Is Izzy Hands Ed’s Abuser?

I wrote this in response to this post:

Alongside the question of why are Izzy stans reluctant to consider this interpretation.

I don’t believe the issue people have with the idea of Izzy being Ed’s abuser is because fans are unwilling to view Ed as a victim of abuse or Izzy as capable of being an abuser. I feel like it’s a more simple answer of “people don’t agree with that interpretation because there isn’t enough to substantiate it.”

With Izzy and Ed, it’s important to understand the difference between conflict and abuse. (I’d highly recommend “Conflict is Not Abuse” by Sarah Schulman!) A lot of the time in highly volatile relationships, we’re quick to assign abuse to them and to figure out which person is the perpetrator and who’s the victim, but often times they’re just conflicted. This is why you’ll often hear Izzy stans describing their relationship as mutually toxic, not mutually abusive (which isn’t real)

The simplest definition is determining whether the relationship is based in Power Struggle or Power Over. Abuse isn’t based off of individual actions, but an exertion of power. Both Izzy and Ed commit acts as part of a power struggle towards each other, with Izzy’s antagonism of Stede and utilization of the navy, and Ed’s manipulation and physical violence of punching, choking, and mutilating. (Yes, physical violence is an expression of power!) There’s a back and forth here with both having moments of forcing the other to stay, and neither of them being the picture of a healthy relationship. With them, there’s also the added element of Izzy’s privilege as a white man versus Ed’s position as Izzy’s boss which are both significant power imbalances that factor into each other’s toxicity.

The important part is that Ed’s feeling negatively towards Izzy doesn’t equate to being an abuser. Izzy vaguely threatens Ed (“Edward better watch his fucking step”) but this is also within a context where Ed just choked him. Izzy had called the navy before, yeah, but that option isn’t available for him anymore, and Ed still has an advantage of being the only thing keeping the crew from throwing Izzy overboard with an anchor anklet. Arguably, Ed holds more power over Izzy in this specific instance. Rationally, there isn’t an immediate threat here, but Ed still responds as if there is.

Ignoring all that, the main part of this is that Ed’s Kraken response is indicative of the other person being an abuser. “If someone reminds Ed of his past abuse that much then it must mean that they’re in the wrong!” But that’s not how that works. Take this passage from Conflict is Not Abuse as an example:


This is also not how Trauma™️ responses functions. Ed, incontestably I hope, has some form of PTSD/c-PTSD. The very defining aspect of PTSD is that a person experiences a traumatic event that they continue to not recover from impacting their day to day life. Often people going through traumatic events will struggle for a bit before getting better, but not everyone does that. When the symptoms continue or even grow worse, that’s when we identify PTSD.

PTSD reactions aren’t rational. Especially when it comes to c-PTSD, the ability to gauge and respond to threats is damaged. You become easily triggered by things, often seemingly unrelated to an outsider, that reminds you of those traumatic experiences and throws you into survival mode. People with PTSD and who have suffered from abuse are not able to rely on gut instinct alone. That meter has been damaged where the threat alarm is going off at a hair trigger, leaving the survivor of trauma the options of avoiding those triggers completely (nearly impossible) or learning to suppress that. This can also leave survivors of abuse especially prone to revictimization. When every action someone takes looks like a red flag, you learn to tune out that alarm bell, including the times when it’s not an overreaction.

If we assume that Ed reacting with the Kraken is indicative of the other person being an abuser, then that’d mean we’d have to assume that Stede’s crew was a threat. Ed killed his dad and Ed killed Lucius, so naturally, Lucius must have been abusing Ed. You can extend it as far as Stede as well, since David Jenkins described Stede’s rejection as “deranging” Ed, and Ed while acting as the Kraken is tossing out Stede’s shit and marooning his playthings. But we know that Lucius only had the best of intentions for Ed, and we know that the crew is too incompetent to hurt Ed.

So what the fuck is going on with Ed?

Simple answer is that Ed feels threatened. Ed’s scared. He doesn’t feel safe. When chronically traumatized people feel unsafe, they react in defense, including in ways that are maladaptive to themselves, and harmful to others. One way to conceptualize it is through the Internal Family Systems (I wrote an analysis through this lens once!) Within IFS, you have two basic categories of Protectors and Exiles. Exiles are the part of us who hold the pain and shame of our trauma, usually from childhood. Protectors are the parts of us who develop strategies, usually maladaptive, to protect us from that pain. I’m severely simplifying, but I’ve found this site to be helpful with breaking down the core concepts.

We can think of the Kraken as taking on the role of a Firefighter. The “break glass in case of emergency” protector who comes out when we’re in “danger.”

Firefighters will do whatever they need to when it comes to stopping the danger, even pushing us into far more fraught situations. This can include things such as binge drinking, self-harm, serial cheating, and other actions we wouldn’t rationally view as safe, but things like drinking can numb the pain, self-harm creates feelings of control, and cheating brings reassurance that you are wanted. They’re quick fixes with a disregard for consequences in the moment, but they’re actions done to “protect” you from danger.

But like I said, trauma can really skew your sense of danger.


Just because someone triggers your PTSD and brings out your greatest threat response, doesn’t mean the threat is validated. In the same way flinching when your partner casually reaches out to touch you doesn’t mean they’re at risk of beating you.

Ed’s response to Izzy could be an overreaction to Izzy’s vague verbal threat, or it could be a solution to quelling Ed’s fear of abandonment, or something else entirely. It could be reminding Ed of his father, but it doesn’t mean that Izzy is an abuser. Especially within a context where we’ve never seen Izzy pose a physical threat to Ed, where the closest we got is him summoning the navy on his white boyfriend, and ensuring that Ed was not harmed in the interaction. Ed’s use of physical violence against Izzy isn’t proof of Izzy’s abuse, no more than it would be for Ed throwing Lucius overboard.

Something Sarah Schulman goes into detail about with the necessity of drawing a difference between conflict and abuse is misidentification of abuse stemming from supremacy vs from trauma. With supremacy, you can’t just trust your gut feelings because that ends up with things like white women having moc murdered. Traumatized responses are ones where past victimization interferes with our ability to differentiate between abuse and conflict. These can often overlap with clear borders, but there are differences, of course.


The reason people don’t view this dynamic as abusive isn’t from an unwillingness to see Ed as a victim, but from knowing that he has been victimized in the past. The level of trauma he sustained as a child severely fucks with someone’s head. Not metaphorically either, it literally causes brain damage and has been linked to an increase in likelihood of developing autoimmune diseases. Like, trauma can be so bad that your body just starts eating itself it’s fucking wild the amount of damage it can do to a person.

Recognizing that Ed’s actions can be wrong, but still extending empathy towards his place as a survivor of abuse, is an act of compassion towards him.

Harm Reduction in OFMD Fandom: Izcourse Edition

I keep wanting to write something up about this, but getting stumped on how to even begin. Largely, because I already know exactly what bad faith arguments are going to be made off the bat, and I feel reluctant to clog down my writing trying to dispel every weird take about things I didn’t say. So, it is what it is. If you have questions please ask politely and use a bit of critical thought beyond trying to find anything to grab hold on to contradict. 

The Izzy fandom gets harassed. A lot. Nobody here understands why either. When referencing harassment, I’m most likely referring to either direct abusive messages such as anon hate through Tumblr, or talking about the OFMD through a holistic view that includes harassment through Twitter of common dogpiling, stalking, spreading of false rumors, the occasional doxxing, and other things. I’m including Twitter in this conversation because the world doesn’t revolve around individuals on Tumblr, and for some of us, it’s beneficial to talk about the greater context of fandom without assuming that we are blaming random Tumblr users for Twitter drama. That said, a lot of people use both platforms and the two of them are closely linked, especially since a lot of meta from Tumblr gets poorly replicated on Twitter.

So we’re on the same page, the way I’m defining harassment is: The continuous or severe targeting of an individual or group through harmful behavior that includes physical threats, name-calling, impersonation, spreading malicious rumors, and encouraging others to harass a target. This is not an all-inclusive list, but I want to create a baseline for what I’m talking about. This does not means things such as stating you dislike a character, responding to another’s post to disagree, or speaking positively about a character. This also means that instances of conflict are not inherently harassment either, although this is murkier as we move through the gray area of “continuous or severe.”

I’ll also be using the terms “Izzy likers” and “Izzy crit” since those seem to be each respective sides more preferred terms and things like “Izzy stans” or “Izzy antis” can hold negative connotations. I’ll also be referring to the anon hate received as from a singular person, unless noted otherwise, and as “L anon.” 

So, I guess let’s dive into it?

I’ve seen the question posed a few times “Well, what do you want us to do about it?” when Izzy likers have brought up the topic of harassment or alluded to the fact that Izzy crits as a group contribute to this. It’s true that our individual ability to stop harassment completely is an impossible task, however, there are actions that can be taken as a collective to reduce the amount of harm being done. I don’t believe it’s true that harassment is an aspect of fandom one must accept to be within it. I also don’t think it’s right to equate messages telling Black people to get lynched as the norm in fandom everyone has to deal with. I understand that anon hate is common throughout fandoms, but the vitriol and noticeable escalation of L anon is an anomaly that deserves to be taken seriously. 

Actions I’m proposing (and will elaborate on) are for Izzy crits to STOP:

Minimizing harassment and distancing identity

This includes things such as suggesting that the harassment might not exist, that it isn’t that bad, it’s just a troll, turn off anon, everybody deals with this, and the idea that people are using discussions on harassment as an excuse. Minimizing harassment normalizes the behavior and continues a narrative that Izzy likers should expect to get harassed online. Downplaying the effects or severity dismisses the victims of it, and refusing to recognize that this is a form of passive endorsement. 

I feel some type of way about this personally because I don’t appreciate my experiences of racist harassment being treated as something I should just get over or normal in fandom. Like sorry to keep bringing it up I guess lol but like? 


This isn’t okay and it goes beyond “normal” fandom harassment and I feel like I’m going crazy having to argue that this isn’t just something shitty that happens to everyone, but an awful, violent, and frightening message(s) to receive. It genuinely concerns me to see white people in fandom brush it off and make a choice to instead focus on the implications of shipping Izzy with his boss. It points towards a trend of dehumanization online where we no longer see people as people, but characters in our screen who have lesser value than our favorite blorbos. I cannot believe I have to say this. 

Purposely separating L anon from identity is another way of passively justifying abuse. Whenever people brush off L anon, it’s often in the context of anon hate happens to everyone and ignores the fact that more marginalized identities are getting the brunt of this which includes rape threats, suicide baiting, and overt antiblackness. It can often be followed with reminders that Izzy crits of color also receive racism. The thing is, saying that Izzy likers are receiving racist harassment, doesn’t mean that other groups of fans do not. The harassment Izzy likers gets still matters, even if you don’t view it as unique. It’s concerning to hear white allies especially utilize this rhetoric as if they have a limited capacity of caring for poc. 

Engaging with L anon

A lot of people do straight up delete L anon asks. On the Izzy likers side at least, there’s been an uptick in people posting the hate they receive or collecting screencaps before blocking out of a necessity of proving that the hate exists. I think a lot of us would prefer to not have to do that! 

It would help if Izzy crits made an effort to stop engaging with the anon unless it was to condemn his actions. Certain forms of engagement can be viewed as encouragement whether intentional or not, and it feels noticeable that in the last few weeks L anon has gotten increasingly violent. 

You don’t have to tell L anon that “I’m not even an Izzy stan so you have the wrong blog anyways” because this normalizes the idea that he should be focusing his attention on Izzy likers. You don’t have to argue and justify to L anon that you actually dislike Izzy or prove that you’re critical of him for the same reason. 

You certainly don’t need to tell L anon “I don’t care if you harass Izzy stans” and it’s insane to pretend like this is anything but a dick move. 

Telling L anon “you act just like an Izzy stan!” or that they’re “Izzy coded” reinforces to him that Izzy likers are abusers and racists, therefore affirming in his mind that they’re acceptable targets. 

Seriously, if your response is anything other than “sending these messages is fucked up and nobody in fandom deserves this for liking a character” then just block and delete the ask. Any amount of attention can be twisted into positive affirmation and adding on “harassment is bad” doesn’t negate the impact of confirming to anon that you view Izzy likers as racist abusers. 

Encouraging the association of liking Izzy as being an indicator that someone is racist, abusive, homophobic, etc

It sucks stop doing it. We can draw a difference between Izzy the character and Izzy likers. In the end, your interpretation of a character is yours and nobody can stop you from having it. Putting thought into how you frame meta, however, could help lessen this association. 

Be careful with your language and ensure that you are referring to the character when discussing the show. “Izzy stans refuse to see that he’s X” is an unnecessary statement when it can just be that “Izzy is X which you can see from scene Y.” When there is a specific trend of harassment being justified via claiming a group of people is bigoted, it’s worth the effort of minimizing feeding into that assumption. 

Saying shit like “Izzy likers who are poc are desperate for white approval” is like for one really shitty lmao? But also feels bad in a climate where people are being called Candace Owens race traitors who should be killed. 

There’s a great article that touches on this and the way that even when someone isn’t directly harassing a person, their separate posts in combination with others, reifies the idea that the victim in an appropriate target. 


The author further elaborate in her research about third order or indirect harassment.


The examples she uses here are a bit more extreme, but this is the same framework she’s utilizing in her article discussing harassment on the left and in queer communities. 

When you answer L anon and say shit like:


or respond to concerns about racist targeting like this:


I am in fact going to feel some type of way about a week later seeing L anon increasingly escalate his behavior until I get six messages in my inbox calling me a race traitor bigoted cunt. It doesn’t matter if you say “it’s bad to be racist” when you’re already confirming the idea that Izzy likers are the main exporters of racism in fandom which is explicitly L anon’s justification for sending hate. 

Tagging character hate

I still can’t believe that this is an argument when it’s a basic courtesy within fandom and has been for years. Tagging character hate doesn’t constitute as harassment. However, it does exacerbate an already hostile climate between fans and allows for more conflict that could be easily avoided. 

If a meta post is in the character tag then people are going to respond to it. It being tagged communicates that this is something people can respond, especially when you encourage people who agree with you to comment. 

If you want less Izzy likers to respond to your Izzy meta then just stop tagging it as #Izzy Hands. It will greatly decrease the amount of interaction! Putting posts into the tag ends up baiting people into responding, continuing to draw out a conflict that nobody wants to be in. 

If you don’t like Izzy and you think he’s too popular a character or his fandom is where you end up seeing the most toxicity come from please consider not going through his tag. If you instead look through tags of characters you like, you will be rewarded with content of that character. The character tag will not function adequately as a place to locate critical content for them, so just cut out the middle man, and stop using it because it’s just pissing both sides off and “I have a right to be here!” is the dumbest hill to die on. 

Using alternative tags for organization literally just makes things easier for everyone. Tagging things with #Izzy crit or something like #Dizzy Izzy allows you to have a space to locate similar posts without having to expose yourself to a group of people you don’t like. It also provides an easy tag for people to block and avoid seeing on their dashboard. This is better than people just having mute the tag to filter out when going through his character tag, because it doesn’t require an entire community to cater towards your need to post things in a tag on principle. People who are new to the fandom and just happen to like the character also don’t have to be confused by seeing chara hate in the tag and going to argue with it. 

It is good to center your fandom experience on things you like instead of being set on asserting your right to be within a space you don’t like! I promise!

I’ve considered why I like Izzy. So, what now?

It’s a question as old as time, or at least as old as the season finale of Our Flag Means Death: Why like Izzy when there’s characters of color so much better? And what does this reflect in our racial biases?

White villains, white villains, white villains. Fandom is obsessed with white villains, and Izzy Hands is no exception. Kinda. 

Unlike Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens or Snape as teased throughout much of the Harry Potter series, Izzy doesn’t exactly fall in neatly with other villains. An antagonist? Absolutely. He’s got a knack for getting in Stede Bonnet’s way, all while having the nerve to be unpleasant about it too! Yet, a large portion of fandom seems hesitant to label him as a true Villain, capital V and everything. 

When it comes to the role of an antagonist, that’s a cut and dry position: someone or something that gets in the way of the protagonist. It’s easy to pick through examples of this throughout the show where it seems like everybody gives it a go at having a squabble with Stede. Chauncey Badminton and his relentless pursuit of the man who murdered his dear twin brother. Spanish Jackie who sends Stede to the Spanish navy to get gut-stabbed. Even Calico Jack acts as a romantic rival (and saboteur) during his one episode cameo. 

Could Black Pete be considered episode one’s minor antagonist as he vies for the coveted spot of captain? When Mary grabs the skewer and goes for the ear hole we all cheered, but is this not an antagonistic action as well? 

Izzy, who lies, manipulates, stabs, betrays, and insults can firmly be placed in an antagonist role with little argument from fandom. From the very beginning he clashes against Stede, instigating hostage snatching (who he technically bought fair and square) and picking bar fights (that he technically wasn’t the one who started it.) 

An antagonist, however, doesn’t make a villain. When it comes to defining villainy, there’s a bit more gray area involved within this. Villains require some degree of badness to them. To what extent is up to debate, but a villain can often be thought of as “a character with evil or malicious intentions.” 

But what makes someone evil? The most obvious example would be a character like Chauncey, someone who hunts Stede down even after his crimes had been acquitted. But is it really that easy? In another story, a different show, Chauncey could be the mourning admiral, wracked with grief from his brother’s wanton murder, slowly being driven to madness as he watches the confessed murderer evade consequences through a combination of privilege and wealth. When even the king’s blessing isn’t enough to bring Stede Bonnet to justice, what choice remains but to take matters into his own hands? Who else will avenge his brother in a world indifferent to his death if not him?

Chauncey’s also in the British navy and kinda insane though, so labeling him as a villain isn’t too far of a stretch. 

Still, when there’s gray area even in the likes of characters like Chauncey, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there’s hesitancy in labeling Izzy Hands too harshly. Is Izzy a villain, or is he just a depressed housewife in a crumbling marriage? (thread frozen at 33420 comments) 

Are Izzy’s crimes even comparable to those like Kylo Ren or Snape, characters who are responsible for genocide, the abuse of children, and were for some time consumed in fascist communities thinnly veiled from their white supremacist allegories? 

Who’s to say! Maybe if we reopen the topic for the 100th time and fight about it once again we’ll come to some sort of conclusion. Or maybe we’ll just end up doubling our block lists. Whatever.

The details of villainy, evil, and antagonists dressed in all black aside, it’s an interesting question to consider. 

How much does Izzy’s whiteness impact the viewers’ ability to empathize with him over characters of color? Should we be examining our attraction to a white meow meow and whether we’re culturally trained to like him more?

Yeah probably. It’s always good to keep track of your own biases and how this influences the characters you relate to. The empathy gap with characters of color vs white characters is a very real phenomenon. How we engage with characters of color, and what we can do better, is something I’ve written about regarding OFMD as well. We should always be questioning ourselves when it comes to internalized racism. This work is never finished, but is an ongoing process. 

“If you primarily create something like angst, fluff, or even PWP, is there a reason why you struggle to view these characters [of color] as possible subjects? Consider why you may find yourself uninterested in exploring a character of color’s traumatic backstory even though angst is your favorite thing to write. Or the way you may find a relationship between POC boring, but in comparison, consider a fluffy white m/m a refreshing change of pace. Is there a reason you might struggle to view a relationship between POC as sexual and shy away from including them in your NSFW art?”

So yes, it is worth asking ourselves why we might relate to Izzy more. Asking ourselves, “Is there a reason why fans can extend empathy to him and his struggles so easily? Is there a reason why we might be more willing to dig past the surface details and construct theories and backstories explaining his behavior?”

But what happens next? When we’ve done our introspection and examined our biases?

Something I’m curious about is how easily does fandom find it to relate to Izzy Hands?

Izzy Likers sound off! Who was obsessed with Izzy Hands from their first watch?

Who kinda hated his fucking guts?

How many rewatches did it take before you began to truly stan him?

How many fanworks and meta did it take before you began to feel as if you understood his character?

I’m not convinced that liking Izzy is as natural as people assume. 

There’s definitely many fans who fell in love with him upon first glance, wracked with confusion and lust as he tore apart Stede’s shirt for seemingly no reason. 

On the other hand, there does seem to be a not small amount of people who experienced more of a slowburn approach to stanning Izzy. 

Perhaps this is just my experience, but I always found Izzy funny from the very beginning, but it took several rewatches of me becoming increasingly inconsolable of piecing together bits and pieces of his characterization to complete the mosaic of whatever the fuck is wrong with that strange little man.

Stanning Izzy wasn’t a choice, it was an attack that left me kicking and screaming as I was dragged into his cringe-fail clutches. 

There was no immediate process, unlike when it came to characters like Edward who I was already printing “FREE EDWARCH! TEACH INNOCENT!” t-shirts two minutes into episode 4 and haven’t stopped crying over him yet. 

The comparison between the two makes itself. Of the characters in the show, Edward and Izzy are the two who stand out the most on having to peel back layer after layer to understand who they are. Edward, and his constantly shifting masks, lies of omission, and insecurity of who he is as a person. Izzy, and the complex amount of loyalty, pain, and slow spiraling insanity etched into the minute details of Con o’Neill’s micro expressive acting. 

At least for me, loving Ed was never even a question. Izzy though, with his abrasive personality and tendencies towards dipshit decisions, was a bit tougher to swallow down. 

I guess I’m just not convinced that liking Izzy was a given where I’m an easily swayed fool who’s immediately drawn to pink dick? Maybe this is me being too assured of myself and preferences, but I consistently navigate towards characters of color who I love. Gimme a brown boy, pump him full of trauma, and let him go, and oh, baby I am yours. 

And when it comes to excusing actions of characters and making allowances for their bad behavior, I always feel as if it’s less that fans writing meta are justifying every dipshit choice Izzy makes, and more so teasing out the reasons why he might exhibit dipshit behavior. Izzy, you see, has this spectacular ability to have very normal and justified emotional responses to situations, and then immediately jumps into making the worst possible decision. 

In comparison to Ed, who has never done a single thing wrong in his entire life; where I know about the atrocities and I’ve decided that not only are they funny, but also extremely sexually attractive and also righteous and also––

Well. Izzy’s no Ed, but who can truly compare themself to a saint babygirl? 

Of the characters of color, Ed’s really the only one where Izzy has something to gain by exaggerating Ed’s flaws, or by “woobifying” Izzy.

Where to draw the line between acknowledging the complex and multifaceted nature of Ed/Izzy’s relationship, and unfairly victimizing Izzy is harder to pinpoint. What happens if someone has reviewed the text, checked their biases, and still has come to the conclusion of “Ed has contributed no small amount to the toxicity of their relationship?” Not that Ed is an abuser, not that Izzy is a hapless innocent, or that this is a problem entirely manufactured by one side. But Ed, who is in a position of power over Izzy, is an active participant in whatever the fuck is wrong with those two. 

Is it possible to thoroughly examine your relationship to white favoritism and still come out liking the character? 

Oftentimes, these conversations begin and end with a call of bringing awareness to the hidden prejudices within our media consumption. For many of us, this isn’t a new concept, and although the work is always ongoing, this is already a habit ingrained in our behavior. 

The problem with “really think about why you like Izzy so much” is that the conclusion has already been preordained. It’s not a push for honest reflection, it’s a helping hand meant to guide fans through social justice 101 and “correct” our misplaced affection for a character onto someone more worthy. 

This is something that really only happens with Izzy too. Why isn’t there the same call to analyze our behavior when it comes to liking Stede Bonnet? White protagonists are so often given the benefit of the doubt, allowed to make mistakes and hurt their loved ones from their own selfish actions, and still be viewed favorably. 

It’s not even that the fandom woobifies Stede really. This is built into his character, where the audience’s ability to like him hinges on the child-like quality to his behavior. It’s hard to hate a man who cries in a robe and hides in his room when under attack. Stede is allowed the benefit of the doubt. He’s the embodiment of main character syndrome, yet we still afford him complexity. We still empathize for his trauma, his desire to be better, his love for his crew.

And this isn’t a bad thing by any means. This is good writing, as well as an absolute bang up job on Rhys Darby’s part of somehow managing to make the character not only likable, but truly loveable. 

How often are we allowed to see that same empathy extended to flawed protagonists of color though? Or characters who are women? What biases are we playing into when we relate to Stede Bonnet without hesitation?

I assume the answers are “it’s because he’s neurodivergent like me” or “it’s important to see elder queer men on screen” or “but did you see his tits, man?” 

All valid and true and yes, I have seen his boobs. But why should he be exempt from the conversation?

This isn’t a “whataboutism” to distract from being critical of Izzy. This is me drawing attention to the fact that Izzy takes up an unequal portion of this critique, and how this can lead to white fans excusing themselves from their own turn at reflection, and how they might not be as quick to relate to narratives of queerness, neurodivergency, or trauma if a character isn’t white. 

There’s a real tendency in fandom for people to pat themselves on the back for liking the “right” white boy when it’s like no? These are both white men? One just yells more and the other owns more land-of-dubious-acquistion. 

In the end, it’s always going to be a circular conversation asking people to figure out why they like a white character so much. More often than not the answer is “because they’re neat!” 

Because what is the expectation here? To like the character less? 

It’s a mistake to continuously center these talks around white characters, and therefore once again, erasing characters of color. It’s not just “why like this white character so much?” it’s “why do you like this white character so much for his flaws, but lambast this character of color for doing the same?” 

Why are you willing to put effort into fleshing out a backstory for a white character, but call this character of color flat and not worth your time? 

How much effort are you putting into seeking out diverse media and their stories? Are you only gravitating towards the ships that feature white characters? 

This is a “yes, and” type of thing. You keep stanning your white meow meow if that sparks joy, but you also look around and see if there’s other characters you may be ignoring. It’s not something that only one section of the fandom is tasked with either. 

Part of the frustration that some Izzy fans may feel is that people rarely take the time to see what content is actually being made. Which, to be fair, is often porn so maybe that’s on us, but still.

You know, there’s a not insignificant amount of fic written for Roach/Izzy and Frenchie/Izzy, right? Not just because people are horny about Izzy, but because they like them, and are invested enough to write 50k long fics about these characters who have hardly interacted. And as a poc who regularly is trying to find content for Roach and Frenchie, who goes into the tags and makes an effort to support creators, I really do just appreciate that there’s anyone in fandom who cares enough about the side characters of color to regularly make content for them. 

I want to read 50k fics written from Frenchie’s perspective about him getting to be cute and date someone, and I appreciate the fact that Izzy fans will not just make this content, but actively support and hype it up too. I also appreciate the fact that I don’t have to follow many white people who annoy me because I can just follow Izzy stans of color instead. That there’s a large amount of poc who are also tired of being told to unpack our racist biases from white folks with Stede icons who’s education on antiracism extends as far as reblogging “share if you’re not racist!” posts on Tumblr circa-2016. 

I’ve analyzed why I like Izzy Hands so much. I’ve taken into consideration his whiteness, my biases, the types of narratives that mainstream media pushes, and what kinds of characters are deserving of our empathy. And I still like him. I still think he’s neat. I still want him to get better and maybe get a nice boyfriend in s3 who will blow his back out on the reg and hopefully that’ll calm him down.

How many more times am I going to have to be told to do this work? And why does it feel like Izzy fans are the only ones in this fandom putting in the effort to decenter whiteness?

Resources For Allies

Hello, this is a resource list I put together for white allies. This was a really basic list I made for someone a few weeks ago, but I figure I can upload it here in case others find it helpful!

I’d recommend starting with the Youtube videos first before moving onto the articles. The first two articles are very basic ones and should be read with a critical eye and grain of salt. Definitely engage with the Combahee River Collective Statement as a primary document (and a crucial one!) but it’ll take a bit more time than the other articles to parse through.

Otherwise, the books are very useful and I’m especially fond of White Tears/Brown Scars. Read whichever ones strike your fancy or jump between them/chapters!

The movies/documentaries are basic historical watches not specific to white allies, but just really good history lessons. I love James Baldwin and I Am Not Your Negro and would highly recommend.


Bo Burnham and White Liberal Performative Art:

How NOT to be an Ally:


Why White People Freak Out When They’re Called Out About Race:

How to be an Ally If You Are a Person with Privilege:

The Combahee River Collective Statement:


13th (On Netflix)

I Am Not Your Negro (Can be rented on Youtube/Prime)

Black Power Mixed Tape (On Netflix)


How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

White Tears Brown Scars by Ruby Hamad

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race by Daniel Tatum

Legitimizing Fight as Fandom

I can’t tell if fandom has gotten worse in terms of constant discourse fights, or if I’m falling victim to the bias of reflection. I’m fully aware that fandom has always been a shit show of abuse and harassment, and that there was never a time that everybody held hands and sang songs about peace, but I’m not sure if it was always like this.

By “this” I mean constant discourse, for lack of a better word, although that deserves a few caveats. I don’t mean critical analysis of the text or calling out racist actions of fans or anything of the sort. Discussing racism and other topics is essential and are something that can only improve fandom. What I’m thinking of is more like… bullshit, I suppose. Bullshit though that often masks itself as the former. 

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Ed, Trauma, and Coping

I wanted to examine the way Ed’s character is broken into several archetypes throughout the series and what these roles tell us about him. This will be talked about from a trauma-informed perspective, but I am not a psychologist so take anything I say with a grain of salt.

Throughout the show, we see Ed represented through several versions of himself, all of which have different names: Edward, Blackbeard, and The Kraken. All these identities are a part of who he is, they’re not performances or something he’s forced into doing by others, but serve a purpose to Ed of ensuring his survival. This unconscious splitting of self is a result of sustaining substantial trauma at a young age and acts as a coping mechanism that he carries well into adulthood.

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Piracy Isn’t Toxic Masculinity in OFMD

From what I can tell, the idea of piracy being a metaphor for toxic masculinity in Our Flag Means Death seems to be a prevalent opinion from critics and fandom. I strongly disagree with this interpretation and would argue that this as a takeaway relies on classist and racist biases.

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OFMD Fandom is so Bad at Race

Overall, I find the way OFMD fandom interacts with race, especially in regards to Edward, to be extremely disappointing. I’m saying this from the perspective of someone who is Black, but also as an outsider to Māori culture. I wish people would put in a greater effort to do research before commenting on how they assume race and racism interacts with Ed. I also don’t feel anywhere close to an expert because again, I am not Māori or Polynesian, which is why I prefer to just keep my mouth shut and continue learning about things so I don’t write anything stupid in my fanfictions. So, take anything I say with a grain of salt where I’m continuing to try and educate myself as time goes on and encourage others to do the same. 

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High School Writing Contests

Continuing on with the theme of me finding things I’ve written as a teen: I got my girlfriend to pull out a copy of the short story I submitted in high school for a creative writing project.

This is some time in my junior year when I was 17 and I did not win which I was very salty about as a kid even though I was also like “…I mean what was I expecting tho lol” because for some reason I decided to submit batshit gay romance.

I feel like I find this more embarrassing than other old writing just because I’m like “damn… I sure did submit this to an actual contest” like omfg the boldness.

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