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June 20 2005

Outer space, deviant sexualities, and Firefly's fanciest lad. Interesting and provocative look at Simon and Jayne's relationship and the attitude to sexuality in Firefly (contains adult themes and language).

Wow. great article with some excellent points. This also means I don't have to feel so guilty about reading Mal/Simon fic :)
Overthought, overwrought, overwritten. Just my opinion.
Just another example of how multiple points of view are welcome in the Jossverse. "Sly" is a great term. I wish it would catch on.
Ridiculous article...
Definitely ridiculous. Everybody knows Mal/Simon is the one true pairing.

;)

Just kidding... I'm down with the all!yay. M/S, S/J, M/J, M/S/J, K/I, K/R, S/I, etc etc it's all good. :)
I find slash to be the most hilarious part of modern fandoms. They make me laugh (although probably not intentionally).
mmmmm slashy goodness.....

Ill be in my bunk
Well, it's interesting how people often see things in our favorite shows that others don't. But to me this just seems a bit juvenile in its thinking: He pretends to hate him so it really means he secretly wants him.
And I would assume the only reason this writer refuses to see the chemistry between the characters is because he already has this notion of Simon wanting Jayne.

But then again, in my never-ending search for good fanfic, I see so many 'slash' pairings that, to me, are ridiculous. I think some people will just take the two nearest males and find some reason they would be shagging each other, regardless of the actual characterizations. It gets annoying sometimes. And Simon/Jayne...just doesn't work for me.

That's not to say I hate slash, because I don't. I just don't really go for the pairings that are so tenuous...
Amusing, but it reminds me of a gay friend who seems overly insistent to believe all males have gay tendencies if only they would loosen up and let them out. I would love Firefly just as much if all the characters were gay, but why can't Simon's reluctance with Kaylee simply stem from a lack of attraction to her specifically, combined with his obsessive preoccupation with helping his sister regain her mental health and getting them both out of the danger they're in. It's obvious Kaylee has more than a carnal interest (she's downright sweet on the boy), and it's not like Simon could ravish her and never call to get rid of her: they're on the same ship.
Im not much into J/S myself. I don't see it as very realistic. I do however think he made some interesting points re: Kaylee and Simon. Not saying I entirely agree with him, but it did give me food for thought on their relationship...not sure she would be able to handle Simons complexity (which of course puts Jayne nowhere)
Or maybe Kaylees just the sensible boot up the arse Simon needs?

See? Thought!
I agree with jaynelovesvera. How 'bout Simon thinking Kaylee's totally sweet and cool but he's hesitant because she's not the upper crusty women he grew up with and probably (if he's not gay and all) is very used to?
ETA: That's not to say I didn't find the article humorous. It was a nice read.

[ edited by April on 2005-06-20 17:12 ]
I don't care about slash, but I think the article raises some interesting points. I really appreciate that the author doesn't bluntly insist that Simon is gay or something, but points at very subtle aspects of the Simon-Jayne relationship.

See, I can strongly identify with Simon, because I am a doctor and have had a few Kaylee-like non-relationship experiences. Somehow the author's description of Simon reminds me of the time when I was a toubled post-pubescent - back then I could deeply relate to the works of Morrissey and Bob Mould, who were - as I know now - actually singing about being closet gays. This is not about all males having gay tendencies they just don't let out, but some kind of "gay" feeling that is hard to grasp, and I think the article catches that nicely.

And I can strongly relate to Simon having not only disgust, but also a quasi-erotic fascination with Jayne...

Of course, nowadays I wold have Kaylee upside down and halfway to happyland in a minute. And, hey, what about football? :)
I thought it was fun and interesting. I do not necessarily agree with it, but it was a valid viewpoint. Sometimes, of course, people dislike people that much because they are that dislikable, and my guess is that I would have a similar reaction to Jayne...with no physical interest whatsoever. Sometimes people deny something because it really isn't true. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Just read April and Tactguy and agree with both...except for the Kaylee part from the end of Tactguy...though if I were a guy, or swung that way...

Simon has a lot of social baggage that is impacting on his relationship with Kaylee, not to mention their differences in the amount of complexity in the way each of them looks at the universe. Simon could use some of Kaylee's simplicity, but I'm not sure he can accept it or understand it at this point any more than she can accept the twists and turns in his view of life.
That point of view seems so utterly contrived. I think jaynelovesvera has it right: Simon's behavior toward Kaylee is easily explained by the fact that (1) he is a nerd who probably spent more time studying than dating, (2) she's not the sort of girl he's used to, and most importantly, (3) he's got waaaaay more important things to worry about at the moment.
Plus, he's a snob. He doesn't know he is, but he is.

I dunno, maybe Simon does have gay leanings, never really thought about it much. Although he does come off a pissy bitch sometimes. ;)
Just because a man isn't a gun-toting, mucle-headed neanderthal, it doesn't mean he's gay! The author bases his/her assessment on stereotypes about men and what their outward appearances/behaviors mean. I'm inclined to agree with Galvatron's take on the whole thing.

Simon's behavior toward Kaylee is easily explained by the fact that (1) he is a nerd who probably spent more time studying than dating, (2) she's not the sort of girl he's used to, and most importantly, (3) he's got waaaaay more important things to worry about at the moment.


I've been married for almost 20 years to a man who is more Simon than any other male character on the show, and he's far from gay! (Actually, he's more like Mr. Spock than anyone...) Same goes for most of my female friends and their husbands. We all married studious nerds, academics and intellectuals who will never shoot anyone with a gun yet will never lack for a place to put their pistols.

[ edited by Nebula1400 on 2005-06-20 19:14 ]
I totally agree with Galvatron. I think Simon is really just inept at dealing with women.

Also, no one has pointed out one point the author made about Jayne; that he has all the characteristics of being an abusive mate. I don't think that is true. I think if Jayne ever had a woman, he would treat her right. He is rough and tough, but he has morals. I think he is far more likely to shoot down a man for beating on a woman.
I liked the article a lot. It provides a lot of food for thought. I think it entirely possible that Simon is not attracted to women because he is more attracted to men. I don't know that it matters a great deal.But I'm not sure I buy the "attracted to Jayne " part of it. As for Jayne having morals - Aurra, I have never seen it.
Aurra, I don't know that I agree with your assessment of Jayne. He's just as soon pop River out an airlock as look at her. And loyalty isn't exactly a quality he posesses in abundance (highest bidder, anyone?). He didn't even want to go back for Zoe and Mal in TTJ.

I'd say he is quite capable of abusive behavior. Still, ya gotta love the big lunk.
As for Jayne having morals - Aurra, I have never seen it.

Morals might be too strong a word, but he certainly has a concept of right and wrong. Take for instance his reaction to the young man jumping in front of the shotgun blast to protect him in Jaynestown. His guilt for what you had done to Simon and River at the end of Ariel (which was the only reason Mal didn't kill him). Jayne may not give a lot to what "morality" means, but when it comes down to it I think he knows it when he sees it.
Aurra got me thinking about Jayne's relationship with the hooker in Heart of Gold and his attitude toward "Mrs. Reynods" and Vera in Our Mrs. Reynolds. I could see Jayne as having a caring relationship with a woman in a much-loved possession kind of way as long as she had the same mind set. Is that inherently abusive? It certainly can be, but some people like being ruled or being a possession as long as the possession is prized. Of course when the possession falls out of favor or something shinier comes along...

I don't remember exactly, but I thought the author mentioned all the stereotypes that Nebula1400 is rightly objecting to, but then pulled back on it. As someone commented, he is not saying that Simon absolutely is gay for any of the reasons stated, just that he could see this as one possibility.

And yes, Nebula1400, whether male or female, bookish folk get a bumb rap on sexuality and so many other things in this society. Course that said, I personally don't find Simon any more attractive than Jayne, though I find them both interesting, well-written characters who are pretty to look at.
Okay, maybe "morals" was too strong a word. But I still think Jayne would be very protective of any woman he is with, and would not resort to smacking her around. I mean, the scene in Heart of Gold where he is brushing the hooker's hair... he looks absolutely enthralled.
Aurra, I immediately thought of Jayne in Heart of Gold when I read your first comment up there. I agree. He had a great time with a woman who holds sex in a similar regard. She probably had as much fun as he did, at least she sure seemed to, and she probably wasn't sorry when he left. Nothing wrong with that, but every woman who has sex with a man isn't left yearning in a lonely corner. Another sterotype. Jayne would totally stand up for a wronged woman he cared about, even if it were just a little caring. A night with Jayne would be a wild ride indeed. And he's hot. The daily thread with a sex topic always gets the most responses, eh? Unless there's big Serenity news.

OT but for just a sec. Anyone else going to Tampa? I'm meeting up with one other Whedonesquer, and TaraLivesOn I've seen your posts. Email me if you like, I can tell you more about the entourage. :)
For all I know both Simon and Jayne were conceived as gay characters, but even if that is so this article offers no support for most of its assertions:

1. Simon is "obviously wrestling with a transgressive sort of sexuality". Arguments offered: none

2. "There's a general rule that the tighter a businessman ties his tie, the more likely he wants to be bent over and dominated" For all I know this could be true, but supporting arguments made: none

3. "Simon's lower parts, it seems, have there interest elsewhere" Support offered: none

4. "if you call someone a 'man-ape gone wrong' etc." Support offered: again none.

I did find this article humorous, but a serious attempt to argue a point, I don't think so. And if it is intended to be thought-provoking, what would be the author's position on hetero females enjoying slash when he states "..Jayne is just one of those pervy straight men who think lesbians are super-hot"?
I actually disagree completely with the author's estimation of both characters. For one thing, I think the author oversimplifies Simon as a character. Essentially, the author believes that just because Simon has soft hands and doesn't really know how to conduct himself around a girl, he must be gay. I spent four years in love with a man with the softest hands around - and I mean that in every possible sense of the word. Essentially, I was the Kaylee to his Simon. And no, he wasn't overtly masculine, but I promise you he was every bit as straight as every man-ape gone wrong thing I've ever met.

I think, too, that the author oversimplifies the character of Jayne. I disagree that he would be an abusive partner. In fact, I think he'd be a rather protective partner. My first thought when I read all that was the shot of Jayne crouched in the corner of the infirmary, watching as Simon worked the bullet out of Kaylee's belly. I believe that deep down, Jayne feels wholehearted affection for Kaylee and I can't imagine him EVER getting violent with her.

Furthermore, I think the author's estimation of the "fascination" Simon has with Jayne is oversimplified. I do agree that he is fascinated with him, but I think it's more in the sense that he wants to BE him, rather than being WITH him. Jayne is cut from cloth completely different from any that Simon has ever experienced before, and his initial revulsion to Jayne's mannerisms shows, to me, only that he initially rejects what he does not know. Think about it: Simon sees something he's familiar with in all the other characters on Serenity - authority in Mal and Zoe, expertise in Wash and Kaylee, aristocracy in Inara, intellect in Book... Jayne is the only member of the crew with whom Simon might never have shared a common thread. Of course this would be, at first, frightening, and then later a little bit enticing.

I mean, Simon could be a raging queen for all I know, but this is how I see it.
I almost entirely disagree with the author, but what a great read! Pretty funny, and it kind of turned me on with all the S/J talk. Good stuff.
jaynelovesvera, thank you - that was exactly what I planned on saying. We're looking at the #1 mistake in trying a radical interpretation: Not giving any textual references to support your theses. This piece as far as I can see has very little to do with Firefly except using its characters. It doesn't point out a single scene to make me question my (more straight-forward) interpretation of the Kaylee/Jayne/Simon chemistry or give a single quote to support Simon's 'obvious' transgressive sexuality.
This was not an academic paper. What the author put forward were some ideas that IMO he seemed to bend over backwards to indicate, were not absolute truths. I got the feeling he was having fun considering the possibilities of what he saw on the screen. Even without quotes and citations I could see where they came from, though I do not agree with them.

Admittedly, some people see the same elements in whatever they look at. Other people never see those particular elements. I don't tend to find gay characters hidden everywhere in fiction. Some people do. (I loved the bit of satire about that in Buffy when Andrew suggests that what is going on between Spike and Principal Wood is sexual tension. lol)

On the other hand I also rarely see Christ symbols in literature unless they are pointed out to me. If Christ symbols are there, and I do not readily see them, I do not see that I am always going to be right in not noticing gay tendencies in characters. And as I do not get upset over someone suggesting that something might be a Christ symbol, I don't see why suggesting there may be sexual tensions between two same-sex characters should be all that upsetting either. Just because we identify ourselves or a loved one with a character, it does not mean what people say about that character they are saying about us or our loved one.
I believe Mal's exact response, after the head prostitute he slept with in "Heart of Gold" asked him if he was sly, was "I lean toward the women-folk." I'm pretty sure that was it. Which, to me at least, seems a little more ambiguous than "tend toward the women-folk", which is what the author said. I appreciated that Joss (well okay, Brett Matthews, but I can't help wondering if Joss asked for it or at least approved it) slipped that in there, that Mal's sexuality wasn't a big deal and that for all we know he could be some degree of bisexual, mostly sticks with the women but hasn't been completely against a rare occurence of man-on-man action. We'll never know though. And I'm not sure if Joss ever would've tackled gay male relationships (sorry, but Larry from Buffy doesn't count for much, and don't even get me started on Andrew the pathetic murdering maybe-he's-gay/maybe-he's-bi/maybe-the-writers-didn't-talk-to-eachother-when-it-came-to-this-detail mess of a way-more-loved-than-he-deserves character). Not when he already spoke his piece on that with Willow/Tara (fine, Kennedy too, grrr). It's not his responsibility to bring the positive non-straight portrayals to regular network television. But it would've been nice, and he probably would've handled it better than most showrunners.

I think the attraction of Simon/Jayne or Simon/Mal (I like the former more than the latter) is that there was the potential for it early on in the series, and a significant number of fans were having fun with the idea. Maybe some of us are bored of what we've already seen done ten times over on TV? Simon/Kaylee is cute, but what we were able to see of it in 14 episode didn't break any new ground. Nevermind slashing Simon with one of the male crew members, I would've almost preferred him and Kaylee not having a thing. Why can't more of the characters just be single? (I feel like a broken record--I was saying this a lot during Season 5 of Buffy when I was loving that there was no Riley and no Angel and we got to see Buffy in the rare position of being single). You've got Wash/Zoe and the angst between Mal and Inara, was Kaylee/Simon really necessary?

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