11 October, 2006

Let's Sex It Up (This Post Not For Children)

With this post I'm leapfrogging my own middle-age to turn into my grandmother. I can't help it.

There are just some things I'm really having trouble understanding.

Some brief background: It's Harry Potter Read-Thru Season again, and to that end I'm, well, reading through the Harry Potter series. Yesterday I had a burning desire to see what various artists' conceptions of thestrals were, so I ventured into the world of HP fandom.

I've spent some time in this world over the years, but generally leave it alone now. I can only spend so much time contemplating the larger questions--is Snape evil? Will Harry die?--before it starts to ruin the magic of the books for me. But yesterday, in my quest for fan art I stumbled across something even more disturbing than thoughts of Harry sacrificing himself to rid the world of the last Horcrux.

HP fan fiction.

I've also read (and written) some fan fiction in this lifetime. One summer at camp I spent most of my time carrying around a blue denim three-ring binder wherein I wrote prequels for the Star Wars films. No, I could not be a bigger nerd if I tried. Yes, the story I wrote when I was TEN was better than the three most recent films. Although strangely enough my story also centered around Luke's mother. But all sex (necessary to get to the twins) was off-screen.

Not so with the latest Harry Potter fiction.

That being said, can someone please explain to me ******Skeeviness Warning*********
why people have felt the need to write stories about such uplifiting topics as Harry having sex with the corpse of his dead father? Why there is an illustration of two twin brothers in a sexual position? Why is there more than one story where Ron and Ginny (brother and sister) get it on?

What is the point? What is being accomplished--other than making me sick to my stomach? I get the need for fanfic authors--especially those who are in adolescence--to sexualise familiar characters. It's not my thing but I understand it. I can see hammering out a more detailed look at some of the popular romances in the canon. Harry's parents, Harry and the love of his life, Ginny. I can even see some of the disappointed Harry/Hermione shippers working it out off screen in their own writings. It's therapeutic and creative.

But why with the incest and necrophilia and other seriously disgusting sexual practices? What do the authors of these stories hope to accomplish? What's next? Hogwarts Bukkake? (I shouldn't say that. It's probably already out there.) Maybe I'm just too old to get it. But I prefer my Harry Potter to be the innocent PG-13 world thaat Rowling has nicely laid out for us.
I don't know why everything decent has to be twisted into nastiness.


At 10:20 AM, October 11, 2006, Anonymous bekah said...

But why with the incest and necrophilia and other seriously disgusting sexual practices?

Because there are a lot of sick people out there. Sick, sick, sick people. That's pretty much the only answer I can give you. Sorry.

At 11:33 AM, October 11, 2006, Anonymous nm said...

Joanna Russ says that slash generally is a cover for female heterosexual porn (Russ, Joanna. "Pornography by Women for Women, with Love." In Magic Mommas, Trembling Sisters, Puritans & Perverts, edited by Joanna Russ. New York: The Crossing Press, 1985, 79-99--sorry, I can't find it on the internet). These days, it's more common to see it as a Carnivalesque reversal. I shudder to think, though, of how someone gets so involved in an alternate, fictional world that one needs that kind of reversal to challenge its authority.

At 12:05 PM, October 11, 2006, Blogger Kat Coble said...

bekah--I think, sadly, maybe I'm with you. The sadder part for me is that some of the most disgusting stuff seems to be coming from young (14-16yrs) writers. How dark is a life that can entertain these thoughts in youth?

nm--I can see that with "mainstream" slash. Back when I was an administrator with the Oz board, there was a lot of fic and a lot of love for slash fic, all written by women for women. But it was all "vanilla" slash, if that's an appropriate term. Basic guy/guy stuff.

This Harry Potter fanfic is miles beyond anything I've seen anywhere else. Even in Trek world, where heretofore the fics have been fairly explicit. This is the first time I've seen necrophilia, beastiality and pedophilic BDSM (!) as fic topics.

I know the Potter universe has sucked in some people pretty intensely. But for them to be THAT sucked in to execute a perverse reversal of this order is kind of scary to think about.

At 12:15 PM, October 11, 2006, Blogger bridgett said...

Oh, I don't know. I think that much of it can be explained by Goth Shock -- the Baudelairean desire to negate and reject the society in which one finds one's identity suffocated by embracing its louche taboos. As we adults get harder to shock (and as we accept and practice much of what would have been hair-curling to an earlier generation), the impulse remains but has to go farther afield to be satisfied.
And they want to write about sex in ways that will attract some peer attention -- simply having Harry hold Ginny's hand is not going to to that.

I think all fan fic has taken a turn for the perv in the last fifteen years. The slap and tickle homoeroticism of the relationship between Bones and Spock, for example, was a subject fully explored long ago. So I think this is just going farther with that trend. Certainly I've seen my share of Draco/Harry lovesex stories.

At 12:46 PM, October 11, 2006, Anonymous nm said...

Well, I haven't seen any slash of any sort for the past 10 years or so, and you're not making this new stuff sound very attractive, so I'm really reacting from ignorance here. My first reaction to the "miles beyond anything" aspect of it is what Bridgett already has noted--that it could be a result how far one must go to be shocking these days. My second is to wonder how accurate it "feels" and whether the emphasis is on the awfulness of it or the kinkiness. If it feels like kids writing about kinky stuff they know nothing about, then I'd stick with that interpretation. If, on the other hand, it seems real and terrible, then maybe there's an alternate explanation. Maybe abused kids, since they're kids, are into Harry Potter, and are even more into that world than most since they have real things to escape from, and they have discovered slash as a way to tell their stories and get them under control in an anonymous way. Which would be creepy in a whole different way.

At 1:00 PM, October 11, 2006, Blogger Ivy, the Great and Powerful said...

Being a big fan of LJ, I've seen a lot of slash fic like that. It's irritating and it bugs me. The worst was someone on my lj friendslist who did a slash of Lazytown. I was seriously bothered, man. That is a LITTLE KID show. Argh.

At 1:13 PM, October 11, 2006, Blogger Heather said...

So I pestered Ivy about what a Bukkake was, because she's my go to for things I really don't want to Google.
Anyhow, I ended up browsing Wiki and found that the particuarly disturbing slashfic may actually be considered "squick."


I'm thoroughly skeeved out now.

At 4:52 PM, October 11, 2006, Blogger P. K. Nail said...

Oh goodness. What frightens me is that I'm sure you've just scratched the surface of what's out there. Ron/Ginny used to be quite popular a while back. Someone I know posted a rant on her livejournal a few years ago railing against the trend of "fluffy incest fic" - as a result, she was soundly spanked by the fandom at large for being a prude, and I remember someone literally saying that there wouldn't be anything really wrong with incest if it weren't for the biological complications.

HP fandom is a scary, scary place.

At 3:19 PM, October 12, 2006, Blogger Michael said...

And this is why I don't venture much into the fan/fic world. LOL

On a serious note--did you know that a few years ago a heavily slash Trek story somehow made it through the Pocket books editors and was published. The author was a huge slash fan writer and Pocket accepted and published the book with all kinds of Kirk/Spock subtext and such in it....

They quickly figured out what they'd done and recalled the books but there are copies that still float around.


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