tv // lbd // shoulder touch

The Fandom Sex Spectrum

I really shouldn't be thinking this hard at this hour. I always end up regretting it.

But I was skimming through the SG1 Fanfic Awards site tonight for want of anything better to do, and wound up reading through the category descriptions. I tell you, the definition of gen is one of the best examples of Stargate SG-1 fandom culture as you'll ever find, sad as it is.

So I ended up discussing the whole ship/UST/smarm/pre-slash/slash spectrum with someone who shall remain nameless *cough*Yam*cough*, and of course pondering the distinct unfairness of the smarm category since it's always dominated by Jack/Daniel stuff and sometimes even indecipherable from pre-slash. But looking at the definitions of the categories, you can see why that is.

You would think UST and Pre-Slash would pretty much be equivalents, two corresponding sides of the spectrum and therefore worded equally. Not so...

UST:"Unresolved Sexual Tension": a story that focuses on the relationship between a man and a woman, where there is an evident sexual attraction.

Pre-Slash: Stories about two (same sex) characters discovering that their feelings are more than friendship. (Pre-slash is when there's no actual sex or kissing, though it may include a declaration of love. It is not the same thing as "smarm".)

These definitions, in effect, make (het) UST and (homo) Pre-Slash about two different things: Pre-Slash is about feelings, and UST is about sex (albeit unconsummated sex).

(In reality... well, I can't speak for Pre-Slash, but UST fic is about feelings every bit as much as it's about sex. Sometimes more.)

Is it any surprise, then, that smarm, which is blessed with the following definition - "A story that focuses on the depth of friendship between two characters" - is habitually closer to Pre-Slash than is UST, and therefore destined to be dominated by 'friendships between two male characters'? After all, who decides between friendship and 'more than friendship', between 'more than friendship' and sexual tension?

In this case, the author decides, which is a part of the problem. Which author is likely to say "No, please, remove my story from that category; when Daniel was admiring Jack's ass it was in a more-than-friendship way, not a depth-of-friendship way"?

You know, entries like this are why I don't tell my relatives how to find me on the Internet.
  • Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful
  • Current Music: Lonestar -- I'm Already There
Re: Against my better judgement
Okay I'm not sure I agree with this one. And I'm probably going to be thwacked for even thinking this. I don't think shippers are necessarily more honest. I think if you have a fic with Sam and Jack interacting no matter in what form, you'll get more people to read it if you label it ship. On the other hand if you have a fic with Jack and Daniel interacting, you'll get more people to read it if you don't label it slash.

I think it has something to do with how asexual some people seem to want gen to be. So you can take the "Jack/Daniel friendship" and speak on it in length about their ups and downs and pros and cons and how wonderful and lovely and special it is, and technically it's still asexual, platonic, whatever. It'll just trigger my gag reflex ;)

On the other hand, I think if you rhapsodize about the "Sam/Jack friendship", it's harder not to get into those 'woman/man' feelings which make things not-gen. That's not to say it hasn't been done - Denise is my favorite example of it being done well, and I think Doc also. But like I think I mentioned in this thread already, platonic Sam/Jack friendship fic is rare. Because the ship is canon (Hee. *G*)

And I understand that people were trying to be fair, but by separating categories, the awards have set up certain kinds of fic "above" or at the very least apart from other fic.

It does seem that way, doesn't it? And I'm still confused about the redundant "Best Pairing-Focussed Story" categories. But I know you don't care about that one ;
Re: Against my better judgement
On the other hand, I think if you rhapsodize about the "Sam/Jack friendship", it's harder not to get into those 'woman/man' feelings which make things not-gen. That's not to say it hasn't been done - Denise is my favorite example of it being done well, and I think Doc also. But like I think I mentioned in this thread already, platonic Sam/Jack friendship fic is rare. Because the ship is canon

You're right. Denise and Doc do it well. Hell, I think you do it well, too. :) And at the risk of endangering my non-shipperhood, I think the Sam/Jack relationship is more then friendship. Always have. I'm just not at the point where that something more is necessarily a "romantic" or even "sexual" relationship. Neither of which is canon.
Re: Against my better judgement
Right. And I think what this definition of Gen does is try to hold all the character relationships up to the same standard, and that doesn't work because they're all different in their own way. The Sam/Jack ship is different in a particular way that apparently pissed off enough people that now we're stuck with gen as a measure of content. ;)
Re: Against my better judgement
Woohoo. Measuring stuff by gen content. I like that. But doesn't that just suck for you?