robot love is queer

Heather, East Coast, queerball, fangirl. movies, music and pop culture. social issues and anti-isms.

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gryffinclaw asked: Heather - So you know how Tumblr enjoys portraying a romantic relationship between two straight men and turning their platonic friendship into their gay fetish fantasy right? Well I wanted to know, because I have seen you (rightfully so) speak out against this but then I have also seen you (mostly with animated shows) turn around and ship Azula/Mai or Artemis/M'gann or Korra/Asami. Isn't that doing the same thing? Turning the platonic into a fetish fantasy? Genuinely curious.

I’m glad you asked me this, S, because I’ve seen others pose this question/concern before and I think there’s a sort of disconnect or fallacy happening in terms of what is and what isn’t inherently problematic.

A few things, as I see it:

There’s an element of fantasy to ALL shipping whether it’s canon or not, whether it’s queer or not. At the end of the day it’s fun. Shipping same-sex couples isn’t automatically fetishistic any more than shipping heterosexual couples. This doesn’t mean I don’t have problems with the WAY some members of fandom go about it in discussions or in fiction, but that’s a case-by-case thing. And furthermore, not being a gay man I’m not qualified to speak on what is or isn’t fetishizing gay men.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with shipping canonically ‘straight’ people in queer relationships because a) non-canon ships happen all the time, and b) straightness in media is a default presumed position, which means VERY few characters actually bother to IDENTIFY as straight in canon, and in fact expressing interest in someone of the opposite gender does not necessarily mean someone is straight.

Which is to say, for example, shipping Artemis with Wally is no different than shipping her with Kaldur is no different than shipping her with M’Gann. And certainly one can’t even call a character like Azula straight with ANY degree of surety. It’s all about the things we assume or choose not to assume and there’s nothing wrong with that.

All this is to say: imagining platonic homosocial relationships as romantic is not the problem as I see it. Not on its own, neither with men nor with women. And I have actually never spoken out against that? Which is where I think the disconnect is.

My issue with fandom’s hyperfocus on white dudes fucking each other is not an issue with slash or with the queering of heteronormative narratives.

It’s an issue with the misogyny and racism that’s usually coupled with that. It’s ignoring, erasing, bashing female characters. It’s ignoring characters of color, even slashable men of color, in favor of white dudes. It’s LOSING THEIR SHIT every time a woman gets near one of their bromances. It’s appropriating queer rights rhetoric to claim that casting a woman of color in an iconic white male role equals a loss of queer representation that never existed in the first place. It’s conflating their porn with my liberation. Often while ignoring the existence of queer women and femslash. And more than that, it’s the fact that somehow, some way, it happens in every single fandom I’ve ever encountered and often on quite a large scale. It’s the trends that make me sad, that showmakers notice on the internet and at conventions, then cater to down the road when it comes time to write the next season or the next show, to the point it feels like a cycle of erasure and mind-numbing sameness that will never end.

is why I, personally, have little interest in white dudes fucking. So I guess it’s one of those fine distinctions, for me, but I wanted to make it clear.

  1. manzanasverdes said: why won’t tumblr allow for reblogable asks? why? (p’rolly bc i’d just reblog all the things you answer and then it’d be embarrassing for all parties involved. yes. tumblr’s lack of user-friendliness is totally my fault)
  2. offbeatorbit said: perf post
  3. bellamyyoung said: Heather please make a rebloggable version of this thank you.
  4. fujiidom said: ily for this. i think the simplest/saddest example of this is troy/abed. if those characters were portrayed by two white guys it would be overwhelmingly the most shipped/written pairing in the fandom.
  5. stormqueen said: I would like you, me and this answer to get into a three way relationship for reals.
  6. koumatora said: Definitely agree with you on this. I kind of take issue with calling m/m OR f/f relationships “fetish fantasy” in the question.
  7. squintyoureyes posted this