on m/m and the female gaze

Thread originally posted on Twitter.

*pinches bridge of nose* the male gaze on f/f content is not the same as the female gaze on m/m content, can we stop pretending they’re completely equivalent

yes, both can be fetishistic, but that’s… a part of sexual and romantic gaze in general? patriarchy and misogyny really unbalance the scales here

the more interesting question to me is why m/m content occupies a niche where it can be safe entertainment for straight women and safe sandboxes for queer people. why doesn’t f/f have the same status? maybe they’re born with it, maybe it’s Misogyny™

and when it comes to queer women, why is it that m/m offers a safer sandbox than m/f, even? to me, the question is not “is this practice fetishistic,” but rather, “why does m/m, but not m/f or f/f, offer a blank slate of power equality on which fantasies can be built?”

I’ve seen a fair amount of input on how straight men : f/f :: straight women : m/m erases nonbinary & trans people, and how it suppresses the fact that many queer people discover their queerness through such exploration. but I’d also like to add another dimension: race

in western media, OVERWATCH is literally THE only fandom I’ve encountered where the main m/m pairing includes at least one man of color (hanzo/mccree, mccree is often interpreted as a moc but afaik it hasn’t been canonically confirmed). I have been in fandom for 18 years.

go to any of the top western fandoms on ao3—marvel, harry potter, star wars, star trek, sherlock, doctor who, supernatural, to name just a few I’ve personally been in!—and I will guarantee you that the most popular pairing is two white men.

as a queer poc who isn’t a cis man, I’m left with a deep impression on the psyche that, when we explore media to escape, we still can’t escape the power structures that we’re embedded in. yet the beauty of fandom is that all these characters & symbols can comment on anything

so you’ve got this other dimension, not only of m/m being a blank slate of power equality based on gender, but also of popular m/m being a blank slate of power equality based on *race*. it’s also a place where you can subvert racism in the source material.

I’d literally just commented on this earlier when it comes to OCs:

@icedcitruss
poc artists if a majority of your ocs started off as white when you were incredibly younger raise your hands.

@sqiouyilu
idk if they were white per se, but they were so fuckin anime and light-skinned that they entered this liminal unmarked state anyway. but the first and only nanowrimo I completed originally started as a white dude (final short story version centers on an asian girl)

I am not actually joking when I say that my entire career comes from dissatisfaction with how others handle concepts. and about 80% of that is driven by my origins in fandom and specifically fanfic.

I was forced to paint on m/m canvas primed with white. but now that I’m able to get my voice out more, I’ve scrapped that canvas entirely for the tapestry that is my actual background.

and by the way, if anyone’s opening the argument with equating f/f porn made for the male gaze with m/m porn for the female gaze, I’d just like them to show their work and send me a list of f/f fic written by straight men. I’ll wait. please, I’m desperate for femslash

(sidebar: the former is often visual production with actual people. the latter is usually written solo with the intent to explore a psychological aspect or imaginary situation. let’s talk differences in production value and agency for women involved too, hmm?)

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