Whoosh! Issue 78 - July/August 2003

By Fran Bergman
Content © 2003 held by author
WHOOSH! edition © 2003 held by Whoosh!
901 words

Fan Fiction Indulgence (01-03)
Rape: Toys & Controversy ( 04-05)
Grubby Bards (06)
Where Are All The Good Bards? (07)


Fan Fiction Indulgence

[01] I am a lesbian and a big fan of Xena: Warrior Princes. As with many other fans, I was saddened by the series' demise and, as such, I decided to start reading fan fiction so as to induce the feeling of enjoying whole new episodes. I could indulge myself in the illusion that the show was still alive.

[02] I read Melissa Good's stories and found myself surprisingly impressed at her uncanny understanding of the characters. She has a way of probing, examining, and deftly expressing the inner thoughts and feelings of the two women -- especially in reference to events taken from actual episodes. Good is able to capture an essence of the deep, loving relationship between Xena and Gabrielle; but, more importantly, I am impressed with the way she treats the "intimate" scenes with utter respect. She evokes sensuality in the reader without being explicit and graphic. She knows where to draw the line and leave the reader in a sensuous revelry for a true love between two women. As far as fan fiction goes, in my opinion, her work is the most artful.

[03] After I realized that I was running out of Good's stories, I sought fan fiction that might be comparable, or even nearly comparable, to hers. So far, I find myself sorely disappointed. I started reading stories written by several different bards. I discarded them without finishing them because of the graphic sexual descriptions. They might otherwise have turned out to be good, interesting, and entertaining stories were it not for graphic explicitness.

Rape: Toys & Controversy

[04] What I am about to say will anger some. To those bards out there who feel the need to place our beloved characters in explicit sexual situations (i.e., use of sex toys, B&D, etc.), I would like to ask you, why? It took me awhile to figure out why I felt so uncomfortable reading these graphic lesbian scenes given that I, myself, am a lesbian. It finally occurred to me that it is because the characters of Xena and Gabrielle, and, in essence, the persons of Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor, were being raped in words. In my opinion, it is the equivalent of molestation and sexual harassment. It makes me wonder if Lawless and O'Connor would be uncomfortable in reading any of these stories. Might they feel violated? Then again, perhaps I am wrong on this point. They could be perfectly fine with their images being portrayed in such graphic sexual acts for all to read about. I do not know.

[05] Yes, I know there are "disclaimers" at the head of the stories. The writers, I suppose, have the right, although I do not know why, to place characters that are not from their own imaginations but, instead, portrayed by two very real women, into graphic sexual situations, in order to express their own sexual fantasies. Imagine for a moment this scenario, if you will. Imagine the tables turned. You are in the workplace, in school, or busy doing whatever it is that you spend the majority of your time doing. There are straight men that eye you, maybe even leer at you. Then they decide, under the guise of being a "bard" that they will write sex stories about you, and place them on the Internet for all to see. In these stories, they have you performing oral sex on them, and even on their buddies. In their stories, they take you anally, share you, and have you performing every kinky sex act they can think of. They could put "disclaimers" at the head of the stories, and even slightly alter your name. Nevertheless, the physical description, and everything about the character is you, and you are completely at their sexual whim. Then other guys who read them begin looking at you in a whole new light. Personally, I would not like it one bit. I would feel violated.

Grubby Bards

[06] I might suggest that the next time any of the bards experience sexual harassment in any form, take a moment and think about it a minute before you complain. They do the same thing to Xena and Gabrielle and Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor in their stories. Tell me one legitimate reason why it is any different. In the Pasadena Convention tape, Lucy Lawless said that for there to be subtext is completely fine, but that she did not want to make it a grubby little joke. Nevertheless, sadly, I have seen in too many fan fiction stories that it has, indeed, become grubby.

Where Are All The Good Bards?

[07] In closing, I am still searching for good fan fiction that exudes respect for our ladies. No graphic sex fantasies, no toys, and no bondage and discipline. Just nice, romantic, action stories that are worthy of, and respectful to the love relationship between Xena and Gabrielle, and the wonderful friendship between Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor. Are there any other artful bards out there that can even compare to that of Melissa Good?


the author Fran Bergman
Fran is a native San Diegan (a rare breed). She is blind, but loves to listen to books and talk radio, and enjoys working on the computer. She comes from a very large family, and has a special place in her heart for children. She loves animals, outdoors, and spacious places.

Favorite episode: WHEN FATES COLLIDE
Favorite line: "Love is helpless in the face of cruelty." -- Gabrielle from RETURN OF CALLISTO
First episode seen: THE QUEST
Least favorite episode: MARRIED WITH FISHSTICKS



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