There's been some backlash against rawles
's post of the other day, it looks like! redbrickrose
and I had a decent discussion about this, where she pointed out that for her, the fact that fandom was so focused on queering characters and texts made her very protective of M/M, because it makes fandom a place where her experience (at least in theory; fannish takes on the queer experience can be problematic) is finally represented. Which I can see.
Maybe it's partly because I am extremely reluctant to embrace the label of "queer", and to identify as a member of that community that I have trouble with the queering argument. I guess I feel like my experience as a bisexual has been denied and erased from outside of the queer community and
from within it -- I'm not a "real" queer, I'm "just" an experimenting straight girl (yes, I'm still furious over the handling of Buffy/Satsu in S8, why do you ask?), or I'm "actually" a lesbian who's in denial. When the queer community has made it obvious that it has no particular regard for me and doesn't want me, I don't feel particularly inclined to spend my leisure time queering my entertainment; straight or gay, it's still something where I will be invisible. Whether the party is a het one or a queer one, I'm not invited and if I show up there and try to pass myself off as a party animal, most of the people there are going to regard me with confusion and ask each other "who invited her?"
Further, for me, I guess the problem is that we talk a lot
about that aspect of M/M, and how it's empowering in that regard, how we're imposing our own experiences onto texts that don't acknowledge them. And I do agree that it's an incredibly powerful and empowering action. But then we're completely content to just ignore the women, or worse, we find excuses not to write them. We don't queer things by writing F/F nearly as often as we do by writing M/M. We don't write gen about women. Instead, we say "oh, wow, Uhura's fierce! Yeah, she's awesome. Maybe I'll write about her one day, when I've got time, but I do think I can squeeze in thirty Kirk/Spock stories", or we don't even bother paying lip service, we just say "oh, Ginny's so boring, Draco is written in way more depth, let's talk about how JK Rowling is a genius but only when it comes to Draco". We say that the way Supernatural
treats women is appalling...until the ~wonderful brotherly bonding moment~ of Ruby's death, at which point there are comments about how all of the people are pointing out the problematic aspects of a scene where the reunion of two men is illustrated by one of them holding a woman in place while the other stabs her
are just examples of fandom being impossible to please.
And I don't think it's one or the other here, either we're being empowering by queering characters/texts or
we're continuing a sexist tradition by only writing stories about men (because most slash is M/M) -- obviously it's a lot more complicated than that, and I think it's probably a bit of both, and a lot of other things as well, both empowering and problematic.
I guess where I have trouble is that yes, there is definitely something to be said for the queer experience being represented, finally, and for carving out your own space and making people hear your voice and changing things that frustrate you for the better -- but I think it's extremely disingenuous to sidestep the fact that it's generally the white able-bodied cis male queer experience that's being represented by slash. And that's not to say that the majority of het doesn't focus on white able-bodied cis characters -- there's plenty of fail on ability, transgender, and race issues amongst het readers and writers, and lots of sexism, too. There's also plenty of fail on those counts amongst gen writers and readers, and amongst F/F ones, and amongst pretty much every crowd of fans you can find, because everyone has their blind spots. That's the magic of kyriarchy, basically.
My conclusion, I suppose, is that while I absolutely think it's completely fallacious to say that if you write M/M you must by default hate women because why else would you be writing about men, I also think it's completely fallacious to say that if you write M/M you can't possibly fail on any other issues, because you're being empowering on this one. I don't feel like anyone has said either of these things, but often, iterations of this debate will devolve into a false dichotomy along those lines, and I think it's worth noting that said dichotomy is