Friday 18 June 2021

Friday Fics Fix - Pride Fics Fest: Jack the Lass

Welcome back to Pride Fics Fest! That period in June where I stop pretending straight and fanfiction have anything to say to each other 😉

'Fics Fix!' with purple background and white lightning bolt shape

This post contains SPOILERS for Gentleman Jack, series 1


Gentleman Jack is a truly amazing BBC historical drama, based on the life and diaries of 18th/19th Century English Lesbian, landowner, and businesswoman, Anne Lister.

Anne left extensive, coded, diaries - many of which were fairly sexually explicit.

I love this series - a well-written, well-acted, period drama about Lesbians who are complex, flawed, genuine, people. It's so good!

The characters in Gentleman Jack are characterisations of real historical people.

They are, though, it has to be pointed out, characterisations.

- Think of how many different versions of Anne Boleyn we've seen in various forms of media, and you'll understand that even real people are interpretations and fictionalisations when it comes to acting out their lives.

Anne Lister (Suranne Jones) raising her eyebrows suggestively
Via Giphy

Which is all my roundabout way of rationalising to myself that it's OK to be reading Gentleman Jack fanfiction. 😅

I don't like RPF fics, they just don't feel right to me on a moral level (everyone is free to disagree! It's a personal thing!), so this is the fictionalised versions of these historical people.

This is Anne Lister the character, not Anne Lister the real person who was born in Yorkshire at the end of the 18th Century - though her history inevitably influences and inspires the programme heavily.

(Fandom notes: 

RPF = Real Person Fiction

These are fics that take real-live human beings - usual celebrities like Harry Styles etc. - and place them in fictional scenarios.

Often, these scenarios are extremely sexually explicit, or include the graphic deaths of one or more real, living, people. Others romanticise abuse etc. Again, using real people as characters.

Which is why I find them problematic, and I don't like them. Again, you can disagree - this is very much a personal thing. 

I just think about how I'd feel if someone wrote something like this about me without my input, consent, or knowledge and... yeah, no, don't like that.)

'The one good thing about moving over to the drawing room though, was the fact that Anne was once more reunited with her wife. Anne sank down in the seat next to her on the sofa, touching her hand briefly...'

Anne Lister married Ann Walker.

Nothing that would stand up legally, of course. But they had a small, private, ceremony, where they committed to each other by swearing oaths on the Bible. And they saw each other as wives.

Anne Lister was a very intelligent woman, and believed that as God had made her as she was, it would be a dishonour to God to deny His plan for her.

Even more impressively, many members of her immediate family knew both that she was Lesbian, and that she had affairs with what must have been half the housewives of Yorkshire before she met Ann Walker. 

And they accepted her. 

Ann Walker (Sophie Rundle): Aren't you delighted?
Via Giphy

And yes, I know it's confusing that they're Anne and Ann - they also weren't the only people named Ann/e that they interacted with on the regular.

Don't blame me - blame the Yorkshire parents of the 18th and 19th Centuries, who apparently had only heard about three names for women in their entire lives.

This week's fic is a slice-of-life at a dinner party with Anne and Ann.

The Annes find themselves having to stifle their laughter at Ann Walker's family's attempts to get her to marry, and naivete of double-entendres.

I could imagine Suranne Jones and Sophie Rundle (the actresses who play Anne and Ann,) acting this out as I read - it's a real love letter to the programme. Which is just as fanfiction should be!

A small amount of content warnings:

- Homophobia/Queerphobia (implied)

- adult humour and sexy-times references

- general meddling relatives with little respect for boundaries

- sexism/misogyny

This week's fic, then, is:

Wives in disguise by Iwassupposedtostudy

Are you a Gentleman Jack fan?

Do historical figures (especially fictionalised ones,) count as Real People Fiction?

Talk to me! 💖💬

You can follow me on Twitter @CeeDoraReads, on Pinterest, and on Dora Reads @ BlogLovin. For more ways to support me, check out the Support Me page

This year's Pride Fics Fest:

Last year's Pride Fics Fest:

Sharing and commenting is Queer-affirming (cos it affirms me, and I'm Queer)! 😅😇

← Previous Post


  1. This is a great reminder that I still need to watch Gentleman Jack -- it sounds great!

    1. Ooh please do! I love this programme - it's amazing! XD <3

  2. Sounds like a great show! I do think that historical figures do count as real people fiction if the fic is based off of the real people, and not the fictionalized versions like this example. For example, a lot of people have released Hamilton fanfiction based off of the real historical figures like Alexander Hamilton and John Laurens, and I just personally wouldn't like to read that considering how problematic a lot of American history is.

    1. Ha, it's a fine distinction, but I will take it! Lol. It's a difficult line to balance, but I think it's worth making that distinction. The real Anne Lister was an amazing woman, and this very much based on her life, but she was not *this* Anne Lister, y'know? Suranne Jones brings a lot of life and character to the part, but without meeting the real Anne Lister, it's impossible to know how accurate that would be, even with the aid of her diaries. (The diaries, after all, are how she saw the world - not necessarily how the world saw her!)


Comments? I love comments! Talk to me nerdlets!