twankharder

Apparently we'll never grow out of twank.

Aspieward? Really?

Please take note: It is possible that this post or comments could be triggering for some, as we’ll be discussing sensitive topics that are often poorly handled in fanfic/fandom.

ETA: Also please note that the 8 comments thus far from user “anonymous” (just the lowercase ones) have the same IP address as comments from “mamasutra.” If you want to respond, just understand beforehand that you’re speaking to the person who was twanked.

ETA 2: The “anonymous” posts involved in the MOTU argument are from a different IP.

On February 19, mamasutra73 had a great idea for a new contest:

Intensive planning went on for two whole days, at which point the tweet “Aspie Edward story contest! write one for us & tell your friends: http://angst-thenewfluff.blogspot.com/p/writing-contest.html” was sent out, apparently just to everyone on IcarusToSun’s follow list, as it indiscriminately included a lot of inactive users and RPattz news accounts. Even the original Twankhard got a shoutout! But not us. 😦

There were a few people who responded that it sounded like a good idea, but they were busy/couldn’t do it justice/etc. Others didn’t like the idea. Tweets like this one probably didn’t help:

This is how it was later posted by sleepyvalentina in the LJ community heroines_heroin, and we assume the text was taken directly from the original post on the Angst – The New Fluff! blog:

Ugaiz, this was even enough to pry sleepyvalentina away from the mirror long enough to make that entry. We didn’t think Gabriel’s Trump could accomplish that.

The voice of reason herself, @107_yroldvirgin, asked her followers how they felt about it, and since the general response was that it sounded potentially hurtful (@ImMelly2 explained the problem best), she contacted the contest admins and relayed the message. As of now, the blog entry reads:

I am so sorry to anyone that was offended by the idea of a writing contest concerning the topic of Asperger’s or Autism. It was not intended to offend, but instead bring light to subject,

My apologies,
Xxoo

Of course IcarusToSun and mamasutra had no malintent and no idea how this would look to people. But we have wondered for a long time about this –ward trend, and authors who write about issues they have no experience with for shock value. Sure, if you see a fic get attention because it deals with a sensitive topic, it’s understandable to want to write something no one’s ever touched on before. But there are things you had to “be there” to really, truly understand. Edward (or Bella) with a physical or mental challenge isn’t supposed to be something cute that you “want to see more of.” And don’t get us started on the romanticizing of rape and suicide that goes on.

Which do you think are the worst offenders in terms of fics that sensationalize or trivialize serious topics?

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95 responses to “Aspieward? Really?

  1. mamasutra February 23, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    what can i say? I am an idiot. To be honeSt I just really loved the edwards in Eye Contact and Puddle Jumping. I meant no harm by the contest and did not think about the research that would go into such a story. I am NOT heartless. I do have a close family memeber that I see daily with autism so it is not like I do not know the struggles that a person affected by this condition can go through. I was just thinking about characters that I loved as was my beta who created the blog for me. I am so sorry to all that I offended and please know that I meant no harm.

  2. Is that cheese? February 23, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    I don’t think the contest organizers meant any harm, and maybe the wording of the contest indicated disrespect that callousness that wasn’t the intent.

    There was a contest a while back that I think was horror-themed. One of the winners was a really tasteless story about a mentally-ill Edward who kept Bella’s corpse in bed, had sex with her, and didn’t realize she was dead. It was the most unsavory thing I’ve read in the FF world and the reviews were really disturbing as they made light of mental illness. I think I was more offended by the reviews than the story itself.

    • twankharder February 23, 2011 at 9:09 pm

      The reviews are worse to us because anyone can post a story, but not every story gets good reviews. To see something like that not even be acknowledged as hurtful…it makes you feel so alone. 😦

      • Is that cheese? February 23, 2011 at 9:22 pm

        I thought of something else that bothers me a bit. It’s not sensationlism, but some writers seem clueless about the actual limitations of paraplegic characters. I think they want to include a wheelchair-bound Edward but I am often not sure why, because they throw in a brief reference every now and then and that seems to be it. The only story where there is a constant reminder of what exactly a paraplegic is going through is Impact, by nise7465.

        • twankharder February 23, 2011 at 9:34 pm

          Exactly. If they throw it out there and then only refer to it occasionally, it’s just a gimmick, and that is so hurtful.

          Might have to check out Impact based on your rec.

    • twankharder February 23, 2011 at 9:14 pm

      Online it’s scary sometimes. In real life when someone’s offensive, it usually gets reported. Online? That movie Untraceable was pretty accurate. The killer rigged it so his victims were tortured based on hits to the site, and the comments. The. Comments.

    • Tact Guy February 23, 2011 at 9:36 pm

      I actually really enjoyed that story. Well, enjoyed is actually not the right word. I thought it was well done and it induced a strong emotional reaction when I read it, and to me, that’s what makes a good story.

      Yeah it was disturbing. *shrug* I like to be disturbed.

      I don’t recall the reviews, so I can’t say anything about them.

      • Anonymous February 24, 2011 at 3:42 am

        I agree. That thing kept me awake that night and I liked that. Maybe I’m wrong, but I see it as different. As I recall, that Edward was happy and successful until Bella’s death and then he spiraled into madness. It wasn’t mocking, it was serious and, yes, very disturbing, but we weren’t dragged through the disturbing material blow by blow as we so often are. It was put together in the end, not while it was happening. I just don’t see it as being the same as the stories that use rape or some form of handicap as a gimmick. Where the author has absolutely no intention of treating the subject with any respect. In this case his downward spiral was the entire story. The author meant it as disturbing, to evoke emotional reactions, to show that this Edward had truly gone down a terrible path. And that’s different from those who write stories with uninformed armchair diagnoses or who write seriously disturbing stories that they don’t seem to understand are disturbing but expect that the readers should be titillated and find the romance in what they’re writing (someone else did a good job of listing some of these). I thought it was done much better than what I was expecting from entries to that contest.

        Now the contest itself, I think it was the Mentalward Contest, definitely compares. I thought that contest profile was just as flippant as the one we’re discussing here. I think they got a lot of flack for it as well but they didn’t take it down. They just apologized afterward saying they didn’t intend any harm.

    • Imma Nonnie Tooooooo February 25, 2011 at 1:20 am

      Awesome! That was my story *wipes tear*.

  3. Anonymous February 23, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    The Perfect Wife.

    Do I need to say why?

  4. solareclipses February 23, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Just so I’m up to speed here… We can write murder, torture and blood play. We can write about BDSM relationships. We can write Bella falling in love with her kidnapper (i.e., Stockholm Syndrome). We can write rapist Jacob, rapist James, rapist…you name him. We can write gay er’ybody up in here. (Because, you know, women totally know what two gay men go through to be together in today’s world.) We can write addiction and resulting abuse until the sun don’t shine. We can write physical handicaps and miscarriage and cancer and death.

    But…

    We can’t write about autism?

    Oh, of course. Makes complete sense. Why on earth didn’t the contest creators just automatically know that was where the line was to be drawn? Silly them! Is the issue simply that it was a contest? Why is the assumption automatically that the results would be negative? I actually think that’s kind of sad.

    If our standard is to be that no one can write about sensitive topics that they either (a) don’t have firsthand experience with or (b) don’t research well, we might as well tell 98% of the fandom to fuck off. I don’t know whether this contest should exist or not, but I do sense multiple double standards here.

    • twankharder February 23, 2011 at 9:28 pm

      Actually, those were some of the topics we assumed would come up here re fics that didn’t handle their subjects well.

      Confused here…why is it so bad to ask authors who don’t have firsthand experience to do good research? No one’s saying the subjects shouldn’t be written at all, just that they should be written well and the whole thing isn’t totally flippant when it’s talked about.

      • solareclipses February 23, 2011 at 9:52 pm

        I’m all for asking people to research things well, but who gets to set the standard for this or other sensitive topics? Realism and seriousness are hardly things that this fandom is known for, anyway, so I’m just surprised that suddenly anyone gives a shit.

        This definitely isn’t the first time a contest has been “insensitive,” either. Take many of the slash contests, for instance. They’re often filled with gay stereotyping, but no one bats an eyelid at that. I won’t even start on the unrealistic portrayals of BDSM relationships in this fandom.

        • Melissa228 February 23, 2011 at 9:57 pm

          Perhaps you’re misinformed or perhaps you don’t realize why people were upset about the contest. It was a CONTEST. A contest that was being promoted as ‘fun’ surrounding a character with a serious and complex neurological disorder. A contest dealing with sexual orientation (slash) or sexual preference (BDSM) is not the same. It’s ridiculous to even compare and really very insensitive to those of us who have children/family members with autism.

          Have there been rape/incest/abuse contests? I don’t think so. I’ve been in this fandom long enough to know that would have been something not taken lightly. Again, there is no comparision between sexually intended contests and abuse.

          Do people WRITE these stories that you think there should be contests about? Of course. Does that make it right? No. But we live in America. We can write whatever we want. Wonderful, isn’t? However, since we live in America, we also have the right to say, ‘That’s fucking bullshit and disgusting’ which, in my experience, fic’s of incest/murder/rape are deemed as just that by most of the fandom. Does it by all? No. Again…that’s just prerogative. If it’s your cup of tea, by all means write one, have a contest, do whatever the hell you want, but don’t expect rational members of the fandom to sit back and think it’s a good idea. Again…I’m not telling people they can’t write whatever the hell they want. I was upset because a contest was being promoted. There is a BIG difference.

          Like others have said, and I have said myself, I don’t think the contest was done with malice. I just think it was very poorly thought out. I don’t hate anyone or think anyone connected with it is a terrible person. It just simply…again, not thought through completely.

          I don’t who you are, but if you would like some information about autism and the complex, severe issues connected with it, I’d be happy to forward you some information. If you need more of a look into my stance, and that of MANY of the fandom, you can see the link about that Twankharder provided. (By the way, the contest didn’t cancelled because a few people got upset. There was a strong, swift, overwhelming response when the links went out that people were not pleased with this idea.)

          Melissa228/ImMelly2

          • anonymous_chopsticks February 24, 2011 at 10:56 am

            *applause*

            I commented below before I read these comments. The central part of my comment was, like you, that I was concerned that this was as you said “a sexually intended contest.” If it was some sort of a contest that could have been about families dealing or an individual dealing or…something then maybe I wouldn’t be so dismayed. But it was about how Aspie Edward is sexy. So you take him (and all in turn all Aspies) and objectify him. The last thing I want to happen for my son is for someone to meet him and think, “Ohh…I read a fic once where Aspie Edward was such a f***hot lover” and for them to think he’s got some edge or talents or…whatever because he has Asperger’s. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

          • solareclipses February 24, 2011 at 10:15 pm

            A contest that was being promoted as ‘fun’ surrounding a character with a serious and complex neurological disorder.

            I think it’s rather obvious here that it’s the writing contest that was being portrayed as potentially fun, not autism itself. Really, though, why must we act like it’s impossible to write something fun with a character who suffers from Asperger’s or some other form of autism? “Fun” doesn’t automatically mean insensitive and negative. In fact, plenty of the stories could have (and I imagine would have) portrayed affected characters in a positive light. It could have encouraged people to educate themselves on the matter (when they normally wouldn’t bother), to write for the contest. I could go on. Instead, it was just automatically assumed that this was a horrible idea, because the contest creator(s) essentially said it’d be fun. (Did anyone actually say autism is fun?)

            Finally, since we’re on the topic of insensitivity, it’d be grand if you wouldn’t assume that because you have a differing opinion and family members with autism that I personally don’t have experience with it (and other mental disorders) as well. Because I do.

            Have there been rape/incest/abuse contests?

            I can’t say whether there have been rape or incest themed contests, but I frankly wouldn’t be surprised. The fandom’s huge. I will say that there are definitely abuse contests. Pretty well anything horror-themed or dark-themed has contained submissions that featured extreme violence, sometimes even of a sexual nature.

            But we live in America.

            Snort. Tell that to the thousands of people in the fandom who aren’t American. 😉

            • Melissa228 February 25, 2011 at 3:47 am

              Missed the point again, but luckily for you, I’m burnt out on the subject.
              Autism is NOT fun. A contest about it is NOT fun. It’s a DISEASE. There is NO cure.
              You don’t get that and I really feel sorry for you that you don’t. Considering you have family members with Autism like you say, you should be ashamed of yourself.

              And no need to snort. It’s not becoming.

              • anonymous March 16, 2011 at 3:04 am

                Never been here before. Just having a look around. Just thought I would point out that autism is not a DISEASE and you may need to go educate yourself some more. Autism is a DISORDER and while there is no cure, there are treatments. It doesn’t do any favors not to talk about it. I will not place my son in hiding or pretend it doesn’t exist or attach a stigma to it. As long as the subject is with due care, there shouldn’t be a problem writing about it. In fact if it educated only one person on the reality of autism, I would say it was a good thing. Don’t like it, don’t read it.

        • twankharder February 23, 2011 at 10:06 pm

          Totally get where you’re coming from. We can’t go back necessarily and write about past events (except maybe obliquely refer to them or include them in comments), but the whole reason for starting a new blog is so we’d be around when that shit happens. It definitely isn’t the first time and let’s be real, it won’t be the last.

          We do know of one author who started to write a BDSM story because she was involved in that lifestyle, but she took it down because people were saying it wasn’t as “authentic” as the Submissive stories and (dear lord) MOTU, and she was embarrassed after putting herself out there like that.

          • Anonymous February 24, 2011 at 3:48 am

            Ugh, God. As if we needed anymore examples of how incredibly stupid people are. So they looked at MotU, a story that makes absolutely no sense, and The Submissive, where the author specifically states she has no experience, and claimed they were more authentic? I can’t even. I’m sad that author felt the need to pull her story. I can only think of two BDSM fics written by people who claimed they had some actual experience.

            • anonymous February 24, 2011 at 5:45 am

              Okay, I’m pretty sure the reason why any person hates on MotU is because they’re either a) jealous of the fact that a story is so popular or b) jealous of the fact that they were not creative enough to come up with a plot such as that.

              You know what, people? Reviews speak for themselves. That story is f*cking brilliant and the author does a ton of research to support her writing. She even went out of her way to physically try something out in a car to see if it was reasonable to include in her story. So don’t hate the author or the story, hate the people who review it and make a big deal out of it. Remember: it’s the readers who make a story what it is.

              Honestly, when I am turned off by a fic, I don’t feel the need to flame it. I walk away quietly and I don’t say unnecessary things about it. It seems to be that the people who do not like MotU feel like they have to put a negative word out about it. And I’ll bet you anything, those of you who are reading this right now and shaking your head, you would never admit that I am right, because you know that your negative feelings toward this story are fueled by something childish, immature and unjust. Because any normal human being never wants to admit their jealous.

              So put on your big girl pants and stop flaming a person who writes what she wants and can back it up. Hate the game, not the player.

              P.S. People can write whatever they want. I agree, people should research what they’re actually writing about as not to look like an ass. And if that something turns you off, don’t f*cking read it.

              Also, when doing contests, sure maybe it’s writing for fun, but it is still a contest. I’m sure people are going to put some thought and consideration when writing their piece, because well, it’s a contest.

              This fandom really needs to get its sh*t together.

              hugs and kisses

              • In for a penny in for a pound. February 24, 2011 at 7:53 am

                I didn’t read all of MOTU I have to admit but that’s because I didn’t think it was any good. Simple as that. No ulterior motive or jealousy involved. I thought the writing was dreadful and characterisation absurd not to mention a ridiculous overly romantic and sentimental story line.

                In the real world I don’t have to like what you like and you can love what I hate. We can still both share our opinions of a story, it’s called a discussion and it’s a good thing. I think the blind adoration that fans have for stories and authors isn’t particularly healthy. Stories should be discussed and no piece of writing is above criticism especially FF which is often poorly written and researched and if you want in my opinion a perfect example of those two things read MOTU.

              • Anonymous February 24, 2011 at 9:51 am

                Actually, dear White Knighter, it was MotU that made me realize that I would never want to write anything that popular in this fandom. It would obviously mean that I was doing something terribly, terribly wrong as a writer.

                The timeline of the story makes no sense. The “plot,” as you say, makes no sense. The characters make no sense. Their motivations and emotions make no sense. And I cannot believe that the psychological and BDSM elements of the story were researched beyond a quick wikipedia search – if that (yes, research does goes beyond testing out a sexual position in a motor vehicle). That story may have started out as something having base entertainment value but it quickly evolved into the absolute unintelligible mess of someone attempting to write something profound but falling laughably short. What really makes me shake my head and laugh at the same time is that people are championing a story where Edward has become an unhinged abuser (far beyond what Edward was in the books), who treats Bella like the family dog while she cowers under his thumb apologizing for causing him stress. He then proceeds to punish his wife’s “defiance” by using his power and sex as a weapon and fangirls call this hot? What? I can’t even read the story to laugh at how ridiculous it is anymore. It is just plain disgusting.

                Furthermore, reviews mean absolutely nothing. 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 reviews saying “HOT, UPDATE SOON!” “OMG!” “I WANT EDWARD TO DOMINATE ME!” “OMG LYKE SO HAWT!” are in no way indicative of the quality of a story. When it was updating on FFn I saw very few reviews in the mind-boggling tens of thousands that were of any substance.

                Your inability to stan a fic worthy of attention does not make me, or anyone else for that matter, “jealous.” That is always the first argument of a weak intellect.

              • onoyguyg February 24, 2011 at 1:11 pm

                lol, just jealous.

                I’m going to tackle this because I have an hour to waste before work.

                “don’t hate the author or the story, hate the people who review it and make a big deal out of it.”

                I saw nothing in the above that declared hate for either the author or story. This is the problem with delicate flowers in fandom. Any hint of criticism is automatically “hatred” for an author or a story. The comment above was perfectly logical. MOTU is not a totally accurate painting of a BDSM relationship. It just isn’t. Ask anyone in the BDSM, and they’ll tell you.

                And you know what? That’s OKAY. This is fiction for a reason. There are some themes you just do 100% correctly unless you’ve lived them. BDSM is clearly one of those. But it’s a pretty widely accepted kink, and since fiction is a basis to fantasize, it gets written about often.

                That doesn’t mean we can’ be critical when we want to. The people who live BDSM as a real lifestyle have every right to feel offended or insulted by it. If you don’t like their opinions, then take your own advice. Don’t read them.

                I’m sure poor fragile snowqueen can handle someone saying that Fifty is nothing like a real dom. If she can’t, then she needs to reevaluate posting her fiction online.

                “I’m sure people are going to put some thought and consideration when writing their piece”

                You’re giving people too much credit for one, but okay, let’s say this true and entrants used their whole ONE MONTH to properly research this subject. Their are professionals and students out their who spend years upon years studying the subject firsthand, and even they don’t know everything there is to know about it. It’s not a theme that can be tackled respectfully in one month. Fact.

                But good job missing the entire point of this post in a fit of pearl clutching on Icy’s behalf. I’m sure she’s grateful you’ve jumped into a discussion about tasteless portrayals of something as serious as autism to defend her smutfic.

                • anonymous February 24, 2011 at 11:27 pm

                  Wow, so clearly I didn’t waste my effort on reading the 3 above posts. You know why? Because I KNEW this would happen. Woah, did I hit a nerve?

                  First of all, I don’t think MotU is a BDSM fic – not completely. It started out that way, but progressed into something else. I think you are failing to realize that. The whole story is based on the progression of a human being’s psychological health. I think Icy’s intent was to write a story about a psychologically damaged Edward. But again, I think some people are missing that memo. Maybe you will understand that, now? I think I did a pretty reasonable job of putting it into simpler terms. 🙂

                  Again, I will put my whole previous post into a much simpler form. If you read it in its entirety, you will understand that I was trying to make a point. My point is, if people don’t like what’s being written, DON’T READ IT. Wow. I think people are making a huge negative reaction about MotU and the autism contest. Um, I think it’s pretty obvious, unless you really are that dense, that people are always making snide, subtle comments about their distaste for MotU. That is why I was defending it, because I see a lot of those ‘types’ of comments mostly FOR MotU. You were saying?

                  And you really shouldn’t criticize something someone has written unless you have actually READ it. If you had taken the time to read it, you would have realized it’s not just a ‘smutfic’, as you so well put it.

                  It’s not as if she wrote a pedophilia or a poorly written AUTISTIC Edward fic. Grow the fuck up.

                  • onoyguyg February 24, 2011 at 11:49 pm

                    “My point is, if people don’t like what’s being written, DON’T READ IT.”

                    “you really shouldn’t criticize something someone has written unless you have actually READ it.”

                    lolllllllllllllll

                    • anonymous February 25, 2011 at 12:42 am

                      hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Okay.

                      Christ, you are DENSE. No, I’m talking about the people who talk about a story like they know what they’re actually talking about when they’ve only read a fraction of it. GWIM?

                      And when people don’t like a story that they’re reading, quit reading it, but don’t be an ass about it. Like a lot of people have been.

                      Do you need me to stand beside you and hold your hand? Maybe wipe your ass?

                    • anonymous February 25, 2011 at 12:48 am

                      Hey, maybe next time when you have an hour to spare before work, you should, like, read a fucking book. Or read anything, really, so that you actually know what the fuck you’re talking about. Oh wait, you have to know how to actually read to read something, my bad. And then there’s the minor detail of knowing how to comprehend things. In other words, you’re fucked.

                    • onoyguyg February 25, 2011 at 1:12 am

                      I’d make an effort to further my side of the debate, but as it’s apparent that I’m the only one actually capable of having it without resorting to the name-calling antics of a 10 year old, I won’t bother.

                      It was fun discovering how very intelligent and mature yet another pearl-clutcher of Icy’s fanbase is, however. So thanks for that.

                  • Anonymous February 25, 2011 at 2:41 am

                    “Wow, so clearly I didn’t waste my effort on reading the 3 above posts.”

                    “And you really shouldn’t criticize something someone has written unless you have actually READ it.”

                    Hahahaha, no keep going. This is fun to watch.

                    I also notice you didn’t respond to me – the one who had obviously wasted brain cells reading that tripe, and gave you explicit examples from the story. Why? So you could simply repeat your same tired argument, that still doesn’t hold much weight. Just so it’s clear, it is a smutfic. Hence why they don’t get further than twenty words into a conversation before they’re humping like dogs in heat again.

                    “It’s not as if she wrote a pedophilia or a poorly written AUTISTIC Edward fic. Grow the fuck up.”

                    Wait, have you read the story? She has poorly written a story about a severely physically abused four-year-old Edward, who was then sexually abused by a close family friend as a fifteen-year-old, and for years after. An Edward who is now emotionally and psychologically stunted and can’t relate to people outside of controlling sex. But it’s all meant to mean he is sexy and titillating, not a severely damaged individual who needs much more help than he’s supposedly getting.

                    Maybe you should take your own advice, sweetheart.

                    • onoyguyg February 25, 2011 at 3:36 am

                      This is a little OT, but your comment reminds me of the very wrong and often offensive characterizations in BDSM fic. Doms and subs always being psychologically damaged, etc. Like a normally function person can’t be into BDSM, you know? They need some kind of past trauma or abuse to justify what’s actually a perfectly normal kink.

                      MOTU’s just another fic perpetuating the myth, which is why I personally choose not to read it.

                      And yeah, it’s a smutfic, come the hell on. If you want to squee over your kinkfic, please do so. I have my own kinkfic, and I love it. But it is what it is. Substanceless porn.

                      Stop being so ashamed of that.

                    • anonymous February 25, 2011 at 4:59 am

                      Yes, because I stated many times throughout my comments that I think Edward’s sexy and titillating and I want to do him. Yeah. Maybe you should go back and reread exactly what I wrote. JESUS FUCKING CHRIST. I said he’s psychologically damaged and that’s what makes the story so damned intriguing. What part are you not getting? What is it with you people and hating any type of fic that isn’t a black and white love story? It’s wrong if it’s about autism, psychological disorders, cancer, pedophilia, anything that is even remotely interesting. Do you read real books? There are a lot of books out there dealing with these subjects. For instance, Lolita. Pedophilia. Pedophilia is gross, but it makes for an interesting story. So don’t categorize me and who I am. Don’t assume I read fics just for smut. You don’t know me, so stop acting like it.

                      YES, I GET IT. There is smut in the story, but there is also a lot of other things happening. But did you also realize 90 percent of the fics out there are filled with smut? And I’m pretty sure that’s why the fic is so damned long, there’s shit happening. What exactly is your point?

                      Look, I’m sorry if I can’t make you understand, but by this point, I feel like I’m fucking beating a dead horse. I’m exhausted trying to make you understand where I’m coming from. I could say it til I’m blue in the face and you still wouldn’t get it.

                      P.S. I do take my own advice, honey, and any story that I do read, if I don’t like it, I leave and that’s the end of it. I don’t feel the need to bash it whenever I get the chance. I don’t feel the need to make snide comments. If you don’t have hard feelings towards something, you certainly wouldn’t feel the need to do that.

                      P.P.S. My previous comment was directed towards everyone who left me a comment, so technically, I did respond to you.

                    • anonymous February 25, 2011 at 5:13 am

                      Not once have I said that all people who are into BDSM have psychological problems. I have never even thought that.

                      Again with the dead horse. You’re killing me here. Please, do not put words in my mouth.

              • ikss March 4, 2011 at 6:48 pm

                Oh, yes. Obviously, the more reviews a story has, the better it is. That’s just logic, right there.

            • anonymous February 24, 2011 at 5:47 am

              Okay, I’m pretty sure the reason why any person hates on MotU is because they’re either a) jealous of the fact that a story is so popular or b) jealous of the fact that they were not creative enough to come up with a plot such as that.

              You know what, people? Reviews speak for themselves. That story is f*cking brilliant and the author does a ton of research to support her writing. She even went out of her way to physically try something out in a car to see if it was reasonable to include in her story. So don’t hate the author or the story, hate the people who review it and make a big deal out of it. Remember: it’s the readers who make a story what it is.

              Honestly, when I am turned off by a fic, I don’t feel the need to flame it. I walk away quietly and I don’t say unnecessary things about it. It seems to be that the people who do not like MotU feel like they have to put a negative word out about it. And I’ll bet you anything, those of you who are reading this right now and shaking your head, you would never admit that I am right, because you know that your negative feelings toward this story are fueled by something childish, immature and unjust. Because any normal human being never wants to admit their jealous.

              So put on your big girl pants and stop flaming a person who writes what she wants and can back it up. Hate the game, not the player.

              P.S. People can write whatever they want. I agree, people should research what they’re actually writing about as not to look like an ass. And if that something turns you off, don’t f*cking read it.

              Also, when doing contests, sure maybe it’s writing for fun, but it is still a contest. I’m sure people are going to put some thought and consideration when writing their piece, because well, it’s a contest.

              This fandom really needs to get its sh*t together.

        • onoyguyg February 24, 2011 at 4:06 am

          Yeah, I think you missed the point. Obviously most critics of the contest have praised Eye Contact to high heaven for it’s good approach of the subject. We don’t mind the theme being tackled.

          However, the way in which it was advertised as “fun” and “sweet” and “endearing” and, truthfully, riding the coattails of an already proven successful fic, was not only in bad taste but incredibly offensive.

          gim·mick
             /ˈgɪmɪk/ Show Spelled[gim-ik]
          –noun
          1. an ingenious or novel device, scheme, or stratagem, especially one designed to attract attention or increase appeal.

          These people were using Aspergers as a gimmick to either increase traffic to their blog, get more porn, or get more readers. Any way you twist it, it’s wrong.

      • solareclipses February 23, 2011 at 9:57 pm

        Also, I’m not going to name names regarding these sorts of insensitive fics. The list is too long. But that’s amateur fiction for you. *shrug* If we don’t want to see any of that along the way, we shouldn’t be around amateur fiction. We should be reading books.

    • Twilight Slush February 23, 2011 at 10:05 pm

      I couldn’t agree with you more solar! I actually think it’s pretty ridiculous this contest got shut down. Yeah, the contest admins could have used more respectful language, but I have seen other contests that are equally as bad and they stay up.

      The fandom is ripe with double standards and this is a perfect example of it.

  5. Tact Guy February 23, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    I’ve read a fic (in another fandom) where one of the characters was severely autistic. It remains one of my favourite stories ever. It was handled very very well.

    This contest, when I heard about it, worried me, though. Just a feeling that it could end in tasteless stories, and I know that’s unreasonable, there’s no reason for me to believe that any author who entered would treat the subject badly. It just seemed poor taste, that’s all. Like, ooh, here’s a couple of stories we loved that just happened to have an autistic character, so lets flood the fandom with it!

    I love stories that deal with real life issues. The grittier the better. Okay, I’m not into the rape and abuse stories, but the reality of living with things like physical or mental disability.

    The word is ‘reality’. But if it’s just a gimmick, nah, don’t bother.

  6. In for a penny in for a pound. February 23, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    I’ve been debating whether or not to post. I have 2 younger brothers who suffer from autism (I also have an elder sister who like me doesn’t have the condition). I have no problem with people writing about this condition. I wish some of them would do a little more research but I’m sure that’s a complaint shared by many when a FF story touches on a subject they know a lot about. My issue is the need ff writers seem to have in romanticising everything from Rape to mental Illness, Incest to Autism. Autism isn’t romantic. Some of those with the condition will be able to live a reasonably independent life (have jobs, flats, etc) however many more will be needing support of varying degrees their entire life. Living with and loving somebody with autism can be both heartbreaking and exhausting. I love my brothers very much and always have but there were days growing up when i wanted to walk out the house and never come back and that’s the truth.
    I’m not saying that somebody who has this disorder can’t fall in love (although it would depend on the severity of their condition) and I’m not saying you can’t build a love story around someone with autism. But please stop trying to make them into these cute loveable/sexy characters. Their need to organise, the ritualistic behaviour they display and other symptoms are just that symptoms. Symptoms of a neural disorder. They don’t behave the way they do out of choice and if you had to actually live with it trust me it wouldn’t seem nearly so sweet and endearing, it’s heartbreaking. The person can be cute or sexy trust me this disorder is not.
    I’m not having a go at the lady that posted the competition I thought it was in bad taste but that’s my opinion and people have the right to post what they want. I agree autistic fics are no worse than many of the other fics out there (but that isn’t saying much, lol).

  7. sleepyvalentina February 23, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    The text I posted at HH was copied and pasted directly from the contest’s blogsite.

  8. anonymous February 23, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    I am not sure why this conest is being made an example of since there have been other contests that have been held that did not seem to cause a stir that should have if there is this line in the sand that cannot be crossed in fanfic contests. What about the Hot for Teacher contest? Or the Mentalward contest? Those are just two off the top of my head. Is it that the “rational” part of the ficdom are ok with incest and mental ill?

    • twankharder February 23, 2011 at 11:19 pm

      Or the Mentalward contest?

      You had better be shitting us with this.

      If not holy fuck rest assured that had we been around at the time and been alerted to it, that thing would have been killed with fire here.

      Posting this doesn’t mean others aren’t guilty, too, just that this is more current and we’re around for it.

      • anonymous February 23, 2011 at 11:30 pm

        I shit you not!!! Watch Twilighted Awards they both were listed on there and went over well with writers and readers so what does that say about the so called rational side of the ficdom. Where was the outrage then?? I understand that this is current, however it also appears that the fandom is ok with incest and stories of the mental ill since other wise there would be a big shit storm over that as well!!

        • onoyguyg February 24, 2011 at 4:16 am

          “Where was the outrage then??”

          Seriously? Outrage existed with Mentalward. The problem was, at the time, fandom had no secure venting post for such matters. Go to the Gazebo, for instance. You’ll see it got its due criticism there. Plenty of people popped up in my chat to rage about it. I remember the Slash Back Slash contest getting bashed because they didn’t accept femslash. And then, when In The Closet came about as the very response to that, I had people in my chat venting about the somewhat tasteless introduction (Gay it up for us gals!) on the contest page.

          But with all the ridiculous fangirl siccing running rampant, no one wanted to speak up and cause the fuss that would stir the masses.

          The difference is that now, the outrage isn’t being confined to closed communities and you don’t have to search it out. It’s right here on this blog you follow.

          Nothing’s changed but the method of delivery.

      • Twilight Slush February 23, 2011 at 11:44 pm

        Enjoy!

        http://www.twilighted.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=48&t=7175

        http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5474318/1/Mentalward_Contest

        http://www.fanfiction.net/community/Mentalward_One-shot_Contest/75406/99/0/1/

        (I’m sure there are more links but these are what came to mind first)

        ^^THIS^^ is what I meant by the double standard and how contests like these didn’t get taken down. And this was done for “fun.”

        Like I said, hypocrisy and double standards are what makes this fandom go round.

      • anonymous February 24, 2011 at 12:40 am

        wait a minute!!~ The mentalward contest gets you riled, but the idea of teachers having sex with their students is ok????? What is ok with that??

        • Twilight Slush February 24, 2011 at 3:23 am

          It ALL gets me riled up. That’s my point. Double standards and hypocrisy.

          • solareclipses February 24, 2011 at 10:25 pm

            The hypocrisy is my thing, too. It’s unfortunate that my comment above seemed to lead people to believe I necessarily support these contests. I don’t. Frankly, I’m not a big fan of contests in this fandom, period. They’re often poorly managed, no matter the theme.

            But I’m always surprised by the fandom’s picking and choosing over what is and isn’t offensive.

      • anonymous February 24, 2011 at 12:51 am

        oh hey.. here is the fanfiction.net profile for Mentalward.. 22 entries. AWESOME.
        http://www.fanfiction.net/u/2124095/Mentalward_Contest

        • Is that cheese? February 24, 2011 at 2:26 am

          The first place winner isn’t listed any more. I’m going out on a limb here, but I think the author was jjuliebee. Can’t remember the story name. Her Formspring mentions that the response was “overwhelmingly supportive except for a couple reviews.” Bleargh.

          • anonymous February 24, 2011 at 2:36 am

            yes, it was jjuliebee and snowwhiteheart posted a story there as well on top of many others. I believe Yellow glue is listed as a mod on the fanfic community page BUT that contest was ok with the rational people of the ficdom : ) Twanked where were you then?? Or would that have been over looked as well since it was so called bigger names in the ficdom??

            • onoyguyg February 24, 2011 at 4:36 am

              mamasutra, right?

              “BUT that contest was ok with the rational people of the ficdom : )”

              Where have you seen this stated? Mentalward got tons of backlash, it was just all done behind closed communities and, quite frankly, the delicate little flowers of this fandom are too fragile to ever search it out.

              “Twanked where were you then??”

              I think they were busy not existing?

              “Or would that have been over looked as well since it was so called bigger names in the ficdom??”

              Bigger names than whom? Yourself and Icarus? I’ve never heard of any of you, Mentalward hosts included. If you’re arguing that a contest advertising Asperger’s Syndrome as fun/sweet/sexy/endearing is only getting criticism because the hosts aren’t BNAs, then ooooooooooooookay.

              ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

          • jjuliebee February 25, 2011 at 1:39 am

            Just posted above under a different name. Posting again. That was my story. You know, the corpsefucking one. Honestly, I wrote it as a gothic horror story, and I specifically didn’t want to do some kind of “Edward is a sexual sadist and likes to rape and murder women” story. I attempted to write something that would evoke horror, disgust, and shock, and I had hoped to make that Edward a sympathetic, tragic character. Clearly, it didn’t pan out that way.

            Didn’t intend to turn necrophilia into erotica.

            Many people thought it sucked and was offensive. I actually based it off of an actual event http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_von_Cosel.

            I suck. However, I’m not a sexual deviant, nor do I find corpsefucking sexy.

          • jjuliebee February 25, 2011 at 2:12 am

            Aww, you’re the annony reviewer that said I had a cesspool of a mind! Nice to meetcha.

            • Is that cheese? February 25, 2011 at 2:54 am

              Madam, you have me at a disadvantage, as the pleasure is all yours. Why did you remove your story? Surely I was not the only one who found it offensive?

              • jjuliebee February 25, 2011 at 2:56 am

                surprisingly, you were the only one. There may have been one other. At least, in a review. I’m sure it was flamed in other places.

              • jjuliebee February 25, 2011 at 2:58 am

                And not to beat a dead horse, but I did write a disclaimer that was about 17 paragraphs long before the story started. *shrugs*. What are you gonna do? Anyway, I’ll stop jacking this thread now.

    • sleepyvalentina February 23, 2011 at 11:20 pm

      I was appalled by Mentalward as well, and had I been the mod of a similar community then I would have made a similar post.

      • Is that cheese? February 23, 2011 at 11:34 pm

        I’m not 100 percent positive (and god know I don’t feel like apologizing here again LOL) but I think the story I mentioned above was part of the Mentalward contest.

      • anonymous February 23, 2011 at 11:36 pm

        If you were truly appaulled then you would have tweeted or done what ever and got other involved in the protest which would have brought enough atention that the admins of the contest would have reacted. I complained to them and I was told no one else said a world so the contest would go on. Where was the fandom then?

        • Is that cheese? February 24, 2011 at 2:22 am

          One can spend a small amount of time being appalled, but the time involved in protesting is significantly more substantial. I have cheese to buy. 🙂 My strategy is to avoid stories with subject matter I find offensive. I stumbled on that one Mentalward story after the contest was over. I wasn’t even aware of the contest, as I don’t pay attention to contests in general. I did leave a negative review for the author.

          • anonymous February 24, 2011 at 2:34 am

            Dear friend I was not speaking of you, that was a direct question for sleepyvalentina. She was the one who was appalled enough by the aspie contest to blog about it and maybe turn it in to be twanked then she should have been more proactive with the mentalward contest if she was so ‘appalled’. I don understand the purchasing of cheese is way more important than protesting : )

        • Melissa228 February 24, 2011 at 2:34 am

          No one person is responsible for policing the fandom. But if you were offended, then you should have taken your own advice. Tweeted/Done whatever and got others involved. Don’t point fingers at someone who stood up for one cause and not the other and say, ‘How could you?’ If YOU have an issue with something, deal with it yourself. Don’t wait for someone else to. We’re all adults (I hope) and if the people running the contest weren’t giving you the answer you wanted, all you had to do was go to your Twitter or whatnot and speak your mind. Personally, that is what I did and it was how things came about.
          Personally, I never even heard of the Mentalward contest but perhaps it wasn’t on my radar. The Aspieward contest was tweeted/RT’d massively within just an hour time period. I took notice. So did others.
          And on personal note: I was talking to Sleepyvalentina when I was first told about the contest. She saw my reaction, as she see’s my reactions often to dealing with a child with autism. As a friend, she knew this upset me and stood up for me, and many, many others. If that is offensive to some…or you think that she should have said ‘This about this contest…’ or ‘Why didn’t she say this about XYZ contest?’ like I said, no one person is responsible for directing the conduct of an entire fandom for every single thing that happens.
          I’d also like to remind you, this was NOT a select group of people who felt like this particular contest was a bad idea. The organizer herself has apologized and I appreciate that. I don’t think she set out to be cruel, but realized it probably wasn’t the best idea. If others write things/host contests that are in equally poor taste, that’s on them and who participates. Again, if you personally had a problem you had every opportunity like others had in regards to this contest to speak your mind. Don’t wait for someone else to do it for you.

        • anonymous_chopsticks February 24, 2011 at 11:15 am

          Where was the fandom then??

          That’s not really the issue. The issue is that, at some point, people need to make ridiculous things stop. Just because past shenanigans didn’t get stopped or garner enough vocal outrage to make the contest admins because with decency, doesn’t mean you don’t stop the ones going on now. So here we are. The fandom. And some of us are angry at THIS example of insensitivity. And we want it to stop. And just maybe once this one stops, the next people who decide to start up a contest will take a second and consider whether or not their topic would be considered appropriate or offensive. And if people decide they are being insensitive, the contest will be pulled or not even get off the ground.

          Or do we just not bother with anything now because people in the past got away with their insensitivity? Because that would totally make sense. Let’s never stop anything because those other people didn’t get stopped.

          Your meme has become repetitive and nonsensical.

  9. Dandie February 23, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    Like I told Virgy when she originally posed the question, I think that the idea behind the contest is great, but with a deadline like that I don’t think that it would be researched as well as it should be. I know how I am when I’m writing on a deadline (I have all of my college research papers to prove it.) I write until 4am trying to get my shit done. If I had to research shit, it would be really really awful (yay procrastination!) I think that this is what would end up happening with an autism contest. It is a topic that should have months spent on research, not just one hour on wiki and that is what would happen. I’m 100% sure that the person who wiki’ed rather than spending a lot of time researching would end up offending more than just a family of an autistic person. It’s not to say that it would be intentional, but without proper research it would be.

  10. mamasutra February 24, 2011 at 12:07 am

    That is why the contest was canceled because I did not think that a month would be enough time to do any story like that justice. I know it was not thought out well, but it was meant with no harm intended. Believe it or not the Aspie Tribe was in support over it and contacted me telling me not to take it down. I spoke with Virgy that night too since she had agreed to judge the contest and yes, she told me what you had said and I thank for not going off about what horrible people we are like some other were doing.

  11. anonymous February 24, 2011 at 2:24 am

    WOW!! Look at the double standards… and then go and look who put in some stories on these great Mentalward contests?? Will see a twanked about this as well or have just deemed that the Aspie contest that got pulled is the only one who should be punished in the fandom?? Where is your sense of justice? You say you are just calling those who need to be called out, but did you really?? Did you contact the admin of the Aspie contest or did you just blog about heresay? If they were contacted will they say that that you asked them about their side or are you just taking the word of some no names fanfic writer that got all pissed over it, but didn’t feel appalled enough about other questionable contests to do nothing about them??

    • twankharder February 24, 2011 at 2:35 am

      Honey, you need to sit down and have some warm milk or something.

      1. Of course we’re not going to blog about Mentalward. The last update for any of the stories was September.

      2. You do realize we can see IP addresses and that yours is exactly the same as mamasutra’s?

      3. See #2 above. We’re done here.

      • mamasutra February 24, 2011 at 11:56 am

        OK, well, I leave somethign alone and look what happend. Yes, some of those anonymous post came from my IP. My niece 18yr old niece was watching my kids while I corrrected 2 chapters woth of work on my main computer down stairs, leaving my lap top open. I walked away from this mess after my last post to Dandi. Cassie, my niece, was upset and why just didn’t sign her name Trampella I don’t know, but that it beside the point since it still would be my IP. Any way I wake up to this and I just wanted to say that it wasn’t me with some split personality. I had posted on here with my apology and my explaination. It was not well thought out and I am sorry to any I offended. I still stand with that. Cassie on the other is upset because in her mind I am being attacked. you see the background story here is that her sister, my other niece is a high functioning autistic child. She was actually main streamed in the school system by the 5th grade( which was hard) and is now a junior in high school and doing well. They both have lived with me off and on since their mom ( my sister) died 3 years ago. She knows that I would never purposely try to hurt any one with that topic and she see me upset and that bothers her.
        I don’t agree with the whole spinning this off about MoTU. I don’t see what that has to do with anything. I still llike sleepyvalentina’s work even though I am pretty sure she hates me. I was one of those people who were disturbed by the mentalward contest, but not enough to do anything about it even though I live with a bipolar person. I will even admitt to reading some of the stories.
        Yes, the contest was a bad idea and I am sorry about that. I know you all know that and now I would just like to walk away with what shreds of dignity I may have left. I just wanted to post that it was not me off on some angry posting because if it was I would have signed my name. It was 18 yr old girl who has some anger issues, but that is another story for another time. I have posted and signed my name before 2x here and I would not be scared to do so with any posting I write and I think that has to count of something. I should not have walked away from the lap top, but I trusted that she would just leave it alone, but look at how well that turned out.

        • Anonymous February 24, 2011 at 2:02 pm

          honey, why are you even sharing this fandom drama with your nieces????? what the hell? walk away. it was a mistake, most people understand that you feel bad about it, but there’s a larger subject at hand that has nothing to do with you personally that people are going to discuss here.

        • sleepyvalentina February 24, 2011 at 2:25 pm

          Sweets, I don’t hate you. We’re all human, right? We’re going to make mistakes, and it’s clear to me there was no malice involved in this contest. If I believed otherwise, I wouldn’t be talking to you now. I’ll even own that I whiteknighted, though I resent the implication I would have ignored the contest had it been sponsored by BNAs. Though I’m obviously aware of the term and that it has been used to refer to me (as well as Melissa228), it has no place in my relationships. When the tweet about the contest came over my feed, I was already chatting with Melissa228.

          It upset her—a lot—and I understood why it would. She isn’t someone with whom I chat online from time to time, she’s a friend in real life. I’ve seen her worry about her son. I know of her fears and am in awe of her strength. So I (Colleen) did what I could to support my friend (Melly). I would have reacted the same way had I witnessed any of my friends become upset, regardless of her perceived fandom popularity.

        • onoyguyg February 24, 2011 at 3:52 pm

          What, the exact same thing happened not only once (which is far-fetched enough) but then again?

          mamasutra February 23, 2011 at 8:55 pm
          anonymous February 23, 2011 at 10:59 pm
          anonymous February 23, 2011 at 11:30 pm
          anonymous February 23, 2011 at 11:36 pm
          mamasutra February 24, 2011 at 12:07 am
          anonymous February 24, 2011 at 12:40 am
          anonymous February 24, 2011 at 12:51 am
          anonymous February 24, 2011 at 2:24 am
          anonymous February 24, 2011 at 2:34 am
          anonymous February 24, 2011 at 2:36 am
          mamasutra February 24, 2011 at 11:56 am

          Come on, now.

    • onoyguyg February 24, 2011 at 4:30 am

      1. My post below was meant to be in reply to this one.

      2. We got your side. It’s up there, at the top, along with a few other anon posts apparently.

      Everyone has already established that you clearly meant no malice. The subject matter was treated with abundant flippancy likely out of ignorance. We get that.

      BUT, as this is a recurring issue in fandom, and seeing as how, tbqh, Aspieward Contest would be a shining example of gimmick!fic gone awry regardless of time period, then I’m just afraid it’s going to be made an example out of.

      I have no qualms with that.

  12. onoyguyg February 24, 2011 at 4:25 am

    Wow. I can not believe some of the comments here.

    “BUT YOU DIDN’T TWANK MENTALWARD eventhoughthisblogdidntexistthen YOU ARE SUCH HYPOCRITES!”

    What in the actual fuck? Did you ever consider that might be the entire point of the twank? To call attention to an already existent issue in fandom?

    Because someone’s not called out directly in a twank doesn’t mean the blog is automatically in support of them. That’s not a double standard. You should probably look that up.

    Here, I’ll save you the time.

    double standard
    –noun
    1. any code or set of principles containing different provisions for one group of people than for another, especially an unwritten code of sexual behavior permitting men more freedom than women. Compare single standard ( def. 1 ) .

    Did anywhere in this blog post state that Mentalward Contest was totally cool? No.

    When the news reports hate crimes, do you think they go back to the 1920’s and make a list of all hate crimes that remain unsolved? Does that make the media hypocrites?

    Sometimes, fandom. Sometimes…

  13. onoyguyg February 24, 2011 at 4:51 am

    Slightly off topic?

    In that Aspieward banner, do they have him behind bars? DDDDD:

  14. anonymous_chopsticks February 24, 2011 at 10:40 am

    I’m going to comment before I read anyone else’s comments here because I am afraid I’ll be set off by what I see.

    My son has Asperger’s, though given the anonymity of the internet no one has any reason to believe this is true.

    I can understand that the goal of a contest like this may be really well intentioned. Raising awareness of the autism spectrum disorders is a fabulous idea. But let’s be honest — in this fandom, a contest will usually lead to nearly all of the stories entered being M/NC-17 rated, and will be because of graphic sex. Now, though I hope in the future my son finds the right girl and they enjoy each other…thoroughly, they won’t be having great sex because he has Asperger’s and that qualifies him in some special way. It will be because he’s great.

    So, I don’t have problems with people trying to do what they know and start up something to raise awareness. I’m fairly certain that whoever started this contest idea had no idea at all that what she was doing was going to trigger people. I think that if the contest originators had asked parents who have kids on the spectrum what they thought about it (and described the likely entry contents), they would have dropped the idea when they’d seen these parents’ concerns. Because I do definitely have a problem with a contest which will be comprised of stories which will use Asperger’s as a vehicle for smut. Or a vehicle for comedy. It’s insensitive at best and demeaning at worst. Again, yes, perhaps not intentionally, but that would be the result.

    When someone says they ‘love Aspie Edward’ what they really mean is that someone wrote an Edward who looked like Robert Pattinson and therefore was great in bed and attached a few Aspie symptoms to him as a way to make him stand out in the fic universe. I’ve seen a few of these stories but…I just can’t.

    Asperger’s isn’t just one thing, one way, one set of traits. You can put a dozen Aspies in a room together and you will have twelve entirely different sets of variables. To use it in a fic as a plot device gives readers the feeling that they’ve learned something — but what they’ve most likely learned are some oversimplified stereotypes and misconceptions. I’m not saying that the authors are malicious or going at it with bad intentions. What I am saying is that it absolutely rubs me the wrong way each time I see “Aspieward” as The New Sexy Edward Type.

    So…if you want to raise awareness for Asperger’s and do it as Twi fic fans, what could you do? I’m not sure, exactly. While part of me thinks that you could write a fic where E/B are parents dealing with an Aspie child….part of me realizes that no one would want to read that story. Talk about angst and hard on your marriage. And what about the way those parents are judged by strangers (and family) for the way we have to talk to our kids (very directly and bluntly — so insensitive OMG) or for not enrolling them in sports (because every boy should play baseball) or by the child’s teachers for not disciplining the child enough or…yeah. That would be a great story. Write Edward as a boy with Asperger’s? When he’s excited about his obsession, it can be great. But what about when he just…can’t understand why people are upset with him or laughing at him or…

    See?

    It’s not the end of the world to have a child with Asperger’s. It’s really not. My son is, like all children, both trying and delightful, fun and frustrating, gifted and challenged. I think he’ll be a great husband some day. But what he is not, is a type. So…I don’t know, encourage people to change their avis to the Autism puzzle piece ribbon, or give them URLs to good information sites for families. But please, please avoid playing into and exploiting stereotypes for the sake of yet another sexy Edward type.

    • 107yearoldvirgin February 24, 2011 at 6:57 pm

      As one of the writers of an Asperger related fic, I’d just like to say that it was never my intent to make Edward another ‘sexy’ type. While my story did include first time explorations of sexual situations, I never wanted to glorify it or make it seem like being with someone on the spectrum was to be romanticized. I wanted it to be real. Teenagers wanting to explore sexuality is real. In fact, through all of the research that I did, as well as some personal experiences, I wanted nothing more than to relay just how difficult it could be…I do believe that young men and women with Asperger’s, who are highly functioning and can adapt in certain ways, can find love just like everyone else. That was my intent. And I hope it didn’t come across as anything but that. I had many parents of children and teens, as well as those that work in the field and teach students on the spectrum say that stories written about these issues could open a lot of people’s eyes. And that they give hope to those living with the diagnosis. That’s all I could hope to ask for as a writer.

      • onoyguyg February 24, 2011 at 9:54 pm

        It’s one thing to write a story about the subject, definitely. It’s quite another when you prompt fandom to write about it “for fun” in a specific span of time as a competition.

        It probably wouldn’t have been the subject of such scrutiny if:

        1. Canon had any ties to Asperger’s Syndrome at all . (In this case, they seem to just be piggybacking off the trend of 2 fics)
        2. The hosts hadn’t approached it from a sexual or endearing angle.
        3. There was generally less squee.

        Just. Idk. Autism isn’t something to squee over. Squee over BDSM, tattoos, vampires, and dirty talking Edward, but leave disabilities and handicaps out of it.

        • 107yearoldvirgin February 25, 2011 at 2:06 am

          Oh, I completely understand! I was responding to chopsticks’ post:)

          • anonymous_chopsticks February 25, 2011 at 6:41 am

            107yearoldvirgin —

            I get it, I do. And having an Asperger’s Edward in a story is not what is upsetting to me. I think that you handled it well enough (or gave it your best) in your story from what I skimmed through. I’ve read other stories (some nonTwi ones) where it’s used with respect and fairness — as best as someone can do when they haven’t lived it.

            My objection is to Aspie Edward then becoming a Type. Because the Type gets romanticized, idealized, canonized…whatever. At that point, the Asperger’s part of it slips beyond any level of reality and slides into objectification and misinformation. Having a few well written stories which use Asperger’s or Autism in a realistic and well written way is fine and is not what I am objecting to. Taking the good/sexy/eccentric bits of those Edwards and using it to fuel a drive for more stories using those bits of “AspieEdward TM” is what I have a problem with. Because the majority of them will be quickly dashed off one shots with very little character development, not a lot of research behind them (other than reading other fics with Aspie Edward and maybe a little Dustin-Hoffman-Rainman thrown in), and are very likely to be like most contest one-shots — a race to a graphic lemon.

            I’ve been around in this fandom for…5 years? I know what the majority of one shot contest fics are like.

            If this contest had been set up with a process that went from “Autism Awareness month is coming up. I want to raise awareness of it. I like Twific. Oh, there are a few Aspie Edward stories. Let’s get some more stories that use Autism spectrum disorder information well to generate attention for Autism. GO!” But instead Aspie Edward is The Hot New Ward of the month and a contest was started around that.

            Here are the steps as I see them (and you can put in anything here from Autism to Cancer to Depression to whatever your flavor):
            1. A few authors do some research (of varying quality) and write stories using ___ disorder/issue

            2. Stories become popular and people begin to really like THOSE Edwards (or whatever character)

            3. New Ward Type is created. This new Ward becomes the face of that issue for most readers.

            4. Others try to write that Ward type, but most base their stories not on research they have done, but on those other Wards (and that Lifetime movie/USA Today article/CNN report etc. they saw about it)

            5. Now the issue has its Ward, and that Ward is hot (because in this fandom, let’s be fully honest, +80% of the fics are about sex). People talk about ____!Ward and how he’s so hot and wonderful and and and…

            6. When people hear of that disorder, the information (both the correct and helpful information and the utterly incorrect and harmful misconceptions) is connected to that Ward and now bound up with what that person thinks of ___ issue.

            7. The result is a boggling mishmash of objectification and misinformation with a little truefact thrown in. And yet, people now feel educated, so they take those ideas and preconceptions and go forth.

            Let me be clear — my objections to this sort of behavior do not only apply to this one issue and this one contest. I feel sick whenever Hollywood or authors or news reports or coffee chains take big issues like this and present sound bites, sensationalistic characters, marketing campaigns etc. that don’t actually do those dealing with this issues any good, but make people feel like they now know what is going on. I don’t like armchair activism of any sort.

  15. Einfach Mich February 25, 2011 at 12:54 am

    When I first heard about this contest I had, what I assume was the same gut reaction that many of the opponents of it had. [insert image of an enraged flailing squid here]

    After a few moments, I took a deep breath, sat back and asked myself what was really wrong with it? As it’s been pointed out many time no one meant harm by creating the contest, and that people have a right to write about whatever they want (yes, even rape, incest, and other horrible shit). I don’t consider stories about Autism or Autistic characters bad at all. In fact, I feel that the more awareness that we have around it the more research will be done to help those that live with it.

    So what exactly is so wrong with the Aspie Edward contest? The presentation and (for me specifically) the (unintentional) objectification of individuals with Asperger’s or Autism. See, that’s the line that was crossed that people don’t seem to be able to pin point exactly. That it’s not the idea of the contest, but how it was present that was offensive.

    I personally thought that the TITLE of the contest set the offensive tone. Aspie Edward is like saying Handie Eddie or [racial slur] Edward. Or at least it is in my book.

    Sure, we have a ton of ‘wards in fandom. We have a ass ton of contests that focuses a singular aspect of a person and fetishizes it. When you’re doing this with innocuous things like tattoos, sports, and people that have gone to prison (though even that can tricky) it isn’t going to necessarily offend any individual that does these things in real life. Like if you told a hockey player that a bunch of ladies write porn about how a hockey player gets fucked a lot he would most likely not be offending. In fact, he’d probably ask where he can read it.

    However, when you’re talking about a group of people that are already marginalize, stereotyped and neglected by society on a regular basis it is WRONG to objectify them for your own entertainment.

    When, I say objectify I mean by reducing them down to one single aspect of who they are, there by taking away their humanity. Shortening the name Asberger’s to Aspie is turning a human being with feelings into a teddy bear. That is what’s offensive about how this contest was presented.

    Do not get me wrong, I am in full support of hosting a contest to encourage people to write about sensitive subjects. I myself hosted and judged a fic contest for writing mutli-racial relationships in Twilight fan fiction, with much success. One of the reasons I think it worked was that we approached it with care, respect and put guidelines in place to prevent offensive entries from ever even being submitted.

    I think this controversy could have been avoided by A) choose a more respectful name for contest (For Example: Secret Voices or even Voice of Autism) and B) Make it very clear in the wording of all publicity for the contest that it is to promote awareness and increase understand (and love) for individuals on the spectrum.

    I commented here, because I feel it’s important for us all to be clear that there is nothing wrong about contests like this, just that we need to take greater care when we create, and publicize them. True there will always be people that will have issues with writing fiction about these subjects. You can’t please everyone, but you can (and should always) try like hell to keep from offending anyone.

    I hope that some day, once the dust has settled, that someone will be brave enough to make another contest for fan fic about Autistic characters. I would love to write something for it, and I don’t think I’m alone in that.

    • Anonymous February 25, 2011 at 5:33 am

      I completely agree with this. Especially this paragraph:

      I commented here, because I feel it’s important for us all to be clear that there is nothing wrong about contests like this, just that we need to take greater care when we create, and publicize them. True there will always be people that will have issues with writing fiction about these subjects. You can’t please everyone, but you can (and should always) try like hell to keep from offending anyone.

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