Interesting discussion at Brandonshire’s blog about heteronormativity in M/M Romance. I replied there with the following and wanted to post it my comment on my blog. It’s a bit out of context, but I think sense can be made of it. Otherwise, you can check it out at Brandon’s blog for full contextual understanding. 😉
What you’re describing is not actually this, “Even the most effeminate gay men are still that, they are men, they aren’t women, they shouldn’t be written like women” but rather this, “That is writing a stereotype of a woman, who is not a woman.” Because what you’re describing are BADLY WRITTEN CHARACTERS. Women don’t behave in those ways either.
So, to me, the issue is not if the gay man is effeminate, or horny, or not horny, or “alpha male”, or whatever else…the issue is whether or not they are written as well-rounded, true-to-life human beings. Basically, when I see people complaining about gay men being written like women, I start wondering just how they see WOMEN, you know? I mean, when was the last time I read a woman in a book–especially a romance–that I related to as a woman? It’s sadly been awhile.
So, I have no problem with you or anyone else pointing out that some of the characterizations of gay men (and of women) in books are deeply problematic because they are unrealistic, stereotypical, and lacking in creativity, but I guess I do end up having a problem with the idea that it is because the men are being portrayed as ‘like women’…because generally I don’t even know any women who behave like these stereotypical characters we see in books.
Maybe a better phrasing would be “gay men who behave like the worst and most unrealistic stereotypes of women”. That’s a phrasing I could probably get behind.
**I have been told that I should shut up about this and that female authors of m/m can write whatever they want because women are the biggest readers of the genre.**
**I’ve had gay friends of mine (authors) who were told by female readers of the genre that their gay men were wrong, because they didn’t fit how they see gay men.**
Well, obviously, that’s shitty and short-sighted and homophobic and fetishizing on the part of those who have said these things. I’m certainly not expressing that opinion. I’m just challenging the idea that these characters are written “like women” because I think that they’re just crappily written characters who are not like women at all.
Hope this made sense! I haven’t had my coffee yet!