I wonder who hurt all the straight girls that obsess over gay men and gay culture
i blame rupaul
straight men duh
actually this is worth talking about. one reason a lot of straight women fetishize gay men is because hetero relationships with men inside a patriarchy are necessarily very difficult to make functional. dysfunction—inequality in power, social status, and income, not mention physical potential for harm—is the default state. straight women fetishize and exoticize gay male relationships as the sort of romance they will never achieve but which they long for: a unilateral one. a “true partnership” involving “equals”. this concept, along with the (patriarchal and internalized) ideal of the male body as being inviolable, strong, literally impregnable, “can’t get raped”, etc, means that not only are the perceived gay male relationships “equal”, they are “safe”. which is another thing women do not get to experience in relationships with men: safety. our straight male lovers and family are the people most likely to injure or kill us, the single most dangerous people we will ever know.
the fantasy of having a safe lover, who is on equal social and physical footing but who still turns you on and can engage in “taboo” or “kinky” or otherwise exciting sex (except, again—from a position of consent derived from equality) is part of the fantasy that straight women project onto gay men. the fact that these things exist only in fantasy for straight women, and women who are attracted to men, should be taken into consideration when asking why straight women do anything wrt men and relationships.
this isn’t an excuse. a lot of this fantastical otherizing is just the underbelly of homophobia, and should be interrogated where you find it. even the idea of the male body as a strong one, one that cannot be violated or made to do anything nonconsensual, is a patriarchal one and extremely harmful to both men and women. the projection of “seme” and “uke” roles onto gay men (“which one of you is the girl”) is likewise fucked up, and also probably predicated on the idea that men are impervious to sexual violence and therefore it’s excusable to fetishize situations which, if they involved a man and woman, would be perceived easily as rape/coercion.
I’m a little bit like - yes, on the one hand, I think this is what’s often going on with girls fetishizing gay men. This argument features heavily in discourse regarding boys love and yaoi fanworks in Japan, which have a much more prominent mass-cultural position than the fetishization of gay men by women in the U.S. BL and yaoi often repeat the trope originating in heterosexual Japanese pornography in which the passive/receiving partner is reluctant and only experiences sexual pleasure in response to the active partner’s uncontrollable desire and careful ministrations. The “uke” exists as a feminized man who fulfills a woman’s passive role during sex but who also bridges the line between men and women as a sort of third gender - male-bodied but female-coded, at least in sex and romance, with the potential to and expectation that they will act as a man in society (often BL deals with the problems of this expectation as well.) (this role actually fits oddly well with the role of wakashu in Edo-period shunga featuring male/male relationships, except those were aimed primarily at men.)
(gay men in Japan have criticized the shit out of this and there’ve been like whole yaoi warz about it in letters between gay men and feminist writers who love yaoi and, iirc, the yaoi girls ate their words because they were wrong but the gay men were also being pretty misogynistic. BL and yaoi continue on, gay comics also exist.)
but we’re not really talking about that, obviously here we’re talking about girls, probably fangirls posting on tumblr. I don’t know what “straight women fetishizing gay men” necessarily means in this context. Fans and fandoms are generally the target of this complaint, but there are a lot of informal censuses that suggest that many, possibly the majority, of fans participating in fanfiction fandom are queer and that “fans are straight women with a bunch of cats lol” is a myth perpetuated from olden times to make them seem more harmless.
I know that when I was a teenage girl obsessing over slash and yaoi and gay men, it wasn’t because I was obsessed with equal relationships or an escape from marriage-children-death paradigm of heterosexual relationships - it was because I was queer and I was looking for, first of all, any queer visibility I could get and gay men were more prominent/easier to make in fanfiction and safer because I could still justify my interest in them as essentially heterosexual, “hot guys going at it” etc. It’s messed up that that was still mostly male-centric to me but “male-centric” seems to be the default for most people’s journeys towards sexual awakening, ha. I never felt like I was fetishizing homosexual men specifically so much as I was the intimacy of the relationships in slash and the queer variation of the normative narrative. Queer women still could be going through the thought processes outlined by Eliza above, of course, but it’s not an entire/complete picture.
Basically, I agree with a lot of the above analysis about the reasons why women fetishize gay men, but I tend to scroll past posts like the OP because they seem like they’re talking down to the girls and they seem to be assigning “straight” to all women who fetishize gay men without really considering it. I’m not denying that there’s girls who fetishize gay men on this here tumblr site, but a lot of the complaints about it feel weird to me.
does that seem fair??? idk. give me your thoughts. i’m supposed to be writing at least two papers on topics related to this right now, kind of, so help me god.