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January 7th, 2008

8:37 AM

Exploitative MM romances?

Interesting anonymous comment on Karen Scott's blog entry about MM romances:

I know I'm in the minority here, but I find a lot of M/M written by women to be...insulting, slightly exploitative, and often technically inaccurate. I've noticed that many reviews of m/m romances that are written by men complain that the characters fall into bed too quickly, that there's not enough emotion. It's like straight women are telling gay m/m romance writers, "Hey, y'all aren't doing it right."

I know Romance is a fantasy, and erotic romance, even more so. But what's the point of reading an m/m romance when one of the m's always acts like an "f"? Oh. Right. Two wangs are better than one. A lot of m/m seems to be less about presenting romantic relationships between men and more about presenting straight women's idealized version of romantic relationships between men. Kind of like the way most lesbians in straight male porn have bleached hair, double-d breast implants, and a secret craving for dick.

While I prefer my romances m/f, I like and appreciate m/m or f/f that don't read like the author has just changed one of the pronouns.

Since I've also complained about guys in MM romances sometimes falling too quickly, whether they are written by men or women, I don't think this fellow is talking about me, heh.

Interesting thoughts, really. Sometimes, when I'm  reading a terrible MM romance that fits the type the person is describing, I wonder how a gay reader may feel to have an aspect of his sexuality depicted in such an unrealistic and even embarrassing manner to pander to some straight female readers' idea of "idealized/romanticized" MM relationship.

Perhaps we need some kind of qualifier, just like we do for MF romances, where the romance we read in those stories do not necessarily reflect real life and the reader should expect a degree of implausibility as a result. Of course, this doesn't mean that the reader can't pan the book, this just means that the reader shouldn't be surprised to find such implausibility in the first place.

Anyway, let's end this with the video clip of my favorite Right Said Fred song. Remember them? No, this isn't I'm Too Sexy, but the lesser-known but more enjoyable song, in my opinion: their cover version of Don't Talk Just Kiss.

10 comment(s).

Posted by Anonymous:

Here are my thoughts, warning some nudie pictures on site: http://www.gaywired.com/article.cfm?section=10&id=3633
January 7th, 2008 @ 9:07 AM

Posted by Barbara Sheridan:

"idealized/romanticized" MM relationship

I can't speak for all m/m writers but coming to it as a Yaoi fans it is very idealized and romanticized in a fantasy world kind of way because that's a big part of that particular genre.

I know Anne and I do try to make the characters a bit more real life sometimes if the plot and characters call for it, but for the most part we're very Yaoi based and don't set out to insult gay men in any way.
January 7th, 2008 @ 10:44 AM

Posted by veinglory:

As opposed, of course, to how women in general and lesbians in particular are portrayed in the vaste majority of male authored erotica... every group gets good and bad treatment in fiction ;)
January 7th, 2008 @ 11:30 AM

Posted by Mrs G:

Oh, yaoi is certainly not to be considered any kind of realism as it is mostly fantasy, often exaggerated as well, that I agree with. In fact, I suppose one can say that many works of yaoi are the ones guilty of having men who are nothing more than girls dressed up as men.

I wonder if there are gay men who never read romances before pick up your everyday MM romances and get some kind of culture shock the way many non-romance readers pick up MF romances. Generally, the main criticism leveled by these folks would be that the romance, characters, etc don't feel "real". But then again, this is fiction. Even in MF romances, there is always an unrealistic/idealized fantasy element in these stories, so I don't see why MM romances should be any different, especially when right now they are all geared towards women.
January 7th, 2008 @ 12:47 PM

Posted by Teddypig:

As a Gay Man who has dated... OK well, not always dated, but done, yeah done, many many many many many other Gay Men with a full equal opportunity and celebration of diversity HR policy.

Men are pigs! That is all.

Oh, and please feel free to exploit me even more in the future.

Thank you for your time, The management.

PS. Stop it with all the long hair already there are maybe twenty Gay Men on the whole fucking planet with long hair and you have already used them up.
January 7th, 2008 @ 2:05 PM

Posted by December Quinn/Stacia Kane:

What Veinglory said.
January 7th, 2008 @ 4:54 PM

Posted by Mrs G:

Read that gaywired article finally after shooing impressionable kids away from coming near me. (I'm quite disappointed that I couldn't find any nudie pictures on that page though, heh.) That's a nicely articulated piece there. Did you get any feedback from the readers, Emily?
January 7th, 2008 @ 5:32 PM

Posted by Barbara Sheridan:

Oh Teddy, your comments amuse me so.
January 7th, 2008 @ 9:28 PM

Posted by veinglory:

What? I was to busy exploiting Teddy Pig, fictionally of course.

I never got any feedback other than the guy who paid 10 whole dollars for the non-exclusive rights to the article.
January 8th, 2008 @ 9:02 AM

Posted by RD Solange:

Gay fiction written for men and gay fiction written for women. The two are written for different audiences. I've tried reading gay fic for men and found it generally a little too "insert slot a into tab b" for my taste. Give me the cup filling over with emotional gay girly love over Mr. Benson any day. ;)
January 11th, 2008 @ 12:30 PM