And lo we have had another discussion about m/m that has largely focused on people who are not gay men. And there’s a lot that’s wrong again, to say the least about how much yet again there is a complete brushing over of appropriation and exploitation issues and the dehumanising of gay men to objects that is rampant in the m/m genre.
Yet again these legitimate concerns are being dismissed by people who are not gay men and we’re again back to the same old posturing, the same old demands – and that same old line:
“WRITERS CAN WRITE WHATEVER THEY FEEL LIKE WRITING.
That’s it. No explanations. No justifications.”
No thinking, no respect. No analysis. Not giving a damn about the damage and harm they cause. Writers write whatever they feel like writing, no duty not to do harm, screw the rest of you. The same disrespect, the same callous indifference we find over and over again.
When writing the Other, it is not unreasonable or shocking to ask for some respect and consideration for that Other and the damage you may do. It is not unreasonable for that Other to expect some degree of acknowledgment. It is not unreasonable for that other to expect to be treated as more than poseable dolls for your enjoyment.
Which means, “As long as everyone is getting off, what’s the big deal?” It IS a big deal. And lines like this don’t do anything to reassure me for even a second that so many m/m writers have even an ounce of respect for gay men. Also, can you really flail angrily around at those nasty people who call your work ‘porn’ then turn round and decide that so long as people are getting off, it’s all good? That‘s your goal. Never mind any other shit – are people getting off? Yeah, then we‘re good. This is even less respectful and even more dripping in contempt than the “it’s only fiction” debacle
It IS a big deal because me and mine are not a fetish. Because we’re not objects. Because we’re not sex toys. It is a big deal because we are people in a world that so often refuses to acknowledge that. It is a big deal because our sex lives and sexualities are being appropriated and used and disrespected and fetishised in a world that ALREADY disrespects and fetishises our sexualities. It matters because decent, non-problematic portrayals of gay youth are nearly non-existent in the media and in literature. It matters that if a young gay man out there is trying to connect and find something like himself he’s far more likely these days to find a book by a non-gay man (though not necessarily making that clear, with careful use of pseudonyms and fake biographies), with “mandatory” sex scenes that is all bloody fine with anything so long as “everyone is getting off.”
And I am beyond tired of all these people who are not gay men telling me that it doesn’t bloody matter. Which is, of course, code for “shut the fuck up and go away” because gods’ forbid we ruin your moment of “getting off”. I am tired of all these non-gay men deciding this is a non-issue. Tired of them deciding this isn’t something even worth thinking of and generally tired of a genre that is more than happy to use us as objects but seems to have little time or respect for us as people.