The name change signifies a scope change. Before, the game celebrated canonically self-identifying female characters underrepresented in fanfiction (whether CIS, transgender, etc. — no limits). Now, the game will celebrate canonically self-identifying non-CIS-male characters underrepresented in fanfiction. There's no longer any baseline of femaleness. Nominations for 2015's game will open January 30 and run to February 7.
I've played in three iterations of this exchange ficathon as it celebrated women characters. All were well-run. There were many excellent (and some exquisite) tales. I was gifted lovely match stories. I recommend the game's mods and participants. I'll probably play again this year.
But, personally, I admit that I still feel conflicted about the game's changes.
Overall, canonically female characters demonstrably have a fraught representation in fanfiction. They're distressingly under-represented in many fandoms proportional to their presence in canon. (For example, try HL's Tessa Noel on the AO3.) In my experience, for complex reasons, canonical women characters are frequently marginalized by their own fandoms.
I'm not completely convinced that canonically neither-CIS-male-nor-identifying-as-fema
I'm most skeptical of the inclusion of non-self-identified-gender AIs, such as Person of Interest's computer intelligences, the Machine and Samaritan. It seems to me that such characters, if indeed rarely written, are not so for reasons of gender.
While the change is for the kindest, noblest reasons, and they've made an outstanding renaming choice, I can't quite help still hearing the difference between "yes all women" and "no CIS-men" as sounding discriminatory.
And of course being a woman (or any other positively-stated identity) is more than being not-a-CIS-man. But if that's the only shared point?
(Change is hard.)
I want to do my very best to evaluate the results of this change properly, intellectually, when the time comes. But just right now, I feel, personally, emotionally, left behind by the change.
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