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Welcome, everyone! Here's where I blather about writing, life with my wife BA, and my two basset hounds! I love to hear from readers, so comment here or email me!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

the myth of a homogeneous experience

During a discussion of my last blog post on FB, the assertion came out that the "general you", in this case, a women writing m/m, tends to write "flat, two dimensional characters who in no way resemble gay men".

Now, I'm not going to get into the tired old argument about cross gender writing and whether men should write women or women should write men or what sexual orientation has to do with it. If writers only wrote what they were or what they knew personally, most of the great books and the lion's share of bad ones would never have hit the bookstores, brick and mortar or virtual.

No, what I'm having thoughts about today is the idea of the homogeneous gay man. Or the typical lesbian. Or the typical man or woman.

I'm terrible at sweeping generalizations in everyday life. "Those bitches!" I'll holler at the TV if I'm unlucky enough to see a housewife show when I'm clicking through late night channels, "Oh my God, it's the lesbian prison women! Because all women in prison go lesbian!."

But in my heart of hearts, I know those generalizations are full of caca. There is no such thing as the gay experience, or the lesbian experience or the Disney experience.

There's just people.

See, this is why I was so disappointed in the argument presented to me as, "Well, you have some valid points but I'm person X so I know and you don't, so there." To that particular person, my characters (the general me or specific me, take your pick, as I'm sure he did) may not in any way resemble a gay man.

But to, say, my friend Steve, who's ex-Navy and who had more sex with Marines than he could even remember on any given day, my "sex-crazed maniac erotic romance" resonates with his experience so much that he has me send him my books to beta so he can suggest ever more acrobatic sex. Or there's my old friend Scott, who went to Halloween one year as Pan, and who loves my werewolves and vampires because he's a gamer and thinks those things should exist, damn it.

I have readers who love my contemporaries because the men are just dudes who love dudes, and I have readers who hate that because they want their gay men to be sensitive and open with their feelings. One way or the other, someone may love what I write, and may say "OMG yes that's just like I see things and feel things" or they may hate what I do and say, "No, that's not my experience".

That's totally fine. That's what writing is. But to suggest that because I don't share some mystical connection or mind meld about a whole group of people because I'm not a member of a secret club? Well, that's just an argument you can't win with me, because I know such a thing doesn't exist, God knows, I know a lot of short haired, flannel wearing, clog stomping dykes. That doesn't mean that all lesbians dress, act, or feel the same way I do, and I hope I would never present us all as a shared hive mind.

In other news, it snowed! We got our Thanksgiving snow early!

Now, that's something to be tickled about




Katherine Halle said...

Well this post tickled me and again, it's one I will be bookmarking! To read over and over again when I need to.


maria rosa pascual said...

It is as like all ballets have to be the same kind because they are classic ???!!!!! all ballet dancers have to be of the same school,???? I can not understand the problem with diversity HELLO!!!!!! diversity EXISTS and the genes are DIFFERENT!!!!!!!!! and that's why WE ALL ARE DIFFERENT and I am not a writer, nor artist nor a lesbian nor a gay !!!! I am Maria !!!! a biotech geek !!!!