Thursday, May 5, 2011

Brickhouse Chronicles: Fandom Fatties Unite! Redefining the Concept of Escapism Within Speculative Fiction

I’m a fangrrl and proud of it….most of the time. Lately, the values that I have developed and learned to cherish on my journey to being flabulously fat positive have begun to clash with the values that I find prevalent within the world of speculative fiction. The more confident I become in the beauty of my fat body the less patience I have for the lack of imagination (and in the worst case scenarios, outright fat hatred) in how writer’s of speculative fiction still base their characterization.

- Slim Young White Woman-Strongly Heterosexual and Sexually Available Heroine (Elf, Human)

-Sexually Confident Slim Young White Woman With Big Breasts-Seductress/Bitch Queen (Human or Half Elven)

-Sexually Experienced White Woman Over 25-Mom (Human)

-Fat Woman-Unattractive comedy relief (Dwarf, human)

-Beautiful Fat Woman- Nonexistent

-Fat Man- Comedy relief. Usually asexual or unaware of how unattractive he is to others. (Dwarf)

-Noble Person of Color- Asexual, always emotionally supportive, comedy relief, and Dead by the second chapter (Human or Alien. Special note- People of color aren’t magical)

-Queer Character-*See Noble Person of Color (Elf)

-Black Woman-Asexual, sassy or wise, non-magical portal to magic. (Oprah)

The list goes on. So where is my escapism damnit! I believe the point of well written escapist literature should take us away from the harsh realities of everyday life and still be able to plant the small subversive seed that things should really be this way, i.e. Star Trek at its best (Yeah I’m old school). I know that I am not alone in feeling like reading speculative fiction with its emphasis on the message that magic and power only belongs to those who are thin, heterosexual, tall, and white feels more like an eroticization of Aryan Power ideals, fat hatred, and violence based male dominance. This is not an escape for me, but a drilling home of the message that I’m inundated with on a daily basis.

To me great escapism from the harsh realities of today’s world would mean that people who have characteristics like being fat, disabled, short (and not a hobbit or dwarf!), queer, transgendered, and of color are championed as the holders of magic, beauty, sensuality, and adventure. I want to read about a world where all of the beautiful and unique bodied creatures that I see walking around everyday finally realize that the magic was always within them. I want fantasy worlds created where the female object of desire is fat and considered a floating paradise of unbridled sensuality. Or how about a world where the hero is gender queer female or an effeminate male who goes on an amazing adventure. Or how about a duo female characters who (Gasp!) go on an adventures with that aren’t based in their need for romance and they have casually disposable flings that don’t get in the way their misadventures (think Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser). I’m excited just thinking about it!

This is where the writers’ of fan fiction come in! Fanfic authors aren’t weighed down by publishers’ who give such obtuse and unrealistic suggestions like “the hero would be more “relatable” to the reader if his love interest was female” or “female readers really love lots of romance in their fantasy adventures!”. The realm of Fan fiction and self published speculative fiction has more ability to create truly imaginative and breathtaking flights of fancy that flout convention because the only limit is the imagination of the authors. It is with this fangrrl faith that I propose a new movement of fabulous fatty Fanfic! I mean come on wouldn’t it be great!?

Who knows, maybe if the Fatty Fanfic movement catches on, publishers’ will actually take notice of the fact that there is a whole new world of speculative fiction possibilities just waiting for mass marketing. And more importantly, somewhere on the internet a beautiful fat woman’s online avatar will be a picture of herself.

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