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curled around these images
just enough to make us dangerous
Being irresponsible in fandom... 
8th-Sep-2013 10:02 pm
I'm not going to lose sleep over it but still, being accused of it is not easy...

Remember the stats bythedamned and I played with a couple of years ago looking at the deaths on the show per gender? I knew it would open a can of worms and I have to say I was pretty pleased with much of the discussion at the time. Misogyny on the show has always been a pretty big issue for some in the fandom and it was certainly not our intention to make light of it. A comment just came in saying that it was was irresponsible to publish that research. Sure - it lacked in some areas (namely we didn't provide ratio stats which would have been a more accurate examination of how many men/women die compared to the overall percentage of men/women who appear) but I know we didn't do it so people could say "see, SEE! it's not misogynistic!". We did it because we wanted to look at exactly how many men and women have died on the show and open a discussion about that.

We highlighted the pitfalls in the research (mostly we simply didn't have the time to count every single male and female who appeared on the show). We were just curious about who died and what sex they were. Maybe it is irresponsible to give fans an opportunity to say it isn't misogynistic. I don't know. I have no issue receiving criticism about anything I do (hee...just ask my betas) but being considered irresponsible kinda hits hard.

I am still interested in this topic though and 2 years after it was published I think looking at what's happened since then would be interesting. My gut feeling is that women have been given an even rougher deal since that data was published - especially with the fridging of Sarah and the deaths of Meg and Naomi. Unfortunately I don't have the time to crunch the stats on who's died over the last 3 seasons. I'm also not sure what it would prove now. There's no doubt the show is male driven (with 2 male leads and 2 - probably 4 - recurring male characters - Cas, Crowley, Kevin and Garth), but the stats were never really about that (which we got crit for I seem to remember). It was mostly about being able to investigate the claim that more women die on the show compared to men.

Anyway. I suppose posting controversial stuff is...well, controversial. But hopefully not irresponsible (but if it is I'll take it on the chin...)
8th-Sep-2013 02:53 pm (UTC)
huh, posted by anonymous?

you did this for fun!

it's a TV show!

for me it's fun facts and data. but it's a tv show. it's like that pic spam on tumblr, with all the different stats. done for fun.

it's a tv show!!

it's a tv show!

Edited at 2013-09-08 03:00 pm (UTC)
9th-Sep-2013 11:43 am (UTC)
Yeah - I know I should stay away from anonymous comments. Each time I see one I think I should just ignore them but I get drawn in every time.

We did do it for fun. And we were interested to check out some basic stats to see if what people were saying had some grounding.

Hee! It might be just a TV show - but wow! what a tv show it is! :D
8th-Sep-2013 03:33 pm (UTC)
Sometimes I wonder why do people so sensitive even watch the show. FWIW, I myself spotted no secret "agendas," and saw nothing that could be construed as "irresponsible" or "allowing people to pat themselves on the back for seeing no mysogyny."

Just note the comment, move on, and continue to do what you do so well. Do NOT stress over it! ayane42 said it best above -- it's only a TV show!

There's no doubt the show is male driven (with 2 male leads and 2 - probably 4 - recurring male characters - Cas, Crowley, Kevin and Garth), but the stats were never really about that (which we got crit for I seem to remember).

Huh. I bet I know why. A while back, I took some hits for stating that Jensen and Jared were the sole leads/stars of the show, and everyone else was merely a recurring character. Yikes, talk about opening a hornets' nest.

Edited at 2013-09-08 03:34 pm (UTC)
8th-Sep-2013 04:15 pm (UTC)
Jared and Jensen are the sole leads. Period. Misha might be a close third, this upcoming season. You were assaulted my Misha's minions, weren't you?
8th-Sep-2013 03:44 pm (UTC)

And... hang on - what??
9th-Sep-2013 11:55 am (UTC)
Yeah I know...

I'll learn to back away from this stuff one day..
8th-Sep-2013 06:28 pm (UTC)
Well said!!! I couldn't put it any better so will just point to this and say - stop worrying, petal.
8th-Sep-2013 04:14 pm (UTC)
I'm in agreement with everyone else here: IT'S JUST A TV SHOW. And yeah, "being irresponsible" implies you're in some position of responsibility.

I also think you find what you look for. If you're looking for misogyny? You'll find it. If you're looking to feel insulted/slighted? You will.

Don't take it too seriously. You're never going to make everyone happy, so best stop trying. ;)
9th-Sep-2013 12:36 pm (UTC)
I also think you find what you look for.

True. Just have to see all the different responses to an episode to know that we each see things slightly differently.

Thanks hun.

8th-Sep-2013 06:42 pm (UTC)
You are such a better person than I am :) There have been a number of comments that are clearly intended to incite backlash, and you answer them all much more civilly than I could. I agree with everything you said - that we presented the question but also the scope of what we were able to look at in a fair way. I know the writing was kinda tongue in cheek (:P) but still. Maybe all we created was negative results, as in, "we have shown that the potentially misogynistic impression of the show is NOT due to the # per gender killed", but we admit that it's because there are so many more men than women on the show, period.

Also, I went back to look at the post, just to make sure we didn't commit some heinous crime that I just can't remember, and we do count MoTWs! We mention them in the text AND tally them up by gender, per season, and there are still twice as many male MoTWs. Which just supports our final conclusion. Which Anonymous clearly didn't read before condemning us. gah!

see, this is why me and my righteous indignation don't answer inflammatory comments :P especially since i do think it's misogynistic, just not in the death tally. Sarah's unfair predicament and helplessness pissed me off way worse than seeing Meg or Naomi go.

but anyway, I just came by to commend you. good job keeping the conversation mature and civil :)
8th-Sep-2013 11:10 pm (UTC)
Hey! I am damn guilty of taking the bait on this one I admit. I have resisted so many times to not get my panties in a twist over a few comments that have been left. I mean, I get it - as soon as I see someone post anonymously I figure it's best not to get into a discussion. But dammit! I don't mind us being called anything - but "irresponsible" gets my back up. But as others have said here we'd have to be in some position of responsibility to act with irresponsibility - which...hello! So not. ;).

I do find it rather ironic that the comment talks of us having an agenda when clearly they do.

I ended up creating a post here because I was interested to see what others thought - particularly a couple of years later. I was pretty sure the nature of the post made it clear what we were doing and how we were presenting it.

Thanks hun! I am going to be less er....emotional, when reacting to these kind of comments from now on....(well, I'll try!)

8th-Sep-2013 06:54 pm (UTC)
I don't think this commenter understands science. "Irresponsible" would be if you'd assembled a bunch of data and flung it out there willy-nilly and/or either implied or outright stated that it led to a particular conclusion, for example, "See? This proves that SPN is not misogynistic. Or isn't as misogynistic as you thought it was." You did a very good job of stating the limitations of the study, which is something every good scientist does. The phrasing "You've allowed" and the word "irresponsible" imply that you're somehow accountable for what readers of the post draw from it and that's just false. God, speaking of "agendas," this commenter has one. Put this silliness out of your mind, dear.
8th-Sep-2013 08:11 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm not sure how this qualifies as "irresponsible." You were pretty clear about the extent and limitations of your project. Plus, it's was a fun fan-activity, not srs bzns academic research.

I do think Supernatural has issues with misogyny (and it would be interesting to extend that count up to the present, because I feel like the body count of female characters was upped a lot in the last two seasons) but I also think that people tend to exaggerate things for the sake of effect, and a healthy dose of reality is an important thing in any conversation.

There's an issue about the way the show keeps killing off important/recurring female characters and not replacing them, whereas the male characters tend to either get revived once dead, or replaced with others.

All that said, I found the meta post a very helpful and thoughtful addition to the conversation, and I think that, if the person really cared about the data, they'd spend less time telling you off and more on doing the research the way they think it should be done :)
9th-Sep-2013 12:55 pm (UTC)
Plus, it's was a fun fan-activity, not srs bzns academic research.

Yes, yes. Exactly. I'm pretty sure the tone made it pretty clear about where we were coming from. bythedamned did a great job of getting the fan fun tone right.

And I do think there's some interesting research still to be done - I'd love to have the time to look at what's happened in the last couple of seasons. I definitely feel like they've upped the female body count. And the issue with them not replacing or resurrecting females character is also worthy of looking at I think.

they'd spend less time telling you off and more on doing the research the way they think it should be done

And if they did that would be awesome. I'd love to see them crunch the numbers (though I suspect as much as the commenter accused us of having an agenda I'd say they would be definitely going in with one...)
8th-Sep-2013 09:51 pm (UTC)


Hugs and love! <3 <3 <3 Sorry that someone said that to you, darling. You are a bright light in fandom and are always open-minded to reasonable and unreasonable criticism. Far more open than you need to be to be categorized as "reasonable" that's for damn sure.

I am actually one of those people who knows the show is pretty misogynistic and yet you'd be the last person I'd attack over it. I mean, what would that even be about?

Edited at 2013-09-08 09:53 pm (UTC)
9th-Sep-2013 01:03 pm (UTC)

I know! I should be cast out!

Thank you sweetie. I feel like I've overreacted to what is probably a troll comment. I really need to not take the bait or get drawn in. Especially when the comment actually makes little sense...

8th-Sep-2013 10:09 pm (UTC)
I think someone was just trying to put a bee in your bonnet. The project itself and discussions around it were great! What amnisias said is perfect.
9th-Sep-2013 01:05 pm (UTC)
Yeah - and they succeeded. I really gotta learn to let it wash over me.

amnisias did put it very well I agree. :)
8th-Sep-2013 10:16 pm (UTC)
I'd question someone's integrity and whatever this person says if he/she decided to not publish the data that don't fit his/her view.

"We are doing this for a cause" is the worse excuse of misrepresent any data, and I'd think poorly of any cause that would need misrepresentation for its advance.

That being said, I really adored your research, all the pie/bar graphs make me feel like I am in the right fandom.
11th-Sep-2013 08:51 am (UTC)
Thanks. It was mostly for a bit of fun and to really check out the claims of who was dying. I seem to remember being rather surprised by the results actually, so I know we didn't go into it with any agenda.

8th-Sep-2013 10:43 pm (UTC)
Well I disagree as well, because claiming "irresponsibility" rests entirely on what the intent was, and if it was simply to collect certain numbers then that was already performing a service. People can then use the numbers to look at different things, including adding additional data. I think I saw something recently around Tumblr that put the numbers into pie charts that showed character outcomes based on gender and also compared the numbers of such characters on the show in general. There are other factors that are difficult to put into numbers, such as the quality of character development on the show overall -- and in general the characters tend to serve the story the writers want to tell so that a large number of both male and female characters on the show tend to exist solely to serve a single function (which is often to die).

However, I strongly disagree with the idea that "it's just a show" (book/play/song/movie/video game/name some other medium). Entertainment reflects the values of the culture it came from, and as such can often be far more revealing than any other thing in the culture about just what it's made of -- especially if you examine how those messages are received.
11th-Sep-2013 08:55 am (UTC)
There are other factors that are difficult to put into numbers

Yeah and I think this is one area that caused problems. People who thought we were doing it just we can claim there's no misogyny on the show stated loud and clear that we should have looked at how the characters are treated. We stated in the written aspect of the post that the number post didn't deal with that aspect.

"Just a tv show" is always an interesting statement. I get it, because in the scheme of "big" things - and even down to fighting over some graphs it's comparatively trivial. However, in terms of the way TV reflects culture and the subsequent discussions that it produces it's never "just a tv show".

9th-Sep-2013 12:20 am (UTC)
I definitely agree that if you guys had done it by ratios then your results might have been quite different, but at the same time, no one is stopping that anonymous critic from doing the legwork herself, yanno?
11th-Sep-2013 08:58 am (UTC)
Yeah - we added a statement later on regarding the lack of ratio stats. It would have been quite a task to count every single male and female character and then compare the numbers. Would have been damn interesting, but I think we can safely say that there are more men on the show and as there's an equal amount of deaths (when we gathered the data) men are definitely favoured.

9th-Sep-2013 02:28 am (UTC)
In all my research projects I plainly state this is my dataset and my opinion. If someone disagrees with anything in the dataset then they are welcome to go compile the data themselves so they can sort it they way they think it should be.
11th-Sep-2013 09:08 am (UTC)
I would love for someone to have completed that data...;)

I felt we stated our positions pretty clearly. I think some people may not have been too happy with the results, or something...
9th-Sep-2013 08:41 am (UTC)
girl02-female-roll-eyes-smirk-smiley-emoticon-000471-medium Hmm... I got nothing. Sounds like a troll comment to me. lol
11th-Sep-2013 09:09 am (UTC)
I thought so too, but I have just received a response to my reply so I think the concerns were genuine. Just puzzling. And I never understand why some people post anonymously when discussing something where they state a personal opinion.

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