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Is M/M Slash Like Pseudo-Lesbian Porn Produced for Straight Men? - Mo's Journal — LiveJournal
January 22nd, 2009
02:22 pm


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Is M/M Slash Like Pseudo-Lesbian Porn Produced for Straight Men?

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[User Picture]
Date:January 30th, 2009 10:12 pm (UTC)
While I’ve been ruminating on some of these questions for quite awhile (and come from it from a very different direction – being a queer man interested in slash rather than traditional gay male porn) …

One of the things that I think is critically important and is often overlooked about ‘why men watch/buy/whatever’ the porn they are supposed to be interested in is that men are sold this by somebody with a marketing goal. You brushed this when you mentioned that (traditionally) most men are consumers, not producers of the porn they view.

Just as the portrayals of women in advertising and media are less than accurate and are often aimed at controlling purchasing habits (in a variety of ways, from inducing anxiety about the body, to defining what makes a woman a ‘woman’), to reinforcing existing social and cultural norms. Men are not immune to this pressure from marketing; they are being sold something and the people who make the goods are trying to create messages that make them buy their stuff. I firmly believe that one of the things that marketing and market produced work does is reinforce existing social norms and standardizing them to make selling goods (which is the basic goal of commercially produced porn) easier. I think this is at least partially intentional (ie: markeing folks saying this is a good way to sell stuff ) and accidental (ie: everyone knows straight men like blonde bimbos with inflated breasts and three inch long nails!).

I think this is important in that what ‘men want’ is at leas partially ‘what somebody who made a product to sell’ thinks/tells men they want.

The other issue is, since it is commercially produced porn – I’m not sure comparing it to consumer produced porn is accurate.

There is consumer produced gay porn – text based, not visual (though there is that as well) on the net and its general slant is more towards the body fluids/10 inch dicks sort of porn, it is by no means the only sort out there. I’m sure there’s consumer produced straight porn for men but I’d have to do a look-about that I can’t do here.

FYI - One of the first gay porn books I read was identical to traditional slash – complete with extensive character description/moderately complicated plot etc (and explicit sex). I’m at work, so I can’t produce the specific work but I have one of the books at home and I’ll do so when I get home. Since I read the eight or nine books this guy wrote all through my teens, this may be a big reason why I like slash style porn instead of more traditional gay man style porn.

PS - I haven't had a chance to read the comments (they are long and I am doing several things at once here) so I may be duplicating someone else's stuff. My apologies.
[User Picture]
Date:January 31st, 2009 03:24 am (UTC)
I realized in writing this that I was kind of leaving gay male slashers out of the equation and I thank you for weighing in. I will say that I sort of left myself out, as well. I've expounded elsewhere on why I like slash and I think as a lesbian producer and consumer of slash, some of my reasons are less common in a field where most of the producers and consumers are women living heterosexual lives (which I say, as opposed to "heterosexual women" because a large number of them seem to identify as bisexual but relate sexually only to men). In any event, I'm glad you commented. You say a lot of thought-provoking and worthwhile stuff, as always.

Market is definitely an issue - to what extent does it reflect taste, to what extent does it shape taste. With easier and cheaper production of porn, are the offerings more varied to reflect variety of taste? Or do the more varied offerings help to develop a market? In a fandom I'm peripherally involved with, there's a lot of slash stories with alien monsters with tentacles and the tentacles get used sexually. Now this seems to me a most peculiar idea (of course, everyone else's kinks always seem peculiar :-)) but it is a very popular one, and I find it's not limited to one fandom. So were there lots of people out there whose sexual buttons got pushed by the idea of tentacle sex, only they didn't know it until they got exposed to it? Or did someone write a really hot tentacle sex story and that got a bunch of women interested in tentacle sex and writing it? I don't know.

One thing a few people have said is that they like slash because in the fanfic they've read, the slash is better. That suggests that their tastes have been influenced by the quality of the material they read, or at least they think that is what's happening.

The other issue is, since it is commercially produced porn – I’m not sure comparing it to consumer produced porn is accurate.

I don't know that I'm looking for "accuracy" in this comparison, btw. All I'm saying is that I was familiar with the concept of pseudo-lesbian porn produced for straight men and wondered, when slash was still *unfamiliar* to me, what it might have in common with that and in what ways it might be different. And I've thought about that question from time to time, so I'm trying to lay out some of the similarities and differences, not suggesting that they are analogs. In fact, I think they serve some really different purposes, and I tried to delineate some of them.

Thanks for weighing in!
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