This isn't the notes post for Interviewing Leather Revised #4. That'll come later.
I tweeted the above after posting ILR#4. Interviewing Leather Revised #4 is the revised, edited, adapted version of Original Interviewing Leather Part Seven.
Part seven's a thing. It has been since it was originally posted. Very few days pass without someone reading part seven. Like I said in the tweet... this one's about sex. And about Leather opening up more completely. This is the emotional heart of the piece, as even Chapman admits in Interviewing Trey.
Revising it is a frightening prospect. The subject matter makes that worse.
I have written before about "the process that is progress," to use Allon-Zed's phrase. We aren't decanted perfect -- we grow. We learn. We learn better. Our context and understanding changes.
I have a very different understanding of women and womens' issues than I did in 2007. I think it's a better understanding. I know I have a better understanding of Leather, the character, than I did back then. I know a lot more about her early problems and damage. I know where a lot of her attitudes about sex come from. And I want to be true to the character and write as truthfully as I know.
Leather's first non-family kiss came after she quit being Dynamo Girl. All of her first hand knowledge about sex comes from the world of villainy, and villains aren't particularly healthy, as you may have guessed. Leather's got a lot of growing up left to do.
So posting this is a scary prospect. It really is. Leather is a flawed human being, regardless of the reasons why. She has issues that she's barely confronted. And I'm trying to depict them accurately without causing harm in the process. It doesn't help that in one sense, Leather's homophobic. She'd get pissed off and deny it if you confronted her, but until she was sixteen Deej was very sheltered, and after that she was both a superhero and screwing up her life something royal. She'll reach a point where she becomes comfortable enough in her own sexuality to better articulate her heterosexuality without defensiveness and be comfortable with other people and their sexual orientations.
More than one person, back when I wrote the original Part Seven, wanted to know why Leather wouldn't just sleep with women instead. There were enough comments that I felt it needed acknowledgement in the story, but even setting aside Leather's screwed up past the people she's interacting with generally have some kind of damage. Villains are used to getting their own way and not being told 'no.' That has nothing to do with their orientations and everything to do with the belief that they can literally do anything they want and no one better tell them otherwise.
Leather starts to get better about a lot of things after all of this. Defining Leather are the stories about Leather's life after this article is published, and a lot of these things get worked on there. Another parahuman in Leather's life -- one with very similar powers -- has a very different view on having sex with prosahumans -- as is evidenced by her prosahuman husband and their two children. Not long after the night Chapman slept in her room and they talked in the darkness, Leather gets confronted over her assumptions and other peoples' sexuality in a way that has a profound impact on her -- it's safe to say actually discussing some of this stuff with Chapman made that possible.
And this is an important part of the story in general. This is the literal midpoint. And this is the point where Chapman's relationship with Leather and the henchmen changes -- and where Leather stops putting on a show for Chapman and starts actually talking to him.
But I'm nervous. But, we'll see how it goes over.
Thanks! This has been a writer babbles about writing.