gaila

Fic: Whore (Gaila - gen)

Title: Whore
Author: igrockspock
Characters/Pairings: Gaila
Rating: Teen
Summary: Gaila hates the word 'whore.' Luckily, so does someone else.




The whispers start after her first week at the Academy: "green whore...fucks everyone in sight." "Slut better keep her hands off my boyfriend." "If all she wants to do is have sex, why did she even bother coming?"

Whore is the word that stings the most. She hates it because the other women say it like it's a bad thing to be, like there aren't some women who have to make a living that way. More than that, she hates it because they don't understand the years she struggled to escape from being one of those women. Every night she goes to bed with a different man, and she thinks the same thing: I chose this person, and he chose me. We are doing this with each other. Every one of those freely chosen acts is precious after her 19 years of sexual captivity.

When Cadet Jensen towers over her table at the mess hall, asking, "How dare you fuck my boyfriend, you whore?" she wants to explain she's not a whore because no one makes her charge money anymore. She wants to tell her that everyone on this planet is so privileged to choose whom they want to sleep with, and that this idea of claiming people -- that you can date them for two weeks and they'll belong to you like they're property -- seems no better than the sexual slavery she escaped from. But how can she explain these complex and personal truths in the middle of the mess hall to a woman who will not want to hear them? She doesn't break eye contact, but her eyes fill up a little, and she wishes this week had been long enough to make the kind of friend who would back her up.

"You're disgusting." Jensen says with hard eyes. "I've never met a bigger whore in my life."

Gaila is formulating a response when an even voice behind her asks, "Cadet Jensen, please define the word 'whore.'"

Jensen flushes, then pales. "I'm...I'm sorry, Commander," she stammers. "I won't say it again."

"This is a wise choice, Cadet, however, you have failed to answer the question."

"A whore is someone who has sex in exchange for money, sir." Her voice is as small as Gaila feels.

"This is a very serious allegation, Cadet, as prostitution is a violation of both Earth law and Academy policy. Do you have evidence that Cadet Gaila is engaging in such activities?"

Jensen stares at the floor, silent.

"Cadet, you have been asked a question by a superior officer. Failing to answer it is an act of insubordination."

Jensen swallows. "No, sir, I have no such evidence."

"As I suspected. Since you are not accusing Cadet Gaila of legal wrong-doing, I can only conclude that your use of the word 'whore' is a pejorative aimed at Orion cultural practices and lifestyle choices. Such an insult violates Starfleet's non-discrimation policy as well as its guiding principle, the acceptance of diversity. I trust I will not hear you use this word again, in reference in Cadet Gaila or any other student at this school. You are dismissed."

Jensen shuffles away with burning cheeks, and the assembled crowd follows behind her, leaving Gaila alone with her defender, whom she can't quite look in the eye.

"Thank you, Commander Spock," she says. "Really. Thank you."

"Prejudice is not logical, therefore tolerating prejudice is not logical. Thanks are unnecessary."

"I didn't thank you because it was necessary," she says. "I thanked you because you helped me, and I wanted you to know that."

"In that case, you are welcome," he replies, then adds, "Cadet, I do not advise that you tolerate others' prejudice toward you. Now, if you will excuse me, I am overdue for my office hours."

Gaila listens to his quick, even footfalls vanish down the hallway. Her first week at the Academy has been harder than she imagined, but if Vulcans are defending her right to free sex with multiple partners, she thinks she'll be okay.

The next time someone calls her a whore behind her back (literally, right behind her back), she turns and says in the coolest, most even voice she can muster, "I think you will find I do not charge for my services." Then she turns away and strides down the hall without looking back.
Another good one. I'd really hope that we aren't so prejudiced in the future, but the cynical part of me knows better.

Zari

*Edit*

Also, you said that Earth had outlawed prostitution. Does that mean it is legal in the Federation at large?

Edited at 2009-06-03 02:54 am (UTC)
I hadn't thought very carefully about interstellar prostitution laws. It was mostly doing what works for the story, although I suppose prostitution is probably legal somewhere since I vaguely remember "pleasure planets" and stuff in the canon.

My theory is that people are much less prejudiced in the future, but some unfair reactions are inevitable when people first come into contact with individuals very different from themselves. Putting tolerance/acceptance into practice is much harder than preaching it, and since Orions are considered enemies of the Federation, it seems likely that people would meet Gaila with more misconceptions than average. Plus, someone who has much more permissive sexual practices than the norm is probably going to cause some conflict, especially with sleeping with other people's boyfriends and the like. I actually imagined that the cadet in question didn't even recognize her actions as prejudiced at all; she just thinks it's a universal norm that people respect monogamy, and when Gaila doesn't, she reacts hatefully.

That's probably a much more detailed response than you were looking for, but I was thinking it out for my own benefit too :)
I <3333 your Gaila so much! I hope you write more fic about her. :-)
Thank you! I have a lot of Gaila plot bunnies floating around, so I think there will be more stories soon.
I'm so glad you're writing these Gaila stories. I can't tell you how happy you make me to see the ST/Reboot universe filling up with feminism. Nicely done.
Hah, a very solid smackdown! I particularly liked her thoughts about claiming a partner as "property". It makes so much sense that she'd make that particular comparison. Yay, Gaila!fic. :D
Thanks for commenting, and for mentioning parts you particularly liked. Specific feedback is so helpful for future stories.
Woohoo, Spock to the cool, calm, logical rescue! *cough* Sorry, no, I can be serious about this. I'm definitely loving your characterization of Gaila and her difficulties fitting in at Starfleet. I'm with illariy, something that really stands out is how Gaila sees her sexuality as a celebration of her freedom from slavery. That's really lovely. I think if Cadet Jensen heard that, she wouldn't be nearly so quick to anger, though it would probably be a good idea for Gaila to start respecting other people's monogamy.
Yes, I agree that respecting monogamy is an adjustment that Gaila will have to make. With time, I think she'll understand that it's a choice made freely, not a form of slavery. And I'm glad you're enjoying the challenges she faces. I think she'll fit in better eventually, but I imagine the challenges were significant for her at the beginning.
I like this a lot - it seems a plausible exploration of prejudice and clashing cultural standards (and anyway, Jensen's boyfriend could have said no) - and Spock, able to be dispassionate in one sense, but quite well aware of what it's like to be an outsider who's despised for what they are, is the perfect person to have intervene.
Thank you! I'm glad you see the connection between Gaila and Spock - that was really an important part of the piece for me.
Your Gaila is fabulous. I adore her for her unabashed sensuality and her strength. And YAY for Spock! He's awesome too.
Aww! I love Spock coming to her defense there. If only Gaila knew how he'd had to deal with that insult against his mother when he was a kid! O_O

*applauds*
I'm glad you made that connection! I imagined this as the logical response he knows he should have given to that kid on Vulcan (although I doubt he was sorry about the physical smack down).
Oh, I really love how you've characterised Gaila, and the struggle she has with the wildly differing sexual mores of Orion and Earth. And Spock was so Spocky and so lovely with it. ♥
I'm particularly gratified that you enjoyed Spock's appearance. I was a little worried that it wasn't plausible.
but if Vulcans are defending her right to free sex with multiple partners, she thinks she'll be okay.

YAYS. SUCH YAYS.
I love Gaila! I like the thoughtful way you write about the cultural dissonance between Orion promiscuity (if it's even fair to call it that) and accepted, mainstream Human monogamy.

I don't like when people use the word "whore" as a pejorative either. ._.
Me either! This fic is partly what I want to say to all my teenage students who use "whore" as an insult any time they want to say something bad about other women. I hate that when our society wants to complain about a woman, their automatic response is to say that she has a lot of sex.
You've given Gaila depth, personality, and a status that reaches more than what the movie could give her. Very well done, and I love your awesome Spock.
I've read a few of your fics, and I love the way you characterize Gaila. She is a very strong character, and you're really good at showing that. And these line: Every night she goes to bed with a different man, and she thinks the same thing: I chose this person, and he chose me. We are doing this with each other. Every one of those freely chosen acts is precious after her 19 years of sexual captivity. are astoundingly well-written and moving. Good job.
I would love to be able to say something relevant and intellectual, but the truth is that I am too full of squee to even begin. Gaila! As a three-dimensional and strong character! With a complex backstory! And Spock! Standing up for her! And social issues! And really good writing!
Great story and it still shows the faults in our 21st century society. (Simply by the fact we can all relate /empathize to this story). I was wondering is there even a male word for whore? (An other societal fault)
There really isn't, and I think about that all the time. People say "man whore" sometimes, but I think it's more like a factual description than an insult. And if someone wants to insult a man, saying that he has a lot of sex isn't the first thing they reach for.
My thoughts: no matter how 'enlightened' we are what the prime directive has taught us and blah blah blah... there will always be prejudice, because there will always be things that go against what we expect in others.
I agree completely. Meeting new and different will always be hard, no matter how much our society advances.
Nice work! I really liked how you showed Gaila's sexuality as a form of empowerment in her mind. You give her a lot of character in a small fic. I also really appreciated Spock giving the bullying cadet a verbal smack-down.

Showing Gaila's difficult early days at the Academy offers a nice contrast to the movie, where she was usually smiling.
Thank you! I'm glad that you appreciated the complexity of her views on sex, as well as Spock's intervention. That was my favorite part to write :)