About ace!Enjolras…

I get why so many fans are invested in the idea of Enjolras being asexual/aromantic. While I somewhat doubt that Hugo intended that “his mistress is ‘patria’” line to be an indicator of asexuality/aromanticism in the way that some of the Classical allusions Hugo makes in reference to Grantaire are most likely meant indicate homosexuality, simply because the Victorians didn’t have a concept of aromantic aces in the same way that they did “Greek Love,” I also somewhat doubt that Tolkien actually intended Legolas and Gimli to get gay-married at the end of LotR, but will nevertheless argue until my dying breath that they totally, totally do and that said marriage is 100% supported-by-text canon whether Tolkien did it on purpose or not, so, you know, each to his own.

The thing I do wonder, however, is this: Why is Enjolras the only character fannish consensus has chosen to make asexual/aromantic? Why don't the middle-aged French virgins get any of the lack-of-love? )
I originally typed all this ridiculously long meta in response to a post I was reblogging on tumblr, but then in retrospect going on and on in someone else’s reblog thread seemed kind of obnoxious, so here are My Thoughts On Yaoi OTPs as a stand-alone.

I’ve had OTPs since I first joined fandom nine years ago. I suspect I always will. It’s a part of how I am fannish, as integral to the way I interact with characters and source texts as my hurt/comfort kink (back when I was nine, I had the pages in Sword of Shanara where people got hurt memorized, and could tell you whether a given scene was printed on the left-hand page or the right). The OTPing goes back almost as far, too — I OTPed Gambit/Rogue back when I was a wee eleven-year-old who didn’t know fanfiction existed.

When I have an OTP, a true, hardcore, honest OTP rather than just a ship I like a lot, I ship only that pairing for those characters, to the exclusion of all others. OTP technically stands for “One True Pairing,” and for me, in the handful of cases where I have one, that’s pretty much literally what it is. “ I don’t always OTP when I ship - sometimes I just like the idea of a relationship between A/B and/or find A/B’s relationship interesting, something that’s sometimes accompanied by wanting to read or write fic for the pairing, and sometimes not. When I do OTP, though, A/B is a permanent, immutable part of my headcanon, something that is not up for negotiation. Character A and Character B love each other. Forever and ever, world without end, amen. I might be able to read gen about them, or other ship fic that doesn’t negate the OTP, like A/B/C threesome fic, or fic about C and D’s epic love where A and B are minor background characters and we never hear anything about their love lives/sex lives at all, but fic that negates A/B (either by stressing repeatedly how they’re just platonic friends, or by having them in love with other people) is a major DO NOT WANT.

And now, because I’ve typed up half-finished meta posts about this every time a discussion of OTPs vs. multishipping has gone around for the past five years, I’m going to share my unified field theory of OTPing.

(Yes, I know; you’re all super eager to read it)

Elspethdixon's Thoughts On Yaoi - I mean, on OTPs )
Recently, via [community profile] metanews, I read an article which was about one-third correct and two-third completely wrongwrongwrong (bearing in mind that my definition of "wrongwrongwrong" and others' definition of same may vary):

How Superheroes Girlfriends Burned Me Out On Love Stories

The gist of the relevant part of the article for those who don't want to click links: Pepper Potts's role in the third Iron Man movie consists solely of providing emotional support to Tony Stark, making her yet another example of fictional women who exist only to serve as rewards for/aid in the self-actualization of fictional men.

If anything, the Tony/Pepper relationship IM3 struck me as pretty much the exact opposite of that description )

*Which is much better than what struck me about their relationship in IM2, which was "Why the hell does Pepper want a relationship with Tony after he's spent the entire movie being, from her perspective, a total dick," but the first rule of Iron Man movie fandom is that we do not talk about IM2.
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( May. 5th, 2010 12:23 am)
lgbtfest is up and running. As usual, I didn't sign up to write for it, largely because I a) suck at deadlines and b) am in the middle of writing an epic-length fic that's coming along agonizingly slowly. Seriously, we're actually revising it. I have never made a substantial revision to a piece of fiction in my life. But another part of the reason is c) I don't feel comfortable writing something that's supposed to be a sensitive examination of queer issues, something that's supposed to have any kind of authenticity or speak to other queer readers. I write Id-porn and emo-porn and action/pulp (or, well, I aspire to create action/pulp, but I suspect usually just achieve emo-porn). And I do so by choice. I want to write escapist fiction. I want to write things with exclamation points in the title. I want my fiction to be people's comfort fic and guilty pleasure and trashy beach reading - I want it to be the best trashy escapist Id-porn beach reading it can be, but the best escapist Id-porn I can write is not, I suspect, what the purpose of lgbtfest is supposed to be. I suspect the ideal fest entry leans more towards Bastard out of Carolina, than Lois Lenz, Lesbian Secretary (both execellant books I highly recommend). More towards Dykes to Watch Out For than I Was Kidnapped by Lesbian Pirates from Outer Space. Thus, meta. About trashy books and escapist Id-porn.

I read this article recently on 50s pulp novels and lesbian identity, and it got me thinking about slash )

note: this is going to be flocked for the first 24 hours to make sure people don't think there's anything in here that would cause wank, Unlocked now
elspethdixon: (Default)
( Mar. 14th, 2010 03:15 pm)
I don't have the spoons to deal with the current discussion about derailing sparked off by the m/m and slash debate without incoherent screams of rage, and I've already had the comments/concrit discussion several times (my general opinion, taken away from said discussion, is that my perceptions on concrit are skewed by the way my brain processes criticism, which I suspect isn't quite the way everyone else's does, and also that reviewing is often difficult and there's nothing wrong with lurking, given that fandom is supposed to be for fun).

So, recent posts about woobies have got me thinking, because the way people define woobies and the qualities desired in them seem to differ between fans.

Thus, a h/c poll:

(Hurt/comfort poll of gratuitous length)

Mostly, I'm curious to see how many other h/c fans out there share my kinks, and how many are getting something completely different out of h/c in terms of emotional satisfaction. Ex: I kind of feel like a hurt/comfort story that's all comfort without onscreen hurt is like a sex scene that opens with a couple sentences of orgasm then is all afterglow, and never shows you the foreplay or, indeed, the actual sex, whereas I know other people view the hurt as something to be rushed through or put up with in order to get to the comfort rather than something to savour. Ditto for emotional vs. physical hurt -- some readers I know find emotional hurt more satisfying on it's own without physical injury to distract from it and don't think "You know what would make this story even better? If the angsty/woobie guy got captured by the wraith and tortured and *then* the comforting-the-woobie part happened." (those of y'all who have read that alien invasion fic with the gratuitous torture sequences probably don't find that a surprise)
elspethdixon: (Rorschach2)
( Mar. 1st, 2010 09:04 pm)
Follow-up to this post on the concept of misaimed fandoms (DW mirror here), which was itself inspired by this post by arachnekallisti on writing terrible human beings/deliberately unsympathetic characters.

I was talking this over with seanchai last weekend, actually as part of a tangent about Torchwood (why some people absolutely cannot like Owen or Gwen for the alien sex pollen and the retconning-your-significant-other-to-conceal-your-infidelity things while being totally able to forgive Ianto his cyborg girlfriend shenanigans), and one thing that came up is that different readers/viewers have different, and often very personal and non-rational Uncrossable Lines for characters and for shows.

An Uncrossable Line is something you absolutely cannot forgive a character for, a belief or action that, once expressed or performed by a given character, renders that character completely unsympathetic and unlikable often no matter what reasons/excuses/mitigating factors there are )

Sharing the same fandoms, the same OTPs, the same opinions on canon, and even sharing the same ideological viewpoint, religious or cultural background, and political/social opinions, does not guarantee that people will share the same Uncrossable Line, any more than sharing all of the above will guarantee that people will have the same kinks and squicks. It can be the difference between believing that Spike can be redeemed post season six, and wanting to kill him with fire, between seeing Lex Luthor as a woobie and seeing him as an evil supervillain (or seeing him as an evil supervillain who's kick-ass awesome), between being horrified or disgusted by a character and fangirling him (or her).

*I debated whether to use this icon or the broken!woobie!Tony Stark one, but since the original post referenced Watchmen and had an Ozymandias icon....*
elspethdixon: (Default)
( Feb. 20th, 2010 06:42 pm)
TV tropes is often eeerily correct about things, but they and I are not alays in 100% agreement (except about how wearying relentlessly grim and gritty fiction that is OMG so Dark and Edgy is).

There is an interesting post here on the difficulty of writing characters you intend to be terrible, unlikable human beings. That difficulty being that the audience will not always agree with you that said characters are lousy human beings and instead think they're abused woobies who only need love, and/or will agree, but will like them anyway, sometimes for reasons that are distastful to you.

I agree with some of her points, but I have mixed feelings about the term 'misaimed fandom' that I will now explain at tl;dr length )
Because I've been considering doing this, and talking about it, and I need to just stop being afraid and post it. I'll just pre-emptively tag this with "they should have left me in the ice," shall I?

If the mods at linkspam get ahold of this and feel that it's derailing, I ask that it NOT BE LINKED IN THAT CASE because that would only enhance any derailing effect.

Currently, everyone's discussing the ever-widening definition-creep of derailing, and before that, they/we were all talking about misogyny in slash. Unless we consider "slashers: there's something wrong with them" to be the general point of the discussion, with detours into "bisexual slashers: they're all liars, and even if they aren't their sexuality doesn't matter, and if they try to say it does, that's derailing," we've drifted away from the original topic of "slash and m/m romance: some of it has harmful stereotypes in it."

Since I don't think I can contribute in any meaningful way to the derailing debate, and since I've read at least three rounds of "slasher misogyny" debates over the past nine years, I'd like to get back to the original topic for a while.

Some fiction has homophobic or heterosexist stereotypes in it.

And I'd like to discuss what those can be/are, and if there are any books we feel are particularly good or bad at avoiding them )

*I'd like to limit this to published books, because the conversation began with criticisms specific to the m/m publishing industry and their depiction of gay and bisexual men. I think that fanfiction and slash are a different conversation that it would also be useful to have, but I'd prefer to let someone else host that.

This post is mirrored on LJ
I debated a little about posting this because I recently posted a similar rant under flock, but this time the "it's just friendship/he's really straight in canon" thing was extra annoying, so:

Very interesting post on bisexuality and SPN, and what it means to the author that the siren (apparently there's a SPN episode with a siren?) appears to Dean as a male in order to seduce him.

Of course, someone has to appear in the comments to talk about how sexuality is only about physical attraction, and defend platonic friendships against misaimed attempts to sexualize them. She then goes on to insist that one can only be bisexual if one feels physical desire/sexual attraction toward both sexes, and that intense emotional attraction cannot be an expression of bisexuality unless the desire for sex is there, despite the OP's attempts to point out that people can identify as both asexual and heterosexual or gay/lesbian/bi, because affective/emotional desire is a component of sexuality as well. The commentor then decides that the OP is a troll. As you do.

I know we're talking about same sex relationships and desire here, but you know what I want to talk about? Platonic friendships and how fandom doesn't value them enough! And also how asexual people's relationships aren't real! )

Happily, there's a square for this on the anti-slash bingo card ("You just don't understand how friendship works").
elspethdixon: (Default)
( Nov. 6th, 2009 07:10 pm)
This is probably the most explicit piece of writing ever to appear in my lj. And it's meta. On het.

So, I've read an awful lot of romance novels in the past 2/3 months, because the ebook selection at the Brooklyn Public Library is about 65% Harlequin novels (someone seriously needs to hook the selection policy people up with Baen, so they can add a little classic "space marines with big ass guns" male fantasy wishfulfillment to the cornucopia of "The Italian Billionaire's Secret Virgin Mistress's Christmas Baby" titles). And at this point, I've read at least ten recently published historical or paranormal romance novels that have featured the following scenario:

On the lack of reciprocity in certain romance novel sex scenes )
The identity policing! It begins!

I know people are angry, and I know that when I'm angry, for example, I don't want to listen to counter-arguments or people telling me to be reasonable or anything like that, because I can't process logical arguments or criticism when I'm in emotion-overload brain-shortcircuiting territory. On the other hand, that's also probably one of my greatest flaws as a person, so. This post. I don't want to tell people not to be angry, not to disagree, not to be disgusted and enraged by what other people are saying, but I do want to point out this:

Just because someone disagrees with the Lambda Literary Awards new rules does not automatically mean they are straight.

My thoughts on (awards for) yaoi )

Either way, the charge that only straight people oppose this change because it threatens their straight priviledge is a misleading assumption. Some straight people do oppose it, and some of them may very well do so because their privielege is threatened, but I've seen several other LGBT fans speak up in connection to this, and their/our opinion is not a monolith. Some people are every much for it and are offended or angered or irritated by the criticisms of it, and some are very much against it.

TL;DR: Think the Lambda Literary Foundation deciding that their goal is to promote LGBT authors rather than LGBT fiction in general is perfectly fine, have no problem with the new rules, but do have a problem with people declaring that people on the other side of the debate are displaying their straight priviledge if said people are, in fact, not straight. Say they're wrong all you want, but don't say they're straight or coming from a place of priviledged heterosexual entitlement if they're actually bi/lesbian/gay/genderqueer.

edit: Why did I read all the way through the discussion thread at Dear Author on this? Why? Because as annoying as "you aren't gay *enough*" or "I shall just assume you're straight because I disagree with you" is, people announcing that restricting the Lambda awards to LGBT authors only is "just like segregation" is approximately 1000x more annoying. Seriously, I'm *white* and it makes me want to punch people through the computer screen. Why isn't there a "make someone shut up and get off the internet" button on QWERTY keyboards? It could be F13, the STFU key.
I made an earlier post on this under my irrational comics ranting filter yesterday, but this is my hopefully rational and not ranty post on it, because I do think this is something that needs to actually be discussed, and me shrieking like a harpy about it where only five people can read it won't accomplish that.

This post by karnythia about K/S shippers who want K/S to be canon makes some very good and important points, but some of the comments on it made me uncomfortable. Not as a white woman with priviledge, which would have been fine because calling people on their priviledge was the post's intention, but as a bisexual woman and slasher who felt erased and insulted by statements like:

They aren't gay; stop making them that way -- because that's so germane to discussions of people's problematic statements & actions re race, isn't it? )

Anonymous comments enabled. Post mirrored on lj and DW. Please don't debate the validity of K/S vs. S/U here, though. That's not what this post is for (nor is it for arguing about whether or not the make K/S canon people are in the wrong or not and why -- karnythia's post has several links where you can go and do that edit: and metafandom now has several more).
I don't have a racefail icon, so I use my "Fuck you, Marvel, I hate you" icon instead.

So, this isn't a creepy concept at all.

I want to love it, because mammoths! And Patricia C. Wrede's fantasy and regency series were so much fun, but a fantasy novel where North & South America were totally devoid of people when Europeans got here, especially a novel that's about pioneers in the (empty of pre-existing habitation) American West has potentially icky vibes all over it.

I probably don't have to explain to y'all why it's icky, but I'm going to do so anyway, with links. Because I love alternate history and she's doing it wrong )

Post not mirrored on LJ because on the off chance there are comments to this, I want them in one easy-to-monitor place. Anonymous commenting is enabled for those without Dreamwidth accounts, but I ask that you please sign anon comments with some kind of identifier, be it Alan Smithee or Irving Forbush or your own pseudonym
Resolved, That John Q. Adams, a member from the State of Massachusetts, by his attempt to introduce into this House a petition of slaves for the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia, committed an outrage on the rights and feelings of a large portion of the people of this Union )

I use my fallen shield icon, because Captain America would very disappointed in us. Also, in a break with my usual journal policy, anonymous comments are being screened. Note: I welcome debate about my interpetation of US history, and am open to correction if I've gotten anything wrong, but I'm standing fast on the Elizabeth Bear screwed up front.
So, flist, I have a hypothetical question for you. If you were rating a piece of fiction for violence, how would you rate a fight scene wherein a character is decapitated and the pov character is covered in his/her arterial blood? For clarification, I'll add that the smell/feel/etc. of the blood is not described, just its presence, so it's not graphically described decapitation.

Because I swear I rated that PG-13 when I wrote it a few years ago, but maybe I actually rated it R and am misremembering because my comfort level with writing action scenes has gone up since then. Either way, I'm not sure which rating would be more appropriate, because I'm more used to ratings being determined by sexual content )
I delayed a long time before posting this, because it had its genesis as a shipper-war rant (and my HP-trained instincts to start shipper wars-to-the-knife over my OTPs do not need encouragement), but recent events in my fandom have reminded me all over again why this argument pisses me off.

By popular demand (as in, two people asked about it) )
This was originally part of a different, rantier "why claiming that slashing close friends demeans their friendship disturbs me" post that I have yet to make, but it just kept getting longer and longer and didn't really seem to fit there, and then it sat on my hard drive for most of the summer and fall, unposted, because it was triggered by a specific other fan's comments on a discussion post on the lj of someone who was/is, if not a central participant in my primary (and small) fandom, at least a recognizable name on the edges of it, and I didn't want to start wank. But then I saw this post making statements very similar to X fan whom I shall not name, but this time about the entire gay rights movement,* and I decided that maybe I ought to post it after all.

Why slashers in specific and gay/lesbian/bisexual people in general are not, in fact, to blame for making the media less comfortable with depicting close friendships between men via threatening straight guys' precious, precious masculinity )

* And, off topic, can I say that this is a not a pov on the usefulness of protest/confrontation/calling people on their x-ist bullshit I had expected to see in fandom, where it seems to be generally agreed that the way to deal with people who do bigoted things like use "spicy curry" lj tags to refer to Indian politicians or think "miscegenation" = bestiality = a good prompt for a kink challenge (not saying those are the same as voting yes on Prop 8, just that all of the above are indications of bigotry) is to confront the person responsible and demand an apology & retraction, with the understanding that a degree of righteous anger is fully justified, and that the "tone" argument is fallacious.
God, I feel almost embarrassed to post this - I sound like I'm telling people to "organize and fight, for the Union makes us strong" or something, when I'm just talking about comic books.

why you should tell Marvel writers exactly what you think about their comics, whether your opinion is positive or negative )
I've been pondering doing meta on this for a while, and finally decided to write down my observations/ponderings, prompted mostly by the recent waves of slash discussions and a few ship-rivalry style comments I've recently seen people make.

One of the things that been brought up tangentially in the discussions of waves of slash is the evolution of individual ships - from a new, rare pairing, where every fic has to do the leg work of justifying why these people are together, to a commonplace fanon concept, to the kind of over-arching dominant paradigm McShep has become in SGA fandom, where the pairing is so normativised (for lack of a better word) that people can seriously consider McShep fics to be gen (as a sometimes-gen-fan, I boggle at this; I suspect part of the issue there is a lack of understanding of what the term "gen" actually means, as with those people who think non-canonical het can be "slash").

People have been discussing the "how" of ship evolution, and I'm going to go on a slight tangent from this and discuss the "how" of ship formation and ship conversion (i.e. the process by which a pairing becomes accepted, and by which fans begin shipping it).

If you write it, they will come )

So, now that I've gone on and on with my "long first-time fics are what convert people to a pairing" theory and my entirely anecdotal evidence for it: Are there any pairings that you've become a fan of based on fic? And if so, was there a particular fic that made you "see the light?" (bonus points if the fic contains h/c and you can provide a link). Don't feel that you have to keep silent about it if it's not an objectively good fic, either. The Weiss fics I linked above, for example, are things I loved when I was 19 and haven't read in years, so they may be brilliant or they may be godawful (Sunhawk's 1x2x1 stuff, however, is gloriously epic h/c that I reread at least once a year).


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