Tag Archives: fanfiction

Alienizing Wraith is Still Humanizing Wraith

Wraith fans sometimes try to set their OC Wraith apart by adding to their OC world-building. But, the majority of the so-called “alien” additions are actually customs that global cultures have had for thousands of years (or used to have, before being steamrolled over by Western colonialism and cis-hetero-masculine-dominant religions).

Inclusiveness for non-binary people, community bathing, not sleeping on Western-style beds, community child-raising, non-nuclear families, and community sleeping, for example, are all parts of Earth human cultures.

Even in Legacyverse, the games, fashion, and names are found in a mashup of the ways of other cultures, both past and present. The words “zenana,” “blade,” and “Consort,” for instance, were taken from court life, Eastern and Western, but with the Wraith Queen being the court leader, rather than a human king. What was once old is now new again.

Similarly, on-screen details about Wraith, such as matriarchy, tribal style tattoo art, males having long hair and wearing nail lacquer too, chanting, and martial arts have existed globally on Earth for thousands of years.

Recognizing these traditions, here or on other planets is great. But, to label any non-Western traditions as “alien” is to erase global Earth cultures and to mythologize the white Western way as the only human way.

Also, humans can and should have what Wraith do too: environmentally-friendly, lab-grown items and respect for the environment. Some of that exists to us now, from emerging cruelty-free, lab-grown and cultured materials, such as from pineapple leaves, coconut water, kombucha, and mushrooms.

Within SGA, the White-cis-hetero-masculine-ableist-colonialist way is what is represented to the Pegasus galaxy’s citizens, though the military’s presence. At least the Goa’uld in SG1 had a better picture of humanity as a whole, by their posing as various global and multicultural deities and figures.

When it all boils down, there is no way around that we are all more similar than different.

(((Note: Mistaking global traditions, past or present, for alien is seen more so from comments on Wraith fanfics than in the fanfics themselves. Often, the authors are very well-versed in history and know exactly what they are using as building blocks, even disclosing them and expounding on them when readers do ask.)))

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The Lone Good Wraith Trope Part 2: Todd is not to be Tokenized

tokenism.  noun. “the practice of making only a perfunctory or symbolic effort to do a particular thing, especially by recruiting a small number of people from underrepresented groups in order to give the appearance of sexual or racial equality within a workforce

This includes fictional races too. Adding Todd (or a Wraith OC) as a token to a story line while killing off and demeaning all the others of his race is still racism. It writes out Todd’s friends, family, and crew, such as Kenny and Bullseye (and any Queen/s who may be providing him with masked warriors).

Having token characters is also poor world-building. Some sage advice from a Carson fan, found on a scifi forum thread about developing characters: “If you blow up your main character and the thought of them being dead or injured does not make you cringe or even cry, I would recommend you try to rewrite them from the start.” Well, the same point applies to fictional races. If 99%-100% of a race are just cannon fodder, then something got messed up. Go back, reexamine, see good and bad in all races, and rewrite.

Even Ronon Refers to Wraith as People and Uses Proper Pronouns

In “Enemy at the Gate,” Ronon says about Todd, “He got betrayed by one of his own people. Now he wants us to help him clean up the mess. End of story.”

If Ronon can use the same words Wraith use for themselves (my people, your people, our lineage, he/him, etc.), then anyone can.

Frell xenophobia, outgrouping, and othering.

Using [sic] to Denote Misgendering in Quotations

Misgendering Wraith with the pronoun “it” is not canon and violates the source hierarchy. Plus, it is just plain outdated and rude.

Source 1 On-screen dialogue:
Both Wraith and the New Lanteans refer to the males with he/him and the Queens as she/her. This includes the masked warriors. Not even Ronon misgenders.
Examples:
WRAITH: Put him with the others. (referring to masked warrior)
WRAITH: Wake her. (referring to the Queen)
WRAITH: He is in a holding cell. He completed the recalibration that was required. (referring to Todd)
McKAY: Hey, where’s Todd? SHEPPARD: He escaped. (referring to Todd)

Source 2 On-screen visual cues:
The masked warriors have certain types of armor pieces and the Queens have curvy features.

Source 3 On-screen episode credits:
The Lost Tribe’s cast credits state “Male Wraith”

Additionally, misgendering makes Stargate look out-of-touch. One does not see Ninja Turtle Leonardo nor Transformers Megatron being mislabelled “it.”

Whenever I quote someone misgendering/violating canon and the way Wraith define themselves, I use [sic] to denote the error. Example: “Ronon promptly runs towards it [sic] and aims his blaster at its [sic] head.”

Using [sic] calls out the error and disavows support for misgendering, othering, and objectification in racism, speciesism, etc.

Exoticized vs Integrated: Non-Binary Characters in Wraith Fanfiction

Some fanfics label every Wraith with non-canon, custom pronouns, implying all Wraith, or at least the officers, are a third gender. As with calling Wraith “it,” this is still misgendering, because the Wraith use he/him and she/her pronouns for themselves on the show. Others’ pronouns are to be respected. Both Laura and Karl discuss Todd as “he/him” in “Spoils of War” and Michael and Edgar discuss Mina as “her.” The writers who do this do not come across as non-binary themselves, but looking to exoticize the Wraith. The overwhelmingly cisgender audience, most of whom are not active Wraith fans either, praise the fics for making the Wraith so “alien.” This is eyebrow-raising, because genderqueer is not “alien” and should not be promoted that way. By making all the aliens non-binary, and having no such diversity among humans, genderqueer in real life is painted as something alien, foreign, exotic, outsider, abnormal, and otherized. This is similar to having all the characters with darker skin being offworld natives and fighters while all of the lighter-skinned ones are the Earthborn scientists and leaders.

By contrast, fanfics written by people who tend to not disclose their genders and who have been seen standing up for non-binary rights on a social media sites, even standing up to mods and site owners, and have an audience with LGBTQ+ readers, tend to be more subtle, yet more powerfully descriptive. Their non-binary characters are integrated and belong, in both the space of their hives and in the readers’ world. The characters are described as gender non-conforming by their characteristics and/or style in dress choices, not necessarily through pronoun use or pronoun use alone. Male Wraith with more Queen-like traits often still use he/him pronouns (and, that is those characters’ choice and that is perfectly fine). Besides feeling more comforting to me as a reader, the integration also fits the setting better. Like most other cultures not impacted by heteropatriarchal religions coming from the Earth’s Middle East, LGBTQ+ seems normal and accepted with the Pegasus galaxy’s citizens. In “Sunday,” John asks Ronon if he is dating anyone, a woman or a man. Ronon simply replies he is not ready yet. What a free and lovely setting for diverse relationships!

LGBTQ+ and straight yaoi writers focus heavily on John x Todd as cisgender bisexual males. I am glad for these stories– keep them coming too, please, as with all Wraith pairings– but there is not much out there for genderqueer themes: non-binary characters, both Wraith and their human worshippers… third gender, demigender, demifluid, genderfluid, transgender, etc. … They can keep their bodies, alter their bodies, even swap them… So many possibilities with scifi! Some fanfics might not even need to disclose the gender of some of the characters, allowing readers to fill in the gaps themselves, relating to the characters on their own terms.

Another fan had sent me an email and made me take notice of how non-binary characters are presented in the fandom. There are a number of Wraith fans who seem to understand non-binary, more than those trying to sensationalize it. To see more fanworks from genderqueer and questioning writers writing integrated character diversity would be refreshing– and belonging.

On Shipping Types and Denotations

It seems some gaters say that the word “ship” is only for het pairings, with LGBTQ+ pairings being called “slash.” If some gaters say this, it does not align with what most fandoms do, which is to have both het and slash subsets of ships. In Voltron, for example, Klance and Kallura are both ships (Keith x Lance and Keith x Allura, respectively).

Such a distinction does not align with what I write either. Het, slash, and non-binary character pairings are all ships. Love is love and it is all shipping.

Similarly, I refuse to use “+” for het or “/” for LGBTQ+ in pairing denotations. I use “x” or “X” for all pairings, as in Todd x John, Todd x Jennifer, and Todd x whoever. It just seems easier, and more equitable, to apply the same denotations to all pairings. No rules. Just love.

What if Wraith OCs Would Meet?

For those of you with OCs, did you ever stop to think what would happen if your Wraith OCs met other peoples’ Wraith OCs? Or, how meetings would go between two other peoples’ OCs who are not your own? 😀

Our OCs get spotlights which last longer than 2 minutes on screen and, resulting, we get to know their endearing follies, how to push their buttons, how to goad them into stuff, and what makes them tick. 😀

Oh, the pranks, fights, facepalming and sighing, mentoring, sports and dart racing matches, compliments, etc. which would be bound to ensue! 😛 😀

(That said, do ask peoples’ permission before posting art or fics which include other peoples’ OCs. Ask before creating, then let the OC owner review the work, as well as any edits, before posting crossovers publicly. Over the years, I have seen accidental OC mix ups and takedown requests, for various reasons.)