Integrated Feminism Part 5: Coopted Stories, Empathy, and Othering

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It's funny how folks love action movies while treating the folks who's daily lives and who's demeanor is similar like shit. Like, spoonies and the neurodivergent and the poor live grand adventures everyday. You know the parts where just everything goes wrong or everything is working against the protagonist or how something super simple becomes nearly impossible? Or how it's just so much or they're so used to it that they can't or don't even really react to the bizarreness? Welcome to life with chronic pain and/or life in constant crisis mode.

Whether it comes from oppression or mental illness or pain or whatever, those stories you see have always been our stories. They aren't new and they aren't glamorous and I can assure you pale men and women usually are not the ones who've experienced or learned to survive such things or how to keep level heads. #whitefantasy (En Canada) distorts the reality that most of Sci fi and fantasy are stories about indigenous and Black people, that comedy and romance are pure glass egg privilege, that action and adventure are spoonie chronicles, that thriller and horror are pale guilt, and historical (alt or not) is simply trauma porn.

That's why it puzzles and annoys me so much when lighter folks talk about empathy like they actually remotely understand it. I'll say again: Empathy is only about feeling another's pain. That's literally it. It can be an impetus to help or a tool to better abuse someone, but it depends on the person and their morals! There are also several types of empathy. Neurodivergent people like autistic folks have higher levels of lesser-recognized types of empathy. Abusers tend to have higher levels of the more widely-recognized and largely lauded type of empathy. This type of empathy is also most often felt for others very similar to oneself. Hence, "normal" people only feel empathy for those who look like them and think like them.

That’s why movies have to feature bland, non-melanated people. That’s all you care about. The things happening, the burden, the know-how - it’s all among us, whom you ignore and revile and mock and oppress and steal from every chance. That’s why they still get so many of the details wrong about lives and lived experiences like those of the Erased and Othered.

That's why I find so much of media boring, inaccurate, insulting, and unimaginative. It is one of the main forces chopping people and experiences and reality into bifurcated bits and selling back to everyone in pieces. Of course you'll never get enough.

So, what are you creating and why?

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