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Dec. 17th, 2010

I've been reading fic off and on for the past week or so, and it's reminded me that for all my love of slash, there are some pretty offensive tropes out there. They aren't fandom specific, I'm just seeing them again for the first time in a while and it's jarring the heck out of me.

There are fics out there that manage to be both homophobic and mysogynistic, and I don't think the writers have a clue.



Portraying the canon love interest/women period as evil? Character bashing isn't cool on any level. It is doubly not cool when the character is being bashed because they happen to have a vagina. Trust me, the characters already have flaws and you can get them out of the way without butchering their characterization. If you can't? Ignore them.

Calling women 'squishy', necessarily soft, or otherwise describing in great deal why kissing a girl is gross but kissing a(nother) man is the best thing ever? I can't quite figure out if that's straight-girl projecting, or just plain 'I hate women'. Whatever it is, it probably isn't what the guy who enjoyed kissing them in canon is thinking the second he lip-locked with his one-twu-gay-love. Different, yes. Suddenly finding the other sex gross? No.

The complete and utter fetishization of male homosexuality. There is a line here. I understand straight women don't find other women hot. Just like I understand that straight men like lesbian porn because they don't find the guy hot. Obviously porn's meant to be hot -that's what makes it porn. There's still a line, however indistinct, between hot slashy porn and the *idea that gay relationships/sex/individuals* are, by nature of existing, necessarily hot because there's no one with a vagina in the picture.

Someone has to be the girl. And that someone has to be the smaller/prettier/more feminine one. No, no they don't. What's more, the prettier one is not necessarily the 'weaker' one. And while we're at it, the idea that 'the girl' is supposed to be weak/broken/in need of rescue? Offends the ever loving shit out of me. It's slash. There is no girl. And girls aren't, by virtue of having a vagina, weak/broken/a damsel in distress/blushing virgin/whatever.

And, while we're at it: No one has to change their personality to change their (apparent) sexuality for the story. Having a dick down your throat, or up your ass, isn't going to give you a lobotomy. Personality != Sexuality.

Look, I've written femslash once and had a hell of a time with it. I've never written het - I can't seem to do it, and I've had a lot of f/f and m/f sex in my life. I've watched men having sex with each other and I think it's the hottest thing on the planet.

I write a lot of slash and I write a lot of sex in that slash and you know what? I don't think that's going to change - because I still can't write it well; being an outside observer for sex works better for me than being able to short-cut through what I've personally experienced.


I'm certainly not saying someone else shouldn't write how they want, the way they want.

I'm just saying that maybe finding the existence of women to be a squick isn't necessarily something you want to share through the narrative voice in your fic, sexuality!= personality, and while I'm at it? Bisexuality exists. Yes, even for guys.

Comments

( 97 comments — Leave a comment )
skipthedemon
Dec. 17th, 2010 03:43 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty sure we've had this discussion in various forms all over the place. So I'm just gonna say,"YES." And *loves*.
fandom_me
Dec. 17th, 2010 04:04 pm (UTC)
After all the years we've known each other? Yeah, I'm sure we have. *loves*
kikibug13
Dec. 17th, 2010 03:51 pm (UTC)
I am oddly amused, because one of my RP characters right now (yes, in a gay relationship) has huuuuuge problems, because he is small, delicate, and pretty, and (added to that) he's been raised violently homophobic (and suppressed, sigh) to the point where the conflict had some really bad effects on him. Anyway. Now he is in relationship with a guy (who is very, very good for him) who is larger and handsome and manly and plays hockey, and my character has these moments when especially beside his boyfriend, he's taken for girl. And he can get violent over it.
... his boyfriend just doesn't think of it that way (he never got to battle his own sexuality) and it's a process of recovery (and yes, it took them almost two years to get anywhere near a relationship, let alone beyond), and just... no. In some (rather few, I think) homosexual relationships, one of the partner may be more taking on features of the other sex... but that's far from necessity, dammit.

My point being that it can even be rather painful. >.> Ahem. Sorry for the ramble.
fandom_me
Dec. 17th, 2010 04:03 pm (UTC)
I RP a lot. I'm playing a scene right now where my guy has tied someone else up. Not for sexy-fun-kinky bondage but because it makes him feel safer about it. It's interesting to play with that stuff and HECK YES it can be painful.
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fandom_me
Dec. 17th, 2010 04:01 pm (UTC)
Divorce/dissolution of the relationship doesn't necessarily mean that the other person was a bitch on wheels.

I am utterly confused that anyone can think Hotch didn't clearly still love Haley, or even that she hated his guts. She wanted him to quit his job. Which could get him killed at any given time and had him away from home a stunning amount, but. Hated him? Even Jess addressed that in canon. It broke down, it didn't blow up.
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merriman
Dec. 17th, 2010 04:01 pm (UTC)
Bisexuality exists. Yes, even for guys.

Hell yes, this. I find it astounding when I come across an example of someone bending over backwards to explain how the sometimes numerous canonical M/F relationships of the slashed pairing don't count. Or how they were all just a front. Or something. It's mind boggling.

And yeah, pretty much everything you list is something I've come across in earlier fics in my primary fandom and the "one has to be the woman" thing figures heavily into my personal theory about mpreg in said fandom.
fandom_me
Dec. 17th, 2010 04:02 pm (UTC)
It's mind boggling.

It is. Especially because 'he's bi' is so much easier. SO MUCH EASIER.

And yep, me too re: mpreg. With a side of 'genetics make a family' bullshit.
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inamac
Dec. 17th, 2010 04:14 pm (UTC)
Didn't I read this rant on fanfic rants recently? Not that it doesn't bear saying again - though the culprits aren't listening it does make me feel better.

And word on the demonising of the canon het partners. Really, you don't have to kill them off. They might even enjoy a threesome...
fandom_me
Dec. 17th, 2010 04:15 pm (UTC)
Oh, my canon kills her off for me. So in my fandom they don't even have THAT excuse.
moon_blitz
Dec. 17th, 2010 04:15 pm (UTC)
Portraying the canon love interest/women period as evil?

Ugh, I came across this in a Moonlight/Doctor Who crossover slash fic and it upset me so much I could barely read though to the end of the chapter. I'm not sure if I want to continue reading the fic now. Because what the author had her do was so out-of-character it was like she was a completely different person. Just...no.

Bisexuality exists.

Another topic that I have issues with, being bi myself. It exists in the real world, folks. Hence, that means it must exist in the fictional world of the series/book/etc as well, unless it has been made clear that it doesn't, for whatever reason. There are some characters that I can easily see as being bi (The Doctor from Doctor Who, Rossi from Criminal Minds), but some authors just don't get that. They seem to think that a person either has to be straight or gay. No "but I like both!" for them.

I actually have two RP characters who are bi (one doesn't go around broadcasting it, and the other is so screwed up by other stuff he just accepts it), and I'm in the process of having a character in my main fantasy story be bi. But that's more due to his backstory than anything else.

Anyway, I seem to have rambled. Sorry.
fandom_me
Dec. 17th, 2010 04:18 pm (UTC)
Rossi as bi makes a lot of sense to me. The Doctor's not even HUMAN. People making him 'straight' boggles me because. Um. He's already having sex with another SPECIES. I doubt gender matters THAT MUCH.

I think all of my RP characters are bi at the moment. Apparently I got lazy or. Something.
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trobadora
Dec. 17th, 2010 04:54 pm (UTC)
Bisexuality exists.

This, SO MUCH. *sighs*

I'm so tired of this crap.
fandom_me
Dec. 17th, 2010 05:24 pm (UTC)
Me. Too.
donutsweeper
Dec. 17th, 2010 05:20 pm (UTC)
*applauds* demonizing the canon love/ust/whatever interest annoying the ever loving crap out of me. It's also so damn unnecessary and usually the sign of lazy/crappy writing.
fandom_me
Dec. 17th, 2010 05:24 pm (UTC)
It's. Actually not lazy exactly. I mean just IGNORE IT.
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stackcats
Dec. 17th, 2010 05:41 pm (UTC)
I have a theory that fandom's bizarre lack of recognition of male bisexuality comes from mainstream media's own lack of recognition. I can't think of a single bisexual male from any 'big fandom' show that I'm familiar with, Jack Harkness aside, but bisexual women exist, even if they tend to end up in serious relationships with men (and gay women are rarer than gay men).

I don't have anything to back it up. It's just an idea. Someone PLEASE correct me if I'm wrong.

Oh, wait. Ianto. Who made no sense then they killed him. And Owen, who was hinted at but never actually shown to like men. All from Torchwood, which, yeah.
fandom_me
Dec. 17th, 2010 05:46 pm (UTC)
...That is a damn good theory and I approve. You're also right about a SERIOUS lack of gay women.
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bluerosefairy
Dec. 17th, 2010 06:25 pm (UTC)
Not even going to start on the whole feminization-in-slash-pairings, because that makes my head hurt. But YES to the need for more bisexuals in media, especially bisexuals who aren't either joke characters or used for titillation purposes.

One of the things I love about Glee is that the LGBT characters are THERE. They're developed beyond their sexualities and their growth is a major part of the show. Except like all shows, it has its problems with them; specifically, the gay male, Kurt, is allowed to have entire story arcs dedicated to his sexuality, but any male/male kissing is horribly subverted. If he likes a guy, he's shown to be a stalker (which IS a flaw of the character, don't get me wrong), and even the one gay guy he's crushing on has been shown to be leading him down the wrong path (if you listen to the fangirls, which you NEVER EVER SHOULD). The bisexual cheerleaders, Brittany and Santana, only get to make out for shock value, and their sex life is mainly used for jokes about how Santana only makes out with Brittany because she's a shark, she needs warmth to survive, or how Brittany likes the "sweet lady kisses". Both girls have male love interests who are shown to be more "important" in the story than their own relationship.

And as for Criminal Minds, I mentioned above that I really don't think Rossi and Prentiss as bisexual is all that out of the realm of possibility. Hotch kind of confuses my notions of sexuality, because he's ostensibly straight on the show, but he has at least four relationships with men that can be read with a romantic slant. I tend to write Hotch as mostly-gay-but-for-Haley-and-maybe-Prentiss.
fandom_me
Dec. 17th, 2010 06:27 pm (UTC)
Hotch in my head is bi, but relatively inexperienced because Haley took up a big old chunk of his life and whatever else Hotch might be-- I can not see him doing infidelity. Of course there's the option of Haley going 'go forth and shag men' but if that happened it'd have to be really early in their relationship.

But yes. I absolutely believe Rossi and Prentiss are bi.And am not joking about that fest.
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fandom_me
Dec. 17th, 2010 08:55 pm (UTC)
I had thinky thoughts to share but that picture blew them away and all I have left is AWWWWWWWWWWWWW
kerryblaze
Dec. 17th, 2010 07:04 pm (UTC)
Two thumps WAY up for this post!
fandom_me
Dec. 17th, 2010 08:56 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
fuzzytale
Dec. 17th, 2010 07:29 pm (UTC)
Yes. This. All of this. HATE that so many people feel the need to 'feminize' one half of a gay relationship, and that feminization means making one party weak, dependent, irrational, etc. Two men in a relationship are TWO MEN in a relationsihp. Also? That people take as fact that stereotypical gender roles are biological when they're almost entirely social constructs. Wearing dresses or make-up or heels is not some hardwired 'girl thing'. Men throughout history and across cultures have dressed much more elaborately than women do now. Pink used to be the boy color. Sex and gender and the expression of either are not necessarily connected and...gah.

Love slash, hate how so much of it's done. Love finding people who realize that no one has to be 'the girl' and being a girl is not the same as being weak, etc....

*slinks away*
fandom_me
Dec. 17th, 2010 08:58 pm (UTC)
My thinking ability seems to have gone down the toilet for today but yeah. Why can't they just let the guys be. Guys. Or, for that matter, people be people/ The gender role crap is ... crap.
poeticpathetic
Dec. 17th, 2010 09:08 pm (UTC)
Yes. 90% of why I have problems with a lot of Slashy!Reid fic stems beyond my own desire to write him as heterosexual. I wouldn't have a problem reading Reid-slash if he just wasn't so damn devalued and weak all the time. It's like pairing him up with Morgan or Hotch instantly turns him into this wilted lily. I like to think that it's not idealistic or canon-denying to envision Reid as being able to hold his own.
fandom_me
Dec. 17th, 2010 09:10 pm (UTC)
And dude, I just wrote, posted and then discussed in great depth about why, seriously? Reid's more likely to be toppy than Hotch in any sexual situation. Furthermore, I make no apologies for saying: Hotch and Morgan are both more broken than Reid. WTF, fandom.
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aeron_lanart
Dec. 17th, 2010 09:26 pm (UTC)
Word.

Once again, you hit the nail on the head. It's one of the reasons why I detest a lot of 'Janto' fic (rather than Jack/Ianto but we won't go into why I dislike smushed names) because those fics seem to be the worst culprits of this sort of thing.
fandom_me
Dec. 17th, 2010 09:27 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I vividly remember having the same issue with some of those fics. Just. No, people.
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