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Heh. trekqueen pointed me to it last month, but I only just got a chance to read it:

"Final Fantasy Fanfiction: Steamy and Ridiculous" by Justin Massoud

1. The article expresses the dismay of a blogger discovering the world of erotic fanfiction for the first time. I am honored to be presented as a purveyor of prurient prose — twice!

2. Trekqueen, thanks for the heads-up! It is considered Fair Use to excerpt a small portion of a work for commentary/review.

3. I didn't get any new visitors as a result of blog notoriety. Woez. Picard's slacks beat Lulu for sex appeal.

4. Thank goodness he quoted semi-literate fic, as opposed to poorly-written fic. ("THUMP. THUMP. THUMP.")

5. I'm glad he quoted my usual fare as opposed to the Kimahri!crack. Now THAT would have been embarrassing.

And now we get into thinky thoughts about this blogger's gender-focused comments. So:


6. I'm afraid I took the easy way out in my response to his blog post, using the "hey, I have a brain; this is goofing-off writing" defense. I should have pointed out the gender issues he tripped over. He used a hentai pic of Y/R/P and a hentai Tifa (both of them boob-focused) to illustrate his article on Final Fantasy fanfic. Insert riff on how erotic fanfiction tends to be by and for women, whereas hentai tends to be by and for men. (Not always, but usually.)

7.The blogger decided that Lulu was being portrayed as "promiscuous" because of her "massive, mostly-exposed cleavage." Both stories he cited were mine. In fact, her breasts are barely (or not) mentioned in those stories. The common factor in both stories is Lulu's hands: either in pleasuring someone else, or herself. Active, not passive.

8. The blogger seems to interpret Lulu's role in these stories as sex object. In most Lulu-centric stories, she's an active agent calling the shots, an authorial stand-in for a female writer trying to imagine what it would be like to be a strong, assertive woman, unapologetically comfortable in her own body. She is usually subject, not object. (Mind you, I've seen a Lulu-as-sex-object fic on AFF, but it had suspiciously male objectification of Rikku and Yuna as well). One the one hand, if one assumes every isolated fanfic about Lulu having sex is part of the same story, she's promiscuous. (Why doesn't James Bond get this kind of criticism?) On the other hand, this sounds like the sexist stereotype that a woman comfortable with her own sexuality is "promiscuous."

9. My alarm bells start going off when a man is re-interpreting a woman's story about sex. He characterized Auron/Lulu as "sex with the game's father figure, Auron, who is around 20 years her senior". He isn't, of course. 20 years would be Rikku. Exaggerating age differences (turning an adult woman into a girl) and making Auron a "father figure" ignores the balanced power dynamics in the story he was quoting: they are portrayed as mature, autonomous, strong-willed individuals who lead separate lives and meet on equal terms.

10. Funny how bi Lulu gets the label "promiscuous".

11. Funny how this blogger very carefully excerpts only the most intimate, explicit part of each story, excising any character development, foreplay, or backstory-- even in the double drabble. I shouldn't make too much of his selective editing, though, since he did quote some less-explicit material from other stories. Except...wait... most of those are yaoi...

Finally: Why am I suddenly writing posts as numbered lists?!
 

Comments

( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
saharasnow
Jan. 27th, 2010 07:28 am (UTC)
I was actually tempted to throw him some Auron x Rikku lemons to see him run screaming his head off LOL.
auronlu
Jan. 27th, 2010 08:19 am (UTC)
Heh. Hello there!
And one of the stories he got upset about was a birthday present for you!

I think that aspect went right past him: women sharing erotic stories as entertainment for other (usually straight) women.

Edited at 2010-01-27 08:10 pm (UTC)
sissyhiyah
Jan. 27th, 2010 08:20 am (UTC)
Do you mean to tell me that this guy is frightened of boobies? And erotica? And anatomical bits that are sometimes-but-not-always inserted into other anatomical bits?

Gee. He almost has me convinced that I'm reading EVIL!

Wait...

There goes Lulu in a thong! And Quistis is chasing her with a whip! Sorry, dear. I'll be back to leave some super-intelligent comment once I...yeah. Gotta run!
auronlu
Jan. 27th, 2010 08:33 am (UTC)
Wait-- Lulu, Quistis, where?!

He is not scared of boobies.

He is pooh-poohing fanfic writers for being boob-obsessed.

Only trouble is, he's citing my stories, which rarely mention boobies, or only in the context of lots of other erogenous zones being stimulated.

And he has three different pictures of prominent boobies on the page.
owlmoose
Jan. 27th, 2010 08:25 am (UTC)
Oh goody, more men policing women's sexual expression.

(I mean, I'm guessing. But I think it's a fairly safe guess.)

Not that I don't think there are interesting critiques to be made of the way female characters are depicted (or not, which has been the more common theme going around the Internet lately, and coincidentally I just posted about that) in fanworks. But this is clearly not that.
auronlu
Jan. 27th, 2010 08:41 am (UTC)
Yep. When I first started writing my comments here I didn't think about it, but the more I tried to organize my thoughts, the more I realized that he was reinterpreting each story according to his thoughts about sex and gender roles.

Edited at 2010-01-27 08:47 am (UTC)
cygna_hime
Jan. 27th, 2010 09:00 am (UTC)
dsfasghjgkl; I hate that.

"Lulu is a slut because she has tits! Which are fanservice! And she is in these smutfics! These must be connected somehow! Though I cannot actually form a train of logic that does so!"

Also, I love how he glides right past the idea that stories by, about, and for women might possibly be different in some way from stories by men and for men about women. Like, that there might possibly be, not only a male gaze, but a gaze that is not male (and not so focused on the boobies, I mean really). And that sex, as written by women, might possibly be depicted as something women do rather than something that is done to them. And that tits are not the be-all and end-all of teh sexy.
auronlu
Jan. 27th, 2010 10:25 am (UTC)
I'm not convinced it occurred to him that some of these stories might be by, about, and for women.

Also, I note that in remapping the Lulu stories to "Lulu has large breasts = promiscuous" he omitted one small detail from the double drabble, the context: Lulu gives Yuna a night o' pleasure because she's pissed as hell Yuna's about to marry Seymour to make other people happy.

Which one could reduce to petty jealousy and/or Lulu pushing Yuna in ways she shouldn't, but it's definitely not the script he's applying to it.
cygna_hime
Jan. 27th, 2010 06:30 pm (UTC)
I'm not convinced it occurred to him that some of these stories might be by, about, and for women.

That's just depressing, because it basically parses into, "I'm not convinced it occurred to him that [fanfic]." I mean, that it's mostly female is the #1 thing it's easy to find out about fandom, and why would you write an entire article without doing enough research to realize that we have a playground, motherfucker, and this is it?

It's the basic failure to recogize that women are subjects, both in the fic and in fandom, that grates. Because if we were real people, then we might read and write and tell stories that are aimed at us, and those stories might have scripts stories targeted at men tend not to have. But obviously this would be foolishness.
intradependency
Jan. 27th, 2010 09:18 am (UTC)
I hate shoddy journalism so much. My thoughts are that the writer's quoted from the same sources repeatedly because they haven't researched any further than the first shock revelation.

It almost wouldn't be a problem if the writer was just fluffing about this on his personal blog, freedom of speech and the value of opinions, but the very fact they've posted through an official looking site where I would PRESUME there's some kind of editorial process???? ---

ah, wait, it's 'Asylum for All Mankind'. Does that mean all the writers/journal articles are meant to appeal only to mentally ill men?

auronlu
Jan. 27th, 2010 09:59 am (UTC)
*DIES*

You may be onto something there!
samuraiter
Jan. 27th, 2010 02:51 pm (UTC)
*chuckles*

There are several good points of discussion here! Hmm. Perhaps I ought to do the paint balloon approach (i.e. throw a thought at the wall to see how big a 'SPLAT!' it makes)?

6.) Hentai is for men? Yes, but, judging from the hentai I have watched (i.e. the milder stuff), it seems to be more for ... a certain class of man, IMO. Boobs? Emphasized to the point of occupying the entire video window. Consent? Questionable, if it is present at all. Plot? LOL. ... In short, not my thing at all except as a distraction and the object of mockery.

7.) I recall reading a review in the distant past that said 'it's easy to tell when a man's writing erotica because he can't keep his mind off the boobs'. And in practically every adult-oriented book I have read that was done by a male author, this has been the case. Spooky!

8.) "... a strong, assertive woman, unapologetically comfortable in her own body." This is a good sentence. :-) I have never been a fan of the 'slut' stereotype, and I like to think that the present age is one in which a woman can have her pick of men – and / or women, of course – and not be judged negatively for it. Alas, our culture still has a long way to go there.

9.) A father figure is still a man. People like to keep using that creepy Freudian lens long after its expiration date. And this is another good sentence: "... mature, autonomous, strong-willed individuals who lead separate lives and meet on equal terms."

10.) See #8.

11.) "... excising any character development, foreplay, or backstory ..." The thing about excerpting and quoting is that it allows the poster to essentially 'cherry-pick' any information that will reinforce the point of the article, regardless of context. Major source of contention in modern journalism, particularly on the Internet / blogosphere.

And there is no shame in bullet points! :-)
auronlu
Jan. 27th, 2010 04:47 pm (UTC)
Phew. I'm rather glad you didn't say, "Gah, you're stereotyping men in reverse!"

I am aware -- and relieved -- that these trends do not hold for all men.

Alas, Mr. Blogger appears to be on a site that reinforces and encourages that stereotype of guys. I hadn't looked around on the rest of the site until ellnyx commented, but it seems that "boobs!" is a theme of many articles mentioning women on that site, even articles by the "token woman" (as they call her) on their editorial staff.
trekqueen
Jan. 27th, 2010 10:28 pm (UTC)
also have to give credit where it is due, this dude here Mr. samuraiter was the one who initially pointed me to this blog to point out to you. :)
auronlu
Jan. 28th, 2010 07:47 pm (UTC)
samuraiter is a good feller, and I'm glad he's here to give us the voice of a guy who can think as well as write/read/enjoy smut. :)
renay.dreamwidth.org
Jan. 27th, 2010 05:03 pm (UTC)
He loses all credibility when he talks about Final Fantasy XII but includes a picture of Final Fantasy XIII and...tries to make a joke about cock? Or something? This is basic stuff. XD

Journalism fail.
(Deleted comment)
auronlu
Jan. 27th, 2010 06:11 pm (UTC)
Hmm, I digested the latter post in its entirety and found myself thinking, "but wait, in the het fic I know, the man's body gets written about as much or as little as the woman's..."

The first essay started to frustrate me because it was written entirely in Aristotlean macros: This IS what women are like, this IS what men are like, this IS the Law Laid Down By God on Stone Tablets. And after a certain number of, "but not in my experience!" thoughts it started to blur together, even though it was making some very cogent arguments.

This quote:

"A man's presence suggest what he is capable of doing to you or for you."
again reinforced my realization that a common factor in my fic and that of those on my flist is that we tend to write about women doing stuff, and when it's sex, the writing often emphasizes what the woman is doing to her partner, not just how she's seen by the partner and how she sees herself.

Edited at 2010-01-27 06:17 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
trekqueen
Jan. 27th, 2010 10:17 pm (UTC)
NO NOT THE THUMP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *dies*

P.S. Thanks, AnFF, but you drew more visits than I from your moment of blog notoriety. Unsurprisingly, Jean-Luc's legendary pants trump even legendary guardians for sex appeal. ;)

I think I scared my coworkers with my cackle in my cube from your posting of this at the blog in question. :D
rsasai
Jan. 28th, 2010 11:30 pm (UTC)
What a misogynist. Ugh. Well, if it makes you feel better I enjoyed those stories.

:D
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
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