Sexing the 2D: An Addendum

Further reading, for anyone who is curious.

I started writing this a few days ago when I realized that I’d completely forgotten to include it in my initial post; as such, it doesn’t address anything that was raised in the comments on that particular post (and I do intend to go back and respond to those at some point soon, just not right now as I expended my energy responding to comments on the Pokemon X and gender post).

One of the accusations leveled when a character is perceived of as being gay without explicit statement of the media in which they appear that they are is that the person thinking such just “wants” the character to be gay. This is meant as a criticism, since apparently wanting a character to be gay is just the worst. There are two iterations of this, though, that are slightly different.

The first is the one lobbed where the person making the identification is either gay or bisexual. Ugh, those homos just wanna ruin everything! But, really, what’s so awful about wanting a character to be easier to relate to? What’s so damn terrible about wanting to see more representation of people like oneself in media?

The second is where the person making the identification isn’t gay or isn’t identified as such, like with fujoshi/danshi and yuridanshi/joshi… or when they aren’t but the person expressing “criticism” paints them as such in an attempt to delegitimize their point or argument. Yes, there are yuri fans and BL fans who can be really irritating about their preferred fanon ships and who have a fetishized view of homosexuality that renders gay and bisexual people as mere titillation fodder. But pretending that all of them are like that is silly, and deploying in knee-jerk fashion the notion that characters are viewed as gay only for the pleasure of anyone who does so is is to be uninterested in actually engaging the “argument” in a thoughtful fashion. And then there is the fact, too, that viewing a character gay doesn’t mean someone is into either BL or yuri, sort of like how being a woman who enjoys Kissing Jessica Stein isn’t necessarily gay.

So, actually, telling me I only want a character to be gay because I’m not straight myself isn’t some sort of “Gotcha!” moment. Yeah, maybe I do want them to be because I am. But maybe I just do think that the evidence points in the direction of them being gay. Either way, that isn’t a moment where you’ve managed to score some point on me, nor is it scoring a point over anyone that that “argument” is leveled against. Ultimately, it just reveals something about the person making the “criticism”, because what sort of person thinks its bad that a person wants a character to be gay, anyway?

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