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08 August 2008 @ 11:14 pm
AAAAAAAAARRRRRRRGH!  
Two HP questions, one polite, one ranty.

To begin with the polite:
Do HP werewolves keep their clothes when they transform, as animagi do? I can't for the life of me recall and the bookshelves are all mid-shift, with PoA under a stack of YA fiction.

To move onto the ranty:
What the HELL are some writers thinking when they write sexual assault as a consequence-free piece of erotic interaction? I can't read this shit. Because I sit there wanting to slap the author.

Note that this is not the same as saying I can't read stories that contain sexual violence. I can, and have, both novels and fic, and some have been excellent. But there is a cost for sexual violence. Hell, even Margaret Mitchell has Rhett Butler consumed with guilt in Gone With the Wind after he drags Scarlett upstairs for a right good rogering while she punches him. There is always a cost.

Why do I rant thusly? Because I have been listening to Shiv and reading the odd spot of het. But, idiotically, not Shiv's own witty and urbane stories. Here's a tip, kids. Have one more Hermione being 'put in her place' with someone's penis and it's very likely you'll find me on your doorstep holding the shattered remains of your letterbox and using them to wedge the door open while I lecture you on why this is not now and never will be a valid authorial gambit.

I am trying to work out some way of addressing this with the writer that doesn't begin with: FEMINISM, it's not just a course at university! HUMAN RIGHTS, not just a T-shirt!

I'm going to stay safely here in the happy little slightly angsty but with authorial acknowledgement that there are prices to be paid gay part of fandom, thanks. Because I will probably be arrested otherwise.

ETA: I should clarify that I am not talking about BD/SM stories, which I am actually fine with. I can even kind of live with the rape fantasy stories where she wants to be dominated (while secretly whispering "It's okay to want to have sex! And it's also okay if you want to be tied up!" at the screen). I am talking about stories where characters are intentionally sexually degraded for no narrative purpose other some alleged titilation.
 
 
 
Meredyth: Myrtlemeredyth_13 on August 8th, 2008 02:05 pm (UTC)
Hermione does seem to be a handy target, especially in Snape or Draco fics, although Lucius gets his bit from time to time. Maybe it's the 'we don't really like smart girls, especially when they get to be besties with the heroes' thing?

I think it almost equates to the outpourings of genuine venom at the poor girl who was cast to play Cho Chang - which I thought was appalling.

There are definitely 'rape fics' which are written as expressions of sexual fantasy - and then there are genuine sexual abuse stories - and yes, I think there is a difference. I would take a lot of words to totally fail to express what I think it is - or maybe the difference only exists in my head. Who knows?

But I don't think the objection to abuse without consequence is even a feminist argument - because I feel just as strongly about it regardless of the sex of the victim. Then again, I can read the odd erotic 'rape fic' and really enjoy it. I'm not sure if that makes me a sad case or just hopelessly complex?

*hugs and offers tea and cake*
blamebramptonblamebrampton on August 8th, 2008 02:30 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it's a human rights issue as well as a feminist issue, but the story I read today was very much man puts girl in proper place, ta-da!

It's not just you; there is a 'rape fic' style which can work as erotica and it can be a fine line, but in pretty much every case it's because there is a degree of complicity. I may not like that, but I can live with it to some degree. The sexual humiliation crap I read earlier, though ... slapping time.

I suppose the people in fandom who don't like smart girls just don't cross my path; I am SURROUNDED by smart girls of many vintages. And how could anyone not like Cho?

*Slams back tea and eyes cake warily after the creme brulee I put away for dessert*

Thanks, luv.
maggie: Willow cruel from Pointy Stakesmarguerite_26 on August 8th, 2008 02:21 pm (UTC)
I hate when Hermione somehow needs to be 'put in her place' at all! Hermione is a STRONG character. She isn't a fluffy Mary Sue or a snarly bitch. She doesn't need 'fixing'.

I really do love a good Lucius/Hermione and I have a soft spot for Lucius/Hermione/Snape... but that corner of fandom is very scary place to poke your head in. Lumione is a mine field of non-con that is dealt with flippantly. ::squicks::

I understand your pain and nod to your rant.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on August 8th, 2008 02:26 pm (UTC)
I am going to restrict myself to Shiv5468, who is a happy place and a sane woman. Maybe people she recs. It was my own fault for going to see if something could be all that bad. The answer is always YES!
(no subject) - marguerite_26 on August 8th, 2008 02:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on August 8th, 2008 02:40 pm (UTC) (Expand)
pingridpingrid on August 8th, 2008 02:24 pm (UTC)
Oooh, this is a tricky one. Are you talking about rape-fic-as-pure-porn, or poorly handled rape within a fic that tries to be something more? Or do you not distinguish between the two?
blamebramptonblamebrampton on August 8th, 2008 02:32 pm (UTC)
Not quite either. Sexual degradation of Hermione, because she has been uppity. It's not erotic, it's not doing anything interesting, it's just FUCKING RED FLAG TO A BRAMMERS! Not that you could tell that at a casual glance ... *Whistles innocently and puts down axe*
(no subject) - pingrid on August 8th, 2008 02:35 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on August 8th, 2008 02:41 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - calanthe_fics on August 8th, 2008 03:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on August 8th, 2008 03:26 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - calanthe_fics on August 8th, 2008 03:51 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on August 8th, 2008 04:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shiv5468 on August 8th, 2008 05:12 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - calanthe_fics on August 8th, 2008 06:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shiv5468 on August 8th, 2008 06:58 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - calanthe_fics on August 8th, 2008 07:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shiv5468 on August 8th, 2008 07:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - calanthe_fics on August 8th, 2008 07:07 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shiv5468 on August 8th, 2008 07:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - calanthe_fics on August 8th, 2008 07:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shiv5468 on August 8th, 2008 07:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - calanthe_fics on August 8th, 2008 07:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shiv5468 on August 8th, 2008 07:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - calanthe_fics on August 8th, 2008 07:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shiv5468 on August 8th, 2008 08:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - calanthe_fics on August 8th, 2008 08:02 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shiv5468 on August 8th, 2008 08:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Pureblood Princessraitala on August 8th, 2008 02:26 pm (UTC)
A fairly large proportion of fan-fic is porn. Consequence free rape is something of a porn fantasy staple - I don't think there's much chance of that changing any time soon. It's pretty prevalent in most cross-gen fandoms, whether they are het or slash.

It makes me feel damn uncomfortable, but what can you do. It seems to be fairly deeply ingrained in the collective erotic psyche.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on August 8th, 2008 02:39 pm (UTC)
That disturbs me enough. But I can almost live with it in the same way that I am sure there's a place for pony porn and erotic plushies.

But the whole 'This woman is uppity so we must sexually humilate her' thing unleashes my inner axe-wielding ranter. And she is very very ranty.

Rape fantasies just reek of 'you can't own your sexuality, Miss, you'll need to find a man who can sign for it' to me. Though it must be said that I toddled through Women's Lib marches and still own a purple and green T-shirt with a white raised fist inside a Mirror of Venus. Just call me unreconstructed.
(no subject) - raitala on August 8th, 2008 02:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on August 8th, 2008 02:54 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mabonwitch on August 8th, 2008 08:51 pm (UTC) (Expand)
down the hills and round the bendsnorton_gale on August 8th, 2008 02:34 pm (UTC)
Just stick to Shiv's fics if you're reading het. You'll never be sorry, and her loveable sod of a Snape is to die for. There are a few other reliable authors but their names escape me.

Violence without consequence is nothing but exploitation. I couldn't imagine writing a dark fic without showing the toll that violence takes on the people involved, attacker and victim alike.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on August 8th, 2008 02:40 pm (UTC)
Yes, Shiv is my happy place. And, because of the above, so are you. I should just not read off my flist for the most part ... I should have known better.
beatnikspinster on August 8th, 2008 02:40 pm (UTC)
Question 1: Even if HP canon says they do, they don't. It's a condition caused by an infection of body fluids, not laundry detergent. ;)

Question 2: THANK YOU! Thank you! Thank you! I feel your pain/rage.

I loathe that "put in her place" attitude. And rape as romance makes me physically ill. Grrr! Especially to Hermione. She's plain and bookish and the caught in a foreign world that either condescends to, or hates, her. She makes a place for herself against all odds.

It's like people smell vulnerability and attack. No second thoughts. Has empathy become a cheesy, retro artifact, like lava lamp and black light posters?
blamebramptonblamebrampton on August 8th, 2008 02:43 pm (UTC)
I love you so much.

Actually, in the brilliant werewolf novel I just finished (Martin Millar, Lonely Werewolf Girl) he has them keep their clothes and explains it away as a 'magical artefact thingy', but then he has a massive fashion subtext and the story is set in London, so you could hardly have naked werewolves running about everywhere.

On the whole, I think your way is the One True Way, though I may need to stray depending on canon.

Edited at 2008-08-08 02:55 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - beatnikspinster on August 8th, 2008 07:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - vaysh on August 8th, 2008 02:54 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on August 8th, 2008 02:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - beatnikspinster on August 8th, 2008 03:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)
shoeboxer4life on August 8th, 2008 03:03 pm (UTC)
1. Shoebox authors Jaida and Rave have Remus naked after transformation. If the werewolf removes his/her clothes beforehand, and if he stays in the same place, and doesn't try to tear those clothes in the middle of the night, then his clothes will still be there to change back into in the morning. But if he is wearing them mid-transformation, the clothes get torn to shreds. Pretty sure they would have done their homework. But I am not quoting canon here.

2. I think it is believable that an independent strong character (or real person) would have a fantasy life where she seeks to be put in her place or bossed around or even degraded. I don't know that I see Hermione that way, but I do see it as a possibility, depending on how she is written as an adult, that she would be drawn to a powerful man who dominated her IN BED. I think it is way OOC that she would be drawn to someone who dominated her in other ways, however.

And I think, more to your point, that this kind of domination-in-bed relationship has consequences and that a character as smart as Hermione wouldn't allow the relationship without addressing them.

Getting to some of the other commenters' points, (somewhat) complicit rape fantasies do have their place. And also, I agree with Raitala that perhaps an author has a fantasy where a smart, independent female character WANTS to be slapped around without consequences--as though the consequences would be dealt with privately and not interfere with the crazy sexin'. Not true to life, but that may be where it comes from in fic. I would be much more likely to belive this of Hermione if she has been abused in the past, or if she had a father figure who she could never please, etc. All the Snape/Hemione people WISH she had an authoritarian or absent father to make their stories more likely.

One person who does that pairing and other good het and slash pairings well is Arsenic. Here is one of her Snape/Hermiones. She finds a way to escape the "I love to be yelled at by my old, angry professor" cliche. (Not that I haven't found that particular cliche hot at times. It worked for me for a few stories and then I was done.)
http://tasteofpoison.inkubation.net/viewstory.php?sid=159

I personally prefer her gorgeous h/d Comfort Food, which I know I've seen on people's rec lists before. But her Hermione stuff and other pairings (even a very nice Snape/Draco/Harry, which I would have thought I'd never like) is quite good (if a little long at times).

Lastly--Didn't Calanthe have a reversal of power fic featuring Lucius and Hermione?
blamebramptonblamebrampton on August 8th, 2008 03:11 pm (UTC)
If it was straight B/D or S/M, I wouldn't have a problem. But today's read was a vampy hermione happily involved in the sex when suddenly forced into a position of victim who was then overtly degraded with no roles being played, it was all so she'd learn.

To me, that dehumanising can never be erotic.

Power play in sex is a much more subtle and complex issue and has its costs and rewards, which writers like Cal address, and address well and intelligently.

I'm probably not explaining this very well, but I should probably edit this entry to make it a little clearer ...
(no subject) - shoeboxer4life on August 8th, 2008 03:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on August 8th, 2008 03:26 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shiv5468 on August 8th, 2008 05:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on August 8th, 2008 03:13 pm (UTC) (Expand)
parallel parking prodigyempress_jae on August 8th, 2008 03:12 pm (UTC)
*stuffs cookie in your mouth*

*puts you in your place*

Edited at 2008-08-08 03:12 pm (UTC)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on August 8th, 2008 03:14 pm (UTC)
*Place is standing over the corpses of my enemies, their blood dripping from my axe in a cinematically satisfying fashion.*

*Climbs down from tower of dead to share cookie with you*
(no subject) - empress_jae on August 8th, 2008 03:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on August 8th, 2008 03:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - empress_jae on August 8th, 2008 03:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on August 8th, 2008 04:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - empress_jae on August 8th, 2008 04:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Azure Jane Lunaticazurelunatic on August 8th, 2008 03:18 pm (UTC)
I hope their writing will get better soon. Perhaps I should send a card?

"Unfortunately, I was unable to properly appreciate your story because I read the erotica as Hermione being 'put in her place' through rape. While it is possible for me to enjoy pieces with sexual violence, those pieces always show the cost of these actions. I feel that sexual violence should be treated with care and compassion even in fiction, rather than used as an authorial gambit."
blamebramptonblamebrampton on August 8th, 2008 03:21 pm (UTC)
Ooh, you're cool headed as well as clever! very nice!
grey_hunter on August 8th, 2008 03:23 pm (UTC)
Do HP werewolves keep their clothes when they transform

Ahaha! I think JKR omitted to describe whether or not they lose their clothes - which should point you to the right direction. The books, I think, say that werewolves are like real wolves (according to the lexicon: A werewolf can be distinguished from a true wolf physically by several small distinguishing characteristics, including the pupils of the eyes, snout shape, and tufted tail.), not anthropomorphic like in the movie, and have mostly the mind of an animal, so I doubt that clothes would stay on them for long even if the transformation didn't rip them apart. Fanfic also seems to follow this - I've never read one in which a werewolf would have transformed like an Animagus. (yes, yes, I know it is a bad idea to take fanfic as basis for anything; they also think Draco is a potions genius. *cough*) And it wouldn't make sense with "Muggle" logic, since it is a disease/curse in his blood, not Transfiguration (except if it is on a cellular level). Btw, try asking canon_evidence. (I've asked them a question about werewolves once, but it didn't involve clothing.)

Ugh I knew there was a reason I don't read het. But you have to admit that Snape does "put Hermione in her place" pretty frequently in the books without any consequence for him. And that's not even just bad writing just JKR's choice of characterisation, and I actually like her for that. OTOH, Snape's or Hermione's privates never figured into that.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on August 8th, 2008 03:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you! That is very helpful!

And you make a fantastic point; why would Snape bother to resort to sexual violence?

I think I need to bleach my brain.
(no subject) - grey_hunter on August 8th, 2008 04:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on August 8th, 2008 04:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
inamac: Emma Peelinamac on August 8th, 2008 03:37 pm (UTC)
You know, having just written an essay on HP werewolves you'd think I'd know the answer, but it hadn't occurred to me to check. It also doesn't appear to have occurred to Rowling - she's very cagey about the three transformations at the beginning of Ch 20 of PoA. Remus and Sirius just get covered in fur - no mention of clothes. The only hint is "Harry saw [Pettigrew's] bald tail whip through the manacle on Ron's outstretched arm."

Take your choice...

As for 'healing/titillating rape fic - you would think that anyone with the imagination to write fanfic (or any fic) would think this stuff through. But, alas, apparently not.

I suspect there are a (miniscule number) of rape-fics which are written from experience, and possibly as a catharsis, but that's no excuse for people with no imagination jumping on the bandwaggon.

And now you've made me rant too.

Goes and re-reads Miserable Bastards.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on August 8th, 2008 03:39 pm (UTC)
But those would be rape fics With Consequences. Sigh.

Thank you for the werewolf help, it's helpful! And yes, Miserable Bastards is tea and cake in fic form.
violetagevioletage on August 8th, 2008 03:42 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, Rape Fics, as they are called are extremely popular with some women (and I suppose some men too). They don't have any relationship to real reality because the fantasy from which they spring doesn't have any relationship with reality.

You are abolutely right that they are annoying (and one of the reasons I stay away from Het, though you do see some gratuitous rape in slash too). I am not talking about the kind of story where rape is going on but does have consequences but the kind that does not.

I dislike the idea of the "proper place" part most of all. Do people secretly want to return to the days of barefoot and pregnant? Yuck.

But, I do think at least some of it springs from sexual fantasy just like the bodice rippers of the 70's and 80's did and I used to get very angry when the male character would be so mean to the female character and she'd be all "I looove you," *clings to ankle*

Ew.

I digress. But basically, what you said, though I don't think there's anything wrong with sexual fantasy, itself, per se.

blamebramptonblamebrampton on August 8th, 2008 03:48 pm (UTC)
Yes, the whole where's the line question? I do GET that some reasonable people have rape fantasies, but I just don't think people have sexual degradation fantasies in which their abuser remains the hero of the piece. And if they do, can that be healthy?

We could form a club for disengaging female characters from bastards' ankles!
(no subject) - violetage on August 8th, 2008 04:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
violetagevioletage on August 8th, 2008 03:44 pm (UTC)
PS. I always assumed that the clothes changed with them but I don't think it was ever clearly stated one way or the other. Maybe JKR didn't want us to think about werewolves with no clothes on.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on August 8th, 2008 03:48 pm (UTC)
SNORT! Yes, you could be right.
(no subject) - violetage on August 8th, 2008 04:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - inamac on August 8th, 2008 06:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shiv5468 on August 8th, 2008 07:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Bryoneybryoneybrynn on August 8th, 2008 04:24 pm (UTC)
Oh, come now Brammers - OF COURSE strong women need to be humiliated into their place. What is a penis for if not for smacking smart, opinionated girls in the face until they accept their proper role in relationships/society?

Sometimes, it is hard to reconcile feminism and the fandom. I've been trying recently. It's actually much easier to do it with slash - I have a whole Foucault-inspired theory on why women like slash beyond the whole "two men fucking is hot" part. I have enough issues with how JKR writes girls and women, I think it's have to gauge my eyes out if I start reading the het and have to deal with the stuff you're talking about.

I've said it before, I'll say it again - there's nothing wrong with rape fantasies but there's a difference between a pure fantasy and stories that reflect oppressive cultural discourses about women's sexuality. It becomes even more confused by the fact that our own thoughts and feelings are so shaped by our culture that as authors, we might not even know we are reinforcing dangerous ideas, that our fantasies have been given to us by a culture that doesn't WANT powerful women who own their own sexuality and desires. And that's not even addressing the differences in readers' interpretations of the actual intent/meaning behind things.

Honestly, this is why I just avoid non-con and dub-con - my threshold is lower than many people's AND I tend to think it actually matters. But, as I have proven in the past, I am a humourless feminist. Grrr.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on August 9th, 2008 03:51 pm (UTC)
YES! This particular writer had me thinking of the Sudanese-style rape in war, it was that disconnected from treating Hermione as an actual human being. ARGH!!!

We can be humourless feminists together, my dear BB, and I will be FAR happier than having to deal with people who think it's fun to put women down with penes! (And you know what makes me even crankier? It makes me stop liking the penis! And I DO like the penis!)
sassy_cissasassy_cissa on August 8th, 2008 04:58 pm (UTC)
I'm a bit late to the rant, but must tell you that I might just love you a bit for this post.

*smishes*
blamebramptonblamebrampton on August 9th, 2008 03:43 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the smishes, lovely Sassy. And for the fics that treat everyone with respect!