Accident hurts just as much as on purpose.
That's what I keep telling my kids when they horse around and end up poking one or the other in the eye so that one of them ends up bruised and crying and the other one folds her arms in a defensive huff and calls her cry-baby. Saying "I'm sorry" or even just *thinking* about changing her behavior so that such accidents occur less in the future doesn't come naturally to either of them.
And there are also the times when one of them gets a sly one in and claims it an accident so I should just pat them both on the head and walk away. Well, I don't. This usually gets me retorts of "I don't have to say sorry!" or "You're a mean mommy!" and the injuring party goes and sulks and won't talk to me for a few minutes and then it's all "Well *she* did this" or "She *said* this!" and "Why do you love her more than me? *You're* the one who's not *fair*! I hate you!"
Then I say it again: Accident hurts just as much as on purpose. And I do this for the elbow jabs and the name-calling both. And the *names*. Although it seems like they just pick things out of the air, they don't. They go to school. They watch TV. They live in the world, not just in my house. And when they say them, they mean them and they don't. They don't understand the subtle cultural weight that they have, these weapons. They just know that they hurt.
And so I have to sigh, after I get over being appalled, and sit down and tell them stories. How it was in olden times. How it is now. How what we say just doesn't disappear. Sometimes they get it, but most of the time they don't.
"What does this have to do with *anything*?" they say. "I didn't *say* that."
Of course this is an incredibly weak and inept analogy for how fandom just *hurts* sometimes. And I'm not trying to get preachy here but to say that I'm guilty. I've perpetuated the fandom stereotype of Lana and never called myself into question as to why.
When I first got into Smallville fandom, my first mention of Lana was this:
Somewhat related, netweight will not rest until I watch Smallville. I can now say that I've watched the first two episodes of s1. Resistance was futile. I don't know how fannish I'll get, but I'm enjoying it. Lana kinda bugs me simply for her non-redheadedness. Whoever that is on the screen is not the Lana Lang that I grew up with.
--from entry dated 08/17/06
I grew up with comics and fangirled Lana Lang *hard* simply out of identification. I have red hair and so did she. So when I first started watching the show, the new Lana confused me. I saw Chloe as having a lot of the characteristics that classic comics Lana had. And yes, I have to say that some of those are *physical* characteristics. This is not easy for me to admit. But if I call my kids on their behavior then I have to call myself on my own.
And although I call myself a Lana fan now, that doesn't mean that I haven't put some of those fandom stereotypes into my own work. I'm not going to link to it, but I wrote a fic last year that had a desexualized and nose-crinkly Lana. It's lazy writing really and I didn't even *think* of what I had done until the comments started coming in, praising me for the Lana-bashing. I felt and still feel ashamed. I didn't call her a hamster or anything, but I might as well have. I know my craft and can *imply* things, horrible things.
So yes, I'm guilty. And I can only thank juxtoppozed for holding up that mirror and giving me pause, to *think* of my own role in this.
Because I might be in the position to be a teacher to my children, but I myself still have a lot to learn.