real talk I have a huge problem with fanon’s Jotun Loki and I’ve never been one to advocate its tropes because of a handful of problematic reasons
No, this has been bugging me a lot too and I wasn’t sure if it would be appropriate for me to bring it up. I’m glad you said something.
I talked before how I at least wish more designs were appropriate to Viking culture, because after all Jötnar come from Norse Mythology. Aside from it being more culturally appropriate, it would make more pragmatic sense. The one person on here that I think does this and does this well is Umakoo.
Everything else seems to be an attempt to exotify the Jotuns to an extreme extent. The stereotypical way of exotifying any fictional culture seems to be based on the way western culture exotifies and “others” non-western cultures. I think that’s highly problematic.
I’d personally prefer more attempts to not only make Jotun more culturally accurate to their origins in both cultural wear and traditions, but also to step away from further ‘othering’ of real and living non-western cultures. What is ‘exotic’ to one culture, is quite normal and every day to another. Constantly pointing it out or emphasizing it is not necessarily honoring or recognizing their culture and traditions in a respectful manner.
Cultures develop based in part on their environment. Given the conditions that Jotun supposedly live in, the majority of tropes surrounding their fictional culture make zero pragmatic or functional sense, which leads me to believe that most choices being made in regards to how they live, act, and their cultural materials are based on an unfair and uneducated conflation of non-western cultures, the rampant othering and exotification of non-western cultures, and a failure to recognize diversity and uniqueness in western cultures.
It’s tiring and even though they’re fictional, to a major extent it in effect, perpetuates some pretty awful stereotypes and the fact that people don’t think it’s problematic at all really bothers me.
To say the truth, the treatment of Jotun-Loki has some extreme signs of orientalism even without the whole harem-and-gold cultural coding (though that’s really important and a huge part of his orientalisation). A major part of orientalisation of other countries (and thus othering them in a way that allows Western spectators to enjoy this country as something ‘inferior’ and non-threatening) is achieved by coding the cultures of these countries female/feminine (Edward Said’s book ‘Orientalism’ is still pretty interesting in this aspect, if slightly outdated by now).
Of course Loki is a bit of a special case, because in mythology, he is the god of Ergi, aka unmanly behavior, but even in mythology the female-coding is a lot less pronounced than in fandom.
Not only is Loki, in fanon, continually in the ‘female’ position in his relationship with Thor, but he is also again and again presented as physically inferior - not lanky and tall as Tom Hiddleston (who is of the same height as Chris Hemsworth), or slender muscle as comic-Loki, but small, delicate, lithe, often with pronounced hips or thighs and narrow shoulders. Moreover, every female connection he has in the comics - especially Amora - and every female connection he has in mythology (Sigyn and Angrboda mainly) are not only ignored, but eradicated by the fandom! (The most extreme sign for this is that Fanon!Loki gave birth to the Three Enemies of the Gods himself, which denies even Angrboda’s very existence and cementing his femininity) (the exception for this are Hela and Frigga, but mother and daughter roles do not interfere with female-coding).
The thing here is, that’s similar to what oientalism does to men of (mostly) eastern cultures. They are presented as soft, as effeminate, as delicate, as subordinate, as - and this is still fucking pervasive - unable to use the logic of the ‘white man’ and thus unable to think reasonably at all, which in further consequence makes them dishonest. And I think that might be where a lot of fanon starts - Loki is the epitmone of dishonesty. Dishonesty is a female-coded trait in western culture. Dishonesty + femininity = seduction, and seduction again evokes images the of smoke-filled harem halls and smooth, ‘exotic’ bodies and artificial sort of behavior and motion that our culture codes ‘oriental’.
I have loads and loads of problems with fanon!Loki, but the exotization and feminization of him (which are things that have been going hand in hand since freaking Herodot) are definitely my biggest peeves.