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Stargate Atlantis Gen Ficathon
Annual genfic festival
2012: Humor, Week 1: Stayin' Alive 
6th-Jun-2012 08:34 am
Genficathon Team Sunshine
Category: Humor
Title: Stayin' Alive
Prompt(s): [Freestyle]
Additional Content Notes: Seventies, mustaches, Humor, Action/Adventure, Team, Porn
Rating: Explicit. This gen fanwork includes explicit sexual content.
Wordcount: 13719
Summary: Trapped in 1972, John gets an offer he can't refuse, and the pornstache he's always wanted. But what happens when the whole team goes back to the Seventies to rescue him?

Story and art: Stayin' Alive

ETA 07 June 2012 2247 US EDT: Anonymous comments are now screened, because the discussion here has been linked at external locations.

Note: Comment notifications to sga_genadmin from this post are currently turned ON.
7th-Jun-2012 02:18 pm (UTC)
They are not in control of their own actions? Under the influence? And sober, they would not have done such a thing? Then that is not a consensual sexual situation, and that can certainly be gen.
7th-Jun-2012 10:03 pm (UTC)
First of all, above anon comment (and only that one) is me; last night it made sense to me to comment anonymously since I used to run the community and I didn't want to bring a weight of authority based on that. I also don't want to make it appear that I'm criticizing the present mod's decisions (which I am really, truly not). Clearly I suck at being anon. *g* However, since I am no longer modding the Genficathon, I want to make clear that I'm speaking as a private fannish citizen and not as someone in charge.

Anyway, above comment was unreasonably snarky (which I'm sorry for; not exactly raising the tone of the discourse here) and sex pollen is a really bad example in any case because of the consent issues, you're right. Actually, I think it's sort of a no-brainer that rape/non-con isn't covered under anybody's definition of sexual relationship because it's not sex, it's rape. So. That. (I think it occurred to me to use that as an example because sex pollen isn't usually treated in fandom as a noncon situation, and I hadn't really thought about it.)

But the thought never occurred to me when I drafted the rules that "pairing" equals "long-term shippy relationship" to a lot of people (at least, longer-term than a one-night stand), which is the general impression I'm getting from the comments. Maybe this is a fandom-vs-fandom thing; in the fandoms I've been in, the "pairing" label was usually used for labeling all of the hookups in the story, temporary/short-term or otherwise. So a better hypothetical example (in fact, not hypothetical at all, I guess, since it's what happens in the story) would be characters X and Y hooking up for a consensual one-night stand at a bar. I have definitely seen stories like that labeled X/Y stories in fandom, and it never occurred to me that people might differentiate between that and a more established relationship in terms of what "pairing" means to them (fannishly speaking), because my fandoms don't seem to do that. I was just using it as shorthand for any romantic or sexual relationship of any sort.

At the same time, when I wrote the rules I was trying to go for maximum flexibility, because I didn't want a story to be rules-lawyered out of the ficathon for, say, making a passing reference to Jennifer having a girlfriend in college, or characters talking about someone getting laid offworld. Knowing there's a huge range of definitions of "gen" in fandom (with one of the more common variants being "the story is gen as long as there's no sex", regardless of whether there are pairings in it) I wanted to give the writers as much flexibility as possible to write a variety of stories while still keeping them within what seemed to me to be the closest thing that gen fandom has to a commonly agreed-upon definition.

But everyone defines "gen" a little differently, which has always been a problem in pretty much EVERY gen fannish endeavor (ficathons, recs communities, and whatnot). I disagree with the assertion that a story which contains no assumptions of long-term shippiness is still gen (regardless of sexual hookups) because that allows, say, a 500-word John/Elizabeth one-night-stand PWP to qualify as "gen", which IMHO is broad enough to be far beyond where the gen side of fandom typically draws the line. On the other hand, my own personal definition of gen is broader than that of other people I know within gen fandom, so ... I dunno. I'm not a mod anymore and so it's not a decision I have to make for anyone other than me personally. (Thank God.)
8th-Jun-2012 03:12 am (UTC)
I like that the rules give a broad definition of gen, and allow individual fics to qualify this with ratings, content notes, and warnings. That seems like a very good compromise, as consensus is about as hard to reach as it is to spell *curses wiggly red line*. Some people do not want to read any sex at all; others are uncomfortable by lovingly graphic torture (NC17 for violence with no sex at all).

I do not think that anyone here is arguing for the 500-word J/E PWP to be gen. The issue is whether work in the sex industry can be portrayed in a gen fic: could Jennifer have been a call girl a la Belle du Jour in university, or Ronon have posed for Genii Hustler offworld. And if so, how explicitly can that work be described before it crosses a not-gen line -- in the absence of any romantic pairings or relationships, it being neither slash nor het and being about work and not personal preferences in unpaid time. ...Bearing in mind that in the torture corollary, I could probably post "On the Uses of Torture" as gen fic, despite it going into every possible detail of physical and mental destruction (one of the most terrifying things I read as a child; the book had no sex in it, it was just SF, so I'm sure my parents had no idea what I was reading).
8th-Jun-2012 08:23 pm (UTC)
... LOL Ronon posing for Genii Hustler. Someone should write that ...

Anyway, first of all I think the mod's response is a good one (it hadn't been posted yet when I posted the above). Basically, I'm not taking a stand on whether or not this story is "gen" enough for the fest, and I don't want to dig too deep into dissecting the story in absentia when the writer can't really respond, anyway. That's the mod's call, not mine. And like I said, I'm no longer involved with those decisions, so I'm speaking from a private fannish citizen point of view.

But I do think the discussion is a little broader than just how sex work can be portrayed in gen; I think it very quickly branched out into how sex in general is portrayed in gen -- where the lines are, how much sex is "too much", what makes one story that contains sexual content "gen" when a similar story isn't. And clearly everyone is going to draw those lines in a different place -- I mean, the discussion here makes that clear, with some respondents thinking the story is gen and some thinking it isn't.

The trouble with trying to come up with a definition of gen that can be used across the whole community is that it has to take these different viewpoints into account and then make it really clear where the lines are drawn. If the distinction is merely that sex outside a relationship is okay and sex within a relationship is not -- which actually is what was suggested by at least one commenter, at least as I read it -- then that opens the door to a lot of stories that are totally allowable under the rules but not gen by most people's definition (the 500-word PWP). So you have to define it down more carefully -- is sex for business or profit okay, while equivalent amounts of sex for love aren't? And where is the line between them drawn ...?

And this is why I'm glad I don't have to make those calls anymore. ;p

Personally I think that I'd give myself a lot more leeway when figuring out how to label a story that I was writing strictly for myself and posting at my journal, than when I was writing to order for a fest that had a specific goal and set of guidelines. For example, I'd be really reluctant to submit a story to mcshep_match that had a small amount of McKay/Sheppard content, ended up with the two of them pairing off with other people, and was mostly about something else -- not that I think that isn't a perfectly legit take on their relationship, but maybe not appropriate for a fest that is about their relationship. (Not that I think every story in that fest has to end happily or with them together, but I do think there is a point on the sliding scale between "all about the relationship" and "not about the relationship at all" where the story becomes no longer really appropriate for a fest dedicated to that pairing, while still quite legitimately having McKay/Sheppard content, if that makes any sense?)

I have done that for fests in the past -- set aside some of my iffier and more borderline ideas and story starts as maybe not something I want to write for the fest, but something I might want to write for myself anyway.

So I think it's perfectly fair for the community-agreed definition of "gen" to be a bit narrower than a lot of people apply on their own journals (actually, the definition as I originally wrote it in the community rules is probably narrower than I apply on my own journal). I certainly don't think a story has to be scrubbed of all references to sex or relationships in order to be considered gen. But, IMHO, there are stories that one might reasonably consider gen enough to call it that in one's own journal but not gen enough to submit to a gen fest. (Or to qualify for a gen award, as the whole kerfluffle about "Freedom's Just Another Word ..." winning a gen award back in the day made evident ...)

Edited at 2012-06-08 08:36 pm (UTC)
8th-Jun-2012 10:01 pm (UTC)
Right now the comm definition includes gen and Bob, basically, and header information allows that to be tailored to fit ("G, learning to dance, Warning for: two left feet", "NC17, John whump, Warning for: graphic torture", "NC17, AMTDI, Warning for: noncon"). Leaving aside the question of non-McShep McShep Match fic (...and I think I've written both of those scenarios for the Match...), which again is not an analogy that I think fits this particular situation (John is a sex worker; John is shown having paid sex; he is never in any kind of a relationship; no relationships are mentioned; the story is about Team), what you and everyone else here is really asking is, is it gen enough to submit to a gen fest? The author felt so; the beta felt so; and the mod felt so, with appropriately used warnings. In which case, the next question is, does the comm need, for future challenges, to redefine gen in a tighter way? Allow no sex at all, allow no relationships at all (even canon), allow no mention of sex or relationships, allow no ratings higher than [rating], allow no stories with warnings for [dire straits]? Is that the gen that this comm wants? There will be repercussions accordant to restrictions (some writers will no longer be able to or want to participate, some graphic NC17 torture fic may not be submitted). Or is this a community that is comfortable with gen including the gen subcategory of Bob as well? And who should decide: the 300-some people who watch the comm, fandom in general, the people who write the fic...?
8th-Jun-2012 10:45 pm (UTC)
Well, yeah ... discussing it is purely academic at this point, because the mod's decision is made (and I think it's a very fair one), and future fests may or may not rework the rules a bit, depending on what the community wants. No matter which way the decision is made, some people will not be happy, but you can't possibly please everyone all the time.

(Also, I used the mcshep-match example not because of analogy to pairing/relationship, but because of analogy to adherence to the guidelines of the fest. Still, obviously, YMMV.)

And like I said in an earlier comment, I didn't realize when I wrote the guidelines that "pairing" to a lot of people means "romantic relationship" only, as opposed to what I was thinking when I wrote it, which was more along the lines of any sexual or romantic partnering. (For example, I would consider John's one-night-stands and filmed sexwork in the story to constitute John/OMCs. But again, YMMV, and as a writer I tend to label the hell out of stuff, so grain of salt and all of that.) Basically, while I didn't want to be inflexible, I also didn't realize that I'd written the guidelines to allow for Bob to the extent that they do. *g* I'm not saying that's a bad thing or that it's not in the spirit of the community or anything like that, just that it's quite unexpected to me because it's not how I use fannish terminology, so it's not something I would have thought to account for. And again, I'm not saying I think the mod was wrong or that I would even necessarily have made a different call if I'd been in her shoes, just that it's a good example of unchecked fannish assumptions and the way different people see things through a different lens, that's all.
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