October 19th, 2010

default [trufflehog]

seasonal fests and boundary policing

Sign-ups are open for rs_small_gifts until October 30th! The one fest that keeps dragging me back to HP.

But folks, can we quickly chat about exchange requests and boundary policing? I know, because I used to do it myself, that it's frequently standard fandom practice to put in a list of kinks that you don't like - 'the usual squicks like scat, bloodplay, watersports', 'none of that icky body fluid stuff' - etc etc.

Let's talk about a couple of the reasons why that's a problem:

1. It relies on a ridiculous premise, namely that there are all these kinky types waiting in the wings to spring on your request and write you watersports fic unless you specifically state otherwise. People want to write things that you'll like! Therefore, they are likely to work based on the things you've listed that you like, rather than assuming that anything you haven't specifically listed in your request is fair game.

Trying to make a complete list of things you dislike would be absurd, we'd be here all week. Keep it simple, specific, and mostly based on things that people genuinely might think to write for you unless you mention it, and it's all be fine. For instance, I've mentioned 'drunkenness' as a thing in my sign-up because it's a common story device in Remus/Sirius fic and one I don't personally like. Giving a long list of kinks you don't like, using derogatory language, being vague (what do you mean by 'the usual squicks' or 'kink' anyway?) or naming rare-in-fandom kinks is unnecessary and unhelpful.

2. And the reason that the above is a particular problem is because the continuous reinforcement of certain kinks as 'gross', 'icky', 'weird' etc is a method of boundary policing and holding up some pretty crappy fandom norms. It shames people who might otherwise want to request and write those things, and it shames people for whom whatever kink in question isn't just a fictional like but a real life practice or interest. By participating in that kind of behaviour you contribute to a culture in which some things are acceptable and others are not, and really we could all do without that.

-- This entry has comment count unavailable comment(s) at Dreamwidth. Comment using your Dreamwidth account or OpenID.