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Some Further Thoughts on Realism in Slash - Mo's Journal
January 29th, 2007
02:00 pm

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Some Further Thoughts on Realism in Slash

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From:executrix
Date:January 29th, 2007 07:41 pm (UTC)
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The physically impossible remains the physically impossible even in fiction! (Unless the fiction specifically creates a superpower or scientific gizmo to overcome it.)

I bet if I were a man, I wouldn't be really thrilled at the idea of a girlfriend's long, pointy talons in the vicinity of *my* Most Favored Nation either.)

You and I agree on m/m slash being about gay men (I use "gay" as an umbrella term that includes bisexuals). However, I think that men, of any orientation, have a wide range of interest in sentimentality. In fact a lot of what we think of as "romantic" behavior was dreamed up by gay men anyway, and I daresay at least some of them keep some of it for their own use.
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From:mofic
Date:January 29th, 2007 07:49 pm (UTC)
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In fact a lot of what we think of as "romantic" behavior was dreamed up by gay men anyway, and I daresay at least some of them keep some of it for their own use.

That's interesting. Tell me more. I do think that "romance" and "romantic" are very slippery words. I usually say I don't like romantic slash, but then I realize that what I don't like isn't necessarily what someone else would label romantic. And I was shocked at first by how many people (generally very, very young women) wrote to me after my first seres, I Know What You Are saying it was "so romantic" when I thought it was about as unromantic as it could be!
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From:executrix
Date:January 29th, 2007 08:06 pm (UTC)

Bambi vs. Groomzilla

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Just look at gay wedding expos. Even a jurisdiction that authorizes SSM or civil union or domestic partnership extends its degree of legal protection on the basis of a very simple civil ceremony. But that doesn't stop same-sex couples--or same-sex couples having commitment ceremonies that do not have any legal status--from having elaborate ceremonies and receptions. Hey, maybe some of them thing that Charles & Di would have worked out if only they'd had a *real* wedding. And in gay-tolerant neighborhoods, there are usually restaurants that specialize in cozy candle-lit dinners for same-sex couples. And I bet in a couple of weeks lots of guys will be in the doghouse if they don't pony up the chocolates and roses for their husbands or boyfriends. (But then again lots of guys will get laughed at if they *provide* the chocolates and roses.)

Dancing has been central to gay male culture for a very long time; but in addition to disco and post-disco dancing (where, in effect, the whole room is your partner) there's a minority interest in partner forms like ballroom and swing, because of the closer association between partner-dancing and courtship than, e.g., folk dances where a group of people dance together.

It's never possible to control the messages that readers will receive from a story anyway!
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From:mofic
Date:January 29th, 2007 09:16 pm (UTC)

Re: Bambi vs. Groomzilla

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But do you really think that means that those romantic courtship rituals were invented by gay men and for gay men, as you asserted? Have you seen this: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/08/fashion/08gay.html?ex=1170219600&en=53d31c3f02908462&ei=5070

I wonder if the results are similar in other jurisdictions (e.g. whether there are more women in same sex marriages in Canada than men). And there are lots of reasons for having ceremonies even in the absence of legal recognition - romance is only one reason. As to candle-lit dinners in gay ghettos or same-sex social dancing, I think they are just indicative of gay men and lesbians wanting the ability to do what other people do and some things we can only physically safely do in our own space. Yes, there are gay and lesbian swing dancers or tangoers (is that a word?) but there's also the Times Squares (gay square dancers) and gay Scrabble clubs and Front Runners and pretty much any other activity you can think of, organized for gay men and lesbians.
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From:executrix
Date:January 29th, 2007 10:14 pm (UTC)

Re: Bambi vs. Groomzilla

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I wouldn't exactly say that conventional romance tropes were invented by gay men for gay men, so much as that they're like vintners who export MOST of the wine but keep some.

Thanks for the article link, I hadn't seen it before. Girls certainly have a lot more wedding mythology than boys, and everybody varies in how much they want to go against dominant ideologies, including people who have same-sex partners.

Expressions of love are both idiosyncratic and influenced by both the wider culture and one's own subculture. I remember a 1970s reference to giving a brown leather bomber jacket to one's partner as "gay minks."
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From:eveningblue
Date:January 29th, 2007 09:47 pm (UTC)
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I do think that "romance" and "romantic" are very slippery words. I usually say I don't like romantic slash, but then I realize that what I don't like isn't necessarily what someone else would label romantic.

Absolutely! I remember telling you how "romantic" I thought it was when Scott and Logan discovered that Logan's healing powers were transmitted through his semen. "Then they can be together forever!" I said. And you sounded disappointed, and told me that you liked someone else's comment about how subversive or transgressive or some "ive" it was that Logan could have "healing semen." So we must have different ideas of what "romantic" means!
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From:mofic
Date:January 30th, 2007 01:49 am (UTC)
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LOL! Well, I think we do to some extent, and also I think I probably use it a few ways myself. In that particular case, that kind of romantic interpretation of the whole "healing semen" subplot had never occurred to me. I wasn't just disappointed - I was downright embarrassed by it!

Sometimes I think of "romance" as applied to relationships to be the antonym of "practical" or "down to earth" and in that way I think of S and L as having a very unromantic relationship. They don't have illusions about each other. And I don't think they know - or even think, necessarily - that they'll be together forever.

In a positive sense, I think of "romantic" as meaning loving and open to love and focussing on love and what it can do for you. I think "> this is the most romantic story I've ever written. But I see it as such precisely because they *don't* know that they'll be together forever, or even for another day. They're both being so very careful with each other because the reconciliation is as yet very tentative and they both really *want* it to last but don't know if it will. So they're each very focussed on pleasing the other, much more so than usual.

I think of J-P and Adam as a much more romantic couple. They value love highly, they fall in love before they even meet, they often declare love for each other, they're very devoted to each other. OTOH, they're not (I hope) mushy; they're still capable of joking about love and sex. And for all of their declarations of love and their unarguably strong attachment to each other, it's their relationship that ultimately falls apart over a third party, something Soctt and Logan weather fairly well.
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