September 10th, 2010

Paul Neyron rose 2

surfing the Internet again

Another interesting AfterElton column by Brent Hartinger: http://www.afterelton.com/pigeonguts/09-09-10  Jackie made a comment on the comment thread of that article about m/m writers fetishizing gay men, the one that Elisa responded a lot to, and that Das Bearpork and friends and I discussed in depth here and on The Naughty Bits (http://www.teddypig.com).  Apparently she got quite the earful back.  Yes, on the one hand, she and I really can't understand the gay and lesbian experience directly.  (Remember, I'm halfway heterosexual privileged, and it usually appears to be more than halfway.)  On the other hand, there's quite a lot we can empathize with.  I have a decent enough direct understanding about same-sex attractions, but I'm sure I haven't gotten a fraction of the harassment for it that many lesbians have gotten.  I can still know when people are being treated wrong, even if I'm not in the group.

So Jackie asked Brent about it.  I thought his answer was excellent.  The readers had quite an array of responses.  I had things to say, of course.  With editing m/m romances, it's pretty much irrelevant whether I'm straight or bi.  There are certain acts I don't have the anatomy to do, so can't experience that way.  Then again, for most of the erotic romance I edit, I'm going by some non-fiction and fiction things I've read, and stories I've heard.  There are a few things I vaguely remember doing, but there's much I haven't directly experienced.  I still care whether scenes and acts are depicted with relative accuracy.

I think I'm pretty well informed on gay history and some GLBT cultures and subcultures.  Like I said on AE, the students and I discuss history, and I recommend books.  Some have really educated themselves on the history and are very up on the issues.  I don't say I know better than their direct experiences, but we talk about all kinds of topics and see what we agree on.  And I talk nail polish with J., who knows far more than I do about glam rock and how to dress in a glam rock style.  J. is very bright and creative, and seems to be quite mature for someone twenty years old or so.

If you're respectful, which I usually try to be (at least to start with), and at least somewhat open-minded, you can learn a lot and find common ground with people.  You can teach a lot, too, to people who are willing to be taught.  Of course there are people it's totally useless to argue with, but you'll find them on just about any topic.  I'm much more respectful with the students than they are with each other, and I'm pretty sure they're more respectful with me than they are with each other.  I've sort of become the "grown-up" they say things in front of without worrying too much.  They're used to me being around regularly, and that I'm accepting and sympathetic.  I'm sure they can tell from my expressions when I think they're acting like idiots, but it's in the definition of twenty-year-olds that they act like idiots at least a certain amount of the time.

I've done various posts about angry lesbians and I'm not feeling like rehashing tonight.  I'd rather think about the kids I so enjoy working with -- much more sparkly.