straight girls exclusively reading M/M smut and considering themselves advocates for gay rights is suspiciously like straight dudes who like to jack off to girl-on-girl porn that was constructed specifically for the male gaze in the sense that they’re both fetishizing queer sex and lifestyle and if you don’t see what’s wrong with that then i just don’t have the time for you.
not that you don’t have a point, but there is a fundamental assumption, implied by your statement, that you’re describing all of fandom when you say “straight girls”—when in fact disproportionate numbers of women in slash fandom are queer
Ah yes, this argument again.
Of course, anyone can see what is wrong with this hypothetical scenario in which hypothetical straight women hypothetically appropriate gay culture.
But how does Bettyrizz know that this scenario is in any way representative of majority slash fandom? Was a survey conducted? Did 1000 fangirls have their browser histories hacked and published on reddit? Did Bettyrizz … oh crap.
I knew I should have patched up that hole in my ceiling.
There actually have been polls and such of at least western media slash fandom. Startling to some who subscribe to the dominant narrative - that of straight white women appropriating queer experience for sexual gratification - but not at all surprising to those of us for whom slash fandom has been our queer community.
Picking out the conclusion, but raw numbers and analysis is provided at the link, plus follow-up numbers:
So, over 9 polls, in a variety of slash subfandoms from the late-teens yaoi set to the mid-thirties meta fans set, dates ranging over 7 years. Only onetwo polls had less than 50% queer participants, and that wasone of them the earliest one, and even they were at 37% and 47%. The median percent of queer participants was 59.7%, and the mean was 61.5% 60.8%.
Slash fandom is a queer community. The dominant narrative erases more than HALF of all slashers and their experiences.
I would also like to suggest that we do look at the other angle a little more carefully here. I can only speak for myself, with my identity as a lesbian, that I am not sure we should demonize this particular form of pornography right out the gate. Fetishization in the context of pornography is a problem for several reasons:
- if it is the only or dominant representation this particular group gets in the wider culture
- if it contributes or supports viewing these people as less than human.
- if there are no diverse versions of pornography with the “fetishized” group as target audience
I would also like to suggest that straight girls fetishizing gay men in their porn and also interested in LGBT activism, even in small forms like social media activism or online petitions, are hardly the worst thing that can happen to me. If a Sherlock fan is voting for gay rights so her fictional boy toys can get married, why should I care? That’s really the most important question I have to ask myself: Does motivation matter that much when the results are, in fact, positive? (Note, there used to be quite a few slashers who opposed LGBT rights in real life, but this new group of [usually] young people is actually proud of supporting LGBT rights. Some of them even talk about their support in public, because they’re fans and they get obsessive and excited about things.)
When I read posts like this I feel like we’re not doing ourselves any favors. What good does it do alienating those kids? Half of them may well turn out to be on their own journey of self-discovery. Especially the young kids. I can say that because over a decade ago I was one of them and slash fandom saved me, gave me the tools to find out who I was, and never made me feel like I didn’t belong.
There is really nothing inherently wrong with the concept of straight people watching/reading about queer people having sex to get off. The devil is in the details, especially in the visual porn industry. But the OP’s original point is a conflation of two things - that these girls/women read nothing but gay porn, which can be true, and that because of that they may consider themselves activists, which may also be true, with the conclusion that this is a terrible thing. The question becomes whether we should actually consider this an offense. Even if all they ever, ever do for us is vote for the queer-friendly political party and boost the social media activity around queer issues and ask for more representation in the media (which we can assume they do, unless they are *too young to vote*), that’s still good for us.
Personally, I think the OP’s attitude is hurting more than it helps. Do these kids need to be educated on the finer points of social justice? Certainly, but funny thing, that’s what fandom did for me, too. And I listened because I felt like I belonged, because it was my community. If we ostracize them early and tell them that their desires are shameful and wrong and they can never be good enough, I really believe we are doing more harm than good. To us, and to them.
I believe that there are certainly those who will continue to use queer porn for nothing but getting off and disregarding queer rights in the process. But that’s not what OP is arguing about, because those people never claimed to be activists in the first place. There are plenty of comments all around LJ I could probably find (say, on FandomSecrets) of people proudly having socially conservative values and yet getting off to gay porn. So, I don’t know why we are trying to get rid of the kids who want to be on our side. I like those kids. I want to educate those kids. I want to be there for the number of them who will turn out to be queer, too.
Obviously, all this? Very personal view. I have a generally favorable view of pornography in general, I think it has an important place in society and should be less demonized and made for a wider, more diverse target audience. I understand that many will not agree, and that’s okay. But these are my thoughts on the issue.
“lol (straight) girls fetishizing gay men” as a blanket statement about slash readers/writers is one of my major pet peeves. Not just because I’m a queer woman, but also because, gee, I sure as fuck write a lot about genuine queer issues/history for someone who is just “fetishizing”
- Sherlock Holmes getting blackmailed by a would-be lover (a plot I lifted wholesale from Anders als die Andern, a 1919 silent film, the first in the world to deal with queer issues.)
- The elderly Jeeves and Bertie Wooster receiving the news when homosexual acts were decriminalized in the UK, and going to London’s first gay pride march
- Fic about canonically queer characters such as Apollo & Midnighter, Albus Dumbledore, Raoul Silva, Basil Hallward, and Dee & Ryo — characters I am drawn to because like me they are queer.
Why queer men and not women for the most part? Well, for one I hardly think it’s controversial to say on Tumblr of all places that mainstream media lacks a lot of well-developed female characters, and especially queer female characters, so it is difficult find someone to latch on to who has the same gravitas and appeal of say, a Sherlock Holmes or a James Bond (which is not to say I don’t have f/f ships or adored female characters either).
For two, dealing with my own sexual identity is enough sometimes, I don’t really feel like working through anyone else’s or open myself up to projecting like an IMAX all over my f/f fic. I am finding it so very difficult to write anything for Femslash February despite having many pairings I want to try because it just feels too personal and intimate, even attempting something as simple as a one-night stand between Pussy Galore and Tilly Masterton (a canon pairing, btw).
And related to both points is the fact I feel less inclined to shoehorn female characters into romantic/sexual situations with anyone, male or female. I hated it when that was what Legend of Korra became. I myself have been in only one long-term relationship ever and do not feel inclined to find a life-partner right now. So I’m not particularly interested in seeing my favorite female characters pursuing relationships or even sex with anybody. I walked out of the Avengers shipping Natasha/Clint, not as star-crossed lovers but as friends-with-benefits. To my mind, that’s what Natasha has time for.
It’s easier for me to have the voyeuristic pleasure of m/m sex because it does not involve anyone who could be me.
TL;DR: there are loads of reason why women might enjoy gay porn, and most of them are not about “fetishizing” gay men, and people who write/read gay porn can also be interested in stories and IRL activism about actual queer issues.
I reblogged this before but I have to again because this is nothing but awesome commentary.
Reblogging for the queer comment smackdowns.
Shit, kids, I wouldn’t have actually ever got into most of this shit if it weren’t for the fact that I’m queer. I wouldn’t have stayed in a community that was mostly straight, cis people. Wouldn’t have felt like home. Don’t make me smack you across the face with my softpack so you’ll notice that I exist.
I feel like we do this every few years. And, hey, every few years, us queer fans groan and say, “fucking hell, AGAIN???? STILL HERE, STILL QUEER, PLEASE GET USED TO IT!”
Do me a favor: do not assume your fellow fans are cis or straight. I’m not fetishizing gay guys on the occasions I do write m/m slash instead of f/f, or f/m, or anything else. Maybe back when the rugby dykes and I were watching Seeds of Love and Club Pleasure over and over, there could be an argument that that was what we were doing, but generally, we watched them because we were bored, stoned, and they had better production values. So.
If I write m/m, I’m writing a relationship like any other, through the lens of someone who came out over two decades ago.
Speaking as a Tumblr-ancient queer, one who has seen friends and lovers die by their own hands because of the accumulated weight of microaggressions, you know what? I don’t give a fuck if Batman/Robin, Sherlock/John, Buffy/Faith, or Xena/Gabrielle bring you to queer rights activism: all I care is that you get there.
If you’re straight and m/m slash is the thing that gets you to stand up for our rights, well, more power fucking to it.
reblogging for excellent comments. Moreover, I’d contend that women (queer, straight, ace) who read and write m/m fic are engaging in a fundamentally different activity from straight guys watching faux lesbian porn, because reading/writing is quintessentially about identifying with, and empathising with, in a way that photographs and video are not. I think that slash is MUCH closer to drag, as a process - it’s members of one group roleplaying another, in order to play around with different freedoms and privileges. Sure, some drag is misogynist, but plenty of it isn’t, and it isn’t always about trying to genuinely represent the experience of being female - a lot of the time it focuses on the good stuff, the fun stuff, the liberating stuff, and ignores the rounded reality of being a woman in a patriarchal system where rape culture is the norm. Ditto slash, which often (not always!) eschews examination of the reality of the gay male experience in favour of exploring the particular freedoms afforded by being male, as well as the freedoms involved in kicking heteronormative gender role stuff to the curb.