In general I have been looking at m/m and slash circles from a distance, mainly because outside of a view careful places, I don’t consider either to be a particular safe space for gay men – and the contempt I’ve felt for gay men from so many m/m writers has left a considerable bad taste in my mouth. I’ve written about it before and, frankly, the defences, derails and general refusal to see any problematic elements from so many just further increased my reservations and avoidance.
But we have new drama llamas on the horizon. There has been the appalling plan of the Haiti fanfic (which has been covered expertly elsewhere) and now I see a “what if Tarzan was an m/m story.” Both of which gloss over a whole lot of problematic issues (as well as dubious history research)
And, as usual, we have the usual crop of defenders, excusers, distracters and derailers on full time duty.
And it just makes me wonder – what won’t be tolerated?
What won’t be tolerated in the stampede to have the hawt male sexing?
What won’t be stomped all over in the drive to see the hot guys get it on?
Fetishisation and appropriation we’ve seen in spades. Taking a gross tragedy like Haiti and using it as a backdrop? Stomping over the severe problems of colonialism? Breezing merrily past the rigid and often brutal facts of history, often without a semblance of research? The quest for the hawt mansex is happy to leave anything broken in its wake.
And it’s the same attitude I see that breeds so many of the problems from this. I see gay spaces being treated as tourist spots, gay men asked to perform. I see (and have experienced) gay men being treated as resources, as oracles and freaking goggle over and over for more information for the hawt mansex (and let’s not forget the often grossly personal questions). We see appropriation of allydom. We see it in the massive race fail dramas that wrack m/m as much as they do any part of the fiction genres. We see gross fanpoodling, of people defending the indefensible and ignoring even the grosses and most offensive statements.
Frankly, it is the kind of behaviour I’d expect from porn movies. Not because I think any of these particular stories are porn (they may or may not be) but because it’s the same attitude you see in porn. To get the sexing going, anything can be appropriated. They’ll dress people up in costumes, set it just about anywhere – and it’s all about the sex, everything else is glossed over no matter how offensive that glossing over is. And time and again, in the guise of it only being fiction, we seem to see the same attitude.
Ultimately it shows a lack of respect that is stunning – and an attitude that is more self centred than a narcissistic gyroscope.