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28 December 2005 @ 08:18 pm
I am aliiiiiiive.  
Technically speaking. Alive and back from California (which is apparently a stroke of luck, and hey, did I mention that my flight out was on Alaska from Seattle to Burbank? yeah), and nonstop tired. This new level of sucky tiredness has been going on for over a month. It. Must. Stop.

Why aren't there more rape stories SGA? Not to make light of a serious real-life issue. When it's handled poorly in a story I feel distaste. But I don't think there's anything wrong with stories about rape. They can follow very moral templates--crime and punishment, a white-knight rescue and healing love, someone's triumph over degredation. When pain and suffering is fictively resolved with comfort and vengeance, it's cathartic.

I turn to rape as a story vehicle that can carry some of the most intense and desperate emotions, giving them a tangible, external cause. The most awful feelings I've had are associated with depression, so when I read about a character's misery and how they come back from it, I identify strongly. But in fiction you usually look for a strong plot reason for why a character is experiencing misery--how many stories do you read where someone's struggle is against the sabotage of their own body and mind? Where they lie curled up on their bed and stare at the wall, not because of something identifable they can point to, but because of some ineffable sense that everything is meaningless and overwhelming?

So, no one's writing *that* story for me. And if they did, I might find it unsatisfying, because at times I'm ambivalent about my depression--maybe it exists because I'm weak-willed--and if I were to read about a character who's "just" depressed, I might get impatient and think, Oh for god's sake, get the fuck out of bed and stop whining--the Wraith are only hours away, you have no shields, and John is in the infirmary with a collpased lung! Snap out of it!

There's a part of us that wants to externalize nebulous problems like depression--we want others to be responsible, to carry the blame--and fiction can give a face to our torment, a clear target for rage. And sometimes there *are* external reasons, but we still feel we should be able to handle them, that things could be worse and we shouldn't be complaining; that we should be stronger.

All that said, rape stories don't have to be nice. Actually the ones that are--that are carefully not titillating, that go by the book--are probably the ones that work least well for me. I want big splashy pain, I want to see the rapist gutted by a furious avenger, and then I want to see my character broken and needy and given over-the-top amounts of comfort.

When I started this post, I thought I had no talk in me tonight. I was just going to wave a bleary hello and ask for rape fic recs to comfort me. Mmmph. I also want more slavery stories. There should be collars and branding, and etc etc, see above.

And I don't want to go to work tomorrow. If someone could send a couple of snow days to Seattle, I'd be eternally grateful.
 
 
 
Sarapanisdead on December 29th, 2005 04:33 am (UTC)
mmmchelle wrote a rape recovery fic recently--"Place Your Hand," I think? It worked really well for me.
Doctor Sciencemecurtin on December 29th, 2005 04:44 am (UTC)
That's the one I was going to suggest, I was reading it here today.
(no subject) - alizarin_nyc on December 29th, 2005 06:04 am (UTC) (Expand)
cathexyscathexys on December 29th, 2005 04:51 am (UTC)
I like the way you explain interest in rape stories (or i'd guess for many of us H/C in general) in such a metaaphoric way. I've long believed that certain kinksdo very differnt things for differnt people but very rarely but they appear to do on the surface (i.e., i never read chan, for example, for the kids but rather for the power differential and I know other readers get very different things out of it).

And yes, I think we need a certain distance; I mean, there's a reason that most of the people we fan about are very much *not* like us (though then there's that bizarre tendency to write AUs that puts them back into our sphere...high school and college AUs, for example).

Anyway, other than chelle's, the only ones i recall were really bad and I'd rather not rec those ;-)


also, i did the double whammy and memoried you for metafandom and sga_newsletter...yes, it is slow these days on the metafront :-) if you feel this is too personal, please let me know and i take you off...
Anna S.: boy with milkeliade on December 29th, 2005 05:48 am (UTC)
also, i did the double whammy and memoried you for metafandom and sga_newsletter...yes, it is slow these days on the metafront :-) if you feel this is too personal, please let me know and i take you off...

No, please--go ahead. :) FAME AND FORTUNE WILL BE MINE, BABY!

*cough*

I may be getting a bit loopy with the lateness of the evening.

By the way, coincidentally, I was just thinking earlier today what an amazing job you guys do on the newsletter--I'd clicked into view the collected memories for the first time, looking to see what communities had been created, and was like, whoa--that collection of memories represents a *lot* of dedicated work. You guys are awesome. :)

*hugs*
(no subject) - cathexys on December 29th, 2005 05:56 am (UTC) (Expand)
Ememrinalexander on December 29th, 2005 04:53 am (UTC)
So, no one's writing *that* story for me. And if they did, I might find it unsatisfying, because at times I'm ambivalent about my depression--maybe it exists because I'm weak-willed--and if I were to read about a character who's "just" depressed, I might get impatient and think, Oh for god's sake, get the fuck out of bed and stop whining--the Wraith are only hours away, you have no shields, and John is in the infirmary with a collpased lung! Snap out of it!

I read this and thought "Oh, but nobody ever explores how it is, being truly clinically depressed, when sweating is too much effort and you really don't care if you've been laying in bed for three days with mashed potatos on your head and..." and then I realized that just thinking about writing Rodney that depressed was making me more depressed than I already am, and so yeh, you're right, who the hell would want to read about what real depression is like? Because he would be all "Oh, Wraith are coming, I'm not getting up for that, big deal, like I have any life left to get sucked out of me, please."
RivkaTrivkat on December 29th, 2005 05:11 am (UTC)
This is a great explanation of the relationship between real-world depression and fictional drama; it rang very true for me.
after me, the deluge: mutually attracted incompatiblesiamsab on December 29th, 2005 05:29 am (UTC)
Word. Straight up depression doesn't make good reading, at least, not in any sort of satisfying cathartic and/or sexy way. But giving the depression something to hang on, something TRULY awful that requires oodles of comforting afterward, IS satisfying. Which makes sense -- I mean, we want the BEST COMFORT OF ALL, all the need and the want and the pushing away and the WORRYING and the strange JEALOUSY and CONFUSION and then, ultimately, having a hand to hold -- and the depth of the "comfort" we're allowed in a story is exactly proportional to the depth of the hurt.

And rape is certainly deep hurt; I also like kidnapping, torture, and anyone being stuck someplace ALONE for a long period of time. Like Castaway, but where John is Tom Hanks and he names the volleyball McKay and then comes home all lost and lonesome and bitter and there's lots of good comfort.
M.samdonne on December 29th, 2005 10:28 pm (UTC)
I mean, we want the BEST COMFORT OF ALL, all the need and the want and the pushing away and the WORRYING and the strange JEALOUSY and CONFUSION and then, ultimately, having a hand to hold -- and the depth of the "comfort" we're allowed in a story is exactly proportional to the depth of the hurt.

My problem with rape fic (besides the cliche factor, because you can work around it) is that, if you stop to think about what's going on for one second, no amount of comfort and hand-holding is going to make it better. Not going to make it okay, or sweet, or soft, or cuddly, or reassuring, or warm, or satisfying, or worth it in any way. That is not comforting at all. (Ditto, for me, with slave fic; we're already shackled enough to our own nature: any more and I'll barf.) I realize I'm not meant to stop for that one second, but I'm constitutionally incapable not to.

...and the things that happen to poor hapless characterizations in so many rape fics? Bamboos. under. my. nails. The few I've liked? Where no about rape and even less about comfort.
Lumenara Dhahm: gold starlumenara on December 29th, 2005 05:41 am (UTC)
This is a really-- can I say incisive? I think I will-- incisive description of something that's really difficult to define. And you are also funny, in the good way.
Alizarin_NYC: rodney as david hewlett young dreamalizarin_nyc on December 29th, 2005 06:07 am (UTC)
Lovely post. Perhaps the depression is why I enjoy the h/c stories so much. You have given me much to think about.
The Spikespike21 on December 29th, 2005 06:09 am (UTC)
this is a really interesting post. I just worked for 12 hours straight so I have nothing more to add, but it interested me. I like rapefics. A good rapefic is like really good chocolate -- or, something more profound. Anyway, I am writing a Rodney and Ronon get tortured together and bond fic, if that would hit near the same place for you.
Anna S.: rodney-teylaeliade on December 29th, 2005 06:11 am (UTC)
Anyway, I am writing a Rodney and Ronon get tortured together and bond fic, if that would hit near the same place for you.

Any place on my body this happens to land on will be a good place.

Um...that made no sense, but like you, I'm very tired. ;)
raqsraqs on December 29th, 2005 06:42 am (UTC)
huh.

i sometimes seek out rape stories for the same reasons, but i am hinky of them and shy away quickly like a nervous horse, because they tend to suck suck suck. not to be all horn-tooty, but i do occasionally try to put some of the stuff you're describing into my stories - particularly Under a Broken Moon, which I specifically wrote because it was a whole group of people recovering together (it's set in an AU where Jack and Daniel are also in Atlantis and Ba'al has them all under his control for rather too long a while. They kill Ba'al and get free, but there's plenty of recovery for all). And that was only because Tafkar wrote some of the horrible stuff already in her not-horrible way. I wanted to get some of that depression and stuff into the story, some of the recovery and not-recovery, and the whole sense of hopelessness for someone who cannot be fixed (which is really only bearable because it's balanced out by people who can apparently heal). and i think i managed to surprise a few people which was all to the good. 'cause it was long enough to set up a few things and play them out in not-usual ways.

My own attempt at writing a rape story (Rough Trade) probably doesn't really work in the classic h/c way, partly because of who the characters were, partly, probably, because i did it wrong. (I've had people tell me they thought it was hot and it makes me uncomfortable because i do want it to be hot but not the first part. if anyone ever writes me and tells me they think the rape scene is hot i'll probably delete it from everywhere.) i agree that the great sense of an avenging knight is key to really good rape story, and "rough trade" doesn't have that.
crownglass39: thoughtcrownglass39 on December 29th, 2005 02:55 pm (UTC)
i agree that the great sense of an avenging knight is key to really good rape story, and "rough trade" doesn't have that.

I think to say that saying Rough Trade was just a rape story doesn't really give it justice. The "victim" is more in control than the "perpetrator" and deals with the aftermath much much better.

Rough Trade, in my opinion, does a wonderful job of showing how two people try to balance the feeling of control and power in a relationship, all while dealing with their emotions and love for each other. Even if that love is more like a smack upside the head then a warm soft hug.
The h/c in RT comes at you from all angles in such a way that you can't really prepare for it, and it's all the better for that.
Neeryneery on December 29th, 2005 06:49 am (UTC)
Thank you. This is exactly what I was struggling and flailing for and couldn't even begin to grasp the last time someone posted something about how all people who like rapefic are dangerous lunatics with no grasp of reality (in nicer words).

I can't imagine wanting to read a depression story, though. If you have never personally experienced it, it's very hard to even begin to imagine what it is like. I'm very much a "Snap out of it" kind of person, which is totally hypocritical, because half the time I can't even make myself snap out of it when I feel bad. I've also felt personally responsible for my emotions, and while I try not to hold others to the same standard, I don't always manage that.

I'm even less forgiving of fictional characters than of real persons, because I hold them to higher standards. I expect fictional characters to have a good reason for what they do, and if someone cries in a stroy there better be good cause - dspite the fact that half the time in real life, people cry because they had a minorly shitty day and broke a nail and it usually wouldn't be a big deal, but right then they just feel completely tear-inducingly awful. Fiction usually demands a higher level of plausibility than real life.

Also, slave fics. Yes. Which reminds me that I should be writing on mine, instead of spamming other people's journals.
tafkarfanfictafkarfanfic on December 29th, 2005 06:49 am (UTC)
Heh. I live just over the hill from the Burbank airport. I pass it daily in my 15-minute commute to work. Next time you're down, ping me!
timian on December 29th, 2005 09:13 am (UTC)
This is the most cogent explanation/justification for rape fic I've ever read. I'm a huge junkie for emotional intensity in fic, but I'm also really hung up on realism1, so while I'd like to enjoy a good rape story I usually just find them unbearable. That said, your "Into the Woods" series is one of the best pieces of fan-fiction I've ever read. I love it, precisely because it is so painful and real.

Blah blah blah. Speaking of depression, the best example I can think of in fan-fiction would probably be (the tremendously awesome) Lemon Drop's "Ocean, Moon". It's not rape fic, obviously, but it's depression tied to a traumatic event, making it awesome and wonderful, in that mournful kind of way.


1 Now that I think about it, this is probably the reason I so adore death stories. I LOVE it when people die in fiction. Hee!
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Piffle, yes, but superior piffle.hardlyfatal on December 29th, 2005 10:57 pm (UTC)
I have mixed feelings about rapefics, as I'm a rape victim myself in years past. OT1H, I'm aware that many women have rape fantasies, and it's a perfectly valid way of exploring and coming to terms with one's sexuality. OTOH, there's still this little knot deep within my psyche that cries out in horror to think that people are getting off on it, that they're using what happened to me and millions of others as entertainment.

The situation might be different for each rape victim, but in the end, it's all the same issue: we were reduced from thinking, feeling human beings to mere tools for someone else's use. Our bodies were invaded and brutalized, and in many cases we didn't have anyone to give us "over-the-top amounts of comfort". Many times, it's the people who we'd have expected to give us the comfort who raped us in the first place. There are profound breaches of trust, confidence, and self-worth.

And while I'm glad that people who are into rape fic don't have personal, first-hand knowledge of what this is like, there's a part of me that is infuriated that my experience is used like this. This is my violation, this is my pain, and it's being used as wank fodder.

To me, there's something sordid about writing out a rape fantasy and publishing it for others to enjoy. In a person with any powers of empathy at all, it feels rather like we're being raped again, but this time all of the rapefic fans are standing around while it happens, cheering it on with one hand jammed down their pants.

I suppose, then, my answer has to be that if there aren't "enough" rapefics in SGA, I'm glad for it. There are other valid ways to create tragedy in a story; mindfuckery or physical torture can be just as effective, if you want something substantial for the depression to hang on to. Not everything has to be sexual (something that seems to have escaped the SGA fandom as a whole, it seems sometimes).

I'm pretty much expecting to be flamed for this opinion of mine (not necessarily by you, OP, but by others who can't handle that I don't agree with them/don't respect their kink of choice/whatever people get worked up over), so, whatever.
Shonaillekalikahuntress on December 29th, 2005 11:26 pm (UTC)
Extremely well said, and I agree.
(no subject) - kalikahuntress on December 29th, 2005 11:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - eliade on December 30th, 2005 12:42 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - zvi_likes_tv on December 30th, 2005 12:53 am (UTC) (Expand)
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