Hi Guys, as some of you may know, I write (and probably like you read) in other fandoms and I’ve been pondering something for a while now; and my thoughts were recently brought into focus by a posting to AO3: Three Times Is Either Enemy Action or Cowley by redfiona .
‘Slash’, insofar as I’ve seen it defined, denotes a same sex relationship and ‘het’, a heterosexual one. Both definitions are usually taken to imply that sex will be part of the story.
‘Gen’, is usually defined as containing nothing more explicit than a bit of fifties-censor type hand holding. For instance, Peter Pan’s obvious feelings for Wendy, Worzel Gummidge’s mostly unrequited pining for Aunt Sally or Doyle’s instant infatuation with Leia. And like Blind Run, the story focus is usually assumed not to be romantic in nature.
Pros is probably a bit out of step here in that so much of the output is either ‘slash’ or buddy fic (I can’t remember the last time I saw a ‘het’ warning on a Pros story), that there is a tendency, at least in conversation, for people to fall into the habit of using ‘gen’ as shorthand to mean anything that’s not explicitly ‘slash’.
So what rules do you use?
If the sexual content is otherwise ‘gen’, I refuse to feel obligated to up the rating simply because the story has gay protagonists. Gay folk don’t buy their potatoes in a manner any more sexually explicit than people who are not gay. Orientation is irrelevant in most situations; I would be pretty astounded to be asked for proof of age before boarding the bus because the bus driver was gay. (Actually I’d be pretty astounded to be asked for proof of age full stop, decrepitude having its advantages.)
Neither do I think a peck on the cheek becomes any more explicit because it’s Doyle kissing Bodie rather than Doyle kissing Ann Holly.
Also, I think the origin of the fandom matters, I’ve only warned once for swearing in Pros (I wrote a particularly potty mouthed character). By Mary Whitehouse’s lights Pros is post-watershed adult programming, and for my money, if not ITV’s, much of it still is.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. comes from a different era and was intended originally as more family viewing, hence I’d warn for things there which even Cowley’s gentlemanly sensibilities would let by.
So let’s talk ratings, categories and warnings, what and why? What’s your take?