?

Log in

No account? Create an account
HIV, in fanfic and in real life - Mo's Journal — LiveJournal
June 21st, 2005
02:03 pm

[Link]

Previous Entry Share Next Entry
HIV, in fanfic and in real life

(50 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments
 
[User Picture]
From:eveningblue
Date:June 22nd, 2005 01:29 am (UTC)

AIDS in Slash

(Link)
I was kind of surprised when I started reading slash to see just how infrequently HIV seems to come up as a topic, and how infrequently sex scenes portray men practicing safer sex. It bothered me a bit. It seemed to take away some of the verisimilitude, since safer sex (or risky sex and worrying about the risk) is so much a part of the male homoerotic landscape. It made the sex scenes seem more fantasy-like and less real. Maybe that's part of the reason people do write them like that - they want them to sound like a fantasy, not a public health infomercial.

When I first started reading Starsky and Hutch slash, about a year ago, I was surprised to see that even though many writers set their stories in the early or mid 80s, there was nary a mention of AIDS or safe sex. Even in stories where one or both men had had other male partners, never was safe sex or AIDS mentioned.

I found this particularly weird and ironic and discomfiting because of the real-life story of actor Paul Michael Glaser, who played Starsky, and whose life was devastated by AIDS in the 80s (his wife and two children were infected, and ultimately his wife and one child died). So there was the real person on the one hand, deeply affected by AIDS, and his alter ego Starsky, boffing like a maniac without a condom in all these fan-penned stories.

It took me awhile to get past this weirdness. Ultimately, I think women writing S/H don't deal with AIDS or condoms is for two of the reasons you mentioned:

1-it would ruin the fantasy of two men fucking without a thought of the real world

2- in many if not most of these stories, the characters have never had sex with any men except each other. I guess most writers ignore the fact that it was possible to contract AIDS through het sex, and certainly in other ways as well. (as cops, they certainly came into contact with a lot of blood! and had lots of hospital stays, some of which must have involved transfusions.)

I've only read one s/h story in which the topic of AIDS is discussed, and that's Jat Sapphire's "Life, Not Style," at
http://www.geocities.com/jat_sapphire/SH_stories/lifestyl.htm

However, I have thought of writing one of my own, and this post has made me think about the topic again. If I ever get out of the 70s in my fic, maybe I will get to explore this issue.
[User Picture]
From:mofic
Date:June 22nd, 2005 02:41 am (UTC)

Re: AIDS in Slash

(Link)
I found this particularly weird and ironic and discomfiting because of the real-life story of actor Paul Michael Glaser, who played Starsky, and whose life was devastated by AIDS in the 80s (his wife and two children were infected, and ultimately his wife and one child died). So there was the real person on the one hand, deeply affected by AIDS, and his alter ego Starsky, boffing like a maniac without a condom in all these fan-penned stories.

Wow! I had no idea. How was his wife infected, do you know? I'm assuming the children got it from her. And he never got it? Anyway, that real life story certainly does add to the irony. I actually thought S/H fic was always pre-HIV, but I clearly wasn't up on the timing. Anyway, thanks for your thoughts and I'll check out the story you mention.

[User Picture]
From:eveningblue
Date:June 22nd, 2005 03:20 am (UTC)

Re: AIDS in Slash

(Link)
She was infected via a transfusion she got when she was pregnant with their first child, around 1980. She had the child and then got pregnant again before any symptoms started appearing and she was diagnosed. She and her husband started the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and were very active in the whole AIDS awareness campaign and in working towards finding a cure or preventative treatment for pediatric AIDS (the kind that is passed from mother to child). Her first child died when she was 7; Glaser herself died around 1994; their second child is still alive, in his early 20's I guess, and controlling the disease with medication (not sure of the specifics or if he is just HIV+). Paul Michael Glaser himself never contracted HIV.

The series was on the air from 1975-1979, so in any fics imagining the characters getting together either towards the end of the series or just after, AIDS is looming on the horizon.

When I first started reading them, it was difficult to filter out the overlay of knowledge I had about real life, especially since it actually affected one of the actors so deeply. But now I hardly ever think of it. Maybe writers of s/h fiction are especially loathe to mention anything about AIDS or safe sex, precisely because they don't want readers to be reminded of the unhappy real life story. It can be an unwelcome intrusion if you're trying to read something entertaining and escapist.
[User Picture]
From:mofic
Date:June 22nd, 2005 10:36 am (UTC)

Re: AIDS in Slash

(Link)
Maybe writers of s/h fiction are especially loathe to mention anything about AIDS or safe sex, precisely because they don't want readers to be reminded of the unhappy real life story. It can be an unwelcome intrusion if you're trying to read something entertaining and escapist.

That makes sense. I also think that something about the actor's life could interfere with the sense of him as really being Starsky (or Hutch, I'm afraid I've never seen the show and don't know which is which).

P.S. Can you explain your icon? Why the gun and eye patch? Does it look like you? How did you do it? And for that matter, why lemurgrrl?
[User Picture]
From:eveningblue
Date:June 22nd, 2005 02:48 pm (UTC)

Re: AIDS in Slash

(Link)
P.S. Can you explain your icon? Why the gun and eye patch? Does it look like you? How did you do it? And for that matter, why lemurgrrl?

Ha! I made this icon on a site where you can compose your own South Park character. They have all sorts of accessories you can add, and I just thought the gun and the eyepatch were funny, especially juxtaposed with the dress and pearls.

And I like lemurs.

I do have another icon, though, and I will post it now. That's Starsky on the left. :-)
[User Picture]
From:mofic
Date:June 22nd, 2005 01:37 pm (UTC)

Re: AIDS in Slash

(Link)

http://www.geocities.com/jat_sapphire/SH_stories/lifestyl.htm



I liked that a lot. It was a good example of a story that's about HIV, without being preachy or boring. I think that's because it was still about the characters, as well. And it was quite accessible to someone who knows nothing about Starsky and Hutch. So, thanks.

I also think it's worthwhile to have AIDS and safer sex menioned in stories that aren't really about that, as a topic.
[User Picture]
From:eveningblue
Date:June 22nd, 2005 02:49 pm (UTC)

Re: AIDS in Slash

(Link)
Glad you liked it. She's a really good writer.

Mofic Powered by LiveJournal.com