Tuesday, November 29, 2011

When a slash fic relies heavily on stereotyping and heterosexism/heteronormativity...

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a.k.a Why I Never Sleep

[TW for heterosexism and monosexism, and related topics.] oh, and a warning for possibly incoherent rambling. I'm exhausted.

Please excuse my bitchiness. I'm tired, sick (again), and irritated with fandom. And I'll be focusing on male/male relationships because, as always, everything is Drarry. But everything kind of hurts.

Ugh. Stop. Stop that. Yes, I'm about to tell you you're doing it wrong. (And I'm talking about the stories where it's obvious that the author feels a certain way and it's not just a how a character is supposed to think or feel because it's relevant to the plot. Or even just characterization. I'm talking about those stories where it's not intentionally inflammatory, where the AUTHOR'S ignorance is just so bloody obvious that you wonder how a romantic slash story can come off as so unbelievably fucking homophobic...)

Ok, we get it. The majority of people who write and enjoy slash are straight teenage girls. But would it kill you to think outside of stereotypes and tropes? I don't know what's worse sometimes, a fic's stereotyping or it's comments. So, writers and readers of all fandoms, take note:

A) Not all people who date one sex or gender and "suddenly" start dating another sex or gender are gay, or experimenting, or confused, or liars, or whatever other descriptors you've assigned them. And please for the love of all that is slashy, stop calling bi characters "sluts" and "whores" and "desperate." It gets old fast. Things to note here: DIVERSITY DAMMIT, and enough of the bashing. It just makes you look like an ass.

B) If I read one more fucking fic about how all gay men are effeminate "nancy boys/poofs/fairies" (oh yes, I am quoting. Narrator's POV. What are you doing.) and what it means to be a "proper, self-respecting gay man" who must always dress well and is a total manwhore blah blah blah "I'm not a girl!" and "be a real man!"--- seriously. It gets old. Same old stereotypes. No one cares. But hey, surprise! There are a ton of gay men out there who do not fit the stereotypes. And that's totally cool. Let's run that again. Effeminate gay guy? Totally cool. Stereotypically masculine gay guy? Totally cool. Everything in between and all around and here and there and (le gasp!) nonbinaries? Totally cool. You can just let them be themselves without drawing excessive attention to the fact that they're not stereotypes. It's slash. We get it. Dude's into other dudes. Enough of the pigeonholing and labeling and get to the good stuff already.

C) Speaking of girls - is it AT ALL possible for you to discuss male sexuality without bashing other genders or gender presentations? I mean really? Really? Thank you so much for referring to me as a weak, overemotional disgusting being no self-respecting queer man would touch with a ten foot pole. Really. I appreciate it. Long story short - sexist and transphobic comments? NOT. FUCKING. WELCOME.

D) Related to both B and C - There is no "guy" and "girl" of a slash relationship. Would you go up to a same-sex couple and ask who's the man and who's the woman? (Please don't answer that. It scares me to think of how many of you would.) There is no seme/uke dynamic in most real relationships. A seme/uke relationship, as it exists in the BL/Yaoi/slash world, is typically not one of equals. In most cases (though this is starting to change), it's a perpetuation of traditional gender roles with pretty boys (because they're the only ones who matter and make a pretty story, don'tcha know) and it isn't anything like the majority of same-sex couples. There isn't always one dominant super masculine ideal who ALWAYS tops, with a submissive effeminate bottom, like in those stupid quizzes: Do you prefer candy? or a SWORD RAWR. Um, no. Generally doesn't work like that.

Why do we continue to force characters into preconceived, socially mandated, gender roles? Why do we argue over who's a top and who's a bottom based on their personalities and body types? Do you have any idea how stupid that actually sounds, like someone can't enjoy a certain form/method of pleasure because they're bossy/assertive/short/quiet/[insert random adjective here]??? Does it really make you think that much less of person or character because they prefer one "role" over another? It's ok to have preferences -- but it's more than a little ridiculous to assume you can tell someone else's by the way they think or act. Ho-lee-crap. No, topping or bottoming does not have to correspond to someone's personality, or a gender role. (And yet no one seems to be willing to think outside of the seme/uke dynamic. Ever. I've developed a game, actually. For fics. I can, with 98% accuracy, guess which character is going to "top," based solely on how they've been written. Weak, submissive, effeminate stereotype? lol like he'd ever top. -_-" Stop that. C'mon, guys! Break free of gender roles and norms! Tear apart those stereotypes! Live a little! Show some diversity!!!) And don't even get me started on "straight acting" or bi stereotypes or anything else right now. I've gotten all of 3 hours sleep in the past 2 days and it's looking to be another long night.

I'm not saying that there isn't some truth to the stereotypes. Yes, a lot of people fit into them. And again, totally cool. You be you. But it's the over-generalizations and assumptions that are harmful. And seriously fucking annoying. Where's your creativity? Expose yourself to LGBTQ cultures before taking on a slash project, perhaps. Watch Queer as Folk, and compare and contrast the stereotypes there to what people actually talk about and do. THINK ABOUT YOUR CHARACTERS' ACTUAL PERSONALITIES BEFORE YOU SHOVE THEM INTO A BLOODY BOX. Would _______ actually act that way? Would _______ actually give a shit about blushing prettily and being *mecha kawaii~*~* for the big, strong, dominant macho man who's about to fuck him senseless? Maybe, maybe not. He doesn't have to fit into a neat little box. He doesn't have to fit an existing stereotype or gender role. Let him be himself without the added pressure of conforming to something he's not, just for the sake of fitting what YOU and the rest of the world think he should be because of his orientation. Enough of the fucking boxes. Enough. I take your box and I SMASH IT WITH A HAMMER.

And most importantly, ditch the leather pants and let's head back to my place, ok?

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