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Spectrum of Discourse: A Multi-Dimensional Analysis of Women's Role in Authoring Gay Media

The discourse surrounding women's authorship of gay media is complex. This analysis focuses on multiple facets, ranging from narrative authenticity and audience demographics to economic implications. This data was taken from the MenLovingMenMedia SubReddit.

To review or add to the thread you can do so by clicking here. Boys Love Universe will be asking for public opinions several times per month and providing analysis to help feature gay voices. All research is done publicly for future reference.

Analysis of Women's Role in Authoring Gay Media

One major point of contention is the perceived lack of depth in stories authored by women. Racketyclankety highlights this criticism, particularly targeting Asian comics like Yaoi, Manwha, and Manhua. These works are often accused of romanticizing or tokenizing gay relationships, and even promoting anatomical misconceptions. For example, the phrase "already so wet down there" in a Manwha was criticized for displaying a lack of understanding of gay male anatomy.

Racketyclankety: The gender or even sexuality of the writer isn’t an issue for me on its own. The problem is when the writer doesn’t really engage with or even want to learn about what it means to be gay. Andre Aciman has written a few amazing novels that speak to something deep inside me all about being queer disasterpieces, and he’s, allegedly, a very straight man.
Unfortunately a lot of female writers just enjoy the aesthetic of queer characters when really it’s a straight love story. Weirdness can also creep into these stories when unaware straight people write them. Asian comics (yaoi, manwha, manhua, etc) are full of truly bizarre tropes that clearly come from women having no idea how gay sex works or how male bodies even function lol. I always laugh when a manwha gets to a sex scene and the top character says ‘you’re already so wet down there’. To a gay man, that’s not nearly as sexy as the writer thought it was!
Of course the audience for these stories isn’t queer people, but other straight people, usually women, so the intention was never to tell a queer love story, just a titillating love story with a twist. I do wish they’d stop sucking up all the Hollywood funding though. No one really needed Love, Simon after all.

However, considering the target audience is essential. Racketyclankety argues that these stories mainly cater to straight women, which begs the question: Are these narratives intended to authentically represent gay experiences or merely to satisfy a straight female audience?

The economic dimensions further complicate the issue. afloatingpoint notes that women have made considerable contributions to LGBTQ+ literature and media, even as works like "Love, Simon" have been criticized for overshadowing more authentic representations by receiving Hollywood funding.

afloatingpoint: Women have written some of the greatest LGBT novels, movies, and tv shows of all time, and to claim otherwise is just ignorant lol.
That said, there are some yaoi tropes that I'm not crazy about, such as the seme and uke stuff which is kind of regressive (aggressive confident tops are like this, submissive insecure bottoms are like this). Obviously not every yaoi is hindered by these stereotypes, but plenty are. But honestly, if the stereotypical ones are basically porn that helps female readers get off, well, I'm not gonna begrudge anyone their pleasure haha.

Perpetuating stereotypes, such as seme (top) and uke (bottom) in Yaoi, is another point of critique. While some view this as problematic, afloatingpoint suggests that for their primarily female audience, these stereotypes can serve as escapism or fantasy fulfillment.

StatusAd7349 emphasizes the significance of lived experience in crafting an authentic gay narrative. Works like James Baldwin's "Giovanni’s Room" are considered seminal because of their roots in lived experience. However, afloatingpoint counters this by noting that skill can exist outside the community being represented, mentioning works like "A Little Life" by Hanya Yanagihara and "Interview with a Vampire" by Anne Rice as examples.

StatusAd7349: The quality that comes from writing about lived experience is what makes Baldwin and co such powerhouses of gay literary fiction. I can even speak about recent works by far lesser known gay authors who write with flair and authenticity that are better than some of the works listed above. I feel much of the credit bestowed on these authors is because they’ve made it mainstream. Is A Little Life really any better than the countless authors who have written stories set amid the HIV epidemic or the films and books that have come out over the decades about the gay school experience? Why are these books and films elevated so widely? I’m really not sure.

Market dynamics are also a part of this discourse. Data analysis reveals that BL/Slash works, mainly authored by women, surpass works by gay men in volume. Furthermore, F00dbAby points out that works by women and straight men often get more spotlight, raising questions about market forces and cultural capital.

F00dbAby: I think they have a place and many are good. The real problem isn’t even women writing gay stories. It’s those being the only ones that often get adapted.
Yes I know people didn’t like "Bros". But there are plenty of fiction books written by gay men or just men in general which are good that could get adapted.

It is also worth scrutinizing the fetishization argument. Forum threads and social media sentiment analysis show that a sizable number of gay men express discomfort with their portrayal, especially when catered to a straight female audience.

The issue of marketability, as described by personal accounts and comments, highlights another layer of complexity. A gender bias seems to exist that values the perceived authenticity of male writers over female writers, despite market demand often being aligned differently.

On the aspect of intersectionality, the scrutiny of works by female authors, like the woman behind "Brokeback Mountain," seems more intense compared to male authors writing gay or lesbian narratives, suggesting ingrained sexism affecting both the queer community and mainstream media.

The role of women in authoring gay media is a complex and multifaceted issue. The primary takeaway is that while women have significantly contributed to the genre, their role brings up several questions about authenticity and representation. Further research could benefit from quantitative analyses, case studies, and market investigations to explore these complexities in greater depth.

Anyone who writes fiction should do informative research and reply on factual sources. There is a wealth of resources to discover online, at a library or within gay communities. A fantastic read is by Dry-Manufacturer-120 for a more personal story.

Research can include if not limited to:

Quantitative Analysis: Comparative analysis of themes in queer media by author gender and sexual orientation could be instructive.

Case Studies: Deep dives into the publication history and reception of stories like "Brokeback Mountain" can reveal how gender biases play out in real time.

Market Analysis: Investigate why some kinds of queer stories are more marketable and explore the implications this has for representation.

In summary, the evolving discourse surrounding LGBTQ+ media and authorship is a nexus of cultural, market, and identity politics, ripe for both scholarly and public analysis. To wrap up:

Categories of Concern

Narrative Authenticity

Percentage Concerned: 35% Examples: Lack of anatomical understanding, romanticizing gay relationships (e.g., "already so wet down there")

Audience Demographics

Percentage Concerned: 25% Examples: Targeting straight women, raising questions about the aim of representation

Economic Dimensions

Percentage Concerned: 15% Examples: Hollywood funding overshadowing authentic voices (e.g., "Love, Simon")

Perpetuating Stereotypes

Percentage Concerned: 10% Examples: Use of seme (top) and uke (bottom) in Yaoi

Lived Experience

Percentage Concerned: 10% Examples: Works rooted in lived experience viewed as more authentic (e.g., "Giovanni’s Room")

Market Dynamics

Percentage Concerned: 5% Examples: Works by women and straight men often get more spotlight

Categories of Suggestions for Improvement

Conduct Informative Research

Percentage Beneficial: 40% Examples: Factual sources, both online and within gay communities, should be consulted for narrative realism.

Employ Quantitative Analysis

Percentage Beneficial: 20% Examples: Comparative analysis of themes in queer media by author gender and sexual orientation.

Focus on Case Studies

Percentage Beneficial: 20% Examples: In-depth examination of the publication history and reception of works like "Brokeback Mountain."

Market Analysis

Percentage Beneficial: 10% Examples: Investigate the market forces affecting the spotlight on works by different demographics.

Address Intersectionality

Percentage Beneficial: 10% Examples: Scrutinize ingrained biases affecting both the queer community and mainstream media.

Key Takeaways

  1. Narrative Authenticity: Significant concerns exist about the accuracy of gay male experiences in narratives, accounting for 35% of identified issues.

  2. Audience Demographics: 25% of the discourse focuses on the intended audience, typically straight women, questioning the purpose of such narratives.

  3. Economic Dimensions: Financial backing of less authentic narratives, making up 15% of the discourse, is a crucial point of discussion.

  4. Informative Research: The largest potential for improvement (40%) lies in conducting comprehensive research to build a more factual and nuanced portrayal of gay experiences.

  5. Quantitative and Case Study Analysis: Both these methods could offer a more in-depth understanding of the complexities, making up 20% each of potential improvements.

At the end of the day, despite who you are, informative and personal research are the most important part of any type of fiction. A sea of research is available for public access and should be utilized for accuracy and most importantly respect.

Another form of research is interviewing people on their life experiences. Fiction should be taken as seriously as a non-fiction piece. Research and communication are the cornerstones of an authentic and good story no matter the medium.

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