May. 26th, 2016

kalakirya: (Default)
This post came out of a number of things, most notably the discussion around race in fandom this year. There's been a lot of meta on it, some of which I agree with, and some of which makes flames appear on the sides of my face. I don't want to get into the discussion: I like keeping my fannish activities non-rage-inducing. 

That said, a lot of what people were saying resonated. The ships and characters that fandom fixates on do tend to be very white. They also tend to be very male, and very m/m slash oriented. Which is not a thing I'm happy with.

In January I did an analysis of the shipping breakdowns of the podfic I'd produced the previous year, and the results were very disappointing: while I'd thought that I was doing a decent job of podficcing women and non-m/m stories, that wasn't borne out in the stats. I resolved to podfic more non-cis-male-centric stories, and so far I think I'm doing a decent job (that said, I haven't run the numbers yet, and I'd thought I was doing alright before!).

In January I didn't do a racial breakdown, though. Partly for time, partly because it's more complicated (more categories!), and partly because I had a pretty good idea I wouldn't be happy with the results. But that's a really, really terrible reason. So I did it anyway.

In order to get my numbers, I looked at the same set of podfics that I used for 2015's shipping and gender breakdown: all the completed podfics I posted in that year that I made solo. ("Completed" means that I left out "and never been kissed", which is a 160K white/white m/m slash story that I'm nearly done with which is going to kill my stats for this year.) I only counted the main characters (here defined as "when I think of the podfic who do I remember it being about") and used the canonical (or, lacking that, fannish) racial background of the characters (I had always thought that Nita and Dairine Callahan were Hispanic but apparently that is not canonically correct, so here they're counted as white). That produced this bar chart:



aaaaaaaand the main take away is damn that's very white. That is not what I wanted to be doing. That is just over 95% of my output. 

Another note on this chart: I've used American classifications of race and racial backgrounds. I'm American, and this is about my podfic, and my relationship to my podfic. If I were doing this a bit more scientifically, I would do it differently. But I'm not, and can only speak to my own perspective of my work. Also, I've been lead to understand that "latin@" is [one of the] preferred terminologies/spellings for the background of the characters in question - Mia Toretto and Letty Ortiz from the Fast and the Furious series - but I'm continuing to refine my understanding of who prefers what terms. 

For the purposes of curiosity, I broke it down by gender identity again. 

Soooooo when I do make podfic about non-white characters, it's almost invariably women. Which, while I'm not upset to have podficced more women than men, I don't like that all those columns are empty.

I'm not getting involved in the fannish discussions on race and society and social justice. I have my own, very strong, feelings on that, but I don't want to talk about them. I do want to spend more of my time creating fanworks that prioritize non-cis-male characters of color. 

I do want to add the tiny, tiny caveat that podfic, as a medium, is more limited than fanfic or fanart or many other fannish works. While we can create original fannish works, and I have, for the most part, we transform fanfiction, and therefore we are limited to the fanfiction that others choose to make. (Not!pods - "original fannish work" - weren't included in either of these breakdowns. I'm sorry to say that they mostly would have made my numbers worse anyway.) That's an explanation, but it is most certainly not an excuse. This year I've been more dedicatedly looking for stories to podfic that center non-white-cis-male characters, and while I've been a bit depressed by the results, I've also found some wonderful, lovely stories in fandoms I don't spend a lot of time in, about characters that I love but hadn't focused on as much. I'm not "eating my vegetables," I'm finding that an all-meat-and-potato diet was boring and not nutritious, while beets and brussel sprouts and beans and yams are fun and interesting and absolutely delicious.