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I Have Issues, I Know — Three of Them, In Fact

July 4, 2012

First and foremost: Happy Independence Day to my US readers! 😀 Enjoy your fireworks and pie and BBQ and day off, but be safe about it.

Now, onto the post…

I’m just going to come out with it: I see a lot of issues in fiction. Not drama-issues, but issues-issues. Tropes and stereotypes and recycled ideas that just make me less and less eager about buying books. I may be a writer, I may be a publisher, but I am first and foremost a reader. As a reader, I want to be happy. I want to be entertained. I want to be challenged. Now, my primary genre is GLBTQ erotic romance (and I do prefer writing gay romances, but don’t limit myself), and so this is the genre I am faced with most often.

Some of these things have been stewing in my brain for a while. This will be reminiscent of my Five M/M Genre Peeves, but not. 🙂

* I want to see less ‘eww, girl bits!’ and more ‘awesome, there’s a woman in my erotic fiction’. This on-going trend I see of negativity regarding the sexual inclusion of women in fiction that has two men being sexual has got to stop. I don’t read erotic romance to masturbate to, despite what mainstream media would like to think. When I watch porn, I either watch gay porn or lesbian porn or bisexual porn (not big into het porn, the road-kill orgasm faces they use are just creepy); key is, I watch porn when I want to get off. I read because I like stories, characters, awesome plots, and skilled writers. I can enjoy a va-jay-jay and appreciate its inclusion since, you know, women do account for 50% of the damn population of this world. Gay men feel erased in gay fiction? Guess what? I feel non-existent. Less of the ‘no girl cooties’ and more of the ‘let’s celebrate the many genders on this planet’, please.

* When I buy a novel proclaiming BDSM as being a serious part of the book, I want to read that book and recognize consent. You know, I can do without safe or sane, but consent is the cornerstone of BDSM. The rash of abuse and torture masquerading as BDSM at the moment—offset by the badly written flogging and TPEs (total power exchanges)—really bother me. I have absolutely no issue with dubious consent, rape fantasy, torture!porn, or any of it, but what I do take issue with is labeling it BDSM. Labeling it as such brings about certain expectations, and when you mislabel it (and do so proudly), you do a disservice to BDSM. I am a practitioner of BDSM in my real life. I am a submissive with an awesome Dom. It deeply disturbs me (as it has since my fandom days) to see rape, torture, abuse, and brainwashing being called BDSM and lauded as groundbreaking.

* I’d like to see less pooh-poohing over the happily ever after/happily for now endings that include a traditional ending of marriage and kids. I think it’s incredibly insulting that authors are told that marriage and children are unacceptable in gay romance/M/M romance. Gay men don’t want marriage? They don’t want children? Funny, I know dozens of gay men—and lesbians, as a matter of fact—whose HEA would include marriage, children, and equal rights under the law. I don’t understand. I find the same complaints in het romance, too. Let’s get rid of the women, and if we don’t, then she shouldn’t reproduce. I’m not saying a HEA should boil down to a ring and a shrieking small human, but sometimes, that’s the next step along that HEA path, and I’d like to see more of them. Balance, folks, it’s a wonderful state of being.

Not a huge post, but three main issues that have been nagging at me. I don’t know if the genre will change. I can only write and publish and use my dollar to make my desires heard. 🙂 But, after hearing the feedback at gay pride this year, coupled with what I’ve digested from OutlantaCon, I think we need to stop writing the same things. We need to push the boundaries, test the limits, challenge our readers, but I think it needs to be done with some thought, a lot of planning, and a hell of a lot of respect.

Let’s celebrate the dark fantasies, the bright futures, and show diversity in gender, orientation, and race. I think it could make for a hell of a time. 😉

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. July 4, 2012 2:46 pm

    Good luck on the “eww get the bitches out” attitude. There are readers that don’t even want female wallpaper characters in their m/m. All male gaytopia, ahoy.

    I like love stories that end with marriage or a similar arrangement (my latest heroine got handfasted, because forever terrified her, but she could handle a year). Kids…maybe not But I managed to let Robin Hood marry a man, in a church no less, in 1216. You’d think we could stomach it 800 years later. I know gay men who DO think marriage is stupid, that the QUILTBAG shouldn’t be following heterosexual mores. But I know more who are looking for Mr. Right and a white picket fence or, you know, a fabulous old house in the arts district.

  2. July 4, 2012 5:49 pm

    Bravo. I completely agree. It’s insulting the way some people talk about women in M/M fiction, as if we’re somehow the enemy. The misogyny I’ve seen around is just disturbing. O_o When there are so many women, be it straight, bi, lesbian, or trans*, both reading and writing in the genre, you’d think there would be more respect and less erasure for women. Definitely something I want to see change. Thanks for the post! ^_^

  3. July 4, 2012 8:26 pm

    Angelia — I don’t think the ‘get the bitches out’ mentality is going to lessen all that much. It’s a sad truth. Still, I refuse to compromise my own integrity with what I write or read by intentionally keeping women out. A gaytopia wouldn’t exist without the women to give birth to those gorgeous gay men who populate that gaytopia… unless assbabies become a commonplace trope… which I wouldn’t discount happening.

    I dislike how those who are of the QUILTBAG persuasion who seek the white picket fence, 2.3 kids, and the dog are waved away as being heteronormative, conforming to society’s black and white definition of life. I disagree. Humans, for the most part, are social creatures. Even me, who is socially inept and frightened of strangers; I still sought out lifelong partners because I wanted that companionship. One is a man, one is a genderqueer woman; one is a sexual and emotional relationship, one is asexual and emotional.

    Everyone’s happily ever after is different, but the blanket erasure of that particular one because ‘it’s just so straight’ is grr-inducing for me. XD

  4. July 4, 2012 8:27 pm

    Kris — I think we’ll just have to keep writing women in our worlds, write them well and true to themselves. 🙂 I know, such a hardship, right?

  5. July 4, 2012 11:02 pm

    Working on Barbarossa’s Bitch tonight. The pack has eliminated the word “woman” from their collective vocabulary.There are those who object to this. Women occupy a variety of positions in my post apocalyptic vision, from generals to slaves, from priestesses to trade goods. But the only place they aren’t found is in the all male packs, which consist of men run out of settlements for being gay, or youths thrown out of polygynous communities.

    I may even, gasp, let them have sex with the men. Because bisexuals aren’t just greedy or experimenting. (30 years is a hella long experiment!)

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