Do you think that Cloud is closet bisexual?

Gary Caelum

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Gary Caelum
#76
Right, but that's what I mean by it's relative to the audience.

There are some people who could happily have sex with someone they've met 5 minutes ago. Other people find that idea quite awful, and need to go through a long emotional interaction before they're interested in anything sexual. I'm suggesting that people in that category, maybe see these types of stories as porn. Whereas people in the first category obviously wouldn't.
 
#77
I do get your point. However, you make it sound - and perhaps it isn't intended that way - as if you think all slashfic is specifically written for an exclusively sexual purpose, and that the various explorations of emotion surrounding the sexual act are really just verbal foreplay. Whatever turns the reader on, right? What I'm saying is that sometimes (IMHO, the majority of cases. Maybe 51%, but still a majority) the main or sole purpose of the slashfic is not to get the reader or writer sexually aroused, which is the function of porn. Its purpose is to explore the nature of relationships. Saying that teen girls write slashfic only so they can have something to fap too is really simplifying the phenomenon far too much. I know it's a very common belief that all slashfic is mere [badly written] porn, but I'm telling you - and I think I have some expertise in this department - that's just not true.
 
#79
I know! But why aren't they writing F/F slash instead of M/M slash? I'm not criticising them, people can write what they want. It just seems counter-intuitive. Why write M/M if what gets you going is F/F? That's the interesting question.
 
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Fancy
#80
Aye, speaking of which, I found an article on the topic that's close enough to the one I read originally lmao.

Some excerpts/highlights that I found interesting:
  • Of the 10,005 AO3 users questioned, about 90% of survey respondents were fans of M/M, but only 30% identified as both female and hetero. (note that there may have been selective bias)
  • M/M friendships or rivalries in media (Sherlock and Watson, Dean and Sam, Naruto and Sasuke etc) are oftentimes depicted as carrying much more emotional depth and having much more complex histories/dynamics than M/F friendships/rivalries or even F/F relationships/rivalries and so to write about them is more compelling.
  • Some women read slash simply because they feel uncomfortable with identifying with women in popular media who are overwhelmingly white, skinny, and conventionally attractive.
    • The characters' maleness is a buffer between reality and fiction.
  • Many fans read fanfic as a form of escapism, and male characters do not have to worry about female gender norms or female participation in sex.
    • "Reading M/M is safe for me. I don't want to identify as the sexual person involved [...] Fictional men having sex lets me relax and enjoy because I have no part in it."
  • Female characters who are present in canon are often torn down by the fanbase as being boring and no good.
    • Especially when that presence poses a threat to a more compelling M/M relationship.
    • Internalised misogyny???
  • Majority of fanfic authors identify as queer.
    • May write slash fanfic for representation despite not being men themselves.
    • Queer women writing slash fanfic has led to claims of queer men being smothered by queer women who might not notice inaccuracies in sex between men.
      • Also claims of slash being heterosexualised (with one partner taking on the gendered male role and the other the gendered female role)
      • Fetishisation of gay relationships also a problem.
Interesting stuff. Mewonders how fanfics would look like amongst fem hetero writers if there were stronger female characters written and more compelling F/M relationships that go beyond Fs playing as an asset to M.

EDIT:

So, to answer your question, Licorice, I speculate that a lot of it has to do with a lack of compelling female characters and especially a lack of compelling F/F relationships in popular media.
 
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#81
That's always been interesting to me, as well as the fact that the most poisonous relationships possible tend to be very popular ie Cloud/Sephiroth

The 'female gender norms ' part was always rather strange to me, because there are plenty of fics based on things like coughing up flowers, your soulmate's name being tattooed into your skin at birth, or that wolf pack dynamic thing. That's possible, but not subverting gender norms?

Re more female characters in canon, the dynamic doesn't change much even in female rich canon.

Danganronpa always has an even gender split, because the premise is a class of 16 students have to murder each other. This is the AO3 page. The lead character always has a girl and a boy as their major assistants. The dynamics are too complicated to explain here, but the top two relationships are M/M, followed in distant third by a canon ish M/F(the relationship is a bit ambiguous, but is a very close bond (Disclaimer: I ship it)

Resident Evil has a very good gender split, with very little romance in the main game. Here is the AO3. The first two are M/M, followed by Leon/Ada, which I think is the only canon relationship.

There are lots of relationships and a lot of female characters of varying types in all the Final Fantasies, but by far the most popular is XV, which has the most opportunities for M/M, despite being the youngest. The only F/M relationship on the list is Noct/Luna, which is saying a lot considering Nyx is on the list.

Kylux even manages to trump the massive following of Reylo in the Star Wars ST.

Edit: I looked into Attack on Titan. Second most popular pairing is Marco and Jean, a very minor character and a fairly minor character, so I don't know if the amount of focus given in canon is so important.

Aside: 4% Male? I'm a monster!
 
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Gary Caelum

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Gary Caelum
#82
Yeah I'm somewhat skeptical that it's because of a lack of good female characters, and I notice that girl just cherry picked that explanation based on a some individual comments. That didn't come from the polling data at all.

If you look at the Buffy fanfic for example, Xander&Spike comes miles above Buffy&Faith. Buffy and Faith are both excellent characters, who have both an interesting friendship and a deadly rivalry. Not to mention the elevated status within the lore of the show.

It's only really in certain types of fiction where you lack good female characters. It's definitely not true of novels for example. It's definitely not true of Final Fantasy games either.
 
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AKA
The Engineer
#91
Coming from a slightly different angle... you'd think that fan-fiction would be a great vehicle for exploring how to write strong female protagonists when canon tends to neglect them. Instead, it seems a lot like one of the male characters (usually the one with more traditionally "feminine" traits) tends to take the "role" of a female emotionally in relationships. In FFVII, that would be Cloud since for most of his characterization, he's not sure of himself and lets other people take charge often. AKA he's in the "weaker" role women traditionally take, esspecially when compared to Zack and Sephiroth who are all about taking command of the situation (and in Sephiroth's case, direct control of other poeple). Which has a lot of unfortunate implications when I think about it.

I think nowadays all our entertainment has become so sexualised, both overtly and in a coded way, that any character who isn't clearly sexualised comes across as asexual.
As someone who is asexual, I think it's actually worse then this. "Being asexual" isn't the conclusion most people (or fandoms at least) seem to draw from characters that don't show sexual preferences. Instead it's more along the lines of them repressing their sexual interest, them being into a character that is already in a canon relationship or the fandom just flat out ignoring that they havn't voiced sexual preferences.

What gets really uncomfortable is when you do have characters who are canonically asexual and most of the fics about them are shipping fics between them and another character. The ones about the shipping being romantic only aren't quite as bad, but there's always plenty of fics about them being in sexual situations and not being bothered by it.

I think a lot of it stems from sex being something people are aware of so constantly, that the idea that there are people for whom sex is largely not even on their radar weirds them out. It also probably doesn't help that most media protrayes a character that says they are not interested in having sex with someone as lying to themselves about it. At the very least, it never seems to be portrayed seriously or as a decision that other characters should respect (usually because everyone knows the person is really lying about that).
 

jazzflower92

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The Girl With A Strong Opinion
#93
Coming from a slightly different angle... you'd think that fan-fiction would be a great vehicle for exploring how to write strong female protagonists when canon tends to neglect them. Instead, it seems a lot like one of the male characters (usually the one with more traditionally "feminine" traits) tends to take the "role" of a female emotionally in relationships. In FFVII, that would be Cloud since for most of his characterization, he's not sure of himself and lets other people take charge often. AKA he's in the "weaker" role women traditionally take, esspecially when compared to Zack and Sephiroth who are all about taking command of the situation (and in Sephiroth's case, direct control of other poeple). Which has a lot of unfortunate implications when I think about it.

As someone who is asexual, I think it's actually worse then this. "Being asexual" isn't the conclusion most people (or fandoms at least) seem to draw from characters that don't show sexual preferences. Instead it's more along the lines of them repressing their sexual interest, them being into a character that is already in a canon relationship or the fandom just flat out ignoring that they havn't voiced sexual preferences.

What gets really uncomfortable is when you do have characters who are canonically asexual and most of the fics about them are shipping fics between them and another character. The ones about the shipping being romantic only aren't quite as bad, but there's always plenty of fics about them being in sexual situations and not being bothered by it.

I think a lot of it stems from sex being something people are aware of so constantly, that the idea that there are people for whom sex is largely not even on their radar weirds them out. It also probably doesn't help that most media protrayes a character that says they are not interested in having sex with someone as lying to themselves about it. At the very least, it never seems to be portrayed seriously or as a decision that other characters should respect (usually because everyone knows the person is really lying about that).
Nicely well put.
 
#94
There does seem to be a correlation in attractiveness, people are more likely to ship Reno than Heidegger. But to prove this, I looked at FF8, where Squinoa still beats out Squall/Seifer. It's curious that work written for escapism often doesn't seem to escape.

I was bothered by being able to romance my entire crew in Mass Effect as long as the orientation was compatible. No one's ever truly not interested, you just picked the wrong option on the dialogue tree.
 
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The Engineer
#95
One of the hilarious things to do with the romantic subplots in Mass Effect 1 and Dragon Age: Origins is to play a character that is genuinely interested in everyone as a friend, but is not sexually or romantically interested in them. You come off as such a jerk, it's almost as if you were leading them all on on purpose. Most of them are shocked with themselves that they read your intentions "incorrectly" and a lot of the scenes that have them confirming that yes, they are available as a romantic partner for you end up having tons of mood whiplash. There seems to be a really fine line in their relationship variables between "just friends" and "romantically interested" and it's all too easy to go from one to the other with no overt romantic build up.

It's to the point that if a game does have some sort of "romance variable" that I play that kind of character on purpose just to see how the game system treats it.

Relevant to this whole discussion. Ironically, shipping in FFVII tends to be this 99% of the time. The OG meanwhile manages to avoid the most common pitfalls of this trope better then most.
 

jazzflower92

Pro Adventurer
AKA
The Girl With A Strong Opinion
#96
One of the hilarious things to do with the romantic subplots in Mass Effect 1 and Dragon Age: Origins is to play a character that is genuinely interested in everyone as a friend, but is not sexually or romantically interested in them. You come off as such a jerk, it's almost as if you were leading them all on on purpose. Most of them are shocked with themselves that they read your intentions "incorrectly" and a lot of the scenes that have them confirming that yes, they are available as a romantic partner for you end up having tons of mood whiplash. There seems to be a really fine line in their relationship variables between "just friends" and "romantically interested" and it's all too easy to go from one to the other with no overt romantic build up.

It's to the point that if a game does have some sort of "romance variable" that I play that kind of character on purpose just to see how the game system treats it.

Relevant to this whole discussion. Ironically, shipping in FFVII tends to be this 99% of the time. The OG meanwhile manages to avoid the most common pitfalls of this trope better then most.

That video goes well with this.
 

Gary Caelum

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Gary Caelum
#97
There does seem to be a correlation in attractiveness, people are more likely to ship Reno than Heidegger. But to prove this, I looked at FF8, where Squinoa still beats out Squall/Seifer. It's curious that work written for escapism often doesn't seem to escape.
Right, that's one of the reasons I'm skeptical when people say something is about romance and not sex. If those 2 things were truly separate, there'd be a lot more romance with ugly people going on.
There aren't many "romantic novels" where the love interest is a short, fat, homeless man.
 
#98
Addendum to my previous comments: I've been using the Relationships in the sidebar in AO3 as my metrics, but that may be less reliable than I realised, because it comes up if the tag is used, regardless of how important it is to the story. So the likes of Snow/Serah is apparently very popular, but if you look at the stories it's very often happening in the background of a Fang/Lightning or Light/Hope fic, and not really the focus. So M/M may be more dominant than my measurements.

Wonder how FF.net works out?
 
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The Engineer
#99
FF.net is even worse since it was made in the dark ages of the internet when custom tagging hadn't been invented yet and it never bothered to grow past that. All the data fields for that are drop-down boxes and you only get to specificy four characters, and two genres for each story. There is no relationship tag on the site.

The best you can do is see what people put in the descriptions of stories, which is the most common place for relationships to be specified.
 
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