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Halrloprillalar

You can call me Hal.

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"Why can't a woman be more like a man?"
hal
prillalar

So, I try to keep this a fandom journal. I don't write about my RL much except as it intersects with fandom. (Which is quite a lot, actually. My primary identifier is fangirl, after all.)

And this is about fandom, but it's also personal. I'm usually more private than this, but I've been having beer and Elvis and so my inhibitions are lowered. *g*

Anyhow, this is about BSOs. (Bright Shiny Objects, if you've not seen that acronym before.) I was looking at my icons and I realised that the majority of them are of men or m/m pairings. But why? I'm bisexual and IRL, it's the woman who most occupy my attention. It's the women that I watch when I'm out. It's the women that I want to like me. It's the women that I lust after. (Well, except that one guy at my coffee place who was talking about how he did construction during the day and spun at night -- I wanted to jump him right then and there, but I had to wait for my Americano and missed my chance. Also I had to get back to work.)

In the shows/movies/books I follow, though, it's mostly the men who hold my fannish attention. I looked at my 50 icons and here's how they break down:

Misc: 9, including Thor, PJ, and Neville
Male BSO/pairings: 36
Female BSO/pairings: 4, including Hermione, who is not really a BSO at this stage. (Jeez, when did I delete Gogo?)
Het BSO/pairings: 1

When you come right down to it, in a lot of these canons, it's still the women I would pick if I were lucky enough to be able to pick.

Stargate: I'd do Sam, hands down. But I'm most interested in pairings like Daniel/Jonas or Daniel/Paul. I do have a Sam icon, though.

HP: actually, I don't really want to sleep with any of the main or minor characters. I'm more interesting in reading/writing m/m pairings, but some het is quite appealing too. There's really no f/f that I want to see. Majority of icons are of the boys.

LotR: Oh my god, Éowyn! I want her so bad. But my icons are all Pippin, M/P, and Aragorn.

FMA: If I were picking myself a date, it would be Hawkeye. She's so hot and competent and just my god. But do I have an icon of her? No, it's all Roy and Hughes and HughesxRoy and one of Ed to show willing.

Gundam Wing: Again, if I had got to do anyone, it would be Noin. (And I forsee some Noin/Sally in my future.) But I'm writing about Heero and Duo and Wufei and Treize and that's who's on my icons.

Jeremiah: For some reason, I have no icons yet. But if I did, they would be of Markus, Markus, Markus, and his pretty mouth. OK, and he's the one I would do.

B5: OK, here I've got an Ivanova icon. (Not a great one, though. Hmm.) And she's my first choice for a snugglebunny. G'Kar being a close second. But it's not like I actually write any B5 fic.

Angel: K, I want Wes. And I used to have an icon of him, but I deleted it to make room for something else. I do have icons of Spike and Angel, but I so do not want to sleep with either one of them. Ew! But there aren't any women on that show any more that I want. Lilah and Kate, though. Mmmmm.

So, the question is: Why all the men? I suspect that largely there are more men than women in these canons and that they are given more interesting roles. But sometimes I feel kind of guilty about it. Like I'm being misogynistic by not giving the women better iconic and fictional representation. Like I'm elevating these men to a higher status. It disturbs me.

Do you ever feel that way (if you're a woman, that is)? Am I nuts for feeling this way? Did I over-share?


You didn't overshare at all, and no, it doesn't sound nuts either. Just interesting. I haven't worried about my icons so much but that's because I got onto LJ with one specific purpose -- to talk about Han/Luke fandom -- and have only gradually branched out into just talking about my life. My icons haven't yet caught up with my full range of interests.

People seem to use their icons differently. Sometimes it's to express different things, sometimes to entertain, sometimes just because they're pretty. I think mine represent my fic interests fairly well.

You did not overshare. :D

But then, this is *me*.

The icon thing... I don't think about it nearly as much as I think about, say, how my actual *fic* breaks down in terms of female representation, but I do consider it. I can't help but feel that one of the reasons I'm currently capering with glee over the new Outsiders series is that it involves two! TWO! female characters -- there's one -- that I'm totally full of fannish squee/lust over. (And *another* two female characters who I like just fine)

So often, even when the woman or women in a given fandom are awesome and my favorites/one of my favorites, there's no one to really PAIR them with. Or, none of the pairings really DO it for me as much as they could. Buffy/Angel, in the heyday of my fannishness, was a major obsession. Firefly could've been. So often... well.

The majority of my icon spaces are set aside for those characters/concepts/whatever who I intend to write on some sort of regular basis, if I'm not ALREADY writing them. So, you know, even though I adored Chloe when I was big into SV... I knew I'd never write her ENOUGH to 'justify' giving her slots I could be using for the many shades of Lex, Clark, and Lionel.

I think it really does come back to what we're trying to SAY with our icons. For those of us who never have more than five or six 'me' icons, the rest explore our fannishness in some way. Mine blend pimping (look at the pretty girl! Look!) and "icons I'll use for when I post this story, that story, or the other one." At their most satisfying, a given icon expresses both of those needs.

Maybe... you're doing something like the same thing? What GOOD would a Sam icon do you if you're not going to write a bunch of fic or post a bunch of meta about her, you know?

But, well. I find it IMMENSELY satisfying to be in a fandom with so MANY women I can porn about. It's a weird sort of badge-wearing, of 'look at me, I'm not one of THOSE slashers, after all.'

It's neurotic, is what it is. *snerk*

/babble

Re: You did not overshare. :D

I meant the icon thing as an example of my fannish attention in general, but I don't know that it came across that way. (I should learn not to post as soon as I get home from the pub.)

But, well. I find it IMMENSELY satisfying to be in a fandom with so MANY women I can porn about. It's a weird sort of badge-wearing, of 'look at me, I'm not one of THOSE slashers, after all.'

Lucky you! Maybe I've just got to try harder. Either that or just stop worrying about it.

I always thought BSO was Beautiful Slash Object or Beautiful Sex Object... huh.

But yes. Word, word, word. I identify as lesbian, and then here I am obsessed with all these fictional men. I don't know why.

It's probably the same unknowable, unfathomable reason that so many gay guys are into Streisand and Cher. *shrug*

Any pretty is good pretty in my book, but then, I'm bi...

Hm. I'm a filmic production major, and also very interested in men in media, and I have put a lot of thought, over the past few years, as to why I so very, very few favorite actresses or female characters (in film/tv, as opposed to literature) when I love many actors and male characters and SHOWS WITH MEN.

I thought it might be the interesting role thing, but it's not. It's true that women still don't get as many interesting opportunities, but the proportionality of interesting roles to liked actresses/characters for me (and it sounds like for you) is quite unbalanced.

And I think it's the chick thing. It's just a theory, but I think there's something in me that is pre-biased to label all females MARY SUE and hate them, like this competative alpha bitch beast. Sure there are characters and actresses who win my rational heart over, but it's an uphill battle and they are to be admired. This doesn't happen at all in real life or in literature, so it's a filmic phenomenon. I've noticed a lot of slasher chicks have it, and I suspect many girlfriends of mine who share this bias to have secret or buried slasher tendencies.

I don't know how your particular sexuality stands, but after a couple years, this is what I've come up with.

It's just a theory, but I think there's something in me that is pre-biased to label all females MARY SUE and hate them, like this competative alpha bitch beast. Sure there are characters and actresses who win my rational heart over, but it's an uphill battle and they are to be admired.

That's really interesting. I'll have to think about that one more and see if I see that in myself. It seems quite plausible, though.

Hmmm. I've never really put much thought into the icons I choose (for me, my reasons for choosing icons are pretty much variations on, "Ooh, pretty!"), but looking at them now, I'd say they're fairly evenly balanced between the sexes, and so are, for the most part, my favorite characters--actually, I think I have *more* favorite women than favorite men. This might be because I loved these characters long before I read or wrote any fic in the fandoms, or it might be because none of my main fandoms are movie or tv based.

Fic is kind of another story. I tend to *read* more fic about guys than I do about girls, mostly because there's just more fic out there about guys, whereas I tend to write mostly about the female characters.

I'm by no means an expert on this topic, but I feel like the line, "I like the men more because women are never given interesting/well-developed roles in media," is often just an excuse. A lot of the men we love to slash so much already have canon female love interests, and I think a lot of the times these women are completely ignored and/or hated on by slashers in order to make the slash work. And I do think it's kind of been inbred in women in this society to automatically see other women as competition, first and foremost: the stereotype is that women are *supposedly* infinitely more catty and bitchy than men.

heh. sorry about the length of this comment, I got a wee bit carried away.

I'm by no means an expert on this topic, but I feel like the line, "I like the men more because women are never given interesting/well-developed roles in media," is often just an excuse.

Or, you know, maybe the characters *you* find interesting are simply and honestly deadly dull/incomprehensible/actively squicksome to others. Each to their own taste, after all. I've often found myself in the position of loving female characters who other fans (and I'm talking about fans who generally love female characters) actively loathe. Kennedy on BtVS, for an example.

A lot of the men we love to slash so much already have canon female love interests, and I think a lot of the times these women are completely ignored and/or hated on by slashers in order to make the slash work.

Or, you know, maybe we just find the canon relationship tiresome/squicky/whatever and feel like looking for other options for the characters in question -- het, slash, or otherwise. Witness Wes/Lilah popularity over Wes' canonical love for/attraction to Fred.

And I do think it's kind of been inbred in women in this society to automatically see other women as competition, first and foremost: the stereotype is that women are *supposedly* infinitely more catty and bitchy than men.

I don't know. I think some people feel that way and live that way -- I think it was Cara Chapel who had an interesting post about this topic a while ago.

But I also think that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Six years in fandom has shown me far more slashers who fear being labeled as misogynistic than slashers who honestly *are* misogynistic.

YM, of course, MV.


You like the pretty pictures of the boys? Maybe that's the easiest explanation of all. Or you have icons of the characters that interest you to write about, not the ones that interest you sexually.

I have 14 icons. 6 have female imagery and the only sexual one is of me.

You like the pretty pictures of the boys? Maybe that's the easiest explanation of all.

But that's just too simple. Surely there's some deep secret of my psyche here. *g*

I'm not a woman, but I totally get where you're coming from. I'm bi too, and practically all my icons are guys, and most of the pairings I follow are m/m. I think you're absolutely spot-on that there's more men than women, esp in genre tv/movies, and that they have more interesting roles. And as Te says, even when there is a badass woman role, there's no one to slash her with most of the time. Unless one embarks on crossovers (which explains my unholy love for crossovers). In that light, it's less that I'm/we're being misogynistic than that the shows we're fannish about and the networks and the surrounding culture are.

Of course, there's also the flip side - the objectification arguments (which I hesitated to even bring up, as they make my brain hurt). I'm a lot more comfortable objectifying men than women, since women get it everywhere else. Which was my original rationale for having guy icons, until I hit a certain number and ran into the question you asked. Which suggests that if one is prone to worry about misogyny, as I am, one can find reasons for worry everywhere. ;)


Of course, there's also the flip side - the objectification arguments (which I hesitated to even bring up, as they make my brain hurt). I'm a lot more comfortable objectifying men than women, since women get it everywhere else.

Good point! I think that *is* a factor, to a degree. In some of my icons, like this one, I'm being deliberately objectifying, both seriously and kind of ironically.

Well, but you want different things out of a person you're going to date than you do out of a person you're going to write a story about, yes?

The things that make me want to date a person are, primarily, intelligence and a sort of diagonal brain. So if I were going to actually date and/or sleep with anyone in the HP universe, I'd almost certainly wait a couple of years and grab Hermione, unless Tonks turns out to have hidden depths. (Kindness and a capacity for happines are also on the list, so I can pretty much guarantee you that I'm not letting my naked body anywhere near Snape.)

But the thing that makes me want to write about a person is, basically, loneliness. And in most of the fandoms I follow, the guys are the ones who are sufficiently central that we know anything about their pain. I mean, Elaine on Due South was an extremely attractive woman, but if I want to see her ache, she needs two hundred pages of backstory which I have to make up, which is more trouble than it's worth.

Well, but you want different things out of a person you're going to date than you do out of a person you're going to write a story about, yes?

Ah, so true. Maybe all of these women are just too perfect. *g*

And in most of the fandoms I follow, the guys are the ones who are sufficiently central that we know anything about their pain.

And true again. Hmm.

*thoughtful* For me, at any rate, the icon thing and the fic thing are intertwined. I have, on balance, more icons using men than women because I use my icons to indicate mood; and it's easier to find men expressing the moods I usually find myself in than women. Similarly, there are more male characters in places I find it fun to write about than female characters.

Part of that is unquestionably due to the fact that I'm over in anime.

This dovetails with a second reason I write m/m more often than f/f. It gives me a little distance. When I write f/f I feel more bound to physiological/emotional integrity and realism, because it feels like cheating to ignore what I have personal knowledge of. There's greater liscense when I write m/m, especially since I freely admit that I *am* taking liscense and not trying for high accuracy/realism. More like, plausibility.

*grins* Not that writing the Hawkeye/Une smut wasn't a huge amount of fun...

With respect to the icon part of your question, I think it's really more about how you use icons/how you view them/what you think they're for. For me, icons are mostly to show what a particular post is about, and secondarily they're images I identify with. I have comparitively few icons of BSOs (except Tom Servo, because *Servo!*); mostly I have people who, in that particular mood, I identify with: Buffy looking all kickass (my default "me" icon for a long time), Aeryn looking all pissed off and butch, two women snuggling sensually to say "comfort" -- good for supportive comments to friends who are having bad days.

A lot of your icons are of men, but a lot of your icons are about The Funny. Your Angel and Spike icon where you compare their relationship to Harry Potter, for example. I haven't noticed you using many icons to say "ooh baby" the way a lot of people do; your icons aren't about drool factor, they're about expressing *you*. In that way, you and I use them similarly. So I don't think the maleness of them indicates anything, except perhaps that you enjoy making fun of men. (:

As for the larger question you raise, it's one I have circled around a bunch of times since getting into fandom. As you know, a lot of the relationships I've been keenly interested in are het relationships. The most off-balance I ever felt was when I was a) depressed, and b) solely m/m slash-invested, in my heavily Due South days. I don't blame DS for this, but I got all messed up feeling like a gay man trapped in a woman's body and I wasn't liking myself very much. I only wanted to hang out with my online (female) friends, but all we talked about was men and all I thought about was men and other men and men *with* other men, women were nowhere in the picture and it was A Dark Time.

These days, I can appreciate m/m slash but I feel more in balance. I have a lot of gorgeous female objets de lust in my newest fandom, which is helpful. But I've also noticed that, in switching to vidding, I feel cycles come upon me. If I do too many male-POV vids in a row, I have to do a female-POV one. I start feeling too manly or something, or like I'm paying the men too much attention (that vague guilt you mentioned), and it's off to the women I go.

Speaking of cycles, you used to write a lot of f/f, if you'll remember. You haven't done much of that lately -- you could argue that the canons you're in now don't lend themselves to it, but my god, how could they be *less* conducive to it than TXF was? Maybe it's time to imbue a Kim or a Holly with useful qualities and start femslashing your current fandoms. Get some estrogen flowing again.

Also...getting to the more RL stuff, as a bisexual I find that I miss what I haven't got. In a LTR with a man, it's women I lust for the most (and vice-versa). You've *got* a man (well, a TBUG anyway), so I think it makes sense that you'd generally feel desire most keenly for women.

I seem to have two kinds of icons, with a bit of overlap between them. They are those meant to represent a given fandom, and those meant to represent me. Those meant to represent me tend to be objects/animals/women. Those meant to represent fandoms tend to feature men. I think this is the case for a few reasons. I'm a straight woman, which means I like looking at pretty men. I'm mostly an m/m slasher, which means my fannish interests center around male characters. I also write origfic featuring female protagonists, and that's relevant because I think it keeps me from feeling that lack of balance others have mentioned, and also because my origfic journal features icons which are exclusively female (of course, there are only three of them, since I haven't actually made that one a paid journal).

I think it really depends on what you're trying to say with your icons, and how you personally feel about the distribution. I have more fandom-centric icons than not, and I'm fine with that.

I'm bi, and I have a male partner, though overall I prefer women. But when it comes to fandom, I generally watch male-dominated series (maybe because there's simply a dearth of female-dominated series now that Buffy and Xena are off the air) and write male-dominated slash fics. Even when I watched Xena and Buffy I never wrote fic about them.

On occasion I will write f/f pairings, but much more often write m/m. And I have more men in my userpics, too.

sorry, short, busy, but:

yup, i feel that often. not so much about the icons, as i´m not into women, but about the fact that in fanon as in canon, women have less interesting roles. so while slash was liberating for me (for a while) on the whole i find the slash community mysogonist and very very bad for the self-image of women (i know many girls who desperately want to be male and especially have a penis only due to reading slash).

I've been having all sorts of issues about this recently. (Well, not with regards to my two icons: those consist of a dog head and a coffin, but...)

I'm also bi and female and feel weird for paying so much attention to fictional men and so little to fictional women. I think part of the problem for me is that I'm just not used to writing decent female characters (or reading about them), and I often don't know where to start. It's a daunting task. With men, I'm not nearly as worried about making the character ballanced and realistic.

In addition, there is the mushification problem in most canons. I actually like the Sam/Jack tension on Stargate, but only when the writers weren't trying to put it in. Whenever they're doing the warrior bonding thing, I'm all for it. Sadly, in order to build tension between them, the writers find it necessary to remind us (forcibly) that Sam is a woman. Not only do they add a lot of hair, but they usually make her cry on Jack's shoulder. Bah humbug to AU Sam, say I: she had a thousand times more chemistry with him when she was just doing her butch nerd girl thing.

Lately, I've been getting sick of m/m slash and moving back over to het and some f/f stuff (though more commercial books than fic). I'm tired of devoting so much mental space to men at the expense of women.

Oh, and another thing: Reading slash is often rather like having cyber sex with other women, and reading femslash is so much more obviously so that I find it distracting and occasionally uncomfortable.

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