rheasilvia: (Sakura)
Warning: rambly meta with no real point ahead.

I've just come across an author warning for an amoral main character. The character in question is amoral in canon, so for a moment, it seemed odd to me that the adherence to canon characterization was considered warnings-worthy... but then, I realized that it actually isn't odd, but rather directly related to the prevalent fannish tendency to white-wash beloved characters of all their canon sins.

It's a time-honored fannish tradition to take a villain or an otherwise morally impeachable canon character and turn them into a misunderstood dear with a secretly white vest. It's happened in every fandom I've ever known that had a popular "bad" (or ambiguous) guy. I don't speak of the somewhat different fannish tradition of trying to fill the blanks canon leaves to create actual well-rounded characters; to ascribe reasons to actions; to provide the antagonist's point of view, and other such things. I also don't speak of working with a morally dubious canon character to turn him into a relatable, even sympathetic figure, despite his failings. I mean the actual white-washing of a character to absolve him of all sins.

In extreme cases, this white-washing can involve ignoring the canon character pretty much entirely. For example, I will never forget the fan who remarked that serial killing, sociopathic and sadistic character X was her favorite because she was just like him. She went on to explain this rather alarming statement by saying that X was very intelligent, and so was she. While X was very intelligent, it was hardly his defining trait; she might as well have said that she wore the same size shoes. However, the (canonically extremely unsubtle) sadistic, serial killing sociopathy fell to the wayside in the face of the fan's liking for the character, and all that remained for her was the positive trait of intelligence.
Disclaimer: X is also my favorite. Fortunately, however, I am nothing like him. I'm pretty sure we don't even have the same shoe size.

Long rambly story short: In the context of a fandom that is used to being shown a canonically amoral character as a fluffy white-vest-wearing bunny in fanfic, a warning for writing him as an amoral character does make sense.

Sorry for rambling. ;-)
rheasilvia: (Default)
I have a story up on AO3 with a "rape/non-con" archive warning. Today, I received a (very polite and not at all flamey!) comment remarking that the rape was difficult to read, and that a trigger warning might have been a good idea.

Incidentally, I also thought that a trigger warning would be a good idea for this story. That's why I used the archive warning.

Now I'm wondering - did the reader overlook the warning, or did she feel there should have been another warning within the text itself to mark the passages in question? I suspect I'm not entirely up to date on the eternal "warnings" discussion.

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