maybe it’s me, but…



I read this the other day and something which happened in it evoked a response that reminded me of my reaction to Beauty and the Beast.

You see, I was one of those people who was a wee bit upset when the Beast transformed back into the Prince. I thought he was adorable as a monster.

Yeah, I know. I’m such a romantic sap. Also, I wasn’t thinking about the logistics of the sex bits. It was Disney, for God’s sake.

Anyways, this in turn made me slightly-tangent-think about a topic I’ve been meaning to bring up for a while now.

This has to do with whether readers believe gay guys are as image conscious in RL as they can appear to be in m/m romance and erotica.

Or do you think that this is sometimes exaggerated because of the genre and its associated tropes? Or because it makes the story more interesting and the characters sexier?

Maybe I’m just projecting my own image consciousness in the exact same way I suspect an author of doing occasionally? I could easily be.

What do you lot reckon then? Is it just a Beauty and the Beast thing or something else entirely?

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About Kris

Reads, rants, randoms & R+s. You've been warned. BTW, don't follow me if you're a GLBTQQphobic wanker. It won't end well. For you.
This entry was posted in m/m, maybe it's me but, serious randomness, serious shit, tropes. Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to maybe it’s me, but…

  1. Chris says:

    Tangent: Another twist on the Beauty & the Beast story…

  2. Val says:

    whether readers believe gay guys are as image conscious in RL as they can appear to be in m/m romance and erotica.”

    I think they really are. Men are very stimulated by visual appearance-related things. If you read something like The Dancer From The Dance by Andrew Holleran, set in the gay male world of New York City in the 1970s (and probably a close reflection, I'm guessing, to what was real life back then for the author) the characters are absolutely obsessed with physical beauty.

  3. I didnt like when the Beast turned into the prince either. I liked the furry beast much better. yummy!

    ~smooches~
    Jase

  4. Tam says:

    Some are, some aren't. But like women those who don't spend their hours at the gym or worrying about their skinny little asses getting lick of fat, they complain about it. LOL Is that a gay thing or a guy thing or a human thing? Maybe a gay thing. You do I think see more straight guys with a huge gut going “hey baby give me some sugar”. Or maybe it's because by the time the body starts to let us down most straight guys are married and not worried about “catching” the right one.

    Of the gay guys I know, only a couple are in long term relationships, most are out there looking, and when you are looking (male, female, straight, gay) you want to put your best (sexy) foot forward and look attractive because face it, none of us are posting cookies of lepers or 450lb guys.

  5. nichem says:

    In talking to friends and things I've read (non-fictional things), I think as a whole gay guys are more image conscious than straight guys.

    Maybe it does have to do with the “out there and looking” thing that Tam mentioned, although I know *plenty* of straight single guys who clearly don't give a rat's ass about their appearance.

    And I liked the Beast better as the Beast too, Kris.

  6. At first I didn't think I had anything to add to this conversation but then it dawned on me.

    My co-worker is gay and happily married and they are seriously into the looks end of things. As bears, they aren't muscle bound BUT their beards are perfectly groomed and eyebrows waxed and hair dyed… and on a very strange note, they look exactly the same-just one is 48 and taller and the other is 24.

    *raised eyebrow*

  7. Tam says:

    Maybe straight guys figure girls eventually get desperate and the biological clock is ticking so they don't have to try so hard. Sooner or later the girl won't care what you look like if you can produce sperm and bring home the bacon. LOL

    My older gay friends do dye their hair, I even gave up on that a few years ago. LOL

  8. Kris says:

    Chris: A tangent?? What the hell. You know I hate them. *off to have a look*

    Oh, very cool. That story looks really interesting. Thanks for the head's up, Chris. πŸ™‚

    Val: “the characters are absolutely obsessed with physical beauty”

    I think the obsession with physical appearance and youth definitely comes across in some work, particularly period pieces and those that are focussed on the club scene. It's also a them that came strongly across in Queer As Folk and is something that has intrigued me since.

    Jase: Do you have a thing for bears, Jase? Tell us more. πŸ˜‰

  9. I love Beauty and the Beast, its my favorite of the classic fairytales.
    I recently read “Beastly” by Alex Flinn and LOVED it, when the “beast” is turned by the heroine misses the beast – I did too. It's a very good YA book.

    :o)

    MsM

  10. Kris says:

    Tam: “… and when you are looking (male, female, straight, gay) you want to put your best (sexy) foot forward and look attractive because face it, none of us are posting cookies of lepers or 450lb guys.”

    Absolutely true and, yep, I'm fully aware that I being pretty much a hypocrite here. Still, it doesn't stop my brain from wondering how much of what we read is a true reflection of gay culture or is it the chicks with dicks thing rearing its head.

    Richelle: It's a fascinating issue. You know, I've just realised that image consciousness in young men in general is something that is growing. Here in Oz eating disorders, etc are not uncommon in young guys.

    “And I liked the Beast better as the Beast too, Kris.”

    It's funny how so many of us did. πŸ™‚

  11. jitterbug says:

    Kris, I read the book too and I found myself thinking about the same lines. *sigh* The Beast can be so much more intriguing than The Beauty.
    At one point I was really quite sad.

    BTW, hi! πŸ™‚

  12. Kris says:

    Miranda: O_o They're like bear twins? And exactly 24 years age difference?? o_O

    Ummm…

    MsM: I really like Beauty and the Beast stories. I'll have to look out for Beastly. I love me a good YA.

    Sara, hey you. πŸ™‚

    “The Beast can be so much more intriguing than The Beauty.”

    Exactly! I'm so glad that I wasn't the only one who had that response to this story. At the same point as you I was 'but why???'. It will be interesting to see what other readers think.

  13. hdsmith says:

    I think body / image consciousness has more to do with the personality then sexuality.

    The exaggeration in m/m definitely plays to the stereotypes of one extreme or the other but I think all fiction does that.

    We were talking this week about Force of Law, it appeals because it is so over the top.

  14. Kris says:

    Heidi: “I think body / image consciousness has more to do with the personality then sexuality.”

    I think you're right. I also think that certain social and cultural situations tend to exacerbate that trait even more.

    Everyone keeps mentioning this discussion about Force of Law. When and where? I need to go read it so I can comment intelligently on the topic.

    I do NOT feel left out, btw.

    Not. At. All.

  15. Kassa says:

    I think they are. I also think the Beauty and Beast story is fabulous. (Yet another reason i really liked Tattermydandylion)

  16. Kris says:

    Kassa: Tatter my dandelion? Is that your professional take on the pronunciation of this title? πŸ˜‰

    Why do we all love Beauty and the Beast so much, I wonder? Perhaps we're all just romantic saps. LOL.

  17. What a fascinating conversation.

    As a gay guy who has experienced both London's & Sydney's scene, I can confirm the driven gay male's pursuit of physical attraction, especially in the under 35's. I think it was Germaine Greer who commented upon this male urge towards “visile” appeal, exemplified by the gay taste for visual porn. It gets harder for those above 35 when metabolic changes take over, but gays then often disappear into long-term relationships and become socially invisible.

    Maybe the fantasy dimension of m/m romance means the lead protagonists must always be sub-35's, just as the fantasy dimension of porn means the players are usually sub-25. Very few 35+ appear in gay porn, if any. Mind you, guys both het & gay possess a prediliction for nubile, youthful conquests. It's probably the sub-conscious urge towards good breeding characteristics in sexual targets, whether gay or straight. That's genetics for you, regardless of gender role.

  18. hdsmith says:

    Okay so when I said everyone I meant Me and Wren and Kris on Wed post about characters… “everyone” may have been a bit of hyperbole.

    Not for all the cookies,the pretties and the soft chewy oatmeal ones without the nasty raisins, would I leave you out of conversations about “billionaire alpha male who spent time in the military and now runs a mega-corp and knows what his lover wants better than the lover does.”

    veri – burbuxo. I really wanted this to have an m at the end. Cause burbuxom is a word that really should exist in the world of erotica/romance.

  19. Kris says:

    Very interesting, George.

    I was being a bit oblique in my post, but I admit that I've been wondering off and on about the portrayal of the 'gay lifestyle' – if you will – in m/m romance and erotica and how much of that is an accurate representation.

    In particular, I was interested to see if others thought about authors possibly exaggerating certain traits and stereotypes for the fantasy affect or in an effort to romanticise or sex-up the characters. Perhaps to even make them appeal more to women readers or because some female authors are projecting, hence my chick with dicks comment earlier.

    At the same time, I thought maybe I could be over-reading some scenes in stories because of my own image consciousness.

    Your experiences and thoughts have helped me gain insight into the situation. I'm now thinking that it is both real and fantasy; an interesting dichotomy to say the least. But then again isn't that one of the reasons why many of us, myself included, read the romance genre in the first place. πŸ™‚

    Thank you for sharing, George.

    BTW, I'm fascinated by the socially invisibility of long-term gay couples. This sense of 'us' versus 'them' was a theme that came through in Queer As Folk and (again) I wondered whether it was just exaggerated for the benefit of the audience. Interesting.

    /ramble. Erm, sorry, George and everyone. It seems you've all been hit with me giving you my vague ponderings. πŸ™‚

  20. Kris says:

    Heidi: Here I was all excited and it was just us you were talking about. Well, you and Wren. πŸ˜›

    “Not for all the cookies,the pretties and the soft chewy oatmeal ones without the nasty raisins, would I leave you out of conversations about “billionaire alpha male who spent time in the military and now runs a mega-corp and knows what his lover wants better than the lover does.””

    You'd better not, otherwise your minion application would be binned. πŸ™‚

  21. Huh…you know I see your point. I liked him better as the Beast myself.

    There's something about the beast/man that evokes a…I don't know what word to use to describe the reaction, but it always makes my heart hurt. I want him to be loved for being himself, not for how he looks on the outside.

    That was my biggest beef w/ the Disney version of B&tB. I wanted him to stay the way he was.

    My fave version of the B&tB story is Beauty by…oh crap, what's her name? She wrote Sunshine, etc, etc. Brainfart. But, I love how she made the Beast kinda evil, but also really yummy. Or maybe that's just my interpretation. πŸ˜€

  22. Kris says:

    Bridget: The beast was great in this book, and would you look at you being all m/m romance readery. *g*

    I've been trying to work out why we all like the Beauty and the Beast storyline and you come along and put it in a nutsellf; being loved for yourself – the person you are inside – a dream for many of us. Thank you! Even if I do feel like a doofus now for not thinking about the obvious. LOL.

    And, dammit, I know exactly what author author you're talking about but I can't remember her name either. That's going to drive me insane.

  23. Chris says:

    Robin McKinley.

  24. Kris says:

    Thanks Chris!

  25. JenB says:

    I skimmed this post rather quickly, so I'm not sure exactly what the question was. But I'm not gonna let that stop me. πŸ˜€

    The Dawn Endeavor and Circe books Marie Harte wrote for Loose Id have sort of a Beauty and the Beast theme. Err…well…they're more like X-Men, but they do turn into beasts.

    As far as gay men being image conscious, I'd say most of the ones I've known (and I did work for five years at an insurance agency with a gay owner and largely gay clientele) have been very image conscious. More than I ever was, that's for damn sure. I've found quite a few of them are pretty insecure.

    And that goes for a lot of men I've known, straight ones too.

    Um, also, I love the beasty guys. Rhage from the JR Ward books. YUM. I'd love to pet his dragon.

  26. Kris says:

    Jen: “But I'm not gonna let that stop me. :D”

    Colour me sooo surprised.

    Maybe guys in general are just less obvious about their issues with image than women. Could easily be.

    “Um, also, I love the beasty guys. Rhage from the JR Ward books. YUM. I'd love to pet his dragon.”

    *snort* Have you seen THAT dragon pic? You know the one I'm talking about. *waggles eyebrows*

  27. orannia says:

    Oh, Chris, another Amy Lane book that sounds good!

    And to answer your question Kris…it depends πŸ™‚

  28. Kris says:

    Orannia: It depends?? It depends?! What ind of answer is that. Sheesh. πŸ™‚

  29. Kris says:

    Jen: See, I KNEW you would know. πŸ™‚

  30. I hit it? Wow, usually I stutter and sound like an idiot. heh.

  31. Kris says:

    You aced it, and don't put yourself down! Naughty.

  32. Sari says:

    Beauty and the Beast is definitely a favourite. Sometimes you just want to believe you can find love without having a “beautiful” appearance. Anyway, I would rec Goddess of the Rose by P. C. Cast, where the heroine chooses the beast πŸ™‚

  33. Kris says:

    Sari! I LOVE that book. Out of all of the Goddess series that has to be my favourite. That was a heroine who really appealled to me on so many levels. And that scene where she argues with her date about the romance genre is absolute classic. πŸ™‚

    “Sometimes you just want to believe you can find love without having a “beautiful” appearance.”

    Yes. As I said to Bridget, nearly every person's dream/ hope is to be accepted, liked or loved for who they are not what they look like. That is why the Beauty and the Beast story resonates with some many of us.

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