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Discrimination in the Xenaverse
April Fools 2000
Today in the Xenaverse
Xena Media Review's (XMR) 4th Anniversary
Relic Hunter, What Light Through Yonder Window Breaks
The Boo-Boo Corner
The Joxer Corner
Get Your Latin Right Lady
Association of What??!!??
I Hung Up On Lucy Lawless!
The Frustrated Corner
Xena Night Announcement
France Needs Our Help!
Discrimination in the Xenaverse
Date: Sat, 01 Apr 2000
From: Erica Li
Subject: Thanks for Nancy Lorenz article
I want to thank WHOOSH for posting Nancy Lorenz's article about discrimination of the subtexters against the non-subtexters in the fandom. I personally am a straight fan. Yes, I like the occasional girl-girl bantering... I have nothing against the queer community. We rave about things like Joel Tobeck kissing Kevin Smith in Lawless. I like Mr. Smith's rendition of Sweet Transvestite. However, the loudness and intolerance of the subtexter Xena fans on the Internet really get on my nerves also. We don't see great stories featuring Ares and Joxer everywhere. We don't see great paintings of Ares and Joxer and any of the other men because of the predominance of the subtext group. Lorenz really voices my opinion and the opinion of many others. We like the Ares/Xena idea and the Joxer/Gabrielle idea when the males are not dumbed down and trotted upon. Nancy's article is great. We do seem to have subtext overload everywhere. In fact, the subtext overload is affecting my enjoyment of Xena significantly--I almost abhored the fourth season. Thanks for posting it because it reflects the reality that not every Xena fan is a lesbian fan.
From: Danielle Tortorici
Date: Sat, 1 Apr 2000
Subject: Discrimination in the Xenaverse
Hi. I just finished reading your article on Whoosh!, and while I realize you'll probably be receiving a lot of mail on the subject, I just couldn't help writing. I just want to extend a huge amount of gratitude to you for writing the article. It was just brilliant. It's nice to know (and to let other people know) that there are non-subtexters out there who can view XWP from an open perspective. I myself can acknowledge the presence of subtext, but I don't choose to place any stock in it (I'm a massive Xena/Ares fan myself). I very much enjoy the open-ended stance the writers take with XWP because it opens the show up to so many more people, and I truly hope it remains that way. I believe that Xena and Gabrielle share a relationship that is closer than perhaps words can say, but why should that relationship have to be viewed as strictly romantic? I am getting sick and tired of feeling embarrassed and stupid for immensely enjoying the temple scene between Xena and Ares in "Amphipolis Under Siege." In short, I'm just so glad you wrote that article, I found myself nodding my head in agreement the whole way through. I've never been directly flamed on ATX for my non-subtext pro Xena/Ares views, but I am quite obviously in the minority. If I ever do encounter trouble though, I hope you won't mind my pointing the dissenters in the direction of your article. I don't want to send any extra flame-mail your way, but somebody who's willing to be petty and close-minded deserves to be enlightened. Once again, congrats on the great article and thank you for sharing your opinion!
Proud Xena/Ares 'shipper and Non-subtexter.
From: Erin Hunt
Subject: Letter to the Editor
Date: Sat, 01 Apr 2000
I completely sympathized with Nancy Lorenz in the article "Discrimination in the Xenaverse". I never favored Xena and Gabrielle as a couple, simply because I didn't see any romantic chemistry between them. I didn't like Gabrielle and Perdicas as a couple either, but no one complained about *that*. It eventually got to the point where I simply never mentioned thoughts about non-subtext relationships, or admitted to not seeing the subtext.
I also relate on the fan fiction issue. When I was writing stories, all non-subtext, I made thorough searches of several online resources, and could turn up only one general "Xena" fan fiction site (Tom's Xena Page) that even *accepted* non-subtext stories. Since the archive at Tom's Xena Page is so huge that stories not written by well known fan fic authors tend to get lost in the shuffle, I quickly found that the only way to get my stories read was to incorporate a popular secondary character (Callisto, Ares, etc.) in a fairly major role, and get the story published on sites devoted to that secondary character.
Thank you, Nancy Lorenz, for breaking the long silence!
From: Janet Elizabeth
Date: Sun, 02 Apr 2000
Subject: Letter to the Editor
RE: DISCRIMINATION IN THE XENAVERSE: NEWS & VIEWS FROM THE GREAT DIVIDE, by Nancy Lorenz
Just wanted to tell you how much I appreciated and enjoyed an article you published in the April edition of Whoosh.
Nancy Lorenz's article, "Discrimination in the Xenaverse: News and Views From the Great Divide", was extremely well written, thought provoking and downright refreshing. I like the fact that the Editors of Whoosh have the courage to allow other (read non-subtext) points of view to be expressed.
Thank you again for presenting a writer with such an open and fresh perspective!
Proud member of Xenite's Against Discrimiation
From: Colleen B.
Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2000
Subject: whoosh article
I just read your artice on Whoosh and it definitely opened my eyes to things that I have had an issue within the Xena fandom for a while now.
Now, I'm an ardent subtexter myself, but I've cruised other stories at times (heck, I even read some Joxer/Ares stories) and I've noticed recently a real lack a variety in the Xena fandom probably for the reasons that you stated in your article. I also have a little turned off by the proliferation of uber fan fic, which whatever appeal it has is lost on me. I mean, I go to read Xena stories, not plow through someone's attempt at creative writing.
I think recently Xenadom has taken on a real ugly quality which I have always found to be the same bad quality the gay, particularly lesbian, community suffers from, which is this sort of clickish adolescent mindset. It's something I've suffered from as a feminine lesbian most of the other lesbians I met are ususally butch and are quite irritated by lesbians who don't act and dress like them, not all of course, but some, and don't tow the "party line". For example, one time I was shopping at book store I go to often, it's not totally gay but a lot of gay people who work there. I was buying a book by Camille Paglia, who is not popular with a lot of people, but I feel a little uncomfortable hating someone I know nothing about so I picked up a discount copy of Vamps and Tramps. I thought the lesbian at the counter was going to spit at me, she was amazingly hostile towards me and said everything Camille said was trash.
Well, I read the book and liked it, I thought many of her insights on lesbian culture were right on the mark, many of which I thought were reflected in your article.
The Xenadom should be a place for every one, and there's room for all views, but I find the diversity dwindling, and personally, I'm beginning to lose faith in the Xena/Gabrielle relationship; it's become too sabatoged, and as you stated, too abusive. (I also think Xena's getting too self absorbed and Gabby's too good for her but that's another story)
It was great to read your article and see some different viewpoints out there.
Date: Tue, 04 Apr 2000
Wow! I have to tell you honestly, that I never read Whoosh or the NetForum etc., but at the request of a very bold fan, whom I suppose I won't scalp with my chakram later, I have read your Whoosh! Article "The Discrimination in the XenaVerse: News and Views from the Great Divide."
Sorry to say that I am quite out of touch with all this animosity that you have documented. I honestly didn't know it was this big of an issue. A friend who posts regularly once emailed me a NetForum thread, and the people on there were so brutal that I decided that it was a bad place to hang out. After seeing Steven L. Sears attacked by immature dykes, I couldn't stick around a place like that. It also conforms my unfortunate opinion of people in general that - gay or straight, subtexters or not - people suck. That's just the way it is.
I will, however, say that as a subtext reviewer for a Xena website, I appear to be one of the Xenaverse hetbashers, constantly referring to the "non-seers" as you call yourselves, as "deluded." That's me, guilty as charged. Loud and arrogant as a member of the perceived majority. I make no apologies, however. I stand by every word I say, if for no other reason than to show that I'm not entirely spineless. But I will concede that some folks seem to be taking this whole Xenaverse thing quite too seriously, dontcha think? Is it more than a TV show? Is this more than a recreational activity? Yes, we do put our hearts into it, but is there not a place where Xena separates itself from your life and overall psychological well-being?
Admittedly, I appreciate your arguments, and despite my very loud, arrogant and numerous claims to the opposite in many of my reviews (maybe even all of them...) I understand where you are coming from -- as far as requesting that your opinion be valued. I understand your argument for appreciating diversity when we come from a background of being discriminated against as the minority in the so-called "real" world. But it reminds me of the wonderful Reverend Reggie Jackson (an African-American man) the Green Bay Packers defenseman who as a member of a discriminated against minority himself, was very vocal in his opposition of homosexuals. Just kinda reminds me that a certain amount hypocrisy is human nature. Not that I'm making excuses, I'm not saying it's a good thing, it just is.
Backstage and off of the record, I really have no beef with you. I might laugh if I saw you with your Gabrielle/Joxer badge at a convention, sword and army of nonsubber friends in tow or not, but ultimately Xena: Warrior Princess is only a TV show (I didn't just say that...), and I would never go as far as to disrespect you as another human being. I mean, the behavior of the women you described who picked on the smaller girl is inexcusable, and yes, very junior high, I agree. Very non-Amazon to say the least, and only goes to prove that these women are missing the point, which is that actions and behavior can be judged, thoughts and ideas can't, otherwise what makes us better than Nazis or Catholics? I have learned that there is nothing more important in a society than the free flow of ideas, and therefore, I am not afraid to speak mine, and would never discourage you from speaking yours, despite our differing opinions on matters that are important to us both.
I can't apologize for the dykes who disrespected you and your friends, and I won't even try, but I can say that I am proud of you for asserting your right to have a different opinion than the mainstream, which in this case is perceived as the subtext demo. You're a brave soul, Nancy, and even though we are at opposite ends of the spectrum as far as the whole Joxer/Gabrielle thing is concerned, I think you're amazing. Despite my loud arrogance and very public pro-subtext views, I would fight and die for your right to express your ideas.
So be out and proud, girl! You don't need me to tell you that you are not alone...
sincerely and with love,
Date: Fri, 7 Apr 2000
Subject: Letter to the Editor
I would like to comment, if I might, on Nancy Lorenz' article: "The Discrimination in the Xenaverse: News and Views from the Gread Divide".
Parts of this article were enlightening, thought-provoking and interesting to read. However, unfortunately, the impact of the points being made was lessened, in my opinion, when general statements became personal.
For example:"It was the stark and undeniable truth. I submitted my fan fiction, my art, and though it was put up, no one has made a big deal out of it. Not that I expect it to be, but it strikes me as odd seeing as the quality equals, if not betters, some of the Xenaverse greats. This is something that has been evident with dozens of artists and writers of a non-seer nature. I have read some truly fabulous general stories, but you know what? I had to really dig for them."The problem I have with this statement is multi-fold, though I am in no way doubting or demeaning Ms. Lorenz' right to make it.
To address her last point first, though a subtexter, when I have had a taste for genfic, I haven't found the stories hard to find at all. All the major fanfiction indicies post links to both alternative and general fanfiction in their sites, and these stories quite well marked with a [gen] or [alt] label. Lunacy has reviewed a great body of genfic works and has put those reviews on her site to stand beside their altfic sisters as equals.
On to the first point. I, too, am a writer. I've written and posted many stories over the years I've been in the Xenaverse. Some have gone on to great acclaim. Some have been merely a fizzle in the bucket. My point, however, is that when I write, I do so *knowing* that my work will only appeal to a certain sect. Not only do I write subtextual stories, but in most cases, I also add erotica to my pieces. And again, I do so knowing full well that both of those conditions I put upon *myself* narrows my reader base from the get-go. Do I complain about it? How in the world *can* I?
There are ten million Xena fans out there who have no desire to read a story about 1. Xena and Gabrielle being more than friends and/or 2. what they do when the cameras are off, in semi-explicit detail. I know this. I accept this. And I write anyway, because my writing appeals to both myself and those who enjoy reading such details.
Conversely, I, as a reader, have absolutely *no* desire to read a story that portrays Gabrielle and Joxer as lovers. It simply doesn't interest me. I don't care *who* wrote the story. The best writer in the entire world couldn't get me to read a story which, by its very premise, holds no interest for me. Why should I, or any other fan, be expected to read, and further acclaim, such a story? Isn't reading supposed to be something done for the pleasure of the reader as opposed to the ego of the writer?
I certainly don't force my works upon people who are non-subtextes. And I certainly don't complain when it's not read by them.
Ms. Lorenz' writing, quality aside, appeals to a very particular sect of readers, as mine does. If either of us wishes to be recognized by a broader fan base, we need to generalize our writing to appeal to that broader mass. I choose not to do that at this time. And so I live with that decision and, in so doing, give up my right to complain when people don't see things as I do.
In addition, I find it interesting, and mildly amusing, to read about the so-called 'subtext wall' in barding. To me, it's a simple case of supply and demand. A great many readers and writers of Xena fanfiction are subtexters, or, at the very least, those willing to give subtext a chance. When readers ask for more alt-fic, bards happily accomodate them. How can blame be laid here? If there simply isn't a suitable market for your type of story, then go on to another genre. And if you can't do that, then simply accept the fact that not as many people want to read your *type* of story (and this is very important here, not *your* story, your *type* of story) and write for the people who do.
In my opinion, Ms. Lorenz is taking the lack of response to her stories rather personally. It's not *her* or her *writing* per se that doesn't interest a vast readership. Rather, it's the type of story she chooses to write that lacks broad based appeal. If there came a sudden influx of people who couldn't get enough of G/J, then those stories would explode, just as altfic has exploded. Until then, you just keep writing for your own pleasure and don't take it personally.
On to the 'rabid subtexters' stream. I don't doubt that there are those types of people out there, just as there are rabid X/A fans, rabid G/J fans, rabid whomever fans. And it is indeed unfortunate when one feels the need to defend oneself against that type of fan.
Have I called some anti-subtexters homophobic bigots? I sure have. But I've done so because of the attacks they have placed upon both me and my view of subtext within the series known as Xena: Warrior Princess. You don't like the idea of Xena and Gabrielle being lovers? Fine. You think Xena and Ares make a cute couple? Great! But if you go on to attack the perceived Xena/Gabrielle pairing because "all you queers are just a bunch of unnatural animals who deserve to be shipped off to an island somewhere and burned to death", then I *am* going to come back at you with all guns blazing. Because that *is* homophobic bigotry, no matter which way you look at it.
Have I heard this type of bigoted tripe uttered against both myself and those people who believe Xena and Gabrielle to be lovers? Almost every day, whether on forums or on mailing lists or in personal emails which come about because of my views and/or my writing.
In conclusion, I would like to tell Ms. Lorenz that there is, to my knowledge, no huge group of subtexters who goes around and tells Xena fans not to read or acclaim her writing. People read what they're interested in reading, and if they're not interested in reading stories filled with Joxer/Gabrielle romance, the most brilliantly written story in the world isn't going to convince them otherwise.
And further, I would ask her to stop for a moment and consider this: If going up against a perceived wall of indifference or derision keeps her from being more well known within fandom, think how it must be for people who, day after day, go up against the real wall of derision and hatred called life.
It is indeed unfortunate that she feels discriminated against by what she chooses to see in a television show. Unfortunately, there are those of us who go up against a wall a million-fold more powerful simply because of who we are.
From: Ariadne de la Montagne
Subject: "Discrimination in the Xenaverse"
Date: Fri, 7 Apr 2000
Having read the article by Nancy Lorenz I would like to respond. First of all, I'm sorry if Ms. Lorenz has experienced unpleasantness on the internet. Unfortunately this is not an uncommon occurrence. In the past I took part in discussions on a subtext forum and there were frequent attacks on lesbians by trolls and right-wingers. There were also arguments between subtexters vs. subtexters, subtexters vs. non-subtexters and even non-subtexters with each other. While discussion and debate is what a forum is all about, there were times when the atmosphere could get quite tense and unpleasant. Nevertheless most people were broadminded enough to accept other people's points of view, even if they didn't agree with them.
I respect Ms. Lorenz's point of view and would never flame her (or anyone else) for her opinions. I wish her joy of the show however she prefers to view it. But since I am a subtexter and she is not, I would not choose to read her fanfic. She claiims she is as good as Melissa Good and asks why her writings are not accepted. I can't answer for anyone else but myself, but my time on the internet is limited and I am therefore very selective in what I read. I am a subtexter and am not interested in the least in reading stories about Xena and Gabrielle involved with men. Incidentally, neither am I interested in subtextual fanfic that has either Xena or Gab involved with another woman. And even if my time on the internet were not limited, I still would not read the aforementioned fanfic. That is my right and I make absolutely no excuses for it. I only read fanfic that recognizes the all-encompassing bond between Xena and Gab, as friends, lovers and soulmates. Why should I read something I have no interest in and waste my time? The Xena/Gab relationship is the reason I became such a fan of the show in the first place. If Ms. Lorenz feels her writings are rejected, perhaps there are others who feel as I do and perhaps there is some truth in the allegation I keep hearing repeated in the Xenaverse that the bulk and core of Xena fans are subtexters. And while the non-subtexters may tell us that it is only our opinions that Xena and Gab are lovers, I have yet to see a Lucy/Ethyl, Mary/Rhoda, LaVerne/Shirley scene such as the Xena/Gab kiss in 'Quest'.
Ms. Lorenz says that she would like to see the girls in the arms of men, and she cites Ares and Xena. This season there in fact seems to be a hint that Xena could be developing romantic feelings towards Ares. This is something I have a real issue with. This violent and abusive character has continuously sought to turn Xena back to her old killing ways, has at various times sought the death of Gabrielle, and even tried to maneuver Xena into killing her mother. He has demonstrated an appetite for slaughter and professes to find the stench of a battlefield full of dead bodies "exhilirating." If Xena were to develop feelings for him, I for one would not be a happy camper.
As for Gabrielle and Joxer - I'm not a Joxer hater but I'm not a fan of his either. There are times when the character works and I actually come close to liking him, but more often than not he's used as comic fodder and is about as subtle as a mack truck. I don't agree with Ms. Lorenz that he never thinks to come between Xena and Gab, because he actually confesses his feelings for Gab to Xena in "Chakram" - when Xena isn't even herself but is in some sort of funky non-violent mental state. In following eps he keeps mooning over Gab (Amarice even gets on his case about it). So why the argument that Joxer "learned to pay respect to Xena and Gabrielle" and that he "understood how close Xena and Gabrielle were and never thought to come between that" - well, take "Family Affair" for instance - Xena spots "Gabrielle" (okay, it's really Hope but that hasn't been revealed yet in this scene) in the marketplace - the last time she saw Gab was falling down the lava pit - she's stunned, very moved, hesitantly walks towards "Gab" - and we get a closeup of Joxer's face, who with all the sensitivity of a sherman tank practically elbows Xena out of the way and runs towards "Gab". Respect for Xena and Gabrielle and their relationship? I don't think so.
In reading her article, Ms. Lorenz (to me) comes across as attempting to be basically fair and non-judgmental and is probably a very nice person who has had some hurtful experiences in the Xenaverse. I hope she will continue to watch and enjoy the show. But please don't make assumptions that I as a subtexter am unfair and ungracious because I won't read fanfic that is of no interest to me. Please respect my freedom of choice just as I respect yours.
Ariadne de la Montagne
From: Melanie Lakey
Date: Sat, 8 Apr 2000
Subject: Nancy Lorenz's Article on Discrimination
I would like to state for the record that I am in complete agreement with each and every point that Nancy Lorenz has made in her article regarding discrimination in the Xenaverse. It isn't fair to be a subtexter and discriminated against, and it certainly isn't fair to be a Joxerite or GJ Romantic (of which I am both) and discriminated against. Not believing in or seeing either type of subtext doesn't make a person stupid, in denial, or wrong. It just means they have an opinion of their own. And isn't that what really good TV is supposed to do? Get the viewer to have an opinion?
Personally, I don't think Xena and Gabrielle are lesbian lovers. Flame me all you want. :) I don't like the idea, and I don't usually like X/G subtext. HOWEVER, I will not insult subtext and say it is wrong or sick, I will not denounce it to someone that likes it, and I will CERTAINLY not attack someone who believes in it or supports it. Everyone has a right to their opinion. Many Joxer/Gab fans give subtexters and Joxerphobes the right to their opinions. It would be nice to get the same in return.
I'm not going to say that it is "just a TV show", because to me and probably most of you, it is much more than that. These characters, after watching them grow, change, hurt and love for five years, become like close friends, and you care about what happens to them. You might try to match them up with each other, or speculate on what they should do with their lives. That's great! That's what TPTB want from the viewers! Have an opinion, by all means, and share that opinion, certainly! But attacking someone else for utilizing the same rights that you do is just hypocritical and stupid. Of course I am not trying to attack or accuse any specific group, because people on both sides of this Rift of sorts are guilty of this. All I am trying to do is tell the people who may get a bit emotionally involved (myself included) in the show and end up losing their temper with someone to stop and think about how they would want and expect to be treated. That's all the discriminated Xena fans want. Fair treatment. Hopefully, one day, we can all express and share our beliefs in the Xenaverse without fear.
"Rabid" Joxer Fan and Proud of It
Total and Complete Gabrielle and Joxer Supporter
And When it All Comes Down to it--------Just Another Xena Fan
Date: Sat, 8 Apr 2000
From: Xian Pu
Subject: Re: "Discrimination in the Xenaverse"
Kudos to Nancy Lorenz for an article that dares to speak up!
As a GJR, I found many of the experiences which Nancy wrote about to be all too familiar. I have never forced my opinions onto anyone- it goes against my nature. I view all fans of XWP with respect and the belief that any opinion on the show is as valid as my own. However, I have had to learn not to expect that same courtesy in the greater Xenaverse, and due to the pain it has caused me, have been forced out of it and now reside primarily on lists such as the GJRS and Joxchat. Despite my affection for Gabrielle, I cannot even be a participating member of Gabchat, because of the flaming that occurs not only to Joxer but to those who would dare speak about him.
The sad truth I have found in my time online is that such treatment of GJRs is considered "Okay" and that if we speak up about being trashed, we are considered "whiners". The fact which is commonly drawn upon is that subtexters, especially those who are indeed lesbians, must deal with discrimination and hatred every day. I do not deny that this is true, and it is something I take into account when I deal with discrimination against myself- anyone who would lash out at me has probably had high levels of pain and anger in their own life, and for that, I am very sorry. But it doesn't make it easier for me to deal with the pain their own anger causes me- a pain I did not cause, and would take away if I were able. This is why a dismissal of "now you know what it feels like" to the cry that GJRs get pushed around distresses me so much. It is tantamount to saying that one form of discrimination is okay, because it's not as bad as another. I work to end discrimination against GLBTs wherever I can; it saddens me that the same favour cannot be done by Xena fans for each other. Are we not all fans of the same show? Are we not all human beings? Who decides that one group is less deserving of compassion than another?
I am someone who prides herself on an open mind towards sexuality. I consider myself straight, but that does not mean I have never had feelings for another woman, even if I did not feel the urge to act on them. I accept that about myself. Had I not found the man I love now, I may have found a woman, and been just as happy. Yet all I have to do is go into a public Xena forum, find a discussion about subtext, and say "Xena and Gabrielle as lovers? Sorry guys, but I just don't see it" and, 4 times out of 5, I *will* be labeled a homophobe by *someone*. I have been accused of not being a "true" fan of the show because I don't acknowledge the "obvious" romantic bond between the two women leads. I have, on a few very offensive occasions, been told that I should "take a better look" at my sexuality to see what I'm "repressing" to make me fear a lesbian relationship so much.
The truth of the matter is, I just don't see romantic chemistry between Xena and Gabrielle when I watch XWP. To some people, this makes me a homophobe. If I say that I watch "the X-Files" and don't see romantic chemistry between Mulder and Scully, does this make me a heterophobe, as well? I realize, and sadly accept, that there are many whose attitudes against X/G romance *are* homophobic- and that that has to be dealt with daily. It just saddens me that we have reached a point where I can no longer have a chance to be an "equal" with other Xenites, simply because I like the guy with the funny hat and I don't see sparks each time Xena and Gabrielle look at each other. In essence, I have been shunned from the places I have tried to post, outside of my own "circle" of friends; I have received either arguments or a lack of response to my posts. In such a case there is little point to stay, so I have left... Left the fandom which has prided itself on being "warm and welcoming".
I do wish to say that I'm not accusing *all* subtexters of behaving this way, by any means. And I realize that by no means are all GJRs level-headed darlings, either. I merely want to try and make it clear that we *do* get unfairly abused, and it hurts us as much as it hurts you when it happens to you... and I don't see why closing each other out is a necessity. Segregation is a sad, lonely, angry way to live life.
Again, thank you Nancy, for the bravery to post her truths in a public forum. I hope that this article will make some people consider a few things.
Date: Sun, 09 Apr 2000
Subject: Letter to the Editor
I'd like to comment on Nancy Lorenz's article, "Discrimination in the Xenaverse". Basically, I'd just like to validate her points on online fandom.
She's absolutely right. GJRS members, I've found, *do not* trash subtexters for believing what they do. Not only because it's pointless and hateful, but because if they did, there would be repercussions. Loud... Angry... Nasty repercussions. And yet, Joxer fans (the G/J supporters, specifically) rarely get the same respect.
I have the attitude that you can believe what you want to, and if you meet someone with an opposing view, you can always agree to disagree once you've said what you have to say. There's no reason that people need to go out of their way to insult other people's opinions (something a lot of people do to try to get around insulting someone directly).
Is it so hard to state why you like what you *do* like instead of why other people aren't for some reason allowed to like what *they* do? Or why people are stupid for believing what they do? Or liking something? Or not liking something?
The thing is, it's not the subtexters who are being so horrid. It's the Joxerphobes. I was told in an e-mail once by an extreme Joxerphobe that he's not even a subtexter. He just prefers the X/G union over "others that have been presented". However, his observed behavior is that he will take any and all opportunities to disrespect and insult Joxer fans, especially G/J folk.
On the other hand, I've been e-mailed by people (some of whom are lesbian subtexter Joxer fans) who've thanked me for sticking up for Joxer and those of us who like him.
Another thing I was really disappointed to see wasn't so much the original "G/J nonsense" comment, but the blatant bird-flipping sent to the GJRS, contained within the "my facts are straight like they usually are" reply to a complaint about it. So much for an apology, huh?
I happen to run an online mailing list (one of dozens, I'm sure), essentially a ROC worshiping list. We have yet to have any sort of Joxer-war. There have been some anti-Joxer comments, and there's been plenty of Joxer support. But we never fight.
It's really not that hard.
Like Nancy said. Common decency and respect is all it takes.
More people should try it.
From: Josh Harrison
Subject: Letter to the Editor
Date: Fri, 14 Apr 2000
It has been some time since an article at Whoosh! has inspired me to send a letter to you folks, but I just finished reading Nancy Lorenz's article "Discrimination in the Xenaverse: News and Views from the Great Divide".
I have to admit that recent articles you've published gave me the impression that you leaned towards more "subtext friendly" views. As a result, I haven't done as much in depth reading as I have in the past. I have grown tired of the incessant soapboxing by subtext fans, who (for some reason) feel the need to club me over the head with their viewpoint.
Don't get me wrong, I recognize the subtext in the series. I just don't embrace it. When I express this view in on-line communities, I receive a fair degree of grief and abuse because of it. I've been fighting this sort of battle for almost as long as I've been watching the show, and after twenty or thirty circular arguments it wears thin.
It was wonderful to see a well-written opinion piece on the subject. Especially in a journal that I have started to view as one of the supporters of this state of mind. By presenting this "dissenting view" in a place other than the letters page, you have restored a bit of my faith in this site. If you continue to provide balanced viewpoints like this one, I will once again become a more regular reader.
From: Anne Beaudry
Subject: Re: Nancy's Article in April's edition of Whoosh!
Date: Sun, 16 Apr 2000
I just finished reading Nancy Lorenz's article called "The Discrimination in the Xenaverse" and I would like to comment on it. I feel this was well written and well presented article that accurately presented the discrimination that is present in the Xenaverse. Like Nancy, I have also been on several Xena lists and have been called names, which are unprintable here, all because I liked Joxer. I tried to present my point of view and then listen to theirs. I listened with an open mind and accepted their opinions without flaming them, but when I expected the same respect from them, I found that they refused to accept my beliefs and called me vicious names because of them. I am an open-minded person and I believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinions, regardless of whether I believe them or not. I expect the same kind of respect from others.
I have written a number of Xena Fan stories_ not all of these include Joxer and am seen as a talented writer by many people on several different lists. Yet some of these same people happen to believe in the subtext between Xena and Gabrielle, but none of them have ever flamed me for using Joxer in my stories. Some of these subtexters are my friends and we enjoy discussing the show at great length. We have even discussed their views on subtext and my views on Joxer/Gabrielle romance. These subtexters also like Joxer and some are even sad to see him leave the show.
I do not hate subtexters, nor do I think their views on the show are wrong. They are entitled to their own opinions just as I am entitled to my own opinions! If everyone respected other people's opinions, we would have no need for articles such as this. We all enjoy the same show why can't we simply share the joys of watching it together and accept the views of others.
From: Matthew Maxwell
Subject: Letter to the editor
Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2000
This letter is in response to the article by Nancy Lorenz, "THE DISCRIMINATION IN THE XENAVERSE: NEWS AND VIEWS FROM THE GREAT DIVIDE," in the April 2000 issue. I am not going to comment on the main thrust of her arguments. It should indeed be evident that both sides of the subtext debate should treat their counterparts with respect and - absent that - silence. What I do want to address are her comments regarding the ability of writers and artists devoted to general, non-subtext, work to get their work posted on the Net.
As I understood Ms. Lorenz, she has encountered difficulty getting her work, in any of several artistic mediums, posted. I assume she would extend this difficulty to others producing works of similar non-alt themes. What seems to annoy her is that her work is not accepted by generally subtext-focused sites. (I make this assumption because the works of the artists she mentions, Melissa Good, Jeanette Atwood, and Lunar, are all located in such forums.) Should this, if both true and a fair reading of her words, really be of great social or artistic importance. Moreover, should it be viewed as discrimination? I think not.
The author makes it clear that web sites often focus on the themes in the Xenaverse most dear to those who maintain them. The "Gabrielle Joxer Romantics Society" she mentions would be one example and the "Cavern of Alternative Tales" would be another. Should it really be so surprising that the former is unlikely to post fiction with X&G as a couple (and with Joxer perhaps not even present) while the latter is just as unlikely to post a drawing of Joxer and Gabrielle making out in front of a wedding cake? Each site caters to an audience with a certain, generally matching viewpoint of the Xenaverse. Does this amount to censorship (in the non-governmental sense of the term) or merely editorial control? Indeed, does it even stifle readership of stories or viewing of artworks? I am a heterosexual man who is about as pro-subtext as one can be. I am more devoted to fan fiction than I am to the television series itself. The vast majority of the works I have read have been alt in nature and today, all of the fiction I read is based on a romantic relationship between X&G. Some of the general fiction I read was quite well written and entertaining, but it lacked the romantic link I needed to make it really ring true in my eyes. For me, the alt romance is key. To feed my need for this type of work, I surf many alt sites, subscribe to mailing lists, and follow the work of many authors religiously. I cannot imagine that my counterpart out there in cyberspace who is just as intent on a romance between Gabrielle and Joxer does not do the same in the pursuit of his or her fiction fix! If work is really good, I think it will find a home and those looking for work of that nature will find that home and make it theirs. (Indeed, there is a lot of marginal work out there that has found support as well.)
The Xenaverse on the Net is vast. There are sites that host the works of many authors. Some authors host their own sites featuring their own work. Still, others distribute their work via mailing lists. Some web sites, certain authors, and even some ways of looking at the series and its characters are going to attract a greater volume of fan traffic. This is the nature of entertainment in any form. Those who sponsor web sites have every right to accept or reject work for posting as they see fit. Of course, it should be done with tact and respectfully, but it can be done. Ultimately, if there are fans seeking a type of work and it is on the Net, their persistence will pay off and the work will be found. Both parties will benefit as artists have their creations gleefully consumed by fans. As it is said: If you build it, they will come.
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