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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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From:stormwreath
Date:January 31st, 2009 02:41 am (UTC)
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Some interesting questions, and I'm going to throw my two pennies in. Well more like two thousand pennies, since this is long. And for the record, I'm a straight man. And here via metafandom.

[*] Male-oriented media's fetishisation of lesbians has always been rather puzzling even to me. Don't get me wrong, I don't deny that if one attractive woman doing sexy things is interesting, two doing sexy things together is going to be no less interesting... but the idea seems to be promoted all through our culture and popular media that I'm supposed to find it much, much more interesting... and I just don't get it. Maybe I should stop using Jeff and Steve from 'Coupling' (British version) as role models. Of course, you never see a woman on a TV show shouting "Wahay! Gay men!".. or at least not yet.

[*] On pictures versus text - here , however, my own experience certainly supports your generalisation. I can find both arousing, but visual imagery generally has a much more immediate and strong effect. Whether that's innate or down to social conditioning is a much more complicated question, of course.

[*] On the consumer/producer divide, I think this stems directly from the pictures versus text question. Men can write their own porn, but they can't normally go out and photograph people having sex (without being arrested). So if they prefer visual imagery, as I think most do, they have to turn to commercial producers. Or drawing and painting, of course, but that requires artistic ability which is fairly rare. There is a spectrum of commercialisation and interaction - women running their own porn websites, sites with forums where the models can interact with the customers and so forth are on one end of it. It still doesn't have the equality and free interchange that characterises the fic community, of course. Although at least in theory this could be different with porn produced by and aimed at gay men - I don't have the necessary knowledge there to say.

[*] An equivalent of romantic relationship building fic for straight men? I'm not really aware of anything... I'd say action adventure or world-building stories take its place, in our culture at least.

[*] Regarding story, I think this is linked to the pictures versus text thing again. When simply the shape of a female body can get a heterosexual man aroused, there's no real need for the producers to waste their money on providing a story as well. :-) Which is not to say that men are never interested in such things; just that they're less necessary.

[*] The image of the "pseudo-lesbian" with long nails, blonde perm and fake boobs is, I think, a creation of the American porn industry which is often derided elsewhere. I'd agree, though, that I can't see many straight men being interested in masculinising one half of an all-woman couple.

[*] Again, I suspect the whole idea of "the man comes into the scene and joins the women" is a creation of the porn industry rather than necessarily being a common male fantasy. Given how visual men are, in fact, I've a feeling we're less likely to want to insert ourselves into the scene at all; it's more a matter of just watching with higher brain functions disengaged.

[*] I read a fascinating article earlier this week posted by one of my flist talking about research done on male and female sexual response when presented with a series of potentially-arousing images. Straight men were turned on by pictures of women - women by themselves or women with someone else, it didn't matter. Gay men were likewise turned on by images of men. The women, on the other hand - both straight and lesbian - were most turned on by images of couples having sex, whether those couples were m/f, m/m or f/f. Even more interesting, when asked which images they found arousing, a lot of the women only pointed out the sexual image appropriate to their orientation (m/f for heterosexual women, f/f for gay women) even though the sensors had shown they were turned on by the others as well. Whether that was due to embarrassment, denial, or some other reason wasn't really conclusive from the article... nor did it say if they included any slash fans in the sample tested. :-)
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From:mofic
Date:January 31st, 2009 03:44 am (UTC)
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Lots of interesting points - thanks for weighing in. A few comments on comments:

Men can write their own porn, but they can't normally go out and photograph people having sex (without being arrested).
You know, I think that's changing with the youtube type porn sites. And they do seem to have much more male content than female content. Not just gay male content, but men by themselves. Of course that's just who's in it, but I think generally the people in the pictures are the producers as well. Anyway, if I'm right (and I might not be) it would substantiate your point.

The image of the "pseudo-lesbian" with long nails, blonde perm and fake boobs is, I think, a creation of the American porn industry which is often derided elsewhere. I'd agree, though, that I can't see many straight men being interested in masculinising one half of an all-woman couple.

Are you saying that you think porn produced elsewhere doesn't have those characteristics, in female/female scenes? How are they different?

I think the article you mention at the end is the one from last week's NY Times Magazine, which is getting lots of interesting comment.

Thanks for stopping by. I was surprised to see you say you were here from metafandom. I had thought they decided not to link this essay...

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From:stormwreath
Date:January 31st, 2009 12:38 pm (UTC)
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I think there's definitely an increase in "amateur" and self-produced visual porn, yes - although it's inescapable that a heterosexual person can't produce photographic or video images of their preferred gender by themselves! :-) But even so I think there's a big moral difference between a company saying "We paid these women to let us film them, and now we're selling the videos to you" and "I'm willing to sell you these videos I made of myself."

Are you saying that you think porn produced elsewhere doesn't have those characteristics, in female/female scenes? How are they different?

Mostly that a lot of the imagery produced here in the UK, or in Australia as another example, seems to try to present its actors much more as "ordinary people you might meet on the street", and there's less emphasis on creating very artificial personas or scenarios for them (to the extent that many of the companies make this their marketing message). To be fair, part of that might just be a differing cultural standard of attractiveness - and I also think the porn industry is a slave to fashion, so if one company starts making a particular kind of video soon dozens will be copying them. Or, of course, I may be mislead by first impressions since I've not exactly conducted an extensive and scientific survey. :-)


I followed the link someone else posted above and yes, it is the same NY Times article. And your post was in yesterday's metafandom roundup.

Edited at 2009-01-31 12:45 pm (UTC)
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