became a haven for that kind of stuff, though. I'll always have a soft spot for the comm.
12cubed: Sky12_12_12 on October 12th, 2012 10:57 pm (UTC)
You can criticise Blair and the writing for Blair, there's plenty reason to, but shaming her and wishing awful things on her because she broke up with YOUR PRINCE is absolute, utter bullshit and makes me sad for womanhood.

Word. It's ironic, because apart from 5x21, IMO Blair's behavior to Dan is the last thing on the list of things fandom should be criticizing her for.

I do think there is more going on than just "OMG SHE HURT DAN!!!" though (I mean, obviously that is what it is for the people posting the worst comments, but I'm talking more the tidal wave of reaction against Blair after S5.) You're right that the writing for Blair has sucked for 4 seasons, but I think it took until S5 for people (self-included) to viscerally feel it. I feel like this post explains that really well. Not that this excuses the shaming of Blair, or people wishing physical violence on her, etc. at ALL, but I just think there are a lot of complicated factors at work here.

All of this is coming from former (or not-so-former) Dan/Blair shippers, which is funny, because from what I gathered Dan/Blair was supposed to be the GOOD, "FEMINIST" ship.

This is something that has been bothering me since early-to-mid S5, TBH. The implication that Dair shippers are somehow more feminist by default. It's just not true. I did actually believe it was true during S4, because non-Chuckistan fandom was pretty much entirely in sync on everything, but S5 changed my mind even before people started turning on Blair, because I saw how they were reacting to Serena. It was abundantly clear that many of the people who protested the abusive nature of Chuck/Blair and who shipped DB because they were Good Feminists couldn't possibly care less how Serena was being treated by the narrative or by Dan (I saw one comment squeeing that Dan showed *no* concern over how he hurt Serena in 5x15--I'd rather not link, though, since it's not anon.) So...yeah.

Blair's value (on the show and in fandom) can't depend on the man she is or isn't with.

But the show totally espouses this POV. IMO the suckiness of fandom is heavily dependent on the suckiness of the show. GG does heavily (or entirely) base the value of its female characters in male opinion, male validation, so while it's gross for fandom to respond in the same way, it's also inevitable IMO.

Also, because of the way Gossip Girl is set up, with the women never being able to achieve anything through their own efforts, etc., romantic success becomes the main way that girls "succeed" and attain "value" in general and so fandom is much more likely to view the female characters through the lens of shipping, rather than as individuals in their own right. On Nikita, for example, I don't think the Alex stans are all that bothered about her having fewer love interests than Nikita (and less well-developed ones, writing-wise) because the rest of her arc is so kickass and it is so obvious that she is a complex, layered, worthwhile, vibrant character regardless of the status of her love life. But on GG, Success with the Guys is a Much. Bigger. Deal. So I think fandom ends up having grosser opinions on the women.

Also, there is this on-going trend to believing Blair doesn't deserve defense, epsecially not feminist defense, because she's an "anti-feminist" character. (I don't even know how a female character can be anti-feminist, tell me how it works.)

IDK, maybe I'm being dense and/or offensive, in which anyone can feel free to jump in and correct me. But I do think it's possible for a female character to be anti-feminist? Or to be written in a way that is anti-feminist? For instance, one thing about Blair is that she frequently endorses/encourages the mistreatment of other women, and this is presented as her being a scheming ~queen (rather than her indulging in toxic behavior that is the product of her own insecurities and that is really revealing of the worst side of her.) In that sense, I can understand why people call her an anti-feminist character, though maybe the terminology itself is unhelpful?

Edited at 2012-10-12 11:18 pm (UTC)
whenihithefloor: Anna Karinawhenihithefloor on October 13th, 2012 12:16 pm (UTC)
Aw, this is my post! I guess that counts as anon!failing, but I've never actually posted anything on my lj, so I don't think you can really anon!fail a blank page of nothingness.

Anyway, I think that post kind of summed up my thoughts on The Problem of Blair Waldorf. People who are being gross should stop being gross, of course, but I can't really blame people for having an outsized emotional response to finally breaking up with Blair. The angst of wasting years trying to puzzle out a character who was never going to make sense has to be directed somewhere. Blair as a character has existed in a state of bad faith for half a decade now, and her insides and outsides have gotten less matchy with every season. By S5 she was saying 5 things, feeling 11 other things, and wandering around with about 23 different faces. That sentence doesn't make any sense, but it still makes a whole lot more sense than the character of Blair. Because she makes no sense. NO SENSE. Basically: we are Sisyphus, she is our boulder, and we all got crushed on the way down the hill. Some people have picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and decided that maybe boulder rolling wasn't for them. But some people are still REALLY ANGRY that they ever rolled the boulder in the first place.

/fun with tortured metaphors!

Having said that, people on anon should stop being ridiculous. Stop conflating actors and characters; stop advocating violence of any variety; stop using the word "stan" like it's an argumentative strategy. JUST STOP OK.


Also, because of the way Gossip Girl is set up, with the women never being able to achieve anything through their own efforts, etc., romantic success becomes the main way that girls "succeed" and attain "value" in general and so fandom is much more likely to view the female characters through the lens of shipping, rather than as individuals in their own right.

This is all true, obviously, because this show is the worst. Girls on GG are things to be won in economic transactions conducted by men, and their value is predicated on how much those men are willing to pay/lose. By the first measure Blair is worth a lot: a whole hotel! But by the second measure she's worth nothing: Chuck has never been willing to lose anything for her. I think one of the biggest problems with ChuckandBlair, besides all of the other godawful, heinous problems, is that the writers chose a terrible distancing metaphor. Most fictional couples in the CB epic!magnetic mold have a mediating factor that makes them palatable. Vampire tv/literature can be viewed through the lens of fantasy/horror, so Damon snapping Jeremy's neck seems less unforgivable when everyone is killing someone every other week. Wuthering Heights can be viewed through the lens of the gothic, so Heathcliff and Cathy's wretched nomance is mediated by the gloom and doom of misty moors. Rhett and Scarlett can pull the "but it was ye olde timez!" historical fiction card. But what the GG writers have settled on for their mediating factor seems to be, for all intents and purposes, a male dominated system of economics. BUSINESS TRANSACTIONS DO NOT AN EFFECTIVE DISTANCING METAPHOR MAKE. Surprise, I know. But what's so strange is that while the genre examples make a conscious effort to move away from reality while coating their epic couples in plzshipme fairy dust, the GG writers actually moved towards reality in some respects. Not because anything about their show is realistic, because: lol no. But because economics is actually a dirty, messy, number involving, no fun thing that exists in the real world and hey!: ruined a lot of lives in 2008. It's like the writers all sat around after filling out their tax returns and said: "hey, you know what would be an awesome idea? If we grafted this thing my accountant told me about mortgage backed securities onto ChucknBlair!" It wasn't an awesome idea. The metaphor managed to permeate the entire show, and now all the female characters are slightly sociopathic monopoly pieces. SIGH.



(no subject) - whenihithefloor on October 13th, 2012 12:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - 12_12_12 on October 13th, 2012 03:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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cassie_epstein: pic#118956710cassie_epstein on October 12th, 2012 11:25 pm (UTC)
I feel like all "points" about male vs female treatment regarding Dan vs Blair are moot because you're talking about a character who was universally bashed until he started being Blair's white night(Dan) vs. probably the most beloved character on the show(Blair). Any Blair bashing from Dan stans is minimal outside of anon whereas you can find Dan bashing pretty much anywhere. I agree that the slap jokes need to stop, tho.
thmaymuc: Mad Men // Betty's folks are nordicthmaymuc on October 12th, 2012 11:40 pm (UTC)
I think no one here ever pitted Dan against Blair here tho, for me this isn't a "Dan vs. Blair" thing at all. I mean, it's not a post about how good Dan is treated by fandom while everyone is so very mean to Blair, it's a post about how some people really started saying gross things after Blair broke up with Dan, which I think is a sexist issue. I'm sorry, I don't mean to be rude nor am I trying to silence you or anything, but I feel like that is a misunderstanding.
spankmypirate: mauricespankmypirate on October 12th, 2012 11:48 pm (UTC)
First of all, thank you for making this post :)

Blair's value (on the show and in fandom) can't depend on the man she is or isn't with

WORD, and you could practically replace Blair's name with any other prominent female character in fandom and still make this very important point. It's like when Sif and Jane fans keep pitting both women against each other as rivals for Thor's affections. Just... what. A woman's value should exist independently of her love interest, not be validated by it. I just find it really sad that a female character must win the love or affection of the hero or main love interest to emerge as the 'superior' one or the victor of the story.

Unfortunately, I think GG does have a habit of pitting their female characters (particularly the leads) against each other and it encourages this in its young and impressionable fans. Still, I've always liked to think that at least some of the fandom was a bit better and smarter than... well, what some comments on anon have been implying.

There's no denying that there are many problems I have with Blair's character, namely her bullying, elitism and classism, all of which have all been free passed too easily by her stans in the past, and none of which I feel have been dealt with properly on the show - or least, have really been called out or received proper backlash since perhaps S5? And as for the different Blairs that appear around either Dan or Chuck - I have to admit that the writing on the show kind of supports the theory that Blair's character development seems to be entirely dependent on her love interests. But regardless -

Same old story: As soon as a male character's feelings are hurt, especially by a female character, fandom has their pitchforks ready

So, so true. I don't mean to say that female characters ought to get off scott free if they do something wrong to their partners. But many former Dair shippers are acting as if Blair personally dumped their own boyfriend. It's absolutely ridiculous. Makes me wonder whether they were shipping Dair solely for Dan's happiness, and Blair was simply the vehicle for this happiness and nothing more. But this gross need for Blair to be slapped, punished, shamed and further humiliated by Chuck, her abuser, just takes me back to the Scarlet Letter. Shame the adulteress!!1! Just... yeah. I don't stan for Blair or any of these characters on the show because they are weak, empty, and hollow excuses for human beings. But that doesn't mean I can ever support some of the misogynist and backward attitudes that have been spewing forth since 5x24.

And people seem to be forgetting that Blair is a fictional construct who regardless of whatever shaky writing she may have been the victim of in S5 - there was nothing to support that she would ever go back to Chuck before the finale aired. People were already claiming 'endgame' for Dair when Dan delivered that beautiful speech in 5x21. LBR, the writers could have easily written a scenario in 5x24 wherein Blair finally managed to overcome her insecurities and go to Rome with Dan. But they didn't. It was the writers' choice to throw in a deux ex machina, destroy a pairing that had been building up for 2 seasons and go back to Chair. It's the writers who caved in and pandered to a fanbase and who decided to validate a gross, abusive and misogynistic pairing. THAT is what people should be angry about and in this case the anger should be directed at the people who actually have creative control over these characters. I loathe Chuck, but I also hate the writers for deciding to turn him into aromantic lead.There was no need for them to turn him into this half assed version of Hamlet.

(Somewhat related: it also reminds me of Juliet on LOST, who was pretty much either hated or overlooked by fandom until she got together with Sawyer and made him happy. People fell in love with her overnight. It's like, the happier a female character is making a popular male character the more loved she'll be -- if she ever treats him in a negative way, she has to be STONED. She can never prove her own worth on her own steam - her worth is only judged by how favourably or otherwise she's treating fandom's favourite guy. It's really, really awful. )

Edited at 2012-10-12 11:53 pm (UTC)
12cubed: Sky12_12_12 on October 13th, 2012 12:58 am (UTC)
A woman's value should exist independently of her love interest, not be validated by it.

Unfortunately this show has been selling the exact opposite message for 5 seasons, i.e. that a woman HAS no worth outside the number and quality of guys/love she can attract, so it's no wonder that fandom buys into the message.

There's no denying that there are many problems I have with Blair's character, namely her bullying, elitism and classism, all of which have all been free passed too easily by her stans in the past, and none of which I feel have been dealt with properly on the show - or least, have really been called out or received proper backlash since perhaps S5?

Yeah, this is where I feel kind of conflicted because I do feel like fandom has a point with saying that Blair was free-passed far too much in the early years, and that there *was* a double standard for her vs. the other girls in certain sectors of fandom (I don't really feel like the argument that "anon was set up specifically to call out Blair when the rest of fandom was giving her a free pass" works here, because surely that supports the argument that overall, fandom did judge the other girls more harshly than Blair, and/or didn't criticize Blair to the extent we should have for how she treated the other girls, including Serena.) I feel like a lot of the feminism-driven posts in fandom centered around Blair much more so than around the other characters, and I really regret this myself, TBH. I should have done Jenny, Serena, and Vanessa more justice and not been so blinded by my Blair-stanning. :(

Makes me wonder whether they were shipping Dair solely for Dan's happiness, and Blair was simply the vehicle for this happiness and nothing more.

See, I always thought it was the other way around, if anything, that people were shipping Dair solely for Blair's happiness and were more invested in Dan as Dan The Right Kind of Love for Blair rather than Dan as an individual in his own right, but maybe that was just the fannish circles I moved in.

And people seem to be forgetting that Blair is a fictional construct who regardless of whatever shaky writing she may have been the victim of in S5 - there was nothing to support that she would ever go back to Chuck before the finale aired. People were already claiming 'endgame' for Dair when Dan delivered that beautiful speech in 5x21.

Hmm. IDK. I mean, on the one hand I can totally see the POV of people who thought the finale was out of the blue, and it *was* terrible writing, and the season would definitely have supported a Dan/Blair ending. On the other hand, I feel like if you were aware of the patterns of the show, the signs are also there that they intended to circle back to Chuck and Blair. Hindsight is 20/20, of course, but I was griping through much of the season that they really didn't seem to be serious about Blair's character development, in that any insight she seemed to have about herself seemed entirely dependent on Dan and originated from him and this was making me unhappy/uneasy...in retrospect maybe that was because they were never really serious about having Blair grow to begin with.

I also think it's maybe being too harsh on fandom as a whole to say that 5x24 was solely responsible for turning people against Blair. I really don't think it was that, TBH (and I tend to be pretty darn cynical about fandom.) I think people were just worn down by 4 seasons of awful canon for Blair (and she was particularly terribly written in S5) and just gave up on her...maybe even early in S5, but they were hoping that her arc would go someplace better and it didn't.
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cardinalwhite on October 13th, 2012 12:42 am (UTC)
I don't even know how a female character can be anti-feminist, tell me how it works.

Blair has done a slew of awful things toward other women, including slutshaming Serena, exiling Jenny from Manhattan, bullying other girls into being her minions...I don't know if that's really anti-feminist, but it's certainly not pro-feminist.

Blair's value (on the show and in fandom) can't depend on the man she is or isn't with.

The show totally tells us that her value depends on the man she's with, though. In fact the show tells us that all these girls need a man to have *any* value. Remember how pathetic and sad Serena was last season, when she was single? Remember Dorota telling her, "Cheer up, Miss Serena, someday you'll find a man," as if that should be the sum total of Serena's existence.

You can criticise Blair and the writing for Blair, there's plenty reason to, but shaming her and wishing awful things on her because she broke up with YOUR PRINCE is absolute, utter bullshit and makes me sad for womanhood.

I don't think it's as cut and dry as "she hurt Dan, she must be beaten." It's that a lot of fandom just wanted Blair to be happy. When she's with Chuck she's never happy, but apparently that's what she's chosen. I think a lot of fandom sees themselves in Blair, as the deeply insecure underdog (that was part of her appeal, IMO), and they don't like the idea that they would choose a guy like Chuck over a guy like Dan.

But I agree that the comments wishing Blair should get beaten/slapped are out of line. I think I even read people saying that Blair was Chuck's whore and that he could do what he liked with her from now on. Totally not cool.
bεiηg a pεrsoη is gεttiηg too complicatεd。: Betty | blau-ishlesoleilluna on October 13th, 2012 08:48 am (UTC)
I think the term anti-feminist would suggest that someone is opposed to women or feminism, or does not believe in the social or economic or political equality of men and women. (Feel free to correct me, if I'm wrong though.)

I think one problem with Blair has always been that there is a lot of internalized sexism on her part, but I don't think that makes her anti-feminist by default. I think it gets interesting when you compare Blair's view/treatment of herself with how she judges/treats other girls.
But as someone who has had plenty of problems with her treatment of Jenny, Vanessa and Serena, I'm not sure why it is suddenly a deal breaker for so many people, who strangely didn't give a fuck about it before Dan/Blair happened or stopped happening.

I guess I just didn't expect fandom to just take on the show's "value scale" and go with it, or use it to defend their own views. (It's okay to do it, the show does it too!) At least the parts in fandom I used to participate in were always pretty good at calling the show out on this stuff and didn't adapt its views. So, I guess I'm a little shocked.
12cubed: Sky12_12_12 on October 13th, 2012 12:14 pm (UTC)
I guess I just didn't expect fandom to just take on the show's "value scale" and go with it, or use it to defend their own views. (It's okay to do it, the show does it too!) At least the parts in fandom I used to participate in were always pretty good at calling the show out on this stuff and didn't adapt its views. So, I guess I'm a little shocked.

I'm not shocked at all, TBH. Shitty show ==> Shitty fandom.

But as someone who has had plenty of problems with her treatment of Jenny, Vanessa and Serena, I'm not sure why it is suddenly a deal breaker for so many people, who strangely didn't give a fuck about it before Dan/Blair happened or stopped happening.

I think there are different levels of cynicism going on here, actually. I mean, on the one hand you have extreme levels of cynicism, where I'm sure that there are quite a few people who are using Blair's treatment of the other girls as a "morally legitimate" excuse to bash Blair when they really couldn't care less. Because they know Blair's behavior to Jenny, Vanessa, and Serena *is* indefensible, so if they criticize her for it then nobody can refute that criticism, whereas if they call her a stupid slut for not appreciating Dan enough then it will make them look like assholes. So even if they don't really care about Jenny and Co. deep down, they get all indignant about it.

THAT SAID, I also think there are a significant number of people--maybe even the majority--who do now truly feel strongly about this topic now that they've lost their love for Blair. I think there's a huge difference between (a) knowing a character's behavior is wrong and still rooting for them to ultimately succeed as a character and still being on their side, and (b) just having lost sympathy for that character altogether and disliking who they are. In the case of (a), you can recognize that their behavior is wrong, but you'll probably just call it out once, mildly, and then move on. And if they get a good arc, you won't constantly go back and dwell on their wrong actions. But in the case of (b), you're much more likely to rant about their bad behavior, and you won't enjoy their good arcs because you're not invested in what happens to them.

Also, things that can make you uncomfortable or ping you when you've reached state (b) just might go unnoticed when you're in state (a). It's a question of emotional attachment. So like the example I gave margottenenbaum above: if I were coming to the show for the first time now, I might actually have been put off Blair for good by her line about Chuck wanting to brag about his conquests, not his victims. Because I'm not the fan I was 6 years ago. I have different tastes, different knowledge, different opinions on things.

So while I can understand the cynicism about fandom (I think you and I may have talked about how fandom gave no fucks about Dan screwing over Serena in 5x15 when Dair was happening), I also think there are a lot of understandable, non-cynical reactions here, too.
thmaymuc: Mad Men // Betty's folks are nordicthmaymuc on October 13th, 2012 01:53 pm (UTC)
Just to clarify: I don't consider Blair a feminist character and a lot of her actions definitely are not feminist and hostile towards other woman. But what I usually see when people call Blair an "anti-feminist" character is them also criticising her life choices and character traits, dooming them "anti-feminist" and that really rubs me the wrong way.
(Deleted comment)
thmaymuc: Mad Men // Betty's folks are nordicthmaymuc on October 13th, 2012 01:48 am (UTC)
I don't think anyone actually thinks Dan/Blair was a feminist ship or that Dan/Blair shippers were a very feminist fanbase, it's just something the DB fandom prided itself with for a long time.
(no subject) - bellesbells on October 14th, 2012 02:13 pm (UTC) (Expand)
i don't need your pussy bitch i'm on my own dickshtiglitz on October 14th, 2012 02:29 pm (UTC)
writing like this in such broadly generalistic terms is pretty unfair. and besides it doesn't make any of the criticism any less valid - should people ignore questionable sexist treatment toward blair's character just because some people didn't afford serena the same courtesy? all this says to me is that thinking critically about this kind of thing should be important when it comes to serena, not that just because serena didn't get it, blair shouldn't either. aim higher, not lower
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - shtiglitz on October 14th, 2012 02:59 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - 12_12_12 on October 14th, 2012 02:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
cassie_epstein: pic#118956710cassie_epstein on October 13th, 2012 07:30 pm (UTC)
I think the shift in Dair fandom, in general wrt Blair, is because Blair was no longer the victim, Dan was. Blair became the Chuck in a sense. Sure, she is not nearly as bad as that rapist abusive asshole, but I think that's where all the anger lies. Like I said before, Watching Blair's treatment of Dan early season 5 through 5x14 was painful to watch. If it was the old Dan who let comments role off his back, ppl would have been less concerned about it and if this was the Blair before she and Dan became genuine friends, ppl would have been less concerned about it. But the relationship made Dan more insecure than he had ever been. He had become this self-deprecating character that Blair had become when she was with Chuck. Dan and Blair made so much progress in season 4 that it was a shame to see her treat her best friend that way in season 5. I hated 5x10 because of how defeated he looked half the time, just the same way I hated 3x18 with how defeated Blair looked. 5x23 when he told Serena "I know she doesn't love me" was just not fun to watch at all and I think that's why ppl started convenience shipping him with Serena.

Edited at 2012-10-14 12:37 pm (UTC)
i don't need your pussy bitch i'm on my own dickshtiglitz on October 14th, 2012 02:11 pm (UTC)
i think there's a lot to be said about the show and authorial intent and what is or isn't ~canon. either you accept that blair was "scared for chuck, not of him" or you believe that blair is the victim of abuse no matter what bullshit milkshake the writers were concocting. either you believe that chuck is just misunderstood, or you believe that he's an abuser. i mean i think that's important contextually because if you subscribe to those first ideas, then i get the kind of visceral hate that's going around. but if you don't and you simultaneously believe that blair is the victim of abuse AND that she's a whiny, stupid bitch who deserves a lifetime of unhappiness for going back to chuck, then i think there's a pretty potent brew of cognitive dissonance going on.

i mean for me personally, i am just like really tired of blair as a character because her growth has been a grand total of negative 1000000 and watching her constantly humiliate herself and center her world around chuck isn't even close to satisfying. but because i DO read blair's arc as a girl repeating another cycle and going back to her abuser, i can't hate her. and i find it strange that people who think that chuck is abusive and blair is a victim, do? i just think it's one thing to be completely tired and frustrated by a character, and another thing entirely to really despise her on a raw, visceral level like some people do.

and anon used to be so fun! that right there is a perfect summary as to why i don't go there anymore
(no subject) - tracerbullitt on January 19th, 2013 05:16 am (UTC) (Expand)