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[personal profile] peg22
So this has been an interesting fandom weekend . . .

I am struck by the similarites between the Me and Thee Slash conversation and the Native Americans' struggle ( and really, it should be EVERYONE's struggle for fuck's sake)  to get their symbols and terms OUT OF THE NFL. I don't believe anyone can really look at the name Washington REDSKINS and not find it offensive.

Ward Churchill - yes the much maligned college professor/Native American activist - has a GREAT article on this struggle.

It's the best thing I used in classes to really get the kids to understand argument and position and satire, and the fact that if the only reason they are holding tight to their Kansas CIty Chiefs jersey is because "But I love the Chiefs" it's not a valid reason. Especially in the face of the protests.

It's here:

And my last real words on the subject of slash and warnings and misuse of words and language are not mine, and not about the fandom, but eerily parallel the ideas I think - it's from a reaction to the fact that the Washington Redskins actually won their lawsuit to keep their name - which is about as offensive as a name can get . . .

You can spare me the protestations about how the name is actually a tribute to Native Americans, (Vikings? Really?) are also consigned to mascot status. You can skip the talk about the importance of the team name to its fans or the tradition that would be compromised were it to be changed. I’m not hearing it, because if I close my eyes and think about where we are as a society and the fact that this name still exists, it’s a complete travesty on both visceral and logical levels.

And this:

The fact that even a handful of them were upset enough to sue to stop the name from existing, a legal fight that has gone on for 17 years and counting, should be enough to let decency prevail. And if you’re angrily composing an email telling me how the name’s meaning to you and your fellow fans supersedes the desires of these people not to be publicly lampooned, I’m going to bet my last Abe Lincoln note that you’re not a member of a traditionally oppressed minority group.

We are a bewildered and unhappy household tonight. Okay it's not my last word - my last word is this:

I fight an almost daily struggle to get my mother to accept my upcoming wedding. "I understand you want to be together, but why does it have to be "marriage?" "No, I don't want to hear anything about it - I just don't want to think about it." "Can't you just be companions?" 

It puts an unexpected rain cloud over the happiest time of my life . . . so when a simple request, like leveling out the playing field by losing the distinction between gay and straight in a fandom who constantly boasts of being so open-minded and "gay-friendly" - it's a heartwrencher. And just like the Native Americans - I don't care if you "love" slash and use it as a good thing and as an easy search engine term, I am telling you it is offensive because it also says that same sex relationships have to be separated - one has to be warned, or informed, or reminded that same sex relationships are NOT LIKE EVERYONE elses and should not be treated as such.


From: [identity profile]
Another thing. I think this always bothered me, but I didn't realize it for a long while. We have designations of "slash" and "gen", right? Het isn't often used. So anyway, "gen" means "normal". So "slash" must, by that definition, mean "abnormal". I see any story that features Starsky and Hutch loving one another AS "gen", because that's what it is. It is normal. It is general. That is what they do. They *love* one another. That is canon. What isn't canon is *how* they love one another, but that they love one another is canon. It's right there on the screen, and I invite anyone who's a fan to sit up and tell me that they don't.

I think this is the trouble that I've been having all along, and why I've kept myself out of the argument. To me, the reason that I like having things designated as "slash" or "het" or "gen" is that, sometimes (and in some fandoms), it boils down to what type of story I want to read at any particular time more than what the pairing is. This doesn't mostly happen in S&H, but it definitely does in, say, M*A*S*H: some days, I want to read about Hawkeye and BJ OR Hawkeye and Trapper having hot m/m sex. Some days, I want to read a Hawkeye-gets-married-and-has-a-kid fic, and I don't necessarily care who his partner is; I just want her to be female because it's (understandably, considering post-war would've been the mid-1950s) hard to find fic where Hawkeye is married and has a biological child...but not to/with a woman. And sometimes, I want to read true genfic: fic with no pairing, either about the ensemble or focusing on one character, but not involving romantic or sexual relationships of any kind. And I never saw that as treating same-sex relationships differently in any way, because I was treating them the same way as opposite-sex ones: I was separating stories containing either of them from stories containing neither, containing no relationships, and I wasn't placing more value on any of those categories. To me, it was no different from separating the comedies from the dramas from the sci-fi movies at the video store: I like all of them, but sometimes, I'm in the mood for one over the others, and I like to be able to easily find what I want.

BUT! But. Even before this conversation, as I got more heavily into a couple of fandoms where my OTP was m/f, I began realizing that--as you said--"gen" is often used where "het" is the proper designation. And not only is that horribly offensive, because--again, as you said--it implies that het is the norm, it also renders my entire argument above, the one that's been my thought process since I got into fandom, entirely useless. Because if searching for "gen" can't get me a differentiation between gen and get, then basically what I'm searching for is "slash" or "other"...and, since that's NOT what I want (like I said, sometimes I want hetfic, and sometimes I want genfic), it makes the entire system obsolete at best.

(And...I'm not continuing this in another comment, because--as usual--I am genetically incapable of saying anything in few than 4300 words, or however many it is that Livejournal gives you per comment. Which is sad when you consider that my longer story ever has been 1,000 and change.)
From: [identity profile]
Now, I'm not saying that I'm necessarily going to immediately stop labeling my stories as slash/het/gen, mainly because I think it'll take me a while to come up with a system I feel more comfortable with (oddly enough because so many of my fics skirt the line between pairing and no pairing that I think I'd feel lost without the pre-slash designation). But you have explained your position on the issue in a way that makes me understand the whole thing a lot better, which (probably unsurprisingly) makes it a whole lot easier for me to look at it from your perspective and say "Yeah, y'know what? If this is really hurting people, I don't need to be a party to that. I can find some other way of expressing myself, either through pairings or something else of my own creation, that doesn't make a huge group of people--especially a group that includes a lot of people I care about--feel excluded." And it's a lot easier to be willing to change a behavior that hurts people when you understand what it is about it that's hurting them. So, yes, I will try to find a system that works for me, and I WILL think about the fact that what I see as an annoyance (the relabeling of fics this way) is something that other people see as a slap in the face, and acknowledge that in that situation--annoyance vs. pain--I'm just going to have to suck it up and deal with the fact that the world doesn't come packed in neat little boxes (something that I'm, regrettably, still working on after 26 years).

And, finally...I have a feeling this is going to come out badly, but I'm really serious: Thanks for posting this comment (even though it wasn't to me). It really made a huge difference in HOW I think about this issue, in a way that's going to make me change a behavior that I might otherwise not have changed. (And yes, I'm aware that that makes me a giant bitch. I know, and have known for a while, that I should stop using the "slash" designation just because I know that it bothers other people, even if I don't understand why. But I always have this feeling that if I stop saying things just because people--even a lot of people--tell me it hurts, I'll fall so deep into the well of political correctness that I'll drown., yeah...thanks.)
From: [identity profile]
I *totally* understand the need to know the reasoning behind an idea in order to come to your *own* decision on how you feel about that idea. It's the basis for rationalist humanism, after all. You don't simply accept what you're told like a spoon fed baby. You have to get an explanation that makes sense to your head AND your heart that makes you go "hmm. Ok. I can see it now."

That's why I say things in as many different ways that I can on the same topic. Not because I'm preaching, though god, I know it sounds like I am. But simply because if I restate it "this" way or "that" way, my ideas might finally make some sense to the people who desperately want them to make sense so that they can then decide for themselves how they feel on an issue.

That it took you until this comment to get what I was saying tells me exactly that, that I have to keep trying, and that I'm really piss poor at trying to explain things since it takes so long for what I know in my heart to get translated adequately onto paper.

It's kind of why someone saying "I'm tired, not stupid" hurts, because I'm not trying to make anyone feel stupid. People are telling me that my explanations aren't enough, but that they still really want to know the answers, so I just set about again trying to better explain it. I'm just not all that adequate with the tools I have to do it all in one shot.

This issue has so many layers, and one of the thinnest and most insignificant are the few homophobes in this fandom. This discussion isn't for them. They will reject gayness in any form it takes with any character in any story in any fandom.

It's not even about those who are most definitely NOT homophobes who simply do not see the two main characters in a romantic relationship--which, to my mind, is the VAST majority (like what, ninety nine percent?) of the "gen" folk out there.

THEY didn't come up with the label after all. THEY don't use it.

It's only for the folks who *do* use it, and wanting to know the reasons behind its usage, and to interject that it is a thing that, even though it doesn't mean to, divides the fandom into categories that wind up unintentionally and totally without malice of ANY sort causing hurt to a certain portion of the people who bat from the same side of the plate, pairings wise.

I know that folks who use slash don't use it to hurt anyone. I know that before this conversation, most of those same folks didn't even realize at all that it could BE something that could cause hurt. Slash is a separation made only with the very best, noblest, most innocent of intentions.

Regardless, it is still a separation. And for those of us who have lived our lives BEING separate and only wish to be viewed as normal, it puts us back in the very box we've been spending our lives trying to break free from.

So the exchange of information is good. It lets everyone know that even things done for the most wonderful of reasons can unknowingly cause hurt in those that one wishes to honor. We all do it, simply becasue there is no other set of shoes that we can walk in but our very own.

From: [identity profile]
I love all of this, and it only makes me think even harder about some other things, but I do want to clarify one thing:

That it took you until this comment to get what I was saying tells me exactly that, that I have to keep trying, and that I'm really piss poor at trying to explain things since it takes so long for what I know in my heart to get translated adequately onto paper.

I don't think it's mostly that you're not explaining things well. I think it's mostly that I've been pretty much hiding from the discussion, staying on the very outskirts of it, not out of a want to keep my head in the sand, but out of a need not to get into a situation in which fandom was hurtful for me (and yes, I do totally see the irony there). Because fandom is one of the few places in my life where I'm even sort of happy, so I try really hard to protect that feeling I have about it. So in that sense, I have to again take responsibility for my own actions: I can't reasonably refuse to study a subject, and then complain that I don't know enough about it to make an informed decision. That I clicked on the LJ cut to this post only because I had no idea what it was going to be about says heaps about my unwillingness to get involved in the whole topic...but the fact that I was willing to respond to your comment says much more about how well you DO express yourself: you not only spoke a language I could understand, but--even though it wasn't directed at me--your comment to Laura that you understood the need for people to make choices they could be comfortable with gave me the courage to say what I did, to make the points I made, because I believed (and I was right) that even if you disagreed with them, you'd just tell me so and state why, so that I could hopefully see your point of view, rather than blowing up at me (which is something it seems has been happening a lot lately, just from the peripheral comments I've been seeing on the subject).

(And, re: You don't simply accept what you're told like a spoon fed baby. You have to get an explanation that makes sense to your head AND your heart that makes you go "hmm. Ok. I can see it now."...this is pretty much the definition--at least in my case--of Oppositional Defiance Disorder, which I once got walloped for referring to as "not a disability, but a character trait!" *g*)
From: [identity profile]
I do see that, and I have done my share of blowing up. But it wasn't because I was mad at the people I was trying to get through to...I was mad at *myself* for failing to explain something so vitally important to me. It seeems that the closer to the heart a topic is for me, the more poorly I express myself, when that should be the very time I express myself best, you know?

But objective things that don't touch me as much personally I can write about without this all consuming passion causing me to stutter and say stuff in odd or incomprehensible ways.

This is so much harder, becasue to tell a bunch of friends, to tell a bunch of supporters that something they do out of love and respect is's hard. Which is why I went with the flow for years since joining this active online fandom, until for certain reasons, I just couldn't anymore.

I knew I was going to rock the boat against the people I most cared for, those on *both* sides of the pairings fence, and I knew that I was going to piss some folks off who I genuinely adore.

But sometimes, you have to take that risk. Just like coming out to my parents was something that I knew would piss off the people who meant the most to me. But I simply couldn't live a lie anymore, and my need to come clean meant more than my need to have unconditional support from those I love and who love me back.

I know that there's a lot of talk out there that I'm shoving things down people's throats, or demanding that a long-standing tradition in this fandom be changed.

I can't change any tradition but my own. But I can and will explain why I have made the decision I have and try to get people to understand my point of view. I didn't start any of this becasue, hell, it was a slow month and I didn't have anything else to do. It is something that is very important to me as a person and the time had come for it to come out.

It may have cost me the friendships of people I genuinely adore. I am sorry about that. But I can't be sorry about asking to be heard.
From: [identity profile]
*shrugs* Maybe I'm missing something, but when you first mentioned the idea of changing headers of the comms, I think. Maybe [ profile] me_and_thee1000? Whatever. When you first mentioned it, my feeling was kind of "Okay, if this is what we're doing now, I guess I'll adapt, the way I did during that period where everyone decided we were going to stop using movie ratings, and then thankfully changed their minds. Maybe this'll go away, too, since I think it'll be a pain in the ass." Not that I'm defending that position, but that was my thought. I had no problem with your request that the standard be changed. I just...didn't care that much. It was only AFTER people started fighting about it that I decided that I didn't want to get involved, and that--since I didn't have a strong reason to change my style, and I did have (an admittedly selfish) one not to--I was just going to continue on my merry way, using the categories I was used to. For me, at least, it was never about you stating your feelings. It was about a fandom-wide kerfluffle, and my need to stay the hell away from it. So, if it helps, I never thought you did anything wrong (originally; I have no idea what's gone on since then--since I've been hiding--and you mentioned blowing up, so...yeah).

*really needs a "shrugs" icon*
From: [identity profile]
you have a cute butt. and that is by no way a come on - just a funny linguistic pun (or bun - if I wanted to take the soupy sales route) happy 4th girly!


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