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June 15 2010

Female Buffyverse creators - are they scapegoated? An interesting feminist essay about the way the author perceives women are blamed disproportionately for weaknesses in the Buffyverse.

Try to read past the title, which is a touch challenging. This essay makes some really interesting points.

I don't think that any of the Buffy creators are judged because of their gender... I do think that Marti often gets blamed for things that aren't her fault (or at least not JUST her fault) I guess alot of that just comes down to bad timing. Alot of writers were involved in season six and as the author points out, Joss still read and agreed to everything that went into each episode.

Although I would say that season six wasn't one of my favorites it was IMO still one of the best things on television, that still offered us alot of what we had grown to love about the Buffyverse (just in a darker period for the characters.)
i actually quite love season six of buffy. the only season i don't care for as a whole is season four. and i blame fox for the first half of season one of dollhouse. perhaps i'm just an enlightened male :3

that said, while i disagree with the article as it pertains to me personally, i can certainly see the argument as valid for what it sets out to illustrate. most folks who dislike the latter portion of buffy do tend to blame marti noxon.

(that said, i think the work she did with prison break, her brief work on burn notice, and especially mad men, has been awesome).
Nonsense, I blame everything on Joss! *g*
That essay does make some damn interesting points.
A fascinating read and one which makes some very debate worthy points
I strongly disagree with this article because it claims women are always blamed everywhere, but then only talks an detail about Marti Noxon. I'm neither convinced of the wider assumption nor of the specific example.

Marti gets more flak for people's dislike of Buffy Season Six than she deserves, that's true, but that was about the position she had on the show starting that season--it was the first season with a showrunner not Joss and the first that some people didn't like. And sure, some people brought the fact that Marti is a woman into it and that was dumb, but it was hardly the whole of the discussion. And to be fair, is any Buffy writer not Joss as popular as Jane Espenson?

Eliza is blamed for Dollhouse not being all it could be? Well, I've heard people say that they hate her acting, but that's their prerogative. They may not find her a convincing lead, but I've never heard her blamed for any other failing of the show.
Re: the sixth season:

The article assumes, right at the beginning, that people's issues with it were plot related. Mine aren't. I think the plot points (most of them) were fantastic, great ideas. I love the idea of Willow going dark, the death of a lover (I didn't love Tara dying, don't misunderstand. I just mean that a situation like that makes for great drama). I love the idea of Buffy bottoming out, having rough sex with a soulless vampire. I could have done without Xander and Anya breaking up, I think that served the show not at all except for lame melodrama. But the rest of the plot points, I really like, as plot points.

What I didn't like was the execution. With the exception of a few episodes, the execution was all off, the actors didn't seem as into it, the writing lacked spark and subtlety and polish, the momentum was gone, etc, etc.. Those things are the domain of the show runner, which Joss wasn't. I'm not going to get into Noxon bashing because the big J doesn't like it. But I just wanted to say that I am at least vaguely aware of how a show gets produced, and my problems with seasons 6 and 7 were not plot related.
Being online when season 6 was on the air wasn't great. Boards on fire over plotlines, shipping factions in open warfare, old hands vs newcomers, character assassinations, personal attacks on the actors and writers etc. Season 7 wasn't as bad but the damage to the fandom had been done. Anyhow Marti unfortunately got it in the neck from fans who disagree with the direction the show was going. She was the public figurehead for Mutant Enemy in the eyes of Buffy fans. And so it became "convenient" to bash her.

Would DeKnight or Fury have got the same vitriol if they were the showrunner during season 6? Probably. Season 6 was divisive and those writers did certainly get attacked for their plotlines. Joss was focussed on Firefly and the Buffy showrunner was the next best target. Was there an element of sexism in the abuse Marti got? I've seen personal attacks on her from male and female fans. And they were deeply unpleasant. But yes I think some abuse that came her way was because she a woman. But the majority of the personal attacks was a result of some fans' sheer hatred of what was happening to the show. And it was scary ugly hatred.
When we talked about this on ontd_feminism, quite a lot of people pointed out that something similar happens on Supernatural: all the good is credited to Eric Kripke, all the bad is blamed on Sera Gamble.

At any rate, the vitriol that I've seen directed towards Marti Noxon is ugly, shameful, and often highly personal. Critique her writing all you want, but leave the poor woman alone.

S6 is my favorite season. :D
It was scary ugly hatred; the damage to the fandom was horrible. Those who missed it, count yourselves lucky.

Simon, to answer your question, I think David Fury would have received the same vitriol if he had been the showrunner during season 6; quite possibly he'd have been even more disliked than Marti, given his propensity for shit-stirring.
On some of the commentary, the other writers pointed out the Nixon was great for bringing the personal pain. So if I have a problem with S6 (mostly for the reasons that dispatch mentioned), it is that it brought too much pain, and not enough pleasure fun. Which has to do with her style as a writer, not her gender.

I also noticed that in most of the episodes that she was credited for writing, Xander is kind of a jerk. He makes inappropriate jokes, and usually has Giles yelling angrily at him. In episodes by other writers, Xander's humor is used to show his true feelings (talking brave while being terrified, usually). And Giles reaction is to be flabbergasted, not upset at Xander. I can appreciated Nixon's skill as a writer, but I think she misinterpreted one of my favorite characters.
I didn't find much in the post to agree with. Seasons six and seven weren't plot failures, but execution failures (as dispatch says). Marti Noxon was running the show, and she deserves the bulk of the blame for creative failures. On the other hand, I loved those two seasons of Buffy, so she also gets a good bit of credit for them. They switched networks, changed the tone of the show, and some fans didn't like it. If she's going to get credit for making good episodes, she's got to take the blame for the crap as well.

I think the post overstates the amount of criticism she's gotten over those two seasons.

As for Dollhouse, it seems pretty obvious that, as a co-creator (and producer and star), Eliza Dushku deserves a fair bit of responsibility for its failure. Joss, I think, was blind to her limitations in that regard. This is a failure on his part as well. He should have known, and didn't.

Still, I don't see this "Joss is never responsible" attitude very often.

Edit: I'll second OneTeV's observation about Xander's character in Noxon's episodes. She very clearly did not know how to write for him. If there is one major complaint about the season, it's that the writers did not always write the characters consistently. It's true of Buffy, Willow and Giles as well.

[ edited by ern on 2010-06-15 19:42 ]
I think the post overstates the amount of criticism she's gotten over those two seasons.

No, it doesn't.
I adore season six. I know a lot of people don't like it, but I had heard loud criticism of the characterizations (which I actually think were logical extensions), but not the writers/producers per se. I had no idea Marti Noxon was so condemned--could somebody post a link to some of that criticism?

I thought it was particularly interesting that this article made so many generalizations about female creators on Buffy without ever mentioning any but Noxon and SMG by name. Doesn't seem totally fair to me--I mean, despite "Doublemeat Palace," nobody seems to loathe Jane Espenson, or blame her for the bits of Buffy (or BSG, or Caprica, or Dollhouse) that they don't like. Noxon may be treated unfairly, and SMG's decision to leave the show certainly has been vilified, but I think there are a lot of other factors (e.g., shippers unhappy with S6, the fact that Eliza was unusually wooden in some of the early DH episodes, etc.) that this essay fails to consider. But the question of why Joss rarely gets an equal share of blame is definitely valid.
Of course, I'm guessing Joss gets to avoid a lot of blame just because of all the good we can see he's done. It's his name at the end of our respective favorite seasons of Buffy, so when something goes wrong, we're inclined to find another person to blame. I don't think it comes down to a gender issue.

On the Supernatural note, I've always liked Sera Gamble. Kripke wrote probably my least favorite episode this past season, while Gamble almost always writes something interesting. But I have indeed seen this phenomenon myself, the tendency to blame her. In that case, I don't know, it may be gender-related, but I could also see it being similar to what I described above, just with Kripke instead of Joss.
Very interesting article. I tend to think there's something to it. Of course the is also the factor of blaming Joss vs. blaming not Joss writer, but I never saw the male writers for the show get as much blame as Marti Noxon did (though I never saw Jane Espeson get bashed like that either).

I tend to think the fans want to keep their showrunners genius as untainted as possible. Which is of course a bit pointless, everyone misses the target sometimes.
S6 is my favorite season.

Mine too, glad I wasn't around to see the fan reactions at the time. I did notice with Dollhouse there was a tendency for people to assume the things they liked were Joss's ideas and the things they didn't were FOX's or other writers'. Even if there was evidence showing otherwise. It doesn't surprise me that the person stepping into his shoes for Season 6 got a lot of backlash. I do still sometimes see nasty things said about her and it's pretty sad. It seems like whoever was in that role was going to be a scapegoat but I don't doubt that sexism plays into the kind of things people say, and what they assume about her abilities. That seems to be feeding into some comments I've read.

I thought it was particularly interesting that this article made so many generalizations about female creators on Buffy without ever mentioning any but Noxon and SMG by name.

This. It hasn't seemed like a larger trend to me. Seems like Marti's role in Season 6 was a lightning rod for all kinds of nastiness in fandom, sexism included, but I haven't noticed that of other women who wrote for the show. There is certainly a problem with fewer women writing for tv and running shows (I read discouraging statistics on that somewhere recently), but it doesn't seem to me that female Buffy writers in general have been criticized more. And I don't agree with the author's assertion that Joss somehow failed the ideals of the show by not defending her more in the public sphere. Having so many women writing and producing the show does live up to the ideal in the first place. I don't think he needs to justify his staff decisions to fans.
I've honestly loved every season and every episode of Buffy, so I don't "blame" anyone, I just praise them. :)
I'm offended by this article. I am not a huge fan of Marti Noxon but it has nothing to do with her being a woman. AND if people are reluctant to blame Joss for things it's not because he's a man - it's because he's JOSS. We Whedon fans are a passionately loyal bunch and we tend to try and find others to blame because we honestly believe that he's so brilliant that it couldn't be his fault. Now, that's an issue because nobody is perfect and he certainly is capable of mistakes....but her argument is that it's because he's a man...which I find totally off base. I'm not saying that there aren't gender biases in television shows and how we percieve fault, but with regard to Whedon fans specifically - we aren't gender biased - were are just a bit looney.
@Missmuffet: Um...no, our fanbase is far from ideal. I wish that weren't the case but we have plenty of racist, sexist, homophobic, etc folks in our mix. It shocks the hell out of me too, but they do exist. While Noxon may not ALWAYS be the victim of sexism when coming under fire, plenty of what went down was sexist in nature to some extent or other.
Well said, trunkstheslayer. Our fandom is located in a larger cultural context; obviously, it's going to reflect that context and all sorts of *isms are going to pop up as they do in society at large. Sadly.

While Noxon may not ALWAYS be the victim of sexism when coming under fire, plenty of what went down was sexist in nature to some extent or other.

YES. While the motivating factor behind the criticism might not have been sexist (it may not have been, "Don't let a woman get her grubby hands on our show!" the way it was/is in Supernatural fandom whenever a female character was/is introduced), the way in which that criticism manifested certainly was/is at times.
Disagree. If you want to say the Noxon anger was sexist, you have to reconcile that with the near-unconditional Jane Espenson love.
@trunkstheslayer: Fair point, the Whedon fandom is not perfect. And I guess it's possible that i'm being naive in believing that the majority of Whedon fans defend Joss and blame others for the mistakes of the show because of who he is not his gender (or the gender of the other party for that matter). That is certainly the case with me. I have a hard time believing that people can support and love a show that is at least 50% about female empowerment and also blame Marti Noxon because she's a woman. It also feels like playing the misogyny car to me. It can't be that Marti Noxon is actually to blame - it has to be that she's a woman.

However - as far as I'm concerned Joss Whedon was the creator, showrunner, and executive producer. He said many times that he still had script approval and was directly involved in breaking the overall arch of the season - so if you didn't like season six, then Joss Whedon is the person to blame - if you feel the need to blame someone at all.

@dispatch: That's an excellent point as well.

[ edited by missmuffet on 2010-06-15 21:26 ]
I'm not sure if you're responding to me, dispatch, but I made the distinction between sexist motivations behind critique and sexist expressions of critique. And I have, indeed, seen some critiques expressed in sexist ways, even if the motivation behind them wasn't sexist.

People may say they hate Hilary Clinton or Sarah Palin (to use American political examples, since this is an area where I see this sort of thing all the time) because of their policies, not because of sexism, and this may be true. It doesn't stop the way they criticize their policies from being sexist.

[ edited by Lirazel on 2010-06-15 21:45 ]
I missed that nuance, Lizrael. You're right. Something can be not sexist but expressed in a sexist way. Like when Alec Baldwin called Sarah Palin "Bible Spice". I thought it was hilarious. That it's also sexist didn't occur to me until just now.
That's exactly the distinction I'm getting at. And I have, indeed, seen some people express their distaste for Ms. Noxon's writing in ways that are both personal and sexist. It's an ugly thing.

I'm glad it's clear now. :D

[ edited by Lirazel on 2010-06-15 22:35 ]
Fair point, the Whedon fandom is not perfect


I think you have to place the Noxon bashing in context. The Whedon fandom didn't really take off in earnest as a distinct entity until after the Firefly cancellation and the release of that show on DVD. The vast majority of the people back during the season 6 online wars were fans of the show and not Joss specifically. Indeed there were many Buffy fans who didn't tune in to watch Firefly or even Angel, well because why should they? It wasn't their favourite show.

Whereas nowadays you have a vocal fandom who follows Joss and what he does. Criticising or clearing the Whedon fandom of Noxon bashing doesn't really work because there just wasn't the numbers to call ourself a fandom back then. If you were talking about Buffy in 2001 it's because you were a Buffy fan and that was it.

However if you wanted to lay criticism at the Whedon fandom these days, you could argue that the author does have a valid point about Eliza. She did get a lot of stick. And I could well accept that some of it was sexist.
I thought S6 was disastrous, but I don't sit there and apportion blame. There is enough to go around.

Writer says "For some reason, whenever a mixed gender team is involved in the creation of television, everything that goes right is credited to the men, and everything that goes wrong is blamed on the women." My question is, by whom? The "whom" here remains unnamed, and it is not like you can't find virtually any type of opinion online.
Yeah like Simon just said, I didn't become a Joss Whedon Fan until I started reading Firefly scripts (being in Australia and having the internet we had, that was the only real way for me to know anything about the show), before that I never really had much interest in 'Joss Whedon, Creator', only BtVS the show.

As for the point of the article I don't really know. But I think there may be some merit in the argument.

I never took any notice of it much back then, (because Buffy was all consuming) but for those who did, how was AtS S4 taken in by the fandom? Was there outrage for that season? Who were they blaming for that, and did it get as bad as the Noxon bashing?
Was there outrage for that season?


There's outrage for every season. I really enjoyed season 4, others didn't. Such is the nature of fandom.
Kaan, re:Ats S4. There was outrage from a section of the fandom, yes. Joss was (still is) blamed for that.

Criticising or clearing the Whedon fandom of Noxon bashing doesn't really work because there just wasn't the numbers to call ourself a fandom back then. If you were talking about Buffy in 2001 it's because you were a Buffy fan and that was it.

I disagree. Perhaps the "Joss Whedon" fandom didn't take off until Firefly was cancelled but Btvs had more of a following back than you're saying.
Personally, I've never understood the S6/Noxon hate. The seasonal theme is about the dangers and missteps of young adulthood, where good intentions often have negative repercussions and people founder with bad decisions and the lack of a safety net.

I also wonder how much of the season's darkness (and backlash) are related to having been released shortly after the 9/11 attacks. It'd be interesting if there's a difference in fan response between those who saw the original airing and those who found/watched the show significantly later.
Aurec-I don't think the reaction to S6 had a thing in the world to do with 9/11.
Joss Whedon tends to get a free pass because he is, in general, awesome. And, like Jane Espenson, charming and approachable. I think there's a very strong impulse amongst their fans (and yes, JE has her own fans) to overlook their flaws. Instead they look for someone to blame for whatever they are not happy with. I do believe that too often there is a sexist bias in the apportioning of blame and, more important, in the way in which it is expressed. People scoffing at SMG's post-Buffy career, for example, tend to be more uninhibited than those commenting on other cast members.

I thought it an interesting article and one which deserved much wider circulation when an LJ friend linked to it.
Joss Whedon tends to get a free pass because he is, in general, awesome.


I don't give free passes but in terms of Buffy, Marti definitely did some awesome work - I started to make a list but it got too long - see most of her work in S2 and 3 for a start, and her work on Mad Men has consistently blown me away.

I think it's fairly safe to say that I am, all things considered, quite the Joss Whedon fan but I squarely lay the blame for any big deal thing - plot, execution, any choice bigger than a particular line or costume etc. - any such thing that upset me, he gets the blame. Because he's taken it and because he's not wrong to do so. He wasn't the showrunner - he wasn't there every day - but he was ultimately still the guy in charge and it was still his story.

Any complaints I have about Dollhouse I lay at the feet of network notes.
Very well-said, Kiba.
Jeez. Disliking the work of one particular woman doesn't make a person sexist.

And for the record, Season 6 is also my favorite season.
However if you wanted to lay criticism at the Whedon fandom these days, you could argue that the author does have a valid point about Eliza. She did get a lot of stick. And I could well accept that some of it was sexist.


Good point, Simon. I wonder if she would have gotten less, or if the expression of it would have been less sexist, if the marketing campaigns (such as they were) had not been so focused on sex. I found the first season campaign almost exploitative, and the second season--well, between the gun and the dominatrix boots.... Or maybe it was partly a product of the issues the show tried to address.

And oh, uh, yeah--this is actually my third post ever, but hi! *waves* Please tell me if I break any rules of Whedonesque etiquette.
On the contrary, Three Flowers, you get bonus points for your Quote-fu.

I love Marti, and I love Season Six (except for the last few episodes, which I found a bit plodding, actually). And I missed the online brouhaha about it all, thank G-d. On the other hand, I did think Eliza showed her limited acting range in Season One of Dollhouse, so there's that.
Any complaints I have about Dollhouse I lay at the feet of network notes.

I tried re-watching the aired pilot the other day and couldn't get through it. Then I watched the original pilot and died a little inside again. I'd rank it as Joss' best pilot.

That said, I don't blame FOX for Dollhouse. Whedon knew what network he was working for before he began. It also didn't help that, yeah, Eliza's range wasn't that range-worthy. Also that the writing throughout the shows run was weak, with a few patches of goodness. But I digress...
I became a Joss Whedon fan AND a Buffy fan at the same time, when The Body first aired. I sat there, near tears, jaw agape, wondering who this Whedon was, and wanting to follow his every step from that point on.

Consequently, I was not at all disappointed with Season Six. It gave me all the darkness I could hope for and more. I was a bit disappointed when he didn't direct the premiere and finale, as his direction is almost always amazing, but beyond that I was satisfied. (The 2nd half of Season 7, on the other hand, was very rough for me.)

I too think that this article paints with an overly broad brushstroke in attempting to attribute so much criticism in the fandom to sexism. Of course some of it's going to be sexist, but I don't think there's enough evidence presented to draw a trend. Noxon's name was right up there with Whedon's, at a time when his attentions were clearly divided between two other shows. Comparing that with criticism of Dushku's performance seems like apples and oranges to me - if someone has a problem with her acting, it's hard to blame it on anyone else. And Sarah Michelle Gellar has been notably absent from the Whedon camp since Buffy, so it's easy to speculate that the parting may not have been entirely amicable (but such speculation isn't based anything solid, to my knowledge).

Interesting thought about 9/11, Aurec - perhaps some audience members didn't have the stomach for such unrelentingly depressing drama in the year following.
For the people who were complaining about the execution of S6 rather than the themes, and putting the lion's share of the blame for that squarely on Marti's shoulders, Joss might be more at fault than you think. There's a moment in the commentary to S4's Wild at Heart, which was recorded during or after S6, where Marti brings up the Buffy crew members that Joss took with him to Firefly, including the wonderful editor Lisa Lassek. Marti's semi-joking about it, but there's clearly an edge to the comment, which Joss shrugs off. But, as a brand-new showrunner learning on the job, having top veterans that you can lean on while you're getting up to speed siphoned off is no small thing. I attribute a lot of the execution problems to that, personally.

Also, contrasting the popularity of Jane Espenson, who didn't run the show, to Marti Noxon, who did, doesn't prove much. I think the flak would have been similar, and similarly tinged with sexist overtones, but there's no way of knowing.
Even if there IS Noxon hate, I'm confident enough in the Whedonesque community to believe that it is more of a "she's not right for this material" or "she needed a better sounding board" situation, not real hate -- and not even belief that she lacks talent. It was just talent misapplied.
will.bueche, it's admirable to have faith in the good of humanity and even of fandom, but I'm afraid you're being dismissive of something simply because you haven't encountered it yourself. Those who have come across the Noxon hate have found much of it rife with sexist drivel. It's not so much the well-reasoned critique that's problematic (and to which you're hypothetically referring to), but the blaming that degrades into bashing. And yes, there has absolutely been Marti bashing. So much so that Whedon himself denounced it.
I'd add that, as Simon noted above, "the Whedonesque community" didn't really exist at the time Season Six aired. Regardless how reasonable we might think we all are now, it doesn't necessarily shed much light on who was commenting and criticising back then (or, indeed, say much about what other people do in other places online today).

And to echo Emmie's statement (though I wasn't a part of the online community then), I've heard and read enough about that chapter of fan history to understand that out-and-out nastiness - personal attacks -> bashing, - did occur. Sad but true.
As an avowed 6 (and 7) hater, I am perfectly happy to give Joss and those who aren't Marti their fair share of the blame.
I have read a great deal of vitriol directed at Marti Noxon that I never saw directed at any of the male writers (with the possible exception of Steven DeKnight from a specific group due to the fact that he wrote the episode in which Tara died). There were things people didn't like about Seasons Four and Five of "Angel," and I haven't read rage toward Jeff Bell (the showrunner for those years) of the sort that has been aimed at Noxon. I think that would be the relevant comparison.

As for the love for Jane Espenson and David Fury, they are two writers who have made themselves relatively accessible to fandom (compared to some of the other writers) -- they blog, they tweet, they show up at conventions. This isn't to say the other writers don't do these things, and of course Espenson and Fury have earned respect for the quality of their work, but they are also two of the more interactive representatives of the writing staff. Access tends to engender affection.
I've seen a lot of very personal attacks on Marti Noxon--a lot more than I've seen on Whedon or Greenwalt. I have also seen lots of people just not liking her work. The latter is fine, the former isn't, and without any specific articles to link to it's hard to distinguish.
I'm sure the links are out there if anyone Googled enough.

I did go find this for y'all:

From the UPN Bronze VIP Archive for May 22, 2002:

exit me, pursued by bear
Posted by: Joss - May 22, 2002, 2:15 AM

There is no bear. That was a lie. But I am leaving. Just wanted to say thanks for watching, y'all come back, etc... also, I read occasionally that people haven't been as happy with this year (actually, I hear that every year), show's not the same... not from eveeryone, but it comes up, and I just wanna say this: Dis not th' Nox. Say not that I'm not into it, Marti's not getting it done, anything of that sort... Fact is, I'm in this show up to my neck always. Same With Angel and yup, Firefly too. And I've read that I've blown off one for the other -- He's over Buffy, Firefly is just a contractual obligation, he didn't even CREATE the Rockford Files, why's he taking credit for it... I've heard it all. And it ain't necessarily so. Marti (She of the great brain and great beauty) and I shaped this year very carefully, and while we made mistakes (as we do every year), we made our show. We explored what we wanted to, said what we meant. You don't have to like it, but don't think it comes from neglect. That would give me hurty feelings. Next year is gonna be the greatest challenge of my life, but I've got all three shows lined up thematically, i've got amazing writers and stupendous casts, I'm excited. It feels like the beginning. Joss, year one.

Just wait.


[ edited by menomegirl on 2010-06-16 05:19 ]
exit me, pursued by bear
Posted by: Joss - May 22, 2002, 2:15 AM


A Winter's Tale FTW.
Is it just me who sees a lot of Whedon bashing on the net? Everybody talks about him being worshipped and put on a pedestal, which is certainly true and prevalent in our fandom, but there’s a lot of anger directed towards him as well. Go to some corners these days and there’s just as many vicious and personal attacks made against Joss as there was about Marti (from what I’ve seen anyway). I think fandom probably just goes through phases.
Yeah, I dunno about this article. Like a number of posters, I'm skeptical of anyone attempting to draw broad conclusions from one example. I've noticed this a lot with writers concerned with racism and sexism - X phenomenon exists (people blame Marti more than Joss for S6), there is an explanation for X phenomenon that involves the "ism" in question (people blame Marti more because they're sexist), and this is indicative of a greater trend because the writer can think of some other anecdotes that may be explained by the same thing (females on TV are victims of sexism; just look at SMG and Eliza).

This is an elementary logical mistake - just because X phenomena(on) can be explained by Y doesn't mean that Y actually explains X. Without anything other than "people blame Marti more, and are really vitriolic about it," I don't see any reason why sexism needs to be involved in this explanation - especially given that Buffy/Whedon fans, based on all of my experience with them, are disproportionately progressives and feminists.

Also, in this case, there's a much more obvious explanation: people were pissed off about S6, and thought that the showrunner change was to blame. It's much more plausible given the demographics of the fan base, and is mirrored with male authors - I, for example, HATED Brad Meltzer's arc in the comics, and wasn't shy about saying I thought he was at least in part responsible for it, and neither were other posters. Now, that's a bit disanalogous - many criticizing the Twilight arc haven't really liked the comics at all (and have also been vocal about the buck stopping with Joss on that one), just thought they were particularly bad in this most recent arc, whereas Noxon-bashers love Buffy generally but hate S6. I don't think that disanalogy significantly impairs the parallel. Nor do I think, given this specific situation, that it's relevant that the comics are comics rather than a TV show.

The point? Male authors who stand in for a favored author/creator, like Melzer standing in for Joss, can get blamed in this fandom just as disproportionately as female ones. If that's the case, then people are likely to blame not-Joss rather than Joss because they trust Joss and think mistakes are more likely to come from not-Joss, not because of sexism. There's a burden of proof on the people claiming there's sexism at work here to prove the hypothesis, and so far I haven't seen any compelling argument, in the essay linked to or otherwise, to suggest that's the case.

**DISCLAIMER: NOTHING IN THIS SHOULD BE CONSTRUED TO UNDERSTAND ME AS SAYING RACISM AND SEXISM AREN'T BAD OR IMPORTANT PROBLEMS. THEY ARE - I'M ONE OF THOSE PROGRESSIVES/FEMINISTS I MENTIONED EARLIER. I'M JUST SAYING PEOPLE CAN SEE SUCH THINGS WHEN THEY'RE NOT THERE, AND THAT THIS IS ONE OF THOSE CASES.**
goingtowork: of the abuse directed towards Buffy writers, Marti got the most personal and a fair bit of was because she was a woman.
Simon, I'm not questioning that such abuse happened, but rather what you mean when you say "because she was a woman." Does it mean that people said "well, of course a woman couldn't do Buffy right" or some variant thereof? Or does it mean that people used offensive gender specific language ("bitch") to describe her during their tirades? Or something else entirely? What, exactly, are you referring to?

I'm asking you because I'm genuinely curious - I wasn't around then and wasn't part of the S6 fighting as it took place, and you seem to know what was up then. My argument is based on the fact that my personal experience both here and in person with Buffy fans suggests that factors other than sexism better explain anger with writers. I asked, in my post, for "compelling evidence" otherwise, which would be something like links to quotes of the sort I indicated in the first paragraph. Just saying it was "because she was a woman" is begging the question, as I'm contesting the premise that any of the evidence that's been provided so far is sufficient to establish that causal claim.

Couldn't, for example, some of that "most personal" abuse be explained by the fact that the developments in Season 6 were more polarizing in the fan base than those in any other Season? Again, my point here is not to deny that sexism is a problem, but to suggest that the author's implication in the original link that there's some widespread problem of hating female authors and actors in the Buffy/Whedon fandom is unfounded and based on specious evidence.
Oh for fuck's sake. I haven't read any comments yet but geez this article hardly bears responding to. It's a theory built on one example. If she could point to a consistent pattern of males getting credit and females getting blame then maybe she'd be on to something. But this assertion that everyone who criticises Marti Noxon's writing is sexist (and that Joss should have come out and told them that!) is absurd

That said, the people who criticise Marti Noxon's writing are crazy people. I give her a pass just for The Prom and The Wish. Plus season 6 rocked

[ edited by Let Down on 2010-06-16 08:44 ]
I remembered that Joss commented here on Noxon bashing, so here it is:
http://whedonesque.com/comments/12711
I've heard complaints about Marti Noxon before, but never those so foolish to associate it with gender. It sounds like a pretty petty argument to me.
And don't confuse sexist comments with sexism. I.e., if some thug wants to criticize someone, and they are choosing between the "b" word or the "d" word and choose the one that matches the gender, that isn't sexism. That's just picking an insult that matches the gender. Oh the subtleties of flaming.
Simon, I'm not questioning that such abuse happened, but rather what you mean when you say "because she was a woman."


From what I recall, that form of personal abuse mainly came from the militant vocal members of the shipping factions who accused her of ruining their own particular ship. And it was specifically because Marti was a woman. You would get claims of "Marti brought womens' issues to the show and it messes with my ship", "I don't like her, she's a woman. What does she know of the love X has for Buffy?". It was snark of the unfunny kind, it was patronising and it often contained abuse that sailors wouldn't even have used. It demeaned the fandom and it smeared the vast majority of shippers who just wanted to have fun.
Am I the only person who thinks Season Six was generally awesome.

Bargaining.
Once More With Feeling.
Dead Things.
Seeing Red.

They're all really, really good, no?... I get the impression that a faction of people liked Buffy for being lighthearted, and then when it got dark they dropped off, but the rest of us : are smiley.

Okay, so S6 had Doublemeat Palace, S2 had Bad Eggs and that fish episode, S7 had that love jacket episode, and S1 had quite a few eps off the mark.

People who blame Marti Noxon aren't necessarily sexist (that essay is kind of lame), they're just stupid. No one knows exactly what input was Joss', or hers, or from any of the other staff.

Also, generally, relax.
This article was an absolute waste of time. I've never seen criticism against Marti that has anything to do with her gender, every complaint about her I've encountered has been because people didn't like season six/has problems with aspects of it. That just means they blame the showrunner for fault, not because she's a woman. As Let Down said, the author is creating an entire theory and trying to pass it off as some as-of-yet undiscussed phenomena when there's really nothing there at all. I'm sure there's people out there who hate on Marti a little bit more because she's a woman, but there's people who hate Joss for being an atheist, or Russell T Davies for being gay. We don't pay attention to these people in any other aspect of life; there's no need to here.
I had some problems with season six at the time, but blaming one specific person was just crazy talk. Especially when that person was Marti Noxon, my favourite writer on the show after Joss Whedon. I do remember the vibe being some what hostile all over the fandom, though. It's about the time I stopped posting on BtVS forums actually.
Very interesting read. Personally, I love seasons 5 and 6. And I actually blame David Greenwalt and David Fury for most of what's bad about Angel. Which I think is sort of justified, as Joss has said he was less involved in that show. I give Joss all the credit when it comes to the complete scandal that was Connor though. I don't think I'll ever forgive him for that.

I thought Noxon did a good job on her Buffy years. Her season of Grey's Anatomy is also still one of the better seasons, even though it's the first season where the show starts to go downhill.
Heh, not really amusing but when I typed Marti into google the 2nd option they offered to me was '...ruined Buffy'.

There was a lot of hate for Marti around at the time of S6, not from any specific parts of the fandom as different parts blamed her for (sometimes contradictory) things. Over the years I do think that has diminished significantly (compared to Joss-hate which is still strong in certain places). From my memory I don't think the majority of the criticism was sexist (of course I didn't see it all) but there was some 'she's taking out her own issues on the show' with the main complaints being the darker tone and Spike (depending on who was complaining he was either taking over the show or being character assassinated*). How a writer can write without using their own issues and experiences I don't know.

I'm not sure this article gives enough examples to be valid though.

PS. I love S6. And Doublemeat Palace.


*Not trying to open that can of worms here so please edit out if I'm wrong to even mention that.
Happy to see that I have some good company in the "Season 6 is my favorite" club.

My first instinct was to say that this is the kind of article that gives feminism a bad name. Then I read some comments from people who were in the online community at the time S6 was actually airing (which I was, thank the gods, not). So maybe there is something to the "because she's a woman" take on the Marti bashing.

But this was so uncalled for:
"Joss ...... couldn't quite bring himself to say that attacking Marti went pretty contrary to the core ethos of Buffy ..."
WTF??? After all the times Joss has come to Marti's defense, someone is bitching because he didn't do it in quite the words they wanted to hear?
Some people are just never going to be happy unless they can find something to complain about.

As for "never blaming Joss" .... as soon as he does something that I think is genuinely "blameworthy" (as opposed to not perfect in every detail), I'd have no problem with pointing out my criticisms.
But I have a problem with the entire concept of "blame" in this context. Too much of what passes for legitimate criticism online, is just someone with a bone to pick, bitching about their personal, subjective dislikes, playing the blame game.
@Leaf: Sadly, I found that too after reading all the comments here. I'm glad I wasn't a member of the online community when S6 aired, it seems to have been a massive rough patch in this fandom.

That said, although the article raises some interesting points, I, too, agree that some of the blame wasn't/hasn't been apportioned based on sexist attitudes. I'm not disputing that some - many, in fact - may have stemmed from sexist mindets or were expressed as such, but strictly within the context of this article, the author fails to consider other important aspects such as the execution of S6 (as many have already pointed out). It would be far more convincing if she could substantiate her arguments with cases in the broader sense as opposed to the microcosmic example (again, within the context of the article) provided.

I'm not a huge fan of S6, mostly because it was very inconsistent IMO, but I never attributed its flaws to Noxon's role. In fact, I actually regard her as a one of the best writers within the ME crew. That year was one of great change, however,and there's bound to be major flaws. Season 7, on the other hand, had highlights few and far between, and that, I cannot honestly defend.
I think the original article was posted just to see what happens on whedonesque! :-)
My chief problem with the article itself is that the author provides very little evidence to substantiate most of the claims. I believe you that people said sexist things about Marti, but a direct quote and a source wouldn't hurt your argument.

It demeaned the fandom and it smeared the vast majority of shippers who just wanted to have fun.


It is my feeling that vocal, angry shippers are one of the biggest problems with fandom. As soon as the show ceases to be about telling a story and becomes only about the one relationship on it that you care about, you're entering a danger zone with respect to the ability for rational discussion of a shows strengths and flaws. It can devolve very quickly into "Why didn't Homer leave Odysseus with Circe? She is his one true love! Penelope is just a ball and chain. Circe really understands him... What's that? Other stuff was going on in The Odyssey? Bah. I don't care." I'm guilty of it too and I try to withdraw from conversations where I'm in danger of going "La la la you disagree with me so you're stupid!" I should add, though, that blind affection for one character is equally as dangerous as preference for a particular ship.
@Dana5140: That thought had occurred to me too :)
To use a hateful bit of modern lingo: Meh.

Marti gets most of the shit she deserves, and some shit she doesn't. Season Six contained some of the show's best stuff, and I think it's far stronger than the critical consensus indicates, but Joss has repeatedly made the point that the 'Life is the Big Bad' metaphor was awkward - and he's not wrong. Awkwardness was kind of the point, and you've gotta admire the choice to make a yearlong story about the difficulties of being maybe unjustifiably called back to duty after a big heroic ending when, y'know, that's exactly what happened to the TV series.

The article isn't really about Buffy anyhow, it's about people's need to scapegoat The Other when their pet entertainments stop delivering the usual kind of satisfaction. That's bog-standard Feministe practice and not news in itself.

S6 would come in for less criticism if it didn't jump straight from that devastating opening run of episodes, climaxing with the once-in-a-lifetime surprise of the BtVS musical, to the poorly-handled junkie-Willow material. It's the big failure of metaphorization in S6, the show's most 'after-school special' episodes in ages, and they really don't feel like Joss stuff, even if his own onscreen treatment of drug-related topics has sometimes been startlingly unsophisticated and/or puritanical.

'Once More w/Feeling' is so complex and so deft - so very, very Buffy in its metaphors - that it makes sense to start S6 criticism from a 'Something Else Must Have Gone Wrong' standpoint. It's not about Marti Noxon's vagina. But then the Feministe post is hinting at more interesting stuff (mother/killjoy versus father/playmate?).

Not worth getting bogged down in old arguments, in any case. Almost never is.
It is my feeling that vocal, angry shippers are one of the biggest problems with fandom.

Well, it's a difference of degree, rather than kind, between 'shipping' and every other form of fannish myopia. But we can safely say, I think, that the selfish identification that characterizes much fan activity finds unusually earnest (and let's not skirt this issue: gendered) expression in shipping. The attendant loss of perspective on the original text only matters if you think the point of fandom is to have broad/deep perspective on the original text, and even if fans mouth that platitude when asked, it's obvious that fans don't want 'perspective.'

That irritates me, but that's just me. To each her own, even if it doesn't seem to do her any good. But then what does?
Leaf, you made me laugh with your Google search. Very on the nose with what we're talking about, yes?

After reading all of the posts, I actually find it fascinating that, along with acknowledging the at times sexist attacks on Ms. Noxon from people who did not appreciate the creative direction Seasons 6 & 7 took, it also looks like a new "ism" is emerging- shipism.

I was going to write more, but changed my mind.
waxbanks, I love your comments.
waxbanks, I am in love with your second comment there. There is absolutely no “right way” to watch a show. If I’m watching True Blood for Jessica and Hoyt and Jason and Lafayette and Andy and Pam instead of Sookie and Bill (and Eric and the LOVE TRIANGLE OF DOOM, which makes me roll my eyes), am I watching that show incorrectly? If I like the Agathons and Gaius and Six and Billy and Felix a thousand times better than I like Lee and Kara and Bill, am I wrong? (I’ve been told I am, actually.)

The thing is, contrary to popular belief, most people who ship don’t actually only care about shipping. They love the show for other reasons and just also happen to be quite invested in a romantic ship (or, if you’re me, non-romantic ones as well—Spike&Dawn and Veronica&Keith and the casts of The West Wing and Community and the Donnelly brothers and The Doctor&companions and George&Annie&Mitchell and I could go on and on and on and on….). I identify, tongue-in-cheek and with great glee, as a shipper (lots of different ships, in lots of different fandoms. I could make sketches!). And I cannot think of a single show that I watch only for the ship. That I wouldn’t love even without whatever ships I happen to like. Actually, that’s not true. I stayed with Gossip Girl after it lost even its guilty pleasure allure, simply because I love Chuck and Blair. And if Friday Night Lights broke up the Taylors’ marriage, I would probably go all Dark Side in my rage and never watch the show again.

And even if it is only the ship that they care about? Who. Cares. That way of enjoying a show is just as valid as any other. Are shipper wars ugly? Yes. Do we all want to avoid them? Yes. Do they bring out the unreasonable sides of people? Yes. But I’ve seen fandoms split apart by plot points in the sort of flame wars that make shipper battles in most fandoms pale in comparison. Non-shippers do not hold the patent on doing fandom the “right” way. Shippers are not, by nature of their shipping, stupid, irrational, or destructive. There are non-shippers who are destructive and, frankly, jerks. There are shippers who are generous and warm-hearted and share their love of their fandom with others. Pretending that there’s some fundamental difference between them—or, hell, even that this distinction exists at all--is what creates fandom drama. There is no reason for there to be a line drawn between them any more than there should be a line drawn between those who want to focus on character and those who want to focus on plot. We like different things, for different reasons. WHO. CARES what those reasons are as long as we don’t attack each other for holding different opinions?

Can we please quit creating this false dichotomy of shippers versus non-shippers? Please?

Shippers are not what’s wrong with fandom. People who don’t treat others’ opinions with respect are what’s wrong with fandom. And that kind of behavior? Yeah, it’s definitely not the sole domain of shippers.
Dan and Cardea I think that this article was posted because it had some interesting and thought provoking things to say, and it promoted some interesting and thought provoking discussion here.
I wasn't here during Season Six but if you read some of Simon's posts in this thread you would have to see that this article has some valid points. Not necessarily about each and every person in fandom of course but definitely in some cases.

ETA: Everything that Lirazel said! I concur.

[ edited by Xane on 2010-06-16 16:59 ]

[ edited by Xane on 2010-06-16 17:00 ]
Lizarel, from 2001-2003 Buffy message boards and forums were torn apart because of shipping wars. Long term fans left/retreated because of what was going on. It's better now cause the show has been off the air for so long and we have distinct shipping communities and things are somewhat calmer* but back then it was a nightmare for general Buffy sites.

All the focus was on who Buffy would end up with and god help anyone who had a different opinion. It scarred a lot of people. It is a shame for the new shippers who arrived in the last couple of years to get lumbered with all this baggage and be seen with distrust because of what's gone on before. But the anti-shipping mindset isn't going to go away in a hurry even though we are in what I see as the fourth era of the Buffy online fandom. Maybe when the inevitable reboot of the series happens things will be different.

*ish. I got the impression that new fans were shocked to see the die-hards & old-hands of the shipping factions clash because of the events in Season 8.
In fairness, I was a part of the Buffy fandom back in those days and I don't even remember the shipping wars. Granted, I do kind of laugh at that kind of thing and scroll past it.
Yeah but you were in the Buffy movie fandom :p. Have to say I do miss those days, new spoilers, the wildfeed, endless speculation.
Hee. I suppose it depends where you visited, as with any show. I deliberately avoided the official Buffy site as it seemed kind of crazy.
I hung out at the Buffy Cross and Stake, it was a glorious insane place for discussion. AnGeL X was a great board momma. I think it was one of the most popular Buffy message boards to post at. No registration required so that proved to be fun.
And I am saying that that sort of clash is not the necessary result of shipping (there are plenty of relatively happy, shipper-friendly fandoms, though, admittedly, I've never seen a fandom that doesn't have its fair share of wank, but it's not the case that all of that wank is traced back to shipping--it often comes from other things), nor is that destructive behavior the sole domain of shipping. I was talking to a friend the other day who used to be in Sliders fandom, and she was telling me about their Big Flame War—and it had nothing to do with shipping. It had to do, if I recall correctly, with two different theories of time travel within the show? According to her, it was every bit as ugly as any shipper war she’s ever seen, and it was all about a plot point.

I absolutely do have a problem with people saying that "Shipping is the big problem in fandom" or "shipping is destructive." Because that's simply not true. People being disrespectful is that problem in fandom. The fact that it happens to be associated with shipping within this particular fandom doesn't mean that shipping, in and of itself, or shippers as people are problematic.

And that’s not even getting into the fact that a lot of the anti-shipper stuff is deeply, deeply gendered. If you wanna see some sexism, take a look at a lot of the anti-shipper rhetoric.
Shipping is always going to be a problem in Joss fandom, because it inspires the great emotion. Joss knows this, and totally plays to it in his body of work. Check out the Buffy comics. One of the reasons Joss is so successful - arguably the biggest reason, in fact - is because he's great at pressing buttons.

With regards to the whole idea that people hated Marti because she has a vagina, I don't think that is right. They hated her because she wasn't Joss.

Everybody wants something to hate; it's a human need. Of course, it's a sucky part of the human condition and isn't acceptable. The truth is a large of the reason y'all love Buffy is because of Marti.

One of the things I loved - in a weird meta way - about DOLLHOUSE was the fandom psych factor. Oh, it's not working out - who do we blame? FOX. Yes, FOX. No wait, the new writers. No wait, they're really good. Joss? Nah. It's Joss, man. I have a theory Joss is seen as the father figure in the fandom - I mean, he posts online and calls us kids - and for some people DOLLHOUSE was the moment Dad failed at something.
If you wanna see some sexism, take a look at a lot of the anti-shipper rhetoric.


Back in the day the Buffy BNFs, site owners/moderators, movers and shakers, trend setters were predominantly female. It was, and still is to a large extent, a matriarchal fandom and some male newcomers couldn't deal with that. And by gosh they let their opinions known until they were rightly stomped on. For some reason, I've always regarded the Firefly fandom as the complete opposite. I see it as male.
That's interesting, and not all that surprisingly. My interactions in BtVS are primarily on livejournal/dreamwidth, various fanfiction archives, and whedonesque. Lj/Dw are heavily female as far as fandom goes, and so is the fanfic community. But whedonesque has always seemed to lean in the male direction. I don't know that I was aware that the larger fandom, especially back in the day, was primarily run by women. But of course it makes sense. A lot of women were waiting for a hero like Buffy. I imagine there were a ton of women back in The X-Files and Xena fandoms for similar reasons.
@gossi: I agree regarding your statement about Dollhouse being the moment Dad failed at something. At that was kind of my point earlier in the discussion: I think a lot of Whedon fans are reluctant to blame him for anything because he's like this untouchable genius who we all kind of worship a bit - so we will find ANYONE else in the world to blame except him. And that means FOX or UNIVERSAL or Marti Noxon or Eliza Dushku or whoever. I even see it when people discuss Alien Resurrection. It wasn't Joss' fault is was the director. That MIGHT be true - but that attitude carries over into everything he does. Sure some of it might be sexist (when the scapegoat is female) but a lot of it is just his cult-of-personality.
Interesting. I've always had the impression as well that the Firefly fandom skewed male. And since Whedonesque is not just about Buffy, but I think heavily Firefly-esque my impression has always been it is more male than female. I don't really know, just an impression.
For myself, BuffyTVS changed my life. Made me think and feel in a different way. So my expectations of Joss are extraordinarily, probably unreasonably high. That's probably why the disappointment in Season 8 is so crushing.
I expected more of the same with Season 8, I was filled with joy when it was first announced. I knew it wouldn't be the same as the show, there was no way it could be given the change in medium, but I never expected to loathe it the way I do. It's kind of devastating.
I would love to blame someone else, and there is a part of me that does, easy targets like writers, artists, publishers I don't know of, have no expectations for, are easier to blame than Joss, who I am still grateful to for creating Buffy, but is no longer an idol.
And the Buffy Cross and Stake Spoiler Board was literally the only fandom site I knew when I first started coming on line. I had just gotten a computer and it took a long time to find my way around, and longer to figure out how to post. Such a newb.
I used to lurk around the Cross and Stake when S5 was on and the war against Spuffy was just beginning but back then the dividing line seemed to be more between redemptionistas and fundies. At least the biggest argument threads were about whether a vampire could be redeemed. Of course most redemptionistas were Spuffy and the fundies were usually Bangel or Bander but I wonder whether the wars would be remembered as being about that plot/mythology point instead of ships if the fandom were more male dominated.

[ edited by hayes62 on 2010-06-16 23:51 ]
I perceive Whedonesque members as splitting pretty evenly between male and female, personally. (Of course, people don't have to disclose their gender and often don't, so it's all a bit speculative, really.) And each new JW project brings its own wave of fans and members here, not all of whom become or remain active. All of which is to say that I don't think this site is particularly Firefly-, as opposed to BtVS-skewed. In fact, I'd bet that the latter represents the favorite of the majority of members here. But, I'm guessing.
I've liked all seasons of Buffy. There are episodes that are less loved, sure, but I don't see any reason to get all nasty and start throwing blame around.

Regarding fandom - just for interest sake - I wasn't reading message boards during season 6, but I was watching both Buffy and Angel, and when Firefly came on the air I watched it specifically because it was a Joss Whedon show. Firefly is the reason I discovered message boards though - when it disappeared from TV, I googled it to try and find out where it went.

Hearing about all the nastiness that was going on during season 6 of Buffy makes me kind of glad I wasn't reading message boards back then.
vampmogs, there are some web boards I don't even visit anymore because the vitrol towards Whedon is so high.
The response to S6 made me stop going on the boards (from Cross and Stake to the different versions of the Bronze to the Yahoo! boards) as it seemed people were ALWAYS fighting and the fighting, as has been mentioned here, was very nasty. A lot of it was plot and direction (mostly 'ship related) but I remember most of the anger being directed at Joss (and the fact that he was paying too much attention to Firefly). I don't really remember much blame being put on Marti til towards the end of the season (after Firefly was canceled and when it became more well-known that she was "running the show" on BtVS) and I don't remember it being particularly sexist, more just "she isn't Joss" and therefore more apt to mess things up. A lot of that was from Xander fans who felt she didn't like his character and from Spike fans who felt she was ruining his character with overexposure and being, ahem, "Buffy-whipped" for lack of a cleaner term.
I think criticism of her and S6 peaked in the few years after it aired and has come down since then as time heals all wounds and she has gone on to other great projects. Was some of the criticism unreasonable sexist? Probably. I tended to avoid negative threads after the S6 fiasco so I can't really speak to it. A possible bright side though is that she may have made the misogynists so angry that they stopped watching the show and left the fandom after S6. Score, haha. Plus, with DVD people can see that S6 is a very good season (and to the author of the article, I protest: The Trio were great).
but I wonder whether the wars would be remembered as being about that plot/mythology point instead of ships if the fandom were more male dominated.

That's super insightful, hayes62. I wonder that myself.
Oh, hatin' your creator after loss of faith is another fandom thing. There will always be an element of every joss show who hate him. Those who obsess hardest can bite back the hardest.
Popping back in to say that I think there's some nuance being missed here and that this post explores the context of the original article very well. :D
It is my feeling that vocal, angry shippers are one of the biggest problems with fandom


Lirazel, I'm sorry if I hit a nerve with the above. I did not mean to indicate that shippers are the only problem, or that all shippers are part of the problem. I can't claim to be a non-shipper. And I did amend my statement in the end to include that devotion to a particular character is as bad as to a relationship.

All that aside, your main point is absolutely correct - people behaving poorly to one another is the real problem, whether that manifests in conflicts over ships or plot points or character assassination or anything else.

I did not mean to oversimplify. Our personal experiences color our perceptions, and I remember a time when shippers/people devoted to a particular character would get the Mutant Enemy fax number and start sending death threats to the ME staff. No, not all shippers or fans of one specific character do that, I know. This is why in my original post I was careful to use the modifiers "vocal" and "angry."

In any case, yes - if people would treat each other with respect none of it would matter.
I appreciate your words, Kiba. I see a ton of anti-shipper rhetoric that’s patronizing, sexist, and occasionally even homophobic. Not to say that your comment went there (it didn’t), but I am fiercely protective of the fans’ right to ship, the fans’ right to privilege whatever aspect of canon they wish, and the fans’ right to hold whatever opinions they want, and I speak out against those who think there is one “right” way to watch a show or to engage in fandom.

Obviously, that faxing death threats type of behavior is shameful and repugnant, and yes, I can see how that would color your reaction.

I have a pipe-dream that everyone will respect each others’ opinions. Even if it’s not likely to happen, I cling to it.
I have a pipe-dream that everyone will respect each others’ opinions. Even if it’s not likely to happen, I cling to it.


Keep clinging. If we give up on that, it's never going to happen, for sure.
I don't think the Marti hate was about gender as much as about her being the showrunner for BtVS's most hated two seasons. Lately I haven't come across any Marti hate, but I do see a lot of Joss hate around, and it got uglier after S8 started.
I have a pipe-dream that everyone will respect each others’ opinions.

I think respecting the person expressing the opinion is a better guiding principle. I don't think all opinions merit respect.
Well, yes. I don't mean that we should respect opinions who are morally wrong. But the vast, vast majority of fandom topics don't fall into that category. And most of what we talk about here certainly doesn't. Certainly shipping doesn't.
For some reason, I've always regarded the Firefly fandom as the complete opposite. I see it as male.

I'm involved in local Firefly fandom. One day a bunch of us were getting together for a movie and we had a newbie show up. He was shocked that he was the only guy. He seemed to have the same preconception. :)
Personally, I welcome any opinion, so long as it's expressed with respect for the addressee, the community, and the forum. (Whether I ultimately "respect" the substance of the opinion depends on a great many other factors, of course.) Conversely, an opinion that is nothing more than a conversational hit-and-run is worthy of little respect, in my eyes, no matter what the topic of discussion.
Conversely, an opinion that is nothing more than a conversational hit-and-run is worthy of little respect, in my eyes, no matter what the topic of discussion.

That's why I rarely engage in debates and/or discussions any longer, even if I do read what's going on. I don't have the time (sometimes I don't have patience either) for much more than drive-by replies.

But that doesn't make my opinions any less valid than someone who's able to debate and argue all night.
I don't think all opinions merit respect.

Not all people deserve respect, either.
Not all people deserve respect, either.

In this venue, it's either treat everyone with respect or ignore those who you cannot treat with respect.
That's not quite what I meant, menomegirl. It's not just the brevity of the conversation I was trying to get across by "hit-and-run" but, more importantly, the assaultive nature of the comment. Short comments can often be sweet and delightful. :-)

ETA: Yeah, you have to start out by treating everyone with respect, at least. And, as Emmie says, if you find it's no longer deserved, ignore/walk away.
Ah, so. I misunderstood, SNT. My bad. :)
I try writing short comments. I'm just so bad at it. :)
They grow, my comments do, like athlete's foot.

I'm not a 'shipper but I don't have any problem with folk who are. My problem is with folk who'll brook no argument because it's contra their 'ship or with folk who effectively end all 'ship-adjacent discussions with (some variation of) "Well, I love X and I always will, even if you don't". That's just heating the air as far as i'm concerned, it's basically anti-discussion and discussion is why we're here right ?

Re: respecting all opinions, that sounds very nice on its face until you realise that if you respect ALL opinions you effectively respect NO opinions. And I don't just mean "morally wrong" opinions either (whatever that means - some opinions I bet most of us would agree are morally wrong but many others would be much greyer and even then, is it wrong to just have an opinion or do you need to act on it for it to be wrong ?) because even opinions that don't contravene my personal morality (it's complicated but at its core is free Jelly Babies for everyone ;) could be unworthy of respect. Respect people until they give you reason not to and above all, respect their right to hold whatever opinion they see fit. But don't respect all opinions. Some of them, after all, are bollocks ;).

As to the article, some of the criticism of Marti Noxon in particular is disgusting in a variety of ways (including sexism) and unwarranted IMO (season 6 isn't my favourite season but it has a lot of my favourite episodes) but
For some reason, whenever a mixed gender team is involved in the creation of television, everything that goes right is credited to the men, and everything that goes wrong is blamed on the women. Pretty much uniformly, across the board, and by a wide variety of people, including people whom you would expect to know better. Men get all the credit, and women get all the controversy.

just doesn't match my experience so I disagree with its fundamental thesis. It's a big leap from "Marti Noxon is often criticised for her role in season 6 - sometimes in sexist terms - and Marti Noxon is a woman" to "Women are almost always unfairly blamed for whatever goes wrong on any show they work on", not a leap that's supported by the evidence as far as I can see.
Can we please quit creating this false dichotomy of shippers versus non-shippers? Please?
Lirazel | June 16, 16:45 CET


Second that. Not all of us who are emotionally invested in a specific ship are maniacs who view the entire series through only that lens. (I'm talking about BtS, I don't think shipping is a big issue on any of Joss's other shows).

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