I'm currently finishing up a collection of short m/m stories that I wrote throughout 2008, and there's a question I've been mulling over for a while. In Bloglandia, I see a lot of people, authors and readers alike, complaining about gay characters 'who don't act like MEN'. Or, to put it more crassly, the "men with p*ssies" phenomenon. (Edit: I've been corrected via email: the correct term is "chick with a d*ck". Either way, I'm not crazy about it.)
I don't get it. I mean, what does it mean for a 'man to act like a man'? What defines a "MAN"? Because no one is alike, and frankly, the overloaded-with-testosterone Alpha type isn't all that interesting to me. Also, the only gay males I personally know who are comfortable being open about their sexuality enjoy good fashion (as do many straight males for that matter), fuss about why I keep getting crappy dye jobs, and enjoy Broadway show tunes. And *gasp* they get emotional, and cry even. They've told me they've done this, and I believe them. So does this mean that, if I were to make them story characters, these guys would be called out for not acting like MEN?
Hmm. So now I wonder if the whole issue isn't about writing 'real' men at all, but writing about the kind of idealized male that romance readers find interesting, and then partnering him up with another idealized male.
But shouldn't it be more important to write about PEOPLE first, instead of trying to make them fit a cookie-cutter definition? I dunno...that's why I'm mulling this issue over. :)