skywardprodigal: Beautiful seated woman, laughing, in Vlisco. (Default)
Setup: The original version of Nisay garnered some criticism.

[livejournal.com profile] darlas_mom asked: "From genocide to celebrity assfucking in ten easy steps? WTF?! How could anyone think that could possibly be okay?!"

I came back with the following:

It's lifeaffirming. The people that live there are poor but happy even though they have much less than the fabulous young lovers.

"We're a couple of rich white guys and we're just on vacation and more in touch with our humanity than ever before." Cue sunset.

Maybe they'll adopt a smiling child and learn more about love and laughter as the child is more in touch with life, nature, and What's Really Important than kids back home.
skywardprodigal: Beautiful seated woman, laughing, in Vlisco. (Default)
They can be problematic.

Someone was looking for ways to write about African Americans without giving offense. I don't know if they got what they wanted.

I commented that something I read came across as fetishistic to me. I'll note my replies as, still, my comment notification isn't working properly and I don't wish to lose this. As, I think, well, it's worth thinking on more. And also, just in case I get banned, or my comments deleted, I wanna have them around to think on.

[livejournal.com profile] logophilos wrote:
Well this is the difficulty, isn't it. To me and to sparkindarkness it sounds erotic - to you and to witchwillow it sounds objectifying. That difference in perception is what leads to offence.

I can understand the offensiveness of his initial theoretical descriptions, and he's realised the problem with that too. But what in his description of his real lover is the problem? If he's saying he found the perfection of the skin of that particular guy beautiful, why is that fetishistic? How can a white lover describe a black lover without getting into that level of detail?

I'm really confused by this, and would appreciate the clarification.


I wrote:

That difference in perception is what leads to offence.

Perhaps that is true. I neither feel nor think that differences in perception are what lead to offense. With that in mind, I won't agree with your statement that 'difference in perception is what leads to offence." In my pov, fetishes are intensely problematic.

But what in his description of his real lover is the problem?

Perhaps you think it wrong of me to bring up that I thought the description of a rl lover fetishistic if I'm not prepared to provide something other than my opinion?"

I'm really confused by this, and would appreciate the clarification.

In my opinion, what you ask is more than I'm willing to give at this point. In the history of literature, this is a topic that's received much attention if little to no agreement. I'm not so sure that I'm equipped to clarify something for you without knowing what you've read, what you've been reading, and what you've been writing. Additionally, I don't think I can relieve your confusion in 800 words or less. At least, not without taking time away from making sure that my own head is on straight in regards to writing people even if the characters and people I write about don't always have their heads together in regards to ethnicity, race, and interpersonal relationships.


I did eventually respond to the person who wrote the passage I found problematic:

It read to me as as a fetishized conflation of skin and color. In particular:

No redness or mottling or speckling or all the other multi-hued chaos that happens on pale skin -

See, that sort of thing? Shear liquid perfection has been observed in pale skin. There are fair people, some of them white people, that have flawless, even, perfect skin. I've seen it myself and going by things I've read, while uncommon, it's something that has, in the past, been successfully cultivated.

I read this description to be a false polarization in regards to the quality of skin of one black man and all other people who could be described as unblemished and pure. In fact, the one person I had in mind cured me right quick of thinking that unblemished, 'alabaster' skin was ugly. It was astonishingly beautiful. And once I noticed that in her, I learned to see that while rare, it exists, and has existed. It's only fallen out of fashion.

That said, one black man of gorgeous, unblemished, perfect skin does not support the idea that only black people can have gorgeous, unblemished, perfect skin. Perhaps that is true in your experience. But to universalize that experience from one lover? That's skewed. And again, some black people? Have blemished skin that is prone to mottling, speckling, freckling, and about all the other things white skin does. It read as too much. I'm willing to accept that a person has unblemished skin. I can't accept that all pale people have blemished skin.


Eventually, a friend wrote a rant prompted by the original post on 'how do I write without giving offense'. It's a good rant, I think.

ETA: From willow unpleased with the modding/silencing in the op too.

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skywardprodigal: Beautiful seated woman, laughing, in Vlisco. (Default)
a princess of now

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