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07 August 2010 @ 07:27 pm
Rambling: Day 2  
So the Fire Nation seems pretty progressive. Does that mean they are more tolerant of gays than the Water Tribes or the Earth Kingdom? I'm always trying to work this out in my head because I wanted to explore a gay relationship between Hakoda and Piandao. What are the cultural stigmas or taboos? What would Sokka or Katara think about Hakoda entering into gay relationship--any gay relationship? Would Hakoda even enter into a relationship with a Fire Nation man--a general no less? If there are stigmas, would Hakoda put his children and his tribe through something that could turn out to be a public embarrassment? How OOC would it be to pair them up?

People usually pit Hakoda with Bato. Even then, I'm always wondering if they have to sneak around or could they be open about their relationship? What about Piandao and Jeong Jeong? Would they have to sneak around or could they be open about their relationship?  I just want to ask the authors these questions when I read their slash fics. But the last time I did that, someone was Emotional because they said I missed the point. Oh well.
 
 
 
Rebecca Hb.beckyh2112 on August 7th, 2010 11:58 pm (UTC)
I would answer questions about how I portray homosexuality in any of the AtLA cultures I write. /not helpful
SC: BFFsplushulala on August 8th, 2010 04:34 am (UTC)
I need everything you've got on Piandao and Jeong Jeong. <3
Rebecca Hb.: Avatar: Jeongdaobeckyh2112 on August 8th, 2010 04:56 am (UTC)
Okay. Fire Nation culture in general - bisexuality is the assumed norm. Even if some people prefer one sex over the other, it's generally assumed that there are some people of the other sex they'll be into. So people who are pretty firmly hetero or homosexual are regarded as minor oddities, who perhaps haven't met the right person of the requisite gender. This all stems from my view of fire as an element of passion, so passion tends to be more celebrated and encouraged in the Fire Nation.

Heirs of anything are expected to marry and have children, no matter what their proclivities. Women are expected not to have children outside of marriage, but otherwise are not culturally discouraged from affairs. Women having pillow-friends is encouraged before marriage, however, as female lovers aren't going to get them pregnant.

Specifics... We know, canonically, Piandao was abandoned at an orphanage and he pretty much went directly into the army. Jeong Jeong, meanwhile, I write as having been a merchant's son before he joined the navy. So they're both 'low-class' on a cultural level. On the other hand, they are both soldiers, and given the militaristic nature of the Fire Nation, that would heavily raise their apparent class in people's eyes. Too, both of them being in different branches of the military prevents either from coming under the command of the other. That kind of power play is frowned upon as 'uncivilized', though it does happen and likely goes unpunished unless the wrong junior officer/enlisted man winds up under it.

From a cultural perspective, in the Fire Nation as I write it, an affair between them would be viewed anywhere from acceptable to happy-making, depending on how well one knows them as individuals.

Now, as individuals... The way I see it going, Jeong Jeong has a few girlfriends before (and during when) Piandao comes along, but nothing ever works out to the point of marriage. Then Piandao expresses interest, and they give it a try. Piandao has bad timing, though, as Jeong Jeong is starting to develop his issues with firebending and the Fire Nation. Then as Jeong Jeong starts getting more and more tangled up in his issues with firebending, his willingness to have sex with anyone goes down. Especially since he instinctively emotionbends and he's a bit of a pyro when I write him; so there's a strong link between fire and sex in his mind. That plus firebending issues equal to not being happy with sex.

Piandao tries to get past that, seduce his way in, but things do not work. They also see each other infrequently as it is (two different branches in an active military), and sometimes it is easier for Piandao to simply be a friend and try to comfort and ease Jeong Jeong, rather than be a lover.

Jeong Jeong deserts. Piandao has a long, hard think. Stuff happens. Piandao deserts. They try again, but it does not work. It doesn't really get a chance to work until after the series because Jeong Jeong doesn't get a chance to start healing until someone like Zuko is in charge and Aang has dragons. (Someone needs to take Jeong Jeong to visit the dragons. So badly.)

Personally, I write Jeong Jeong as a very dominant top and Piandao as an easygoing switch.
SC: BFFsplushulala on August 8th, 2010 04:37 pm (UTC)
My comment is so long, it had to be broken up into parts. -_-;

Okay. Fire Nation culture in general - bisexuality is the assumed norm. Even if some people prefer one sex over the other, it's generally assumed that there are some people of the other sex they'll be into. So people who are pretty firmly hetero or homosexual are regarded as minor oddities, who perhaps haven't met the right person of the requisite gender. This all stems from my view of fire as an element of passion, so passion tends to be more celebrated and encouraged in the Fire Nation.

I was thinking the same thing because I had read about a study that had been conducted in the 1940s that said most people, to varying degrees, were geared toward bisexuality with only a handful of the population being either exclusively straight or exclusively gay. (I can't believe I forgot the name of this study.) So every nation would have a predominately bisexual population but the Fire Nation would be more open and accepting about it.

I'm curious because I see this a lot in fandom. Why is it you think fire is the element of passion? It's the element of power but I don't necessarily equate that with passion myself nor to I find the Fire Nation people are more passionate than those of the other nations. Example: Zuko is not more passionate than Katara or even Aang. Suki also seems to be ruled by her emotions as were people like General Fong and Pakku. But I'm interested to read your thoughts on the matter. :)


Heirs of anything are expected to marry and have children, no matter what their proclivities. Women are expected not to have children outside of marriage, but otherwise are not culturally discouraged from affairs. Women having pillow-friends is encouraged before marriage, however, as female lovers aren't going to get them pregnant.

Oh, totally agree. I also think this could have been a deal with the Air Nomads. They all grew up in same-sex temples so their first sexual encounters would probably have been of a homosexual nature because, well, they didn't have anyone of the opposite gender around to "do stuff" with once they became curious about their bodies and their raging hormones started to kick in. But also, since the Air Nomads were a small group, they may have had some kind of population control in place so they never had to deal with over-crowding at the temples. They'd want people to have intimacy and it would have been more convenient to encourage homosexuality as an outlet for sex and love during times when they didn't want people procreating. Don't know if that makes any sense. -_-;


Specifics... We know, canonically, Piandao was abandoned at an orphanage and he pretty much went directly into the army. Jeong Jeong, meanwhile, I write as having been a merchant's son before he joined the navy. So they're both 'low-class' on a cultural level. On the other hand, they are both soldiers, and given the militaristic nature of the Fire Nation, that would heavily raise their apparent class in people's eyes.

I'm sure the fact they were both prodigal masters also went a long way to elevating their statuses. Even though the Fire Nation has a class system at work, they also seem to value merit and skill, and nonbenders like Mai, Ty Lee, and Piandao are valued.
SC: Piandao -- Goofy Faceplushulala on August 8th, 2010 04:38 pm (UTC)
Now, as individuals... The way I see it going, Jeong Jeong has a few girlfriends before (and during when) Piandao comes along, but nothing ever works out to the point of marriage. Then Piandao expresses interest, and they give it a try. Piandao has bad timing, though, as Jeong Jeong is starting to develop his issues with firebending and the Fire Nation. Then as Jeong Jeong starts getting more and more tangled up in his issues with firebending, his willingness to have sex with anyone goes down. Especially since he instinctively emotionbends and he's a bit of a pyro when I write him; so there's a strong link between fire and sex in his mind. That plus firebending issues equal to not being happy with sex.

Oh, hey, I noticed that link you made between sex and Firebending with Jeong Jeong. :) It was interesting because no one really spends time dealing with Jeong Jeong's sex drive. Like. At All. You know? It's nice because, to me, Jeong Jeong is so passionate and emotionally-charged.

For me, I always thought Jeong Jeong would find safety and comfort in someone like Piandao because Piandao isn't like the kind of person who frustrates Jeong Jeong, and by the kind of person, I'm talking about Zhao and others like him. When I say "safely", I don't mean physical safety. I'm talking emotional safety. Someone like Piandao isn't going to judge Jeong Jeong and probably understands where he's coming from. Someone like Piandao doesn't lose it over every little thing.

Piandao tries to get past that, seduce his way in, but things do not work. They also see each other infrequently as it is (two different branches in an active military), and sometimes it is easier for Piandao to simply be a friend and try to comfort and ease Jeong Jeong, rather than be a lover.

Awww. :) I've always loved how Avatar has promoted healthy relationships that are rooted in friendships. I start Piandao and Jeong Jeong off as friends before I get into intimacy with them so I spend all this time creating backstories of friendship for them. As an aside, after I watched how Zuko and Sokka played off of one another in The Boiling Rock, I decided they were what Jeong Jeong and Piandao use to be like in their youths--Jeong Jeong motivated by passion and idealism, an Emobender, Piandao pragmatic and methodical, nervous and unsure in his teens (maybe even down on himself), but mellowed-out and confident by the time he hit twenty.


Jeong Jeong deserts. Piandao has a long, hard think. Stuff happens. Piandao deserts. They try again, but it does not work. It doesn't really get a chance to work until after the series because Jeong Jeong doesn't get a chance to start healing until someone like Zuko is in charge and Aang has dragons. (Someone needs to take Jeong Jeong to visit the dragons. So badly.)

He's already been to see them. I can't prove this, of course, but I'm going with the theory that Jeong Jeong knows all about the Firebending Masters. Like Zuko, Jeong Jeong could have sought out answers by visiting the ancient ruins because he wasn't getting the answers he wanted about Firebending from any other source. So like Zuko and Aang, he stumbled onto their lost civilization and had to present himself to the masters to be judged. I'm sure Nick's old site had some information that contradicts my theory but...I don't care. I honestly never liked that episode that much, anyway. I thought it was rather silly.


Personally, I write Jeong Jeong as a very dominant top and Piandao as an easygoing switch.

I am so weird in that I can never write Tops and Bottoms. In my head, both partners have to be switches or I'll stop shipping them because I'll feel like only one of them is in control so there's a level of ineqality to their relationship. On the other hand, I would also like to think that Piandao is so secure that he's fine being the bottom if Jeong Jeong wants to top. So your scenario works for me. >:D
Rebecca Hb.beckyh2112 on August 8th, 2010 04:57 pm (UTC)
I'm curious because I see this a lot in fandom. Why is it you think fire is the element of passion?

It's a fairly traditional Western association with fire, at least in my experiences with elemental associations. Sex magic in Wicca, for instance, uses fire-associations. (By contrast, water is used for love magic.)

He's already been to see them. I can't prove this, of course, but I'm going with the theory that Jeong Jeong knows all about the Firebending Masters.

I can't see that. Not with all of his issues with fire.

In my head, both partners have to be switches or I'll stop shipping them because I'll feel like only one of them is in control so there's a level of inequality to their relationship.

Dude, just because someone prefers to be the penetrating partner in sex doesn't mean they're the one in control. It doesn't even mean they're the dominant one in the relationship. The dominance/submission in a relationship may follow traditional top/bottom roles, but it's just as likely not to or they're just as likely not to have any dominance/submission going on.

In any case, the one on the bottom is ALWAYS the one ultimately in control, because s/he's the one who says if sex is going to happen or not.
SCplushulala on August 8th, 2010 08:07 pm (UTC)
It's a fairly traditional Western association with fire, at least in my experiences with elemental associations. Sex magic in Wicca, for instance, uses fire-associations. (By contrast, water is used for love magic.)

I'm glad you didn't say it was "canon" and use Iroh's speech in Bitter Work to support it. You have no idea how man people get Iroh's speech wrong.


I can't see that. Not with all of his issues with fire.

Jeong Jeong's bitter to the point of self-loathing. If anything, meeting the masters would just give him more stuff to be bitter about. With bitterness comes cynicism and skepticism and a knack for finding fault with everything. I can see his bitterness turning into apathy because it's just easier not to care than to care about things only be become frustrated with them. But once the war is over and he can surround himself with loving people whom he trusts and begin to heal, then, maybe he'll find some kind of inner-peace. But...probably not a whole lot. So, he'll never truly be "over it" because "it" is something far more troublesome than just him being Emo over Firebending and Zhao being an asshole. There's a serious pathology going on there.

My character study of Jeong Jeong is kind of a psychological study of myself. This is probably not good from a writing standpoint because I am literally self-inserting myself into Jeong Jeong's character, but it's really good therapy. :)
Rebecca Hb.beckyh2112 on August 8th, 2010 08:17 pm (UTC)
I don't even remember Iroh's speech in "Bitter Work", so it'd be hard for me to call on that.

*winces* Well, I'm sure it's good therapy, and I hope it serves you well there.
SCplushulala on August 8th, 2010 08:23 pm (UTC)
I don't even remember Iroh's speech in "Bitter Work", so it'd be hard for me to call on that.

Neither does anybody else, apparently. :)


*winces* Well, I'm sure it's good therapy, and I hope it serves you well there.

It's actually been good for me. But it hasn't done shit for my writing. Oh well.
Rashka the Demon (wolf in the cave): Katara/Zuko falling starrashaka on August 8th, 2010 12:21 am (UTC)
I like the idea of the FN being more tolerant (not modern San Francisco tolerant, but somewhat) than other nations, because it could highlight starkly against Teh Evil and I appreciate that.

Like, "Yes, we are conquering and murdering you. But we are more sexually progressive than you, haha, and will shove our ethically egalitarian standards about free love down your throats, so whose got the moral high ground, huh buddy? Now give me all your money and your land or I'll kill the mayor."
SC: Fire Lotusplushulala on August 8th, 2010 04:59 am (UTC)
I like the idea of the FN being more tolerant (not modern San Francisco tolerant, but somewhat) than other nations, because it could highlight starkly against Teh Evil and I appreciate that.

I think it lies somewhere between San Francisco and Don't Ask, Don't Tell. So the Fire Nation would be more progressive than some of the lesser tolerant parts of the US.


Like, "Yes, we are conquering and murdering you. But we are more sexually progressive than you, haha, and will shove our ethically egalitarian standards about free love down your throats, so whose got the moral high ground, huh buddy? Now give me all your money and your land or I'll kill the mayor."

The Northern Water Tribe would be so freaked out by how sexually progressive the Fire Nation is. In my head, Pakku gets squicked every time he sees those gay FN guys holding hands, and Bumi would just laugh like an idiot at Pakku's discomfort.
The Ambush Angel: hakoda - confusedspyridona on August 8th, 2010 06:20 pm (UTC)
I speak as a fan of Hakoda!

Honestly, I think Sokka would be a little more upset with his dad being with Piandao. It’s kinda freaky for him. Not because his Dad’s bisexual, but because his Dad is sleeping with his TEACHER. Katara, however, might not be AS upset. She’s just starting to mourn her mother in a healthy way, and her father being with another man doesn’t feel so initiating to her.

I suspect it would be frowned upon if Piandao didn’t have such a popular reputation. It seems as kids from all over the WORLD wanted to train under him. As a hero of Ba Sing Se, the Tribe may grumble, but Piandao is an honorable man and Hakoda has sired two children.

Of all the Fire pairings with Hakoda, suspect Piandao would actually be not that OOC. Both have similar senses of humor, both are wise, and both are badass normal. It would work rather well.

Edited at 2010-08-08 09:45 pm (UTC)
SC: Piandao-Close Upplushulala on August 9th, 2010 01:09 pm (UTC)
I speak as a fan of Hakoda!

Honestly, I think Sokka would be a little more upset with his dad being with Piandao. It’s kinda freaky for him. Not because his Dad’s bisexual, but because his Dad is sleeping with his TEACHER. Katara, however, might not be AS upset. She’s just starting to mourn her mother in a healthy way, and her father being with another man doesn’t feel so initiating to her.


My starting premise was that Sokka would be uncomfortable with it and Katara would not even mind. Katara's pretty accepting by nature. So Hakoda would tell them about he (is it "he" or "him"?) and Piandao. Sokka would be like, "Uh..." and Katara would actually be supportive. So I'm concerned... Am I doing Katara OOC here? And I think I realize that I was making Sokka too melodramatic in my head. He's not one to get bent out of shape even when things really bother him. Plus he idolizes Hakoda and adores Piandao. He wouldn't want to hurt either of them so he would bite his tongue. His conflict is, "I want them to be happy, but this is too weird". <-- Don't know if I'm nailing his character, though.


Of all the Fire pairings with Hakoda, suspect Piandao would actually be not that OOC. Both have similar senses of humor, both are wise, and both are badass normal. It would work rather well.

I have this belief that they could be shipped together for no other reason than they were nice and would get along well.