KJ (owlmoose) wrote,

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The topic that will never, ever die

So Tumblr is, once again, alight with discussion of slash versus femslash versus het, and all the various reasons why so many women chose to write slash, thereby focusing on male-centric narratives rather than female-centric ones, and people are accusing each other of sexism and homophobia and internalized misogyny, and I don't know why I am always compelled to comment on this topic, but... here we are.

The first thing I want to say, as always, is that it is the opposite of helpful for anyone to attack anyone else for writing what they write, 'shipping what they 'ship, loving what they love. People have a multitude of reasons for their preferences, all of which are very personal. And the "problem", such as it is, isn't about what any individual person writes/ships/loves, etc. It's about patterns and trends, and where they fit within our wider culture. So I hope no one ever takes anything I write on this subject personally, because that's not, and never has been, the point.

I could link to all kinds of things, but I'll start with this post, which focuses on the historical context of m/m versus f/f erotica and how differently they have been portrayed in the mainstream media. It's worth reading and not too long, but the quick summary is that men having sex with men has historically been positioned as shameful and degrading, when it's visible at all, whereas women having sex with women is presented almost exclusively for the male gaze. The author then suggests that the different contexts make it revolutionary to bring positive and joyful depictions of m/m sex into the spotlight, whereas shining the spotlight on f/f sex is more problematic.

I certainly understand where the author of the post is coming from, and agree to a certain extent, but whenever someone concludes that the solution to problematic depictions of women in the media is to write more about men, I get edgy. Why are women so quick to erase ourselves from the narrative? In a world that is so focused on men and their stories, why is our first instinct to perpetuate that imbalance rather than reclaiming the story for ourselves? It bothers me.

As always, I don't have any easy answers -- and I think it's more important to raise the questions, anyway, to think about them and keep them in mind as I make my own choices about what stories to tell. That's all I can really do, anyway.

As long as I'm on the topic of meta, I want to point the folks who don't follow me on Tumblr to these two really great bits of fandom meta: meta vs. criticism vs. critique and slash fandom and queer fetishization. These are some of the best pieces I've read on those topics in a very long time and can't recommend them too highly. They're both going into my toolbox of references, for sure.

This entry is also posted at http://owlmoose.dreamwidth.org/603744.html. There are currently comment count unavailable comments on DW.
Tags: fandom, feminism, meta

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