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Thread: Removal of the Same-Sex Pairing category.

  1. #1
    DeadManSeven
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    Removal of the Same-Sex Pairing category.

    Imagine for a moment a theoretical archive of Harry Potter fanfiction. Pretty similar to the one MNFF has here - stories split up into categories like Romance or Post-Hogwarts or Marauders or what-have-you - except with a separate section for the stories that deal with romantic pairings between characters like, for example, Dean and Luna, or Cho and Harry, or Lavender and Parvati, or Blaise and Pansy, on the basis that such a pairing is mixed-race. Naturally, you'd get people on this theoretical archive that are very pro-mixed-race pairing, talk about how good it is that JKR included touchy social issues like this in her series, generally be big advocates of it in real life. And you would get other people who would say that they don't read the stories in the mixed-race Romance category because "they're just not that into those stories" and are content to leave things at that.

    Does such an archive exist? No. Of course it doesn't. To modern, Western eyes (and I can assume that all of us here, as affluence, computer-owning, Internet-access-having individuals that we're all at least familiar with Western ideals), that sort of segregation is ridiculous in the wake of events like the Million Man March and the 2008 US election. We don't have that kind of systemic separation any more. The world has changed.

    Change is an interesting thing. To many people, change happens with big sweeping events: one individual that stands up and speaks out about a wrong in the world, and the world listens and then change occurs. This is also the way many activists see the world - that they've got to make everyone aware, all at once, about all the things that are wrong in the world, and change them, all at once, right now. That's not practical, nor is it how change actually happens. Change happens over time, gradually, with very small steps. It happens when people are more and more exposed to an idea not as something different or as a curiosity but as a normal part of life. That's why there's no HPFF site that tags stories about Dean/Luna with a warning because of the mixed-race coupling. It's become such a normal part of society that we don't have to warn people about it any more.

    So here's my proposal: get rid of the Same-Sex Pairing sub-section in the Romance category. Give the two biggest individual slash pairings (Harry/Draco and Remus/Sirius) their own place underneath Romance, and move the rest of the Same-Sex Pairing stories into Romance > Other. Keep the Slash warning - that gives people both the option to search for and avoid slash stories on their own terms - since it's not confining the stories focused around a same-sex pairing to one part of the archives. MuggleNet Fan Fiction accepts slash stories to its archives - that's a big step in the right direction already - and I'm asking it take another small step along that road by making the slash stories it hosts equal with and not separate from the opposite-sex pairing stories.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeadManSeven
    Imagine for a moment a theoretical archive of Harry Potter fanfiction. Pretty similar to the one MNFF has here - stories split up into categories like Romance or Post-Hogwarts or Marauders or what-have-you - except with a separate section for the stories that deal with romantic pairings between characters like, for example, Dean and Luna, or Cho and Harry, or Lavender and Parvati, or Blaise and Pansy, on the basis that such a pairing is mixed-race. Naturally, you'd get people on this theoretical archive that are very pro-mixed-race pairing, talk about how good it is that JKR included touchy social issues like this in her series, generally be big advocates of it in real life. And you would get other people who would say that they don't read the stories in the mixed-race Romance category because "they're just not that into those stories" and are content to leave things at that.

    Does such an archive exist? No. Of course it doesn't. To modern, Western eyes (and I can assume that all of us here, as affluence, computer-owning, Internet-access-having individuals that we're all at least familiar with Western ideals), that sort of segregation is ridiculous in the wake of events like the Million Man March and the 2008 US election. We don't have that kind of systemic separation any more. The world has changed.

    Change is an interesting thing. To many people, change happens with big sweeping events: one individual that stands up and speaks out about a wrong in the world, and the world listens and then change occurs. This is also the way many activists see the world - that they've got to make everyone aware, all at once, about all the things that are wrong in the world, and change them, all at once, right now. That's not practical, nor is it how change actually happens. Change happens over time, gradually, with very small steps. It happens when people are more and more exposed to an idea not as something different or as a curiosity but as a normal part of life. That's why there's no HPFF site that tags stories about Dean/Luna with a warning because of the mixed-race coupling. It's become such a normal part of society that we don't have to warn people about it any more.

    So here's my proposal: get rid of the Same-Sex Pairing sub-section in the Romance category. Give the two biggest individual slash pairings (Harry/Draco and Remus/Sirius) their own place underneath Romance, and move the rest of the Same-Sex Pairing stories into Romance > Other. Keep the Slash warning - that gives people both the option to search for and avoid slash stories on their own terms - since it's not confining the stories focused around a same-sex pairing to one part of the archives. MuggleNet Fan Fiction accepts slash stories to its archives - that's a big step in the right direction already - and I'm asking it take another small step along that road by making the slash stories it hosts equal with and not separate from the opposite-sex pairing stories.
    What I believe you're saying (please correct me if I'm wrong) is that society at large has gone a long way in accepting the mixing of races and homosexuality over the past few decades, which is absolutely true, in my opinion. Where you're going with this is that by singling out same-sex pairings, we are, in essence, mildly discriminating by means of singling out that particular social group? And I repeat, do correct me if I've got this wrong.

    I'm not sure that is such a big deal. Let's say Suzy_Poster_16 or whatever wants to read a slash fic with, let's say, James/Sirius. There is no way to find this quickly, unlike the ridiculously large amount of ships we have categorized, and no such category, if I recall correctly, exists in the yawning expanse of general romance fics on MNFF. With a Same-Sex Pairing category, however, it narrows down the search parameters immensely.

    What that example was supposed to mean is that the Same-Sex subsection is more for search purposes than anything more insidious, such as discrimination or homophobia. I would venture to say that if someone is offended or affronted in any way by its mere presence, I'd daresay they're a little too sensitive.

    When I decide to read something in the Same-Sex category, I want to see if the author can take on the onerous task of taking something that does not exist in the Potterverse (i.e. Harry/Draco or James/Sirius) and make me believe that it could. That, in my opinion, is why Same-Sex has its own QSQ. It is extremely difficult to do, and to take what is essentially a masterful piece of characterization and have it not even come close to competing against a more popular piece is not fair. Slash has its separate following, as does Poetry, D/A, and even mainstays like Marauder and Post-Hogwarts. It just seems a shame to drown out a really good Same-Sex pairing just because it is something a large part of the MNFF viewership won't open because of what it is.


    Holy cow, that was a lot of stuff to say.

    EDIT:
    Quote Originally Posted by Carole
    And on a totally self-interested note, I've written Oliver/Cedric. I very much doubt that would have had half the reads or reviews it has had if there hadn't been a same sex cat for it and I'd merely put it in other pairings.
    That particular fic (I remember it well) was absolutely gorgeous in its characterization and overall believability. It is one of the prime examples of wonderful work that would have been lost in the sea of romance in the archives.

    It's a shame to axe an entire genre because it might offend someone. If you don't like it, don't read it. It's worked for me pretty well so far.
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  3. #3
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    I disagree with the removal of the same-sex pairing largely because I would have missed reading many brilliant fics if they were subsumed under the 'Romance' cat.

    I like slash fics but I tend not to read Harry/Draco or Sirius/Remus. What I do like are rare pairs or femmeslash. If there wasn't a separate category for this then I doubt I'd plough through the romance cat to find them.

    And on a totally self-interested note, I've written Oliver/Cedric. I very much doubt that would have had half the reads or reviews it has had if there hadn't been a same sex cat for it and I'd merely put it in other pairings.

    People are attracted to reading same-sex for various reasons. In my own case it's usually because the 'romance' aspect is a lot less fluffy and a lot more real that your common-or-garden James/Lily, Harry/Ginny. To me, suddenly putting all same sex stories in the romance category smacks of political correctness for no real reason.

    I hate to say this but there are also people that will read the stories on the archives who would be offended to come across same sex. I'm not saying it's right, but unfortunately it's a fact.

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  4. #4
    psijupiter
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    I see what you are saying, and I definitely agree with your reasonings. However I'd much rather keep the same sex category and get rid of the slash warning: I am quite uncomfortable with the idea that slash is something that should be warning for, alongside violence and abuse etc.

    Looking at the romance category (not a place I venture into much!) there are a few suggestions:

    I agree with giving the big slash pairings their own section. There must be more than 23 Harry/Draco stories there, which is all Severus/Lily has.

    I'd change some of the wordings to make things seema little more even, so feels less like slash is just hidden away in a corner of the archive. For example, change 'Other Pairings' to 'Other Het/Mixed-Sex Pairings' and then have 'Other Slash/Same-Sex Pairings' where the Same-Sex Pairings category is now.

    Does the 'Ron/Other character' category accept slash? Otherwise I'd change the wording to Ron/Other Female character,' (and the same for the Harry, Hermione, Draco versions of that cat!) There probably isn't enough Ron/Other Male Character to warrant another catergory for that, but it would be worth thtinking about. Is there enough Harry/Other Male Character to have a seperate category for those as well as the Harry/Other Female catergory?

    (Sorry if that was all a bit disjointed and confusing, I have a bad cold that is making it difficult to think straight!)

  5. #5
    Honigkuchenpferd Hufflepuff
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    I would just like to say that we do have Harry/Draco and Remus/Sirius categories - and they both are under Same-Sex Pairings which is under Romance. I also agree with the others who said that searching (femme)slash stories is much easier done when such stories have their own category, Same-Sex Pairings. The category hasn't been created for discriminating purposes; it's there to make searching such stories for interested readers much easier.

    Also, as the mod for Other Pairings, I have to say whilst I don't have anything against slash stories/pairings, I do not like to read them in the HP verse. Were the SSP cat to be removed, and all slash stories submitted to Other Pairings, I wouldn't have as much fun modding Other Pairings anymore as I have now, because I would be forced to read stories I avoid at the moment.

    This is just my opinion and in no way represents the opinion of the moderator team.

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  6. #6
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    I never saw the same-sex-category from a "politically incorrect" or "intolerant"-angle. I see it much more like Carole and ToBeOrNotToBe... . If there wasn't a same-sex category, people would have a much harder time finding the stories they want to read. Some people don't like reading same-sex-pairings much (maybe it just isn't their cup of tea - this doesn't have anything to do with old-fashioned values or intolerance), and other people especially like same-sex pairings. Particularly for those people it would be very annoying to have to look through hundreds of romance stories to find their Dumbledore/Grindelwald, Hermione/Ginny, Ginny/Luna, Ron/Dean, ....

    Rather than killing the Same-Sex-Pairing category, I'd propose that we introduce subcategories in that for the major pairings Edit: I just read luinrina's post. Never mind that then , because as far as I can tell, right now there are no subcategories (tell me if I'm wrong/stupid). And if it still feels offensive (sorry if that is the wrong word), then we could think about making the Harry/Draco... (ie major same sex pairings) subcategories of romance, and then make the same sex pairing category "other same sex pairings", like the "other pairings" subcategory.


    But yeah, as I already said, it never really crossed my mind that anyone could find it offensive that there is a same-sex category... I actually thought it was good that there was some kind of a place for the people who like writing and reading slash... Imagine in a while a new writer who didn't see the merging of these categories comes along, and wants to submit his or her slash-story, but then doesn't know whether the Romance-category is the right place because they don't find any other same-sex stories there... and then it feels offensive to them that they don't have a place where to post same-sex stories..
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  7. #7
    Inverarity
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    I agree with you in principle, DeadManSeven. I've proposed before that we drop the slash "warning," since it's offensive. My proposal was ignored, so I simply ignore the rule -- I do not and will not put a "slash" tag on any of my stories just because there might be gay characters in it.

    That said, I think the issue of the same-sex category can be seen from two angles. The first, the one you're taking, is that it's a way of segregating same-sex stories from other romances so that those who consider homosexuality to be something different/deviant won't have to be exposed to it. I agree that that's exclusionary and bigoted.

    However, as others have pointed out, many want a same-sex category for the opposite reason: because they are specifically looking for same-sex stories because that's what they like.

    There are also straight people who don't have a problem with homosexuality, but when they go looking for romances, they want one that they can identify with; i.e, they want to read about a straight couple, just like gays often want to read about a gay couple.

    So, I think the same-sex category still serves a non-prejudicial purpose, though I agree that in a perfect world the distinction probably wouldn't exist because no one would consider it particularly important.

  8. #8
    padfoot_returns
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    Quote Originally Posted by psijupiter
    I am quite uncomfortable with the idea that slash is something that should be warning for...
    Quote Originally Posted by Inverarity
    I agree with you in principle, DeadManSeven. I've proposed before that we drop the slash "warning," since it's offensive. My proposal was ignored, so I simply ignore the rule -- I do not and will not put a "slash" tag on any of my stories just because there might be gay characters in it.
    I think what everyone needs to remember here is that a lot of people are uncomfortable reading same-sex pairings. A lot of people just don't want to see it written in Harry Potter, much of the same way they are uncomfortable reading abuse and other things. That's the reason why there are warnings for everything.

    xxRiham

  9. #9
    Inverarity
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    Quote Originally Posted by padfoot_returns
    I think what everyone needs to remember here is that a lot of people are uncomfortable reading same-sex pairings. A lot of people just don't want to see it written in Harry Potter, much of the same way they are uncomfortable reading abuse and other things. That's the reason why there are warnings for everything.
    So? There are still people who are uncomfortable reading about mixed-race pairings. Should we warn for that?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inverarity
    I agree with you in principle, DeadManSeven. I've proposed before that we drop the slash "warning," since it's offensive. My proposal was ignored, so I simply ignore the rule -- I do not and will not put a "slash" tag on any of my stories just because there might be gay characters in it.

    That said, I think the issue of the same-sex category can be seen from two angles. The first, the one you're taking, is that it's a way of segregating same-sex stories from other romances so that those who consider homosexuality to be something different/deviant won't have to be exposed to it. I agree that that's exclusionary and bigoted.
    I may be in a minority, but I don't consider slash as a catch-all category for all gay pairings; to me, it is taking characters who are not gay in canon and making them so in fan fiction. I agree that flagging your work saying, "Hey, there's gay people in here," is more discriminatory than it probably should be in a perfect world, but we do have to realize that there are young people who read this site, and their parents may not approve of their 12 year old reading stories with a same-sex pairing.

    However, as others have pointed out, many want a same-sex category for the opposite reason: because they are specifically looking for same-sex stories because that's what they like.

    There are also straight people who don't have a problem with homosexuality, but when they go looking for romances, they want one that they can identify with; i.e, they want to read about a straight couple, just like gays often want to read about a gay couple.
    I'm not gay, but reading about gay couples doesn't make me uncomfortable, as long as it's well-characterized. I'm more upset by the butchering of characters for the sake of making them work for the author's slash ideals than the actual homosexual content. I do, however, acknowledge that not everyone is quite as open-minded, and that's okay. But, in order to keep the peace, it would probably be beneficial to keep the Same-Sex Pairing category, at least until our societies are ready to embrace certain things more readily.

    So, I think the same-sex category still serves a non-prejudicial purpose, though I agree that in a perfect world the distinction probably wouldn't exist because no one would consider it particularly important.
    Well said!
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