vampthenewblack: (Default)

I'd never come across the Alpha/Beta/Omega phenomenon before I hit the Teen Wolf fandom. It just wasn't a thing in my previous fandoms. While there's elements of the trope that I enjoy (mpreg, male lactation, knotting, made them do it), I steadfastly resisted it in Teen Wolf.

Mostly because I'm a canon whore, and IMO, Teen Wolf already had a perfectly good Alpha/Beta/Omega mythology, and Omegaverse wasn't it.

But also, because it was, more often than not, kinda rapey. Sometimes very rapey.

I like a good non-con fic as much as the next deviant, and I love dub-con. The rape/non-con warning has never scared me away. But within ABO, where the balance of power is significantly uneven because biology, it's a squick.

I'm the same with BDSM fic. If consent isn't explicit, or if the bottom has any 'they don't love me' hangups even if it's revealed to be a misunderstanding later, or if the top is using subjugation and pejorative language in regards to the bottom, I'm running a mile fighting the urge to vom.

So ABO, if I read it, like BDSM (on the extremely rare occasion I might read that), has to be fairly fluffy and with all the consent and explicit feelings and communication and stuff. Or eww.

I've been reading a fair amount of ABO in Supernatural lately. Mostly it's good. Rape/non-con warnings are there to cover the dubious consent of biological imperative, there's respect for the omega, at least in the main pairing, lots of lovely mpreg and I don't have to completely disregard a canon mythology in order to read it.

Then I was reading a fic that had no rape/non-con warning, not even a dub-con tag, and was trucking along nicely with what seems to be a fairly common 'Dean hides his omega status from Sam for years and then spontaneously goes into heat when they're adults and they fuck' trope.

Then when Dean's heat is revealed, Sam suddenly turns into this rapey asshole, all 'I own you' and barely saying two words before throwing Dean down and fucking him.

Urgh. I squicked hard, and now I'm all shaken and kind of put off. And it all could have been avoided with a little dub-con or 'controlling language' tag or at least some hint in the summary that it was going to go that way.

I'm going to be wary of ABO going forward now, when I'd almost lost that fear because most of it is well tagged and doesn't ping my squicks. And that kind of sucks.

There's all these questions in my head now, too. Do I have the right to be pissed at getting squicked by this fic? Or is rapeyness to be assumed simply because of the biological imperative of ABO?

In my experience, a rapey vibe shouldn't be automatically assumed just because ABO, because it's not all like that. I feel like the author should have used the archive warning, or at least a dub-con tag (the work was 'no archive warnings apply' so the rapey vibe really was a surprise).

I guess I'm a little hesitant to leave a comment to that effect, though, because I ignore requests for top/bottom 'warnings'. There's a difference between an official archive warning vs a tag for something that shouldn't ever be a 'warning' at all, though, right?

I guess I'm afraid I'd get called out as a hypocrite :/

vampthenewblack: (Default)

You know what it's like on Amazon and Goodreads. The rating system that makes me thankful that I don't write OF. It has a point there, despite the potential for abuse (I've heard of authors using socks to rate their own stuff up, of enlisting friends to do it, and of people who don't like the author one-starring out of malice). You check out the ratings and reviews before you shell out hard earned cash. All of the logic.

Thank god this built in rating system will never be a thing on AO3, those who decide these things having rejected that particular new feature proposal in part due to the potential for abuse.

No one has to pay to read fic, therefore there's no danger in flouncing after the first paragraph if a fic is not to your taste.

I occasionally look at bookmarks of my own stuff on AO3. I like to read the comments, I get all fluttery and excited when someone ticks the rec box, and I look for tags they've applied that I might like to add to the fic.

And I wander through other peoples bookmarks, looking for their recs and comments and often add things to my TBR from there.

From time to time I see readers using a rating system in their bookmarks. I'm not particularly precious about my work, I think I've been doing it long enough that I know my limitations and I know that most of what I post (especially lately) is seriously lacking in one way or another. So when I see a low rating on one of my own personal faves, and one of my highest kudos'd works, I can shrug it off without too much of a hit to my ego.

I realise that most of the time these rating systems have little to do with the quality of the work and more to do with the readers own tastes, and for many are likely only meant for the readers own reference. I keep a rating system of my own, but I keep it in Calibre, safely private on my own personal computer. There's no way in hell I'd let the authors of the works I read see those ratings, because they are for my own future re-reading reference, and have everything to do with my own personal tastes and almost nothing to do with quality.

I never see these ratings by a reader with any works of their own on AO3. It's only readers who make these ratings public. I won't say that before they criticise they should try writing themselves because IMO that's not what they're doing. I imagine that the majority of them simply have no concept of how hard it is to create something and share it.

To all those non-writers who use a rating system: Fic authors (and artists, and podficcers, and all the creators in all the media) put hours upon hours of their own time, and blood, and sweat, and tears, into creating fanworks and then share them for free, for love. It's a very vulnerable position, and particularly for those new to sharing, one knock is all it takes to make them not want to share again. Imagine if this happened to your favourite author way back when they began. If they simply gave up before they'd really started, before they had a chance to hone thier writing. Imagine how little fic we'd have to read now!

AO3 is not Amazon, and it's not Goodreads. Public ratings don't belong here.

If we got paid for this shit it might make public rating systems easier to take, but we don't. All we get in return is a few kudos or comments. Personally, I'm happy with that. I don't want to get paid for writing fic, because this way I get to write whatever the hell I want to write, I don't have to please anyone but myself, and I write to my tastes.

And for those readers who choose to rate to their tastes, that's fine, too, but you should keep it to yourselves. Don't put it where the author is highly likely to see it, in places like public AO3 bookmarks.

The ridiculous thing is that it's very easy to make ratings and comments in an AO3 bookmark private. All you need to do is tick the private bookmark box! Unless you're intentionally trying to make the writers feel bad, but that's kind of an asshole thing to do.

vampthenewblack: (Default)

I'm trying to read more. I'm a crap reader lately, for a lot of reasons. There's the habit I have of avoiding recently posted works on AO3 while a season airs (because I got spoilered to fuck by AO3 tags before 3a even started), I don't see recs since I flounced tumblr a while back and don't watch my home timeline on twitter during a season either.

I have a couple rarepair feeds bookmarked, but most of it is OOC and uberkinky, which isn't my bag. The odd fic that is relevant to my interests tends to be quickies, short things that I kind of eat, bookmark, and then I'm out of stuff to read again.

Then there's time. I tend to think of reading as a leisure activity, whereas writing is enjoyable while also feeling productive. And I might be a stay at home mum with both kids at school, but holy crap, there's always something I 'should' be doing.

The lack of reading isn't helping my current writing situation. Nothing in, rubbish out, or whatever. Or fill the tank. Or something. I need to fill my goddamn tank.

What I have done, is resurrected my long-neglected Kindle account. Mostly I think Amazon is a bag of dicks for many reasons, one of which is the fact that I have books in there I frickin paid for but can't migrate to a preferred ereader and format (epub, because freedom), so I'll certainly never buy another kindle book. What they do do, though, is make it really easy to find free (as in beer, not freedom, because Amazon) original works.

I now have a kindle (app) stuffed full of original m/m fic. The quality of which will vary, but so far I haven't been too disappointed. It's the same with fanworks, the quality varies, and it's not like I'm out of pocket if I have to flounce something for crap grammar.

I'm making an effort to review things, too. It makes me think and it's kind of a thank you to those authors whose work is free to read.

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