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Recommended essays about platonic love - Light One Candle

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December 19th, 2008


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05:27 pm - Recommended essays about platonic love
I found a really fascinating article today, talking about so-called "romantic friendship." I don't completely agree with the author, but she argues for the existence of intense platonic friendships from history (and psychology, sort of) in a much more in-depthy way than I've had the pleasure to read before. Deeply thought-provoking. (THANK YOU, wneleh, for linking this article in your comments!)

Romantic Friendship: Not Just a Code Word for Gay by Heather Elizabeth Peterson

And while perusing the Fan History wiki's "gen" entry, I discovered another excellent article on a similar topic, this one from a distinctively fannish viewpoint:

RECLAIMING PHILIA: or the Mis-Sexualizing of Relationships, by minisinoo

NOTE: I'm not saying that if you're a genficcer like me you'll necessarily agree with everything in these articles. But they're very interesting, and I was pleased to find people who articulate at least the basics of my own thoughts on our culture's obsession with sexual love so clearly.
Current Mood: enthralledenthralled

(15 lit candles | Light a candle)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:mosinging1986
Date:December 20th, 2008 01:40 am (UTC)

Just call me the anti-shipper.

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OOO! I look forward to reading these.

And I don't know minisinoo personally, but she's an AMAZING writer! Years ago I stumbled upon a novel length X-Men fic by her that consumed me for DAYS. And I had no clue about or interest in that fandom at all! In fact, it led me to the movies, wherein... I was sorely disappointed. LOL!

She was also very gracious to me when I sent her a gushing feedback note. I wish I still had our exchanges. She seems like a fascinating person in general.

Edited at 2008-12-20 01:42 am (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:December 20th, 2008 01:52 am (UTC)

Re: Just call me the anti-shipper.

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Ha, I believe that may be the fic she uses as an example in her article; I have it bookmarked to read later, because a dark Logan & Scott fic appeals to me. *g*
[User Picture]
From:feliciakw
Date:December 20th, 2008 03:14 am (UTC)
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The description of male romantic friendship rather reminds me of the wikipedia entry for "bromance." It would seem that to an extent the concept is making a comeback under a different name. Which would be a good thing, I think.
[User Picture]
From:sallymn
Date:December 20th, 2008 05:57 am (UTC)

I think I can see both sides...

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Because I happily read both gen and slash (or het) about the same characters, and don't see that the relationships I'm interested in are any better, deeper or more interesting if they're sexualised... or, any better, deeper or more interesting if they're not sexualised :) It's still the same two fascinating people, after all.

But I'm an 'umble sort, and always think the reason for the swathes of erotica (both het and slash) about characters who don't actually get any on screen is 'umbly simple. Most readers like and want romance (there is a good reason why romance, even the poor stuff, is the biggest seller per se in published fiction, why women's magazines pretty much insist on it, and why even non-romance is these days expected to include it). Even with free fanfic, the market makes the mare go...



Edited at 2008-12-20 05:58 am (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:mistraltoes
Date:December 20th, 2008 06:11 am (UTC)

Re: I think I can see both sides...

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Well, I don't think romance is a problem, certainly. But nowadays it often comes with an insistence that any intense relationship must be erotic in nature--and that's insulting and upsetting to those of us who are interested in and/or participate in intense, loving platonic relationships.
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:December 20th, 2008 06:12 am (UTC)

Re: I think I can see both sides...

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Oh, I'm sure that supply-and-demand has a lot to do with the production of both het and slash.

That's not really what either of those essays are about, though. They're more (at least the first one is) about how our society came to be interested in sexual relationships almost exclusively, and how that differs from older cultural perspectives. That's what I'm thrilled to see explored, since it's the obsession with sexual love that I object to.

(And the subject matter is why I used my friendship icon rather than my Gen Pride icon. *g*)

Edited at 2008-12-20 06:13 am (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:mistraltoes
Date:December 20th, 2008 06:17 am (UTC)
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Thanks for pointing these out. I may have to bookmark them for re-reading when I'm feeling cranky. :D
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:December 21st, 2008 07:54 pm (UTC)
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Do. :)
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From:leelust
Date:December 20th, 2008 09:24 am (UTC)
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Interesting... thanx for the links.
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From:rabidsamfan
Date:December 20th, 2008 02:29 pm (UTC)
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Kitty Woldow wrote an essay about smarm which I am not enough awake to find the link but you might be interested in too.
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:December 21st, 2008 07:54 pm (UTC)
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I believe I have read that essay! (My first online fandom was The Sentinel, so I know Kitty's work well.)
[User Picture]
From:scionofgrace
Date:December 21st, 2008 03:04 am (UTC)
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I liked both of these very much. Thanks!

My current feeling about this is that a lot of people are missing out on a lot of beauty by ignoring intense friendships. Just yesterday, my roommie Amy (we've lived together for four and a half years, been friends for nine) and I were saying to each other that we need to hang out more, that we never see each other, that we miss each other, and a lot of other things that I'm sure your average eavesdropper would have said, "Oo, lesbian!" to. And I would shake my head and say, "You don't know what you're missing."

On the other end of the scale, I introduced someone to my friend Jeff, who I was practically raised with, and later she told me, "You treat him like he's your brother." Jeff and I think the same way, we have a lot of the same interests (I got him started on LotR), and we get along very well - and he dated and married Kim, not me.

There are just so many different shades of relationships, so many ways that they can go that have nothing to do with erotic love. I think it's sad that sex is what so many people default to. It's like they're not paying any attention to the reality around them, where there's a wonderful variety of options out there. I mean, I love dark chocolate, but not to the exclusion of, y'know, cheese and hamburgers and apples and peppernuts, or even milk chocolate. Someday I might find my Dark Chocolate. Until then...
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:December 23rd, 2008 01:20 am (UTC)
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Yes, indeed, to all of that. :)
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From:dejla
Date:December 22nd, 2008 06:37 pm (UTC)
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Am marking this for perusal later.
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:December 23rd, 2008 01:21 am (UTC)
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Whether you write gen or het or slash, these are both worth reading, I think. Very interesting perspectives.

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