Hip, Unhip Ho-Yay!
TWoP, as it is known to habitues, is basically a website for trashing/discussing, according to your preferences, current TV shows, and it is generally both screamingly funny and gloriously literate.
But of late I've noted a rather distressing tendency among some of its less, shall we say, sophisticated participants to cloak even the most blameless relationships in what the TWoPpers call "ho-yay"---a bit of site shorthand for "homosexuality yay!" And this gets pretty much right up my nose.
Now, before you start getting all huffy, I have absolutely nothing against gayness. I have tons of gay friends of both genders, gay characters have appeared in my books and will continue to do so, I wholeheartedly support gay marriage as a civil rights issue. I would like to see more gay characters in media, characters whose gayness is merely the way they happen to be and not some kind of shock-value ploy or grab at hipness.
And I think that to get there, this juvenile, sniggering, reductio ab absurdum attitude has GOT to stop.
Not everything is about gayness, people! Frodo and Sam expressing their deep feelings for each other on the slopes of Mount Doom? NOT GAY. Ugly Betty cooking dinner for her roommate Amanda, as a kindness after a bad day working two jobs? NOT GAY. Doctor Gregory House and his friend Wilson playing pranks on each other? NOT GAY.
It does a disservice to such characters and their creators to contextualize them so, and it doesn't do much for gay people either.
Is there no place left in the world for deep, abiding love and friendship between two same-sex individuals that has no sexual content whatsoever to it? And does it always have to be trivialized and sniggered at? Why? Because immature adolescents of all ages think deep feelings are funny and can only be attributed to gayness?That's a pretty pathethic place we've reached, if so.
I have a feeling it's mostly puerile individuals who are insecure with their own sexuality, be it hetero, homo or bi, who feel the need to sexualize even the most innocent of hetero friendships portrayed in movies or on TV or in books into a ho-yay context. And this really, REALLY gets up my nose.
Fandom slashfic (fanfic is an abomination in itself, which I may rant about at a future time) in, say, Harry Potter (Harry/Draco, Hermione/Ginny, etc.) or LOTR or just about anyplace else you can think of just boggles my mind. Are there REALLY that many beaten-down closet gays out there, who need this sort of thing as a way to feel good about themselves? Or is it mostly perpetrated by infantile, giggling teenagers who think gayness is a goof and that this sort of thing is fun?
It isn't, you know. It's demeaning to all concerned. And I really wish it would stop. Perhaps, as people grow up a bit, it will. Until that day, I think I'll stay away from TWoP. It's just not worth it.