dreamingfifi: (Default)
There are several types of gender-bending characters, but only 2 are common in the Detective Conan universe. I'm going to talk about some ground rules for proceeding for both of them, and cover them both individually.

The Detective Conan story has plenty of female characters, but they are mostly side characters. Th main actors are almost all male, so genderbending them female is a very understandable urge. In fact, I think it's pretty cool. The two main types of genderbending that I see in the Detective Conan fanfiction zeitgeist are:

1. Genderbent from birth.
2. APTX4869 (or similar evil organization drug) switches one's gender, instead of turning one into a little kid.

But, there are several important things to keep in mind:

Gender Identity has very little to do with one's personality. Women aren't more emotional; men aren't all perverted creepers. Don't change the character's personality. What does change is the way society acts on the character. If a woman is emotional, it's expected, but if a guy is emotional, he's ridiculed. If a guy is a perverted creep, it's usually brushed off as "boys will be boys", but if a woman is a perverted creep, she must be a whore - or the victim, because women don't actually have sexualities, right? You get the picture: toss the sexist stereotypes.

Some examples:

Heiji is hot-headed, brave, and self-sacrificing at the drop of a hat. He values saving lives over punishing people. He's incredibly intelligent and has very good intuition, and capable of laying complex traps for criminals. If you write Heiji as female (and labeled such from birth), she'd still have all of those qualities. Looking at her mother, she'd probably have been trained in polite, traditional Japanese lady-like behavior, but if someone might be in danger, she'd charge in to save them no matter what. She also might not be given quite the access to crime scenes, even with her father being Oni-Heizo.

Ran is caring, competitive (she's some kind of karate champion, after all), extremely brave, and slightly introverted. If someone is in trouble, she'll charge in to save them, no matter who they are. If you write Ran as male from birth, he'd keep all those qualities. He'd still end up taking care of his useless father, but he'd probably speak a lot less politely, picking up his father's rough speech, and probably be a little faster to react physically, as it's more socially acceptable for him to as a guy. As a female, Ran's violent outbursts are contained for a few seconds more, before concrete starts crumbling. He'd still be terrified of the supernatural; and he still would beat the crap out of a random pervert on the subway who groped Sonoko.

The main point out of all of this is that when you genderbend these characters, they need to still be recognizable as those characters.

Which leads into what is probably my most important point:

Gender identity, sex, and sexual orientation are not the same thing.

None of them are binaries either; they're sliding scales.

Gender identity can be girly girl, uman-uman (giving Vermouth a section of the scale all to herself), Tom-boy, female, male, genderfluid, genderqueer, fem, butch, manny-man-Mc-manface, and on and on and everything in-between. One's gender identity is in one's brain. Since it develops at a different time from the genitalia, it's possible that what the brain thinks ought to be down there and what is down there could end up different things.

Sex is the what the doctors assign at birth. It has to do with what genitalia are present. But, this is a sliding scale, and it is possible to have genitalia so ambiguous that the doctors can't decide, which makes the label Intersex put on one at birth. So, sliding scale, yet again.

Sexual orientation is what parts of the gender identity sliding scale one is attracted to. You could be attracted to the most feminine far end of the scale, or the entire scale, or a large chunk towards the end of the masculine end of the scale. I'm pansexual, and am pretty comfortable with the entire scale, as long as they're a gentle, talented, intelligent, and a nerd, like my spouse is. See this essay on being Bisexual/Pansexual for more details. My spouse, however, is only attracted to the more female end of the spectrum. Even people who are "straight" are attracted to different sections of the gender identity scale.

Now you've got Shinichi force-fed a poison that transforms his physical sex, while leaving his brain untouched. His gender-identity and sexual orientation are left unchanged, because they are in the brain, not in the genitalia.

There are so many things that could be explored here, that I haven't seen even touched upon, other than what society defines gender roles as being. Shinichi is still in love with Ran, but now pursuing her looks like lesbianism, and that could lead to some pretty fierce discrimination and bullying at Teitan High. Does Shinichi suffer from Gender Dysphoria, or discover that his gender identity wasn't as masculine as he thought it was? Does he conceal his poison-induced sex, or does he use it to hide?

Whatever roads you take - do a ton of research. There are a lot of people from all over the gender identity, sex, and sexual orientation spectrums, and many of them have blogs. They are only a google search away. Go find out what they have to say about themselves, and don't make assumptions based on popular media stereotypes. You could end up sounding incredibly ignorant and bigotted if you don't, and the research you do may change your own perspective on yourself or on someone you know. Have fun researching!

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dreamingfifi: (Default)

I hear that this isn't common knowledge, as I once had assumed. So, hello world. I'm bisexual. "Bisexual" is an adjective to describe someone who can be sexually attracted to men or women. I've been attracted to men and women, therefore I'm bisexual.

How do I know?

I was a late bloomer. For a while, as my friends were going through radical hormone changes and discovering their sexualities, I was left behind, very confused by what all the fuss was about. For a while, I figured that I was asexual. It was actually kinda a joke amongst my friends. They passed around pictures various scantily clad men, and I was bored. They started talking about whomever they thought was hot, and I was bored. They started flirting with guys, and I was bored. I didn't start to feel sexually attracted to anyone until highschool. At first, I was attracted to another talented flutist, who was male, and we kinda dated, but it never got serious in any capacity, and looking back, I wasn't really ready to date yet. I kept him at arms' length, and we ended up breaking up.

Then something unexpected happened. I developed a huge crush on one of my best friends. She was nerdy and weird like me. She was kind and gentle. She was playful and fun. She was booksmart and intelligent. I spent as much time with her as I could, and even braved my telephonophobia to give her a call over the summer break. I wasn't entirely certain what it meant, but I knew that I wanted to be near her.

It was around the same time that I became a mod on a Harry Potter forum. It was a pretty big forum, so there was an entire section devoted to matters of sexuality. There was a thread about coming out of the closet, and people helping each other out and giving encouragement. It was then that I had an epiphany. I really liked this girl. I really really like-liked this girl. I wanted to be her girlfriend.

Then the fear set in. I was friends with a transgender boy and his girlfriend, and I had seen how much pain and grief they went through at school. I was already a nerdy outcast who was constantly picked on by my peers. Coming out and dating her - if she said yes - meant the torment that we faced would increase ten-fold, and worst of all, that she could face rejection from her religious parents. On the other hand, if she said no, would she be uncomfortable being around me? Would she tell other people? Would I lose the precious few friends that I had? It seemed like there was no upside to this situation.

So, I never let it develop into anything. I stayed by her side as her friend, choking back my desires. After two years of letting my crush fade, I discovered Trevor. We were good friends for 6 months, and eventually we started dating. He is nerdy and weird like I am. He's kind and gentle. He's a talented artist and writer. He's book-smart and intelligent. For a while there, I thought that I might be a lesbian, but it turns out that I'm bisexual! Is there a word for someone who's only attracted to nerdy, intelligent, kind people? If so: that's my sexuality.

That's how I came to realize that I am bisexual. It's such a simple thing really. Men or women - it doesn't matter. Their personalities, however, do matter.

I've heard a lot of really weird assumptions about being bisexual. For all of those times that I wish I had piped up and said, "No, you've got it all wrong...

  1. Being bisexual doesn't mean that I'm into threesomes. No really, it doesn't. There are people who are into threesomes. I'm not one of them. Orgies aren't my thing either.
  2. Being bisexual doesn't mean that I would cheat on my husband with a woman. Yes, it would be cheating. Yes, it still counts as cheating.
  3. Being bisexual doesn't mean that I'm not satisfied with my husband. I really really like-like him. I'm not even sure what this talk about "satisfaction" is. Could someone give me a clear meaning please? (ETA: Apparently this is a euphonism for "do you crave vaginas and penises and desperately need both to be sexually satisfied?". For me, sex isn't about the genitalia or the position or the tools, it's an expression of intimacy. So, I don't crave vaginas or penises; I crave intimacy. My husband satisfies my needs for intimacy. Maybe it's different for others, but that's how it is for me.)
  4. Being bisexual doesn't mean that I'm promiscuous. There's nothing wrong with promiscuity, but I'm not.
  5. Being bisexual doesn't mean that I have any weird fetishes either. My fetishes are totally normal. I'm sure that your fetishes are totally normal too. By the way, weird fetishes aren't restricted to any sexuality.
  6. Being bisexual doesn't mean that I've become heterosexual because I married a man. I'm still bisexual. I'm just in a relationship with a man.
  7. Being bisexual doesn't mean that I'm confused about whom I'm attracted too. I know exactly whom I'm attracted to. That's how I arrived at this conclusion in the first place.

So, there it is. If you were confused over the meaning, that should clear it up. If you are still confused, feel free to comment, and I can answer your question. If you think you are bisexual and are worried and afraid - I've been there. Let's talk about it.

Bullying

Aug. 17th, 2011 09:07 am
dreamingfifi: (Default)
No matter how I try, it seems to have scarred my mind in ways I can't escape.

I was always a weird kid. I over analyzed everything, and through my analysis I found may things superfluous that others clung to as social norms, and ended up denied access to society for that reason.

When I was little, I wore dresses even though everyone knew it was fashionable to wear pants. I was constantly teased for it. But I liked long flowy skirts, and pants had a way of pinching the backs of my knees in most uncomfortable ways. So, I wore dresses all the time.

When I got older and my aptitude for languages and linguistics started showing itself, I had no languages to learn around me, so I started talking to my chickens and turkeys. One day in 4th grade, around Thanksgiving, the teacher did the normal schpiel about "gobble gobble goes the turkey", and I raised my hand and corrected her, presenting my findings and research. This forever marked me as the girl who talks to chickens and turkeys; and sealed my fate as an outsider.

The teasing got far worse. I got into fights on the bus and the playground. The physical stuff wasn't too bad though. I was tall and strong, so anything they could dish out I could counter. It was the girls and their practices of ostracizing and ridicule that hurt.

I didn't see the world like they did. I didn't organize my views of the people around me by their places in society, but by the ways they treated me. To them, I didn't fit into society, so I was a blemish on their surroundings. They were also starting to reach puberty, and the hormones running through them confused and frightened them. To comfort themselves in the face of their insecurities, they lashed out at the blemish in society.

Oh did I hate being their scapegoat.

It didn't help that I mentioned on the bus that I wasn't Christian and neither was my family (except for my Nonna). Now, not only was a weird, but I was a heretic as well. The brat on the bus cornered me on the playground and threw rocks, shoes, and woodchips at me while screaming "burn the witch".

I spent most of those years, 9-12 years old, angrily grinding pebbles into dust on the playground all by myself.

My little brother Jethro entered Intermediate school too, and the bullying he faced from fellow boys was pretty terrible, and I often ended up stationing myself by him whenever I could to protect him. At one point, I ended up ripping bullies on the bus off of him who had his neck pinned to the window, strangling him. It got so bad that he spent more time protecting himself than learning, so my parents pulled him out of public school to homeschool him.

Junior high was surprisingly peaceful for me. I found a few other outcasts, and we banded together. I finally had friends that I could sit with at lunch. I wasn't spending every moment of recess and every bus ride protecting my little brother. Classes finally got interesting as well. They picked up the pace, and I found myself, for the first time, facing challenging and interesting classes. I headed toward highschool with a positive outlook, because my teachers said that classes would be far more challenging.

Highschool was challenging for other reasons.

All of a sudden, they were fighting tooth and nail to find a place in society for themselves that they were certain would be their place for the rest of their lives. I just didn't get it. I entered puberty very late, so I didn't feel the same rushes of emotion that they did. Anyways, I wanted no part of their struggle, but they were adamant to make me part of it. Since I wasn't on the attack, they figured they could make certain that I inhabited the lowest rung of society, and made me and my little group of friends their punching bag. Metaphorically of course. I didn't suffer any physical attacks in highschool, just psychological ones.

And oh, were those brutal.

During gym, they'd make endless jokes about the weight of one of my friends. One nasty little wanker made it his business to call me "chicken-fucker" every day on the bus. At one point, we were surrounded in the hallways by those little brats chanting "Freak! Freak! Freak!" Seeing if they could bring us to tears seemed to be their sport.

It didn't help that I discovered that I was bisexual and lived in constant fear of being found out.

All this left me really, really messed up. I wish I could say that it made me stronger. It didn't. It left me angry, cynical, and fearful of my fellow man. I keep finding the scars on my consciousness.

When I was struggling with depression a few years back, part of it was unearthing old fears that their is something wrong with me... that my strange outlook on the world meant there was some sort of mental disability that made it difficult for me to connect with my fellow man, but no. I'm just, as the psychologist put it, scientifically-minded, and that's a good thing.

I often wonder if the abuse I suffered at their hands made my imagination so much darker than normal. I look at my book collection, and I see a lot of horror and tragedy. My manga collection exhibits this particularly well. When I was fresh out of highschool, and just discovering manga, one of the first series I picked up and loved was Angel Sanctuary. The plot is apocalyptic and displays angels that are twisted and screwed up as humans - the main characters being a fallen pair of lesbian angels that were trapped in the mortal coil - endlessly reborn in human bodies, then hunted down and murdered by angels over and over and over... I connected with it so strongly because I recognized the shame towards my own sexuality, and the pain of persecution from my peers that I grew up with. In manga, the themes of simmering social injustice and fear/stifling of one's own sexuality are common, so I felt quite at home in Japanese literature.

In my own stories, it's been noted that I enjoy torturing my characters. It's rare to see them not being trapped and ostracized. In one of my first attempts at novel writing, I wrote about a girl whose skin sucked the life out whatever had the poor chance of touching her.

The anger is the most destructive of the scars. I found myself lashing out on the internet in the form of parody and ridicule. Starting at 15, I drifted through the Pit of Voles, finding bad stories and ripping them apart in every detail. I joined a group of similarly angry people, Godawful Fanfiction (GAFF) and we licked each others' wounds while clawing and kicking at our imaginary foes. It took a long time to realize that I was trying to lash out at the kids who hurt me, but only striking little girls posting their sexual fantasies online for everyone to read.

What is the point of this long ramble?
Bullying changed me. It left me in a lot of pain. Healing myself is taking a long time, and I still suffer flashbacks of it from time to time. If you see someone being bullied, step in. If you're an adult, goddammit you dolt, it's your responsibility to step in. These kids are riding a wave of irrational fear fueled by hormones and weird changes to their bodies - they don't have complete control over their actions. You have to shut down their attacks and remind them of human decency. Tell them that they are doing something wrong. If only the teacher "in control" of that hallway where me and my friends were cornered had stepped in - it could have stopped. Their argument, that we were freaks, could have been disqualified by the authority. But no, nothing was done to help us, and it appeared that their argument was given validity by the lack of action.

Now I'm in college. I isolate myself from the aggression-fueled social structures (sports), and I am happier. Bullying is a thing of the past. My friends all have suffered the same wounds, but we heal together. There is nothing wrong with us. We're just different. It's a state of being, not an affliction.

A few weeks ago, I finally came out to my family and friends as being bisexual. It unearthed a lot of the old fears of ostracization, and I found myself suffering many flashbacks and painful memories. But, I also found that those fears no longer apply to me. I'm not trapped 7 hours a day with a bunch of hormone-addled children. I choose my friends, and the friends I chose accept who I am. My family might not all understand, but I know that they love me enough to let me explain.

It got better.

/ranting

July 2015

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