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it is the wank that never ennnds, it just goes on and on my friennnnds!
amyhit
Question: what are your feelings about fanfic that eroticizes rape? I really want other people's opinions on this, to see if it changes my perspective at all.

I posted about this at some length a few weeks back, but I just keep coming back to it because it's an issue that's festering so bad in the Sherlock fandom right now. I also keep coming back to it because I seem to be in the rather despised minority on this issue. That is to say, I'm not really okay with fanfic that eroticizes rape, especially when it eroticizes underage rape, and I don't feel like I ought to be okay with it. I was shocked and, frankly, a bit appalled by that aspect of the Sherlock fandom when I first entered it, because there'd been almost no eroticized rape in the X-Files fandom (at least not in MSR fic) and I couldn't believe that people were actually writing it and reccing it and leaving positive feedback on it. Over time I've gotten used to the fact that fanfic involving eroticized rape is fairly common. I've also realized how tricky it would be to disallow that sort of content without creating a dangerous precedent of content restriction.

I'm not saying eroticized noncon should be systematically disallowed. I'm also not saying the people who post such fics should be shamed for it (although there honestly have been times I've wanted to scream 'What the fuck is wrong with you?!" at an author for writing something horrifying). Ultimately I don't think either of those courses of action are the solution to this problem.

I'm just saying that I do see it as a problem. Fiction isn't reality, but it does effect us. Isn't that why people hate Fifty Shades of Grey so much, because it depicts abuse as romantic and kinky? So how can we then turn around and be okay with fanfic that depicts rape as hot? It just doesn't make any sense to me.

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I thought people hated 50 Shades because it was badly written, poorly researched and reflected badly on fandom.

I don't care for fic depicting rape, period. The only fic I've read that handled it well in TXF fandom was by syntax6. She wrote another one for Hunter that was well done, too, but that rape was canon.

Are these stories where character A rapes character B and eventually they fall in love? If so, that was a very common romance plot back in the day. It clearly meets a need for some women. If you're talking about torture porn or something else with violent sexual content, I have no idea except that for some people pain and sexual arousal and suffering are very closely connected. I don't read it but I try not to judge people who do.

Horrific violence, including rape, is endemic in the media, from the news to the movies to HBO. Most people seem inured to it. I'm not, and my husband isn't. For that matter, my son doesn't like violent content probably because I wouldn't let him watch R rated or violent PG-13 movies until he was in high school. I refused to let him play Adult-rated games, too. He didn't like it at the time, but I bet he won't let his children be exposed to violent content either, assuming he has kids.

I thought people hated 50 Shades because it was badly written, poorly researched and reflected badly on fandom.

I think those are all reasons people hate Fifty Shades, and I think outside of feminist and social-justicey circles the bad writing is probably the main reason it gets hate. But for the feminist/social-justicey set (whom there are a lot of in fandom) the brunt of the hate seems to be about how it romanticizes an abusive relationship.

The only fic I've read that handled it well in TXF fandom was by syntax6.

Yeah, Split the Lark is still and by far the best handling of that subject matter I've ever come across in fandom (and one of the best handlings of it I've read in any capacity). Mad props to syntax6 on that one.

Are these stories where character A rapes character B and eventually they fall in love?

That's probably the most popular type, or some variant on this basic concept, though there are also some oneshots - usually AUs - where it's just: character A gets raped and likes it, or alternatively: character A gets raped and doesn't like it but the writing still implies it's supposed to be hot anyway. I think the worst I've seen is "teenage character gets raped five times in one day by all the different adults at his school."

I should disclaim, though, that I'm going largely by what the fanfic tags and other people's recommendations tell me, because I tend to not actually read these fics through. I have read numerous rape fics by accident, though, just in the normal course of reading whatever crosses my path without screening carefully enough.

I don't read it but I try not to judge people who do.

I dunno, I...I guess I still feel there ought to be some kind of a line. There can be a grey area a mile wide, I'm totally in favor of that, but there have got to be some things that are just never okay. Like the piece of fanart I once came across in which teacher!Sherlock was raping elementary-school-student!John. Kiddie porn. It was drawn kiddie porn, no actual children were harmed, but still. Still. And people were reblogging it, because fandom creates the kind of echo chamber in which people forget that NOT EVERYTHING IS A VALID KINK THAT YOU GET TO ENJOY FREE OF SHAME IN YOUR "SAFE SPACE." Ugh.

It's not that I want to viciously shame people who like eroticized rape fics, because A) I don't like shaming others, and B) what would it even accomplish? But, like, if I were to go leave a comment on the fic in which teen!John gets raped by five adults in one day - not an attack, just a comment, saying "The content of this fic is deeply troubling and I'm extremely uncomfortable with it being posted to this public community." If I were to do that, I'm pretty sure I'd be seen as the one in the wrong for "kinkshaming" and "bullying" and otherwise making this person feel "unsafe."

There's got to be a middle road. There just has to be.

Horrific violence, including rape, is endemic in the media, from the news to the movies to HBO. Most people seem inured to it. I'm not, and my husband isn't.

Me either. Well, not overly inurned anyway. I don't really mind violence, even sexualized violence, in fiction, but I hate the cliches, I hate when it's glorified, and I prefer when it's to a point.

Edited at 2015-07-16 06:10 am (UTC)

I dunno, I...I guess I still feel there ought to be some kind of a line. There can be a grey area a mile wide, I'm totally in favor of that, but there have got to be some things that are just never okay. Like the piece of fanart I once came across in which teacher!Sherlock was raping elementary-school-student!John. Kiddie porn. It was drawn kiddie porn, no actual children were harmed, but still. Still. And people were reblogging it, because fandom creates the kind of echo chamber in which people forget that NOT EVERYTHING IS A VALID KINK THAT YOU GET TO ENJOY FREE OF SHAME IN YOUR "SAFE SPACE." Ugh.

I hear you. Portrayals of childrape are offensive to me, too. I don't understand why that would be sexy to anyone.

It's not that I want to viciously shame people who like eroticized rape fics, because A) I don't like shaming others, and B) what would it even accomplish? But, like, if I were to go leave a comment on the fic in which teen!John gets raped by five adults in one day - not an attack, just a comment, saying "The content of this fic is deeply troubling and I'm extremely uncomfortable with it being posted to this public community." If I were to do that, I'm pretty sure I'd be seen as the one in the wrong for "kinkshaming" and "bullying" and otherwise making this person feel "unsafe."

Maybe there should be but I don't know that there is a middle ground. Once people have been given permission, even praise, for these fanworks, it's hard to imagine them stopping. Wasn't there a huge issue at a Sherlockian con about this very issue? Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't your fandom mostly side with the people who are creating the childrape fanfic and art?

I suspect that the Tumblr TOS would prohibit that kind of artwork from being posted; even if the children being depicted are imaginary, if they are visually and identifiable underage, it's a risky business.

The way I read Canadian law, even stories about sex with minors could be prosecuted under current child pornography statutes.

Maybe there should be but I don't know that there is a middle ground

Yeah, you're probably right. Especially since the internet tends to be even more polarizing an environment than the offline world.

Wasn't there a huge issue at a Sherlockian con about this very issue? Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't your fandom mostly side with the people who are creating the childrape fanfic and art?

Yeah, it was a huge, ugly fiasco and it's still going on. And yeah, the Sherlock fandom did mostly side with the "pro-rapefic" side and thoroughly demonized the "anti-rapefic" side, which has me feeling even more alienated from the fandom than I already was before.

(Feel free to ignore the rest of this if you want. You probably don't care about it in the least. I just desperately need to talk about it because ugh.)

The trouble is, the anti-rapefic side seems to have been quite nasty in how they approached the issue, and, if reports are correct then they did some things I don't really support. They filmed the panel and, when shit went sideways with the fandom, they put the footage online, breeching the privacy of a couple of the panel attendees quite badly. They also jumped straight into calling a lot of the pro-rapefic people pedophiles, which seems like rather a hasty escalation. And there was just generally a "mean girl" vibe to some of their behavior.

But the (largely unacknowledged) flip-side is that the "pro-rapefic" contingent basically refused to even acknowledge the "anti-rapefic" side's argument. Instead the party line was: "this isn't about rapefic and has never been about rapefic; this is about a bunch of nasty bullies being nasty bullies, creating mayhem and fear in fandom any way they can." For my part, I see no reason to presume the "anti-rapefic" side doesn't genuinely care about rapefic as an issue, and the fact that the pro-rapefic side largely refuses to acknowledge that issue is something I find troubling.

It's hella complicated and nasty, and if I were on tumblr I couldn't even say this much without attracting a tsunami of hate, which just makes me go, "Fandom, what happened to you?"

It depresses me to read about it and I'm not really in the fandom.

It has gotten very hard to dialogue about difficult topics. Shouting and name-calling are the order of the day.

I was at that con, although not at that particular panel. I was with a group of people (watching fanvids and having a lot of fun) when some who had been at the panel came in and started talking about what happened. It was pretty damn awful but there was no wank about it there that I saw and I roomed with one of the main people who became quite involved later. In fact, I don't think most people there knew anything happened until stories started spreading across Tumblr like wildlife.


I will elaborate when I am not typing on my phone, but I will say the amount of gaslighting I've seen by the people who acted up at that panel has been extreme. I don't blame the people who have been called pedophiles or apologists for not wanting to have any type of conversation with their accusers, especially those people who were threatened with doxxing. I think attempts have been made to have rational conversations, but it was too late for many. I have seen posts that have bridged the gap though, so there have been efforts to understand where each side is coming from.


I still follow a lot of people involved and the wank has died down considerably. I saw the "this fucking thing" tag for the first time in a while last night and it was on a post that could apply to any sort of fandom blow-up, not specifically about what happened at the con.


Noncon fic does nothing for me but I will defend someone's right to write it. Again, gah, I need to not be on my phone for this so I will come back later.


I was all on fire this morning to talk about this, but now that I'm home I find I have so little energy to dive back into this wankfest. So this is sort of a cop out but not totally because if you are at all interested, I can try to compile a list of links to Tumblr posts about this whole thing that I think sort out the issues.

I really haven't seen reference to this on my dash recently, so I wonder where it's blowing up. I've trimmed my follow list quite considerably, so that could be part of it.

now that I'm home I find I have so little energy to dive back into this wankfest.

That's alright. I hope it's alright I reply to your first post though, since I actually wrote a reply already but wasn't going to post it until after you'd had your say, in order to avoid confusion. If you don't want to read or reply, though, I do understand.

I have seen posts that have bridged the gap though, so there have been efforts to understand where each side is coming from.

I have read a few of those, and I thought they made an admirable effort.

Noncon fic does nothing for me but I will defend someone's right to write it

I think I'd defend someone's right to write and post rapefic, but I will absolutely argue against someone's right to post underage eroticized rapefic (by which I mean not just statutory but forcible or coercive rape).

However, I would also defend someone's right to civilly express a negative opinion on a person's rapefic without being branded some kind of horrible fandom troll. And, as I see it, this is the one that actually needs defending in fandom right now.

I don't blame the people who have been called pedophiles or apologists for not wanting to have any type of conversation with their accusers

The thing is, I actually get why people were using those words. I don't agree with their use, and I think it was out of bounds, but I get it. My opinion is that if a person likes writing/reading stories in which an adult character has sex with a pronouncedly underage character, that does imply the person has pedophilic interests of a sort. However, it doesn't mean they want to do that stuff to an actual kid, or that they want anyone to, and therefore they're not actually a pedophile. As for "rape apologists" I really don't know. For me, if a person writes or praises fics that eroticize rape, they are endorsing that mentality in some capacity. And yet that same person probably doesn't feel that way about rape in real life, so ultimately the label is misapplied.

I think it comes down to one group of people believing that fiction equals ideas equals a form of reality, while the other group believes that fiction equals fiction. And I'm somewhere in between, believing that fiction equals ideas and ideas have influence on reality but are not reality.

especially those people who were threatened with doxxing

Yeah, this is another thing the anti-rapefic side did that was definitely not good. Out of curiosity, though, do you know if anyone was actually doxxed? No, wait, that's right, michi was. Anybody else?

I still follow a lot of people involved and the wank has died down considerably.

Yeah, it's definitely died down, but it's had a pretty big impact. For example, I've been seeing people who are now convinced that fawnlock is rapey babyfur. This appears to be a direct consequence of some of the pro-rapefic crowd seizing on fawnlock as a way to prove that the anti-rapefic crowd are hypocrites. The argument being that fawnlock is depicted as being childlike and too naive to be capable of consent. But anybody who's been in this fandom for any amount of time surely knows fawnlock is nothing of the sort. I mean, it can be rapey, and there are a couple of pieces of sort of squicky young!fawnlock fanart out there. But that's it. It doesn't hinge on Sherlock being childlike and it's no more rapey than any other fandom trope. And yet ever since the 221b Con wank, I keep seeing people claiming otherwise.

I can try to compile a list of links to Tumblr posts about this whole thing that I think sort out the issues.

Only if you're up to it. But I did read a LOT of tumblr posts on this back when it was all unfolding, so I may have read several of the ones you're thinking of. Though I didn't think to bookmark them.

Edited at 2015-07-17 05:17 am (UTC)

Out of curiosity, though, do you know if anyone was actually doxxed? No, wait, that's right, michi was. Anybody else?

Songlinwrites/greencarnations was threatened with it several times but as far as I know, it never happened. I don't think she writes noncon (I don't remember), but she was one of the main defenders of those who do. She got some seriously nasty abuse.

I don't follow Michi so I don't know what the fallout was for her.

The panelist who was filmed crying was not doxed, but I believe there were attempts to uncover her identity. She just made one post about what happened from her perspective and graceebooks and gang ripped her apart.

What bothered me so much was that this all dissolved into nasty bullying, which obscured the real issues here. What responsibilities/rights do those who read/write noncon have and what are the responsibilities/rights of those who oppose it? Instead, graceebooks and gang planned that attack at 221b Con, including the filming and posting of the video.

Speaking of graceebooks, this sums her up nicely, I think. She has been at the forefront of most of the major Sherlock wank, including TJLC (which didn't start out as wank), and the whole gross toplock/bottomlock debate. She's a nasty piece of work and been a factor in some people leaving fandom. I'm part of the Tumblr_Refuge community and some people have posted there about being targets of graceebooks and gang. I know I'm just talking about one side here, but I've seen her in action and I am not a fan.

I think there is so potential to have honest, open discussions about this stuff and I know that has happened, but a lot of people who could have participated have been silent for fear of a pile-on.

I guess I am part of the pro-rapefic crowd then, even though I don't read or write it. I believe people who write/read it have the right to do so and I'm not for banning it. I don't think I can equate it necessarily to authors who write a lot of extreme and gratuitous violence, like slasher fic, but I don't think those writers are proponents of murder either. I know that's oversimplified, because as you mentioned, violent video games can have an affect on those who play them.

You've brought up a lot of points I'd like to talk about and I'll get to those. I'm sorry if I'm slow to respond.

You'll even defend posting the sexualized childrape fic and the explicit childrape art? On what grounds?

No, I'm not talking about childrape fic.

This post pretty much sums up a lot of how I feel about rapefic. I don't care for it, but neither do I subscribe to the belief that someone who reads/writes it wants it to happen- to anyone- in reality. I believe that such fic needs to be appropriately rated and tagged with explicit warnings about content. I don't mean to sound glib about this because I certainly don't feel that way.

A lot of writers in Sherlock who do write this type of fic are survivors themselves. One of the issues that came up during the peak of the wank was that some people felt compelled to defend themselves by telling their own stories of abuse and how this type of fic was therapeutic. The other side was saying that as survivors, they felt victimized all over again by these stories.

I don't mean to sound glib about this because I certainly don't feel that way.

I don't think you sound glib, and I appreciate being able to talk about this issue civilly even though we're not 100% of the same opinion.

This post pretty much sums up a lot of how I feel about rapefic

Thanks for the link! I liked this post a lot. I think it did more to address the issue head on and fairly than any other posts I've read so far. It definitely made me think, and I was in agreement with the majority of what it had to say. However, there are three points in this article that I questioned.

ONE: "Does pornography lead to rape? There is no persuasive evidence that it does."

The problem I always have with these sorts of statements is how direct they are. Because perhaps pornography featuring rape doesn't lead directly to acts of rape, but that doesn't mean it doesn't feed into rape culture, and thus indirectly result in more rapes being committed. Similar studies have suggested that violent video games don't promote violence, but I don't believe for a second that a game in which you can solicit a prostitute and then get your money back by killing her doesn't contribute to promoting fucked up ideas about women which then manifest in the culture as fucked up behavior towards women.

TWO: "women commonly experience sexual fantasies in which they are forced to submit sexually"

The thing I realized as I was reading this post is that fanfic is not quite the same kind of sexual fantasy as is referred to in most of these quotations. Fanfic is different in that it's not a fantasy targeted to the individual having the fantasy; it's not an “I imagine that I am being overpowered or forced to surrender" fantasy. It's an "I imagine that he/she is being overpowered or forced to surrender by him/her" fantasy. For my part, I would never question someone's right to fantasize about being raped. I don't get that fantasy, but it's the right and business of the individual. However, by choosing to put someone else in the role of rape victim in their fantasy, the writer falls into the role of fictional rapist, engineering the rape with the character who's doing the raping as their puppet.

The writer isn't causing any direct harm to any real people, but to anyone who is not on the same wavelength as the writer, their fantasy appears to be thoroughly sadistic. When I read such a fic it doesn't seem like I'm reading someone's fantasy of being raped. It seems like I'm reading someone's fantasy of a good person becoming a rapist for the purpose of raping another good person and making them a victim. From this perspective, it feels doubly sadistic because the rape is engineered twice over: once in creating a rapist where there wasn't one, and once in creating a victim where there wasn't one. I don't think my argument here is that the points ninezku's post made were invalid. I think mainly my point is that there's a huge difference of perception between how most people who like rapefic are seeing it and how most people who don't like it are seeing it. And that difference of perception is not just in how each side views fiction (i.e. Reality vs. Fantasy). It's also a matter of what role the reader perceives the writer as playing in the events of the fic, and what role the reader feels that the narrative is trying to pull them into.

THREE: Most of the quotations provided in this post don't address the ethicality and legitimacy of publicizing (i.e. publically sharing) rape fantasies; just the ethicality and legitimacy of having them, which isn't my issue with eroticized rapefic. It's the publicizing that I question. Not that the people responsible for these quotations wouldn't argue that publicizing such fantasies is ethically sound - they probably would. It's just not an argument they're really making within these particular quotations, which means that ninezku's post only partially addresses the issue, at least for me.

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