Does m/m fiction objectify gay men?
Um… sometimes? Let’s be honest, some of it is wank fuel. Guess what, that’s not such a new thing in the romance world. Plenty of women in tight bodices with deep cleavage and men with wide chests brandishing swords have been relegated to wank fuel. Gay men are just the latest addition to that little club.
And yeah, I understand the frustration. Seriously, dude, do you have any idea how straight men objectify lesbians? Every straight man seems to want to either watch or join in, and they’ll come right out and say that which is disturbing on a huge level. So I get the frustration. I do.
However, other stories show gay men in a wide range situations. They get to be heroes and villains, brothers and fathers and sons. They get the sort of stories that television and movies refuse to tell.
But the part where my brain gets stuck is when people start saying that if you aren’t gay you can’t write about gay characters.
Well, I guess I’m screwed then. Under that theory, I could only write about lesbians. Okay, so I might have a few gender confused women who liked playing B/D games with men, but no het sex. Or gay malesex. OR straight people or gay men or transsexuals or … actually I wouldn’t be able to write anything I want to write.
Because I don’t write lesbian fiction… it feels a little too much like awkward masturbation. So I write pretty much anyone who isn’t me.
I write about Miss Dolphinia the cross-dressing gay queen who waxes poetic about a time in BDSM history when the rules were looser and Doms could get away with a lot more (fun for Doms, but not always great for the rest of the community)
I write about Jacqs Glebov who thought he was straight because the first person he was attracted to was female, and he really wasn’t one for self-reflection.
I write about Corporal Ace Class Chankoowashtay “Shank” Lacroix who has to be careful to hide his submissive side because people have confused submissive for pushover, and while he is one, he’s definitely not the other. And he is passionately heterosexual.
Allie Grah is equally passionate about her bisexuality.
Carl Ragar is afraid to step up to the plate and confess to the man he loves.
Vinnie Bernardi is too quick to speak up.
And none of these people have sexualities that even come close to mine.
My characters should be judged on their own merit, not on my sexuality. If one of my gay characters or straight characters or bisexual characters or gender ambiguous characters fails, then the fault is not my gender or my sex or my sexual orientation.
Shakespeare writes some kick-ass women. Harper Lee wrote a few of my favorite men, including Dolphus Raymond, who Miss Dolphinia named herself after. And face it, Margaret Mitchell wrote the best damn bastard in all of literary history.
Jeff Lindsay writes a damn good psychopath without ever having murdered someone (I hope), and Anne Rice has never met a vampire although she can write the hell out of them.
Literature is imagination. I won’t apologize for imagining a world where anyone can be anything.