Re: Mischa Badasyan
- Yes, this is art. (He intends to critically examine and deconstruct norms and attitudes surrounding a behaviour — hookup culture within the gay community — in a way and to a depth that the community in question has not previously engaged. This project also has a clear and obvious performative and participatory component. Yep: it’s art.)
- No, it’s not really any of your business. (He has done a battery of STI tests; they’ve all come back negative, and he plans on using condoms for all his encounters. With that in mind, he doesn’t pose a public health risk — so it’s his body, and he gets to do whatever he likes with it.)
- No, he isn’t conventionally-attractive. And fuck you for bringing that up.
- Yes, he’s kind of chubby. And fuck you for bringing that up.
- No, we really don’t need to know that you think gay sex is gross.
- In fact, unless you are literally about to have sex with this man, your opinions as to the subject of how much you would or would not like to have sex with this man are entirely irrelevant.
- What makes you so sure he’d want to have sex with YOU?
- Yes, you’re totally allowed to think this project is indulgent, or pretentious, or wanky, or whatever else. But if we never allowed for “wanky” art, we’d still be painting oxen on the walls of our caves.
The Problem With “Subtly Homoerotic”
Agatha Christie did the most incredible thing in 1950’s A Murder is Announced: on the fringes of her quaint country village, filled with the usual Anglo-Indian Colonels and doddering vicars, she introduces two lady farmers. These women (Misses Hinchcliffe and Muratroyd) have cohabitated for 15 years, raising pigs and breeding dogs and enjoying each others’ company. More importantly, Hinch and Murgatroyd are portrayed as having the most healthy and fulfilling relationship in town: they bicker like schoolgirls, but there’s always a tenderness, and a mutual respect, that most of us would associate with a thriving marriage. Neither of them is predatory, nor are they victims, nor are they “settling” for one another in the absence of men: they are equally-yoked, and proud of it.
At least, that’s my interpretation. Christie never out-and-out states it, and plenty of readers are perfectly content to read Hinch and Murgatroyd as good friends. But when I cracked this book open at age 12, I was on this relationship like a drag queen on Dolly Parton. It’s not a perfect relationship — Christie was clearly of the “I don’t care what they do so long as they shut up about it” mindset: queerness is fine so long as it stays formally in the closet — but it’s a relationship, and a relationship in a popular-press, bestselling, mainstream novel at that. That’s a big deal.
Or, it was. In 1950.
I’m tired of appreciating subtle homoeroticism.
I’m tired of being told that Sherlock is subtly homoerotic.
I’m tired of being told that House is subtly homoerotic.
I’m tired of being told that The Giver is subtly homoerotic.
I’m tired of being told that literally any show which features two same-gender characters is subtly homoerotic.
Yes, some texts are subtly homoerotic — but plenty just aren’t. They really, really aren’t. You can make them homoerotic, but if a reader’s willing to do the heavy ideological lifting, you can make Mein Kampf homoerotic, to say nothing about Tintin or Batman. (Batsuits with hard rubber nipples notwithstanding.)
And this bothers me for three key reasons.
Firstly, it’s shit like this that makes “No Homo” a thing. By treating any same-sex interaction (conversation, passing glances, occupying the same room, living on the same planet…) as homoerotic, we create social conditions within which people feel it necessary to telegraph their heterosexuality, or at least their lack of sexual interest, lest we get confused. Not only is this on-the-face demeaning, it makes life harder for straight and gay men: the breeders get jumpy and nervous and twitchy and weird, while the queers are alienated and pushed away from forming meaningful friendships with straightfolk. (After all, if you ride in a car with a gay man, we can safely assume he’s sucking your dick… right?)
Secondly, this is not an accurate depiction of lived queer experiences in the contemporary western world. If you live in Cairo in 2012, or in Chicago in 1950, or in London in 1930, or in Paris in 1860, then, yes, subtle homoeroticism is about as far as you’ll be allowed to go, at least in public. But to take these media at face value, one must accept that an openly-gay man, living in Portland, in 2014, has a sex life which consists entirely of longing glances, telling pauses and missed opportunities. That’s some bullshit right there. (And it only gets more ludicrous when we slip into sci-fi: she lives 2000 years in the future on a space station filled with green aliens and interspecies couples and galactic harmony, yet she has to restrict her lesbianism to the tears on her pillow?)
But finally, and most importantly, all this emphasis on “subtle homoeroticism” lets content creators off the hook. It creates a culture within which awkward glances and subtle nudges are “good enough”: “But we gave you a queer character! We even CONFIRMED her homosexuality, at a con, years after the show ended! What more do you people WANT?!”
Hinchcliffe and Murgatroyd are very, very important and very, very dear to me. It was brave of Christie to write them, and kind of her to depict them as so fulfilled in their relationship. But that was 1950; sixty years later, how far have we really come? Have we really not moved past waggled eyebrows and private fantasies and a love that dare not speak its name?
A List of “Men’s Rights” Issues That Feminism Is Already Working On
Feminists do not want you to lose custody of your children. The assumption that women are naturally better caregivers is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not like commercials in which bumbling dads mess up the laundry and competent wives have to bustle in and fix it. The assumption that women are naturally better housekeepers is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want you to have to make alimony payments. Alimony is set up to combat the fact that women have been historically expected to prioritize domestic duties over professional goals, thus minimizing their earning potential if their “traditional” marriages end. The assumption that wives should make babies instead of money is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want anyone to get raped in prison. Permissiveness and jokes about prison rape are part of rape culture, which is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want anyone to be falsely accused of rape. False rape accusations discredit rape victims, which reinforces rape culture, which is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want you to be lonely and we do not hate “nice guys.” The idea that certain people are inherently more valuable than other people because of superficial physical attributes is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want you to have to pay for dinner. We want the opportunity to achieve financial success on par with men in any field we choose (and are qualified for), and the fact that we currently don’t is part of patriarchy. The idea that men should coddle and provide for women, and/or purchase their affections in romantic contexts, is condescending and damaging and part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want you to be maimed or killed in industrial accidents, or toil in coal mines while we do cushy secretarial work and various yarn-themed activities. The fact that women have long been shut out of dangerous industrial jobs (by men, by the way) is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want you to commit suicide. Any pressures and expectations that lower the quality of life of any gender are part of patriarchy. The fact that depression is characterized as an effeminate weakness, making men less likely to seek treatment, is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want you to be viewed with suspicion when you take your child to the park (men frequently insist that this is a serious issue, so I will take them at their word). The assumption that men are insatiable sexual animals, combined with the idea that it’s unnatural for men to care for children, is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want you to be drafted and then die in a war while we stay home and iron stuff. The idea that women are too weak to fight or too delicate to function in a military setting is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want women to escape prosecution on legitimate domestic violence charges, nor do we want men to be ridiculed for being raped or abused. The idea that women are naturally gentle and compliant and that victimhood is inherently feminine is part of patriarchy.
Feminists hate patriarchy. We do not hate you.
If you really care about those issues as passionately as you say you do, you should be thanking feminists, because feminism is a social movement actively dedicated to dismantling every single one of them. The fact that you blame feminists—your allies—for problems against which they have been struggling for decades suggests that supporting men isn’t nearly as important to you as resenting women. We care about your problems a lot. Could you try caring about ours?
Excerpt from If I Admit That Hating Men is a Thing, Will You Stop Turning it Into a Self-fulfilling Prophecy?, by Lindy West (via lilac-time)
fucking THANK YOU
this is a BIG thing that men don’t get about feminism and patriarchy.
I’ve reblogged this before but it bears repeating
Everyone. Please read this. Please just stop what you’re doing, and please read this. This is so critical, so important. Please read.
"sexuality is a spectrum so everyone’s a little bisexual"
visible light is also a spectrum but i don’t see you calling everything you’ve ever seen “a little green”
Bad Gamer Arguments
For every woman in a chainmail bikini, there’s a super-buff barbarian dude in a loincloth. Why is it okay to portray the barbarian as a sex object, but not treat a woman the same way?
Why do you think Superman is so buff?
I’ll give you a hint: it’s not because women demanded it. If Superman were created as a sexual fantasy for women, he wouldn’t be punching out villains in comic books: he’d be making out with Wolverine in a Harlequin romance novel.
Instead, Superman is buff because men demanded it. Superman represents a male fantasy: the fantasy of being strong and dominant and muscly and virile; of beating up bad guys and getting the girl and saving the day; and so on.
In a similar way, your half-naked barbarian dude isn’t a female fantasy, or a sop to women; he’s a manifestation of a male fantasy. Chainmail bikini lady (mostly-naked sorceress, etc.) is a fantasy of possession, and barbarian dude is a fantasy of being, but they’re still written and designed and crafted with male players and readers in mind.
Are you saying that women don’t find barbarians sexy? (Are you saying that all men find naked ladies sexy?)
No. I’m sure some women are turned on by barbarians, and some men are turned off by chainmail bikinis.
But this isn’t a customized product: these products are created with millions of people in mind, and it treats those people as members of a demographic, rather than individuals.
As a result, while individuals with outlying preferences may not have those preferences reflected in the product, the product was still designed with them in mind — and it therefore remains accurate to talk about “male sexual fantasy”, even if not every man is party to it.
It’s unfair to expect content creators to be inclusive. We should be telling good stories, not trying to check “diversity boxes”. And, anyway, making a big deal out of a character’s gender or sexuality or race would be really, really boring.
If he can coax forth the creativity and energy and artistic effort to slide intelligent, worthwhile, significant female characters into his works, you can find space in your RPG for at least one half-decent female NPC.
And if you expect women to suck it up and play along in a game which excludes them, why is it unfair of us to expect you to suck it up and write a decent woman?
Well, how about we just insert some female fantasies? You know, turn some male characters into sex objects? Won’t that fix the problem?
The presence of sex objects in a non-pornographic context is the problem. You don’t fix the sexualization of women by sexualizing men, too; you fix the sexualization of women by desexualizing them.
It’s important to note that “desexualized” doesn’t mean “unfeminine”. Nobody’s saying that you have to stomp out all outward signs of gender and put everyone in head-to-toe potato sacks and treat them all exactly the same.
But it does mean that the chainmail bikinis need to go. (And that adding chainmail speedos won’t fix the problem.)
What’s wrong with sexy characters? Are you saying that sexualized characters can’t be interesting?
No. Plenty of sexy characters are interesting, and quite often the sexiness is inherent to that interest.
The issue is that, in comic books and video games in particular, when women get featured at all, their defining attribute is often sexiness. (Not femininity or femaleness; out-and-out sexiness.) Put in other terms, male characters get personalities; female characters get DD-cups and seductive glints in their eyes.
By limiting female characters to this role, they’re effectively reduced to token status, which both limits storytelling possibilities and limits the extent to which women can see themselves portrayed within games. That’s bad.
How do you know that Anonymous City Guard No. 4412b isn’t a lesbian, or that Anonymous Blacksmith isn’t gay, or whatever?
A queer character who is indistinguishable from every other character — and indistinguishable from a straight, cisgendered character — is not a queer character. Heteronormativity, look it up.
Don’t you want queerfolk to be indistinguishable from straightfolk?
We want queerness to not limit someone’s horizons. We don’t want queerness smushed into a teeny tiny wee box right next to “blue eyes” and “left testicle hangs lower than the right”.
Why can’t you just let me enjoy my game in peace?
Complaining on the internet in no way impedes your ability to enjoy your game. Have fun!
If, however, you’re finding that our arguments are making you uncomfortable, perhaps you might care to examine why?
a sack of potatoes looks just like a real big potato and if that doesn’t prove how harmonious the world is then i don’t know what will
Now what does that say about a milk carton?