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Bratty - quill
Posted on Friday 30 September 2011 at 2:33 pm

A FanFic Rant


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I read a fic last night that really bugged me. I'm not going to name the fandom, let alone the characters or anything else, because I think this is something that has happened in other places. In fact, I'm fairly certain I've seen the same basic concept in multiple fics in multiple fandoms but this particular example of it for some reason set me off enough to rant whereas with the others I've just gritted my teeth and moved on.

Character A is secretly madly in love with Character B. Something odd happens so that Character A and Character B are forced to share a bed for the night. Character A awakens in the middle of the night due to a slight chill and discovers the window is open or the blanket fell off the bed or the fire in the fireplace went out or whatever. Character A further realizes that the two people in the bed have unconsciously moved closer together in their sleep, presumably seeking warmth from each other's body, so they are now wrapped around each other, limbs intertwined, spooning, or however else the author decided to convey the basic concept. Character A is so madly in love with Character B, and so certain that Character B does not reciprocate, that Character A stays in the embrace or whatever, despite knowing that pulling away is the appropriate action. Character A can't resist the temptation of being so close to the secret object of desire and eventually nuzzles Character B's neck or some such, eventually moving on to things like nibbling on an ear or licking the jaw line, or whatever to get a taste of what character A is sure would be absolutely forbidden if Character B were awake. Eventually Character A stops, at which point character B admits to having been awake all along, to sharing Character A's secret love, to not wanting Character A to stop, etc. They have passionate sex and swear to love one another to the end of time. The end.

Ha! I managed to write that without even given away genders!

I know how I'm supposed to react to this. I'm supposed to feel so sorry for the unrequited love, always hoping that it is not unrequited, I'm supposed to be overjoyed when Character B admits to being awake and they share their true feelings. Instead, I'm pissed. In my mind, Character A is guilty of all kinds of bad things. I really want to call it sexual assault, but that is such a broad term and there are far worse things that fit under that label that I don't want to seem like I'm trivializing those things. Can I get away with calling it minor sexual assault or maybe sexual assault-light? Whatever we want to call it, I promise you that if I were to, say, fall asleep on a couch watching a movie with my crush and woke up to find him nibbling my ear or kissing my neck because he thought I was asleep and thought I wouldn't let him do it if I were awake but he loved me so much he couldn't control himself when the opportunity presented itself, I would certainly not announce my undying love and have sex with him. I'd kick his ass! If we were at my place, I'd force him to leave immediately and if we were anyplace else, I'd leave immediately. I'd have to think long and hard about ever trusting him again, ever having anything to do with him again, never mind the whole crush thing.

So, having a light make out session with your crush while said crush is asleep because you think your feelings aren't reciprocated and said making out would never be allowed if said crush was awake is:
(1) So creepy and wrong and such a violation of the crush
(2) The sweetest and most romantic thing ever and sure to lead to rainbows, lollipops, and magical sex
(3) Perhaps something not quite to either of these two extremes?
Annoyed
Feeling: Annoyed
Exploring: Home
Listening: Roommate running a shower

Comments:

What's Taters, Precious?
mrstater at 7:24 pm on 30 September 2011 (UTC) (Link)
Erm, I did it a little differently in my current WIP, actually, but I did have my two characters accidentally fall asleep in each other's arms after something extremely traumatic, and the guy was secretly in love with the girl, and when she woke the next morning to his arousal (she was young and naive and didn't know about morning wood), he ended up revealing his feelings. But she Did Not Reciprocate and spent the next several chapters pissed off at him. (Until she eventually admitted her love.) Is that an acceptable variation? LOL

But yeah, the version you're talking about? Major creeper!

(And this icon is very appropriate, but only makes sense in the context of the ASOIAF fandom. LOL.)

ETA: Who wouldn't notice that their ear was being nibbled? Who sleeps that heavily?

Edited at 2011-09-30 07:26 pm (UTC)
Rachael
bratty_jedi at 7:35 pm on 30 September 2011 (UTC) (Link)
Waking up to physical signs of arousal from one or both parties and discussing them is acceptable, as is silly / contrived / accidental/ whatever ways of getting people in bed or asleep with each other. I love me some extended UST with individual or mutual cases of the unrequiteds thrown in. When done well, it really can make the final resolution of the UST pay off even fantastically. My only complaint is with the whole "I'm going to make out with you while you sleep because I lurve you so much and you don't lurve me back and wouldn't let me make out with you if you were awake" thought process.

Re the ETA: Totally! Not noticing someone else nibbling on any of one's body part should required drugged sleep or something.
What's Taters, Precious?
mrstater at 7:42 pm on 30 September 2011 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, good. Because I have to confess, the sleeping together trope is one I just adore.

Not noticing someone else nibbling on any of one's body part should required drugged sleep or something.

And on the flipside, you'd totally know that the person you were kissing was faking being asleep.
Rachael
bratty_jedi at 7:49 pm on 30 September 2011 (UTC) (Link)
And on the flipside, you'd totally know that the person you were kissing was faking being asleep.

Totally! I've seen loads of fics where two people are already in a relationship and have presumably reached a mutual understanding of what is and is not acceptable during sexy fun time and one person wakes up and starts trying to get the other aroused and awake. Generally the second person wakes up fairly quickly but pretends to still be asleep, the first person realizes the second is awake but pretends not to notice, and they both just see how long they can keep it going before someone cracks. Those are fun!

PS My first comment may have set a record for number of typos and grammar mistakes in a basically one paragraph comment. Wow.
Wild Magelet
wildmagelet at 8:41 pm on 30 September 2011 (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, to me, it's creepy. It would be romantic IF person A lay there, kind of frozen and embarrassed, person B woke up, and THEN there was kissing and an acknowledgment of feelings when both were fully awake and consenting.

I don't know if you read any chick lit, but I once read a book by Susan Elizabeth Phillips called "This Heart of Mine", and it was this plot taken to the max of wrongness. The heroine not only started "nibbling" at the sleeping hero, but because he was a guy and it was morning and, er, certain bodily reactions were happening, she took that as a green light to actually initiate sex.

I.e. the heroine raped the hero, and the author somehow thought that was acceptable. The hero was understandably outraged, but I believe the author actually had him apologising later in the book for his "over-reaction".

I still remember my "O_o WTF" reaction.

Turns out there's an online hatred for the same book for the same reasons, heh.
Rachael
bratty_jedi at 8:52 pm on 30 September 2011 (UTC) (Link)
It would be romantic IF person A lay there, kind of frozen and embarrassed, person B woke up, and THEN there was kissing and an acknowledgment of feelings when both were fully awake and consenting.

Precisely! All I'm asking for is a little conscious and acknowledged consent on the part of both parties.

Turns out there's an online hatred for the same book for the same reasons, heh.

Oh good. So it's not just me / us then. Of course I'm also creeped out by the whole Twilight vampire sneaking in the girl's window and watching her all night while she sleeps thing and he doesn't even touch her. The fact that these books are apparently the height of romance among teens now (or, well, a couple of years ago) worries me.
Wild Magelet
wildmagelet at 9:04 pm on 30 September 2011 (UTC) (Link)
Of course I'm also creeped out by the whole Twilight vampire sneaking in the girl's window and watching her all night while she sleeps thing and he doesn't even touch her.

And the scary fact is that, to me, that's not even half as disturbing as the fact that both characters are literally suicidal when they think they can't be with the other one.

Er, that's a fantastic message to send.
Rachael
bratty_jedi at 6:16 pm on 01 October 2011 (UTC) (Link)
Er, that's a fantastic message to send.

It really is disturbing, isn't it? I have a cousin who has been obsessed with twilight all her early to mid teens. Not just enjoyed the books, but is positively obsessed with it and it worries me. Of course, I know people who would react the same way about my interests in Star Wars and Harry Potter in particular, when I was her age and a little older. I think it is different, though, because I really don't see anything harmful in SW or HP like I do in Twilight, but, again, I know others see it differently. Oh well. I always just revert back to her life, her choices, and I butt out. But it still concerns me.
Wild Magelet
wildmagelet at 7:50 pm on 01 October 2011 (UTC) (Link)
I know. At the very LEAST, most girls are in for a very rude wake-up call when they discover what the majority of teenage boys are actually like!

I.e. they won't be creeping into your room and watching you sleep unless you somehow accidentally fell asleep on top of their XBox. :-)
Jane Potter
jane_potter at 10:37 pm on 30 September 2011 (UTC) (Link)
PREACH.

My biggest problem with this trope is when it's represented (not just in fanfic, but also in pro-fic-- maybe especially in pro-fic) as a good and healthy way to start a relationship. Or, worse, to maintain a relationship, i.e. that's the way you broach all new desires/levels of intimacy with your SO: by starting while they're asleep.

Actually, I believe that was the last romance novel I ever read.
Rachael
bratty_jedi at 6:14 pm on 01 October 2011 (UTC) (Link)
I don't read much romance pro-fic. Is this kind of thing prevalent there? If so, I think my passive not reading much might have to become active avoidance.
Jane Potter
jane_potter at 6:42 pm on 01 October 2011 (UTC) (Link)
Basically every "romantic" trope you can think of that's actually abuse/sexual assault/coercive/creepy as hell is taken as "this is the way true love happens!" Sometimes the patriarchy and misogyny just drip off the page.

One of the worst ones I heard of-- and this was after I started avoiding pro-fic romance, so I didn't actually read it-- was a book called "Hush" in which the protagonist, a high school girl, is followed and repeatedly harrassed by a male classmate trying to get her to sleep with him because he wants her so badly. He gets one of their teachers to assign him and the girl to a project together so that they're forced to spend time together, even after (I think) she tells the teacher that she's really uncomfortable with that. And I'm pretty sure that at one point she actually gets sexually assaulted in some way and nobody believes her-- or maybe by that point she'd realised she "liked it", IDK. Point is, it was played as a dark and dangerous romance where the girl falls for the bad boy while really it was a book about sexual assault that was practically titled "SHUT UP!"


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