reflectedeve: Pearl from Steven Universe, in a tux and top hat (i heard a rumor - namesake)
Lilith ([personal profile] reflectedeve) wrote2010-02-01 12:02 pm
Entry tags:

say there's something better

(At some point I'll get off my ass and write a check to renew my paid dreamwidth account. Then I can have icons again!)

So this weekend I decided to take a vacation in an alternate universe; one where queer women are, y'know, totes normal and get to have stories written about them all the time. To that end, I rented Saving Face (which was fantastic) and picked up a copy of Malinda Lo's Ash (which was sweet, and would have been perfect for me in my mid-teens) . . . and then I wound up rewatching about six episodes of Xena. ;)

Can't I just live there?

I got back from Chicago only to have work blow up in my face. It has not been good times, so among other things, I haven't really been able to keep up with all the slash/homophobia/misogyny discussion that's been going around. I've read a couple of posts that I really liked, though, so in case you've missed the whole thing (and not because you, y'know, wanted to): [ profile] bookshop has a post here about wanting actual queer characters instead of homoerotic subtext. [personal profile] melannen has one that debunks the old "most slashers are straight women" bit, and I also really liked [personal profile] cimorene's post here, because she pulls together a bunch of stuff that's been bugging me for years.

I couldn't possibly get into it at any length right now, but basically? While good female characters are a huge factor when I select media to consume, I still read much less fic about them. Maybe this is because they exist (if in deeply unsatisfactory numbers), while most of the "queer" couples I enjoy can be erased by my (sweet and totally unwitting) roommate just not seeing them. I am starving for stories of queer couples, and when it comes to reading fanfiction, a pairing's gender(s) often matters to me less (matters, but less) than its queerness. I miss the women all the fucking time--I finally wound up dumping SGA several years ago because I couldn't take the lack/mishandling of them any more-- but I've spent the majority of the last decade or so reading mostly m/m (while drawing mostly f/f, usually in completely different fandoms).

A lot of this, as I know others have said, has to do with the scarcity of female relationships (not just single characters, but friendships, rivalries, whatever) within a large portion of today's media, and particularly within genre media. Female characters tend to be tokenized, or just kept separate from each other; and when they're not, their relationships are never well-developed, never the focus. When I read fic, I'm mostly interested in work that expands on a fair amount of canon background; stuff I can "ship along as I watch," as [personal profile] cimorene puts it. I do read minor/fanon pairings sometimes for the sake of f/f, but I find it much less satisfying, even on the (rare) occasion that it's in-depth and good. And I'll occasionally read het, too, but it's not something I seek out because it's already everywhere (asome of what's out there is even good, as rewatching Farscape has reminded me), and because it just doesn't resonate with me the same way.

On a personal level, I don't know what to do about this apart from getting back to drawing more women (I've been toying with Uhura/Gaila lately), and making all my original work about women (often queer ones). It's frustrating, but then, I don't write much fic (or want to); I can try to change my reading habits, but that's going to depend on what fandom's writing. (More Parker/Sophie, anyone? :D? :D?)

I have even less to add to the "appropriating gay men's experiences" side of things; it's something that has worried me in the past, and I have not come to any useful conclusions. I need to read more of that side of the discussion, although it seems to have become rather fraught with regard to the straightness/queerness of women who read and write slash. I will say that while slash isn't a queer safe space, and is often irresponsible, I do come to slash (and often fandom in general) for a queer experience of sorts, and as such I don't feel like some kind of outsider peeking in on something that isn't mine. Some of that probably comes back to that notion that women in our culture have been socialized to identify with men as "default" people, which is problematic; I'm definitely not a gay man, so maybe I don't have the right to that quasi-"insider" perspective. If gay men are being hurt by slash, or some slash, then there's clearly an issue, but I'm not sure what to do with it yet (even inside my own head).

Bleh, that got long and still went precisely nowhere - I would make the worst acafan. Sorry for inflicting it on you guys (if any of you made it through all that - eesh)! Some of this had been troubling me more and more recently, before the meta explosion. My group of friends is the straightest I've had since before high school, and while that's relative, it's been causing me some frustration. My roommate doesn't "see" slash most of the time (even TOS Kirk/Spock, ffs), I wind up feeling like "the queer friend" and rhapsodizing about issues to a sympathetic-but-still-privileged straight guy friend, and IDK. I used to live in Lesbianville (I did not make up that nickname), but since moving to Boston, I feel weirdly out of the loop. Reading posts like some of [personal profile] fairestcat's, I've realized that fandom has really become my queer community.

Meh. All that aside, things have been seriously rough lately, but yesterday I cleaned, made delicious vegetarian chili, and got a new original strip penciled. After a couple weeks of emotional exhaustion and aimlessness, my life is pulling itself back into shape; huzzah! (Also I'm thinking about setting up an OkCupid account - meep.)

Now I have to figure out what on earth I'm drawing for [ profile] trekreversebang. I kind of want to do Kirk/Spock/Uhura, but a) I'm not sure people will write it and b) I keep coming up with less-than-inspired gen instead. Hrm.

[ETA:] Oh, also, because I haven't mentioned in quite awhile? I still have some dreamwidth invite codes, if anyone's interested.
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[personal profile] linkspam_mod 2010-02-13 10:00 pm (UTC)(link)
Your post has been included in an Linkspam Roundup.
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[personal profile] mutecornett 2010-02-16 07:42 pm (UTC)(link)
Whoa, somehow I missed this post, but yes, yes, yes to everything you're saying. Especially since both of us draw mostly women in our original art? That was part of what I was trying to puzzle out--I'm mostly interested in women and female-centric stories/art in original fiction (especially romances) and m/m in fanfiction (where it is a deliberate choice to deviate from my default female-centric art, especially since male bodies kind of bore me) with f/f on the occasions I can find it, god!

And you articulated a lot of things I felt about this issue exactly as I feel it, about fandom as your queer space, about the scarcity of queerable female relationships that you can "ship along as you watch", about how a pairing's gender matters less than its queerness?

So, uh, I feel you, and thanks for saying this. Somehow I feel a lot better knowing someone else is out there feeling the same. And sorry for not making sense, haha, but yes.

(Wooooo! Saving Face!)