Friday, June 29, 2018

Queer People at Not Interchangeable

In point of fact, NOBODY is interchangeable. Every person on the face of this planet is unique, and the world looks the way it does because of that uniqueness. People are good. People are bad. People are wonderful. People are evil incarnate. And everything in between.

But I'm focusing on queer people because what Hayden Hunt is doing is bullshit. It's wrong, it's insulting, it's hurtful.

Let's just start right off the bat with her main defense:

Yes, Edie Bryant's books are Hayden Hunt's books imagined as FF.
You know what re-imagining looks like?

Ocean's 8. That  is a perfect example of re-imagining. "What if we did Ocean's 11 but all women?"

And they did it. Wonderfully. Beautifully. They took women who are professional criminals and had them pull a heist. Simply "changing the gender" would not have worked. That's not how it works at all. You could not have simple taken Ocean's 11 and simply "switched" the gender (leaving aside all the complexities of gender for now) of the characters and have the movie be authentic.

Because right from birth women and men have very different life experiences. That's just for cis straight people (leaving aside race, which is a whole other thing. If I covered every single nuance of this problem, we'd be here for the next month and I assume nobody wants that).  When you throw in queerness, especially transgender, non-binary, genderqueer, etc. the matter gets even more complicated. When you throw in anyone who deviates even slightly from whatever the hell "normal" is, it's impossible to simply "switch" anything.

Ocean's 8 knew this, and did itself proud with how well it re-imagined Ocean's 11 but all women.

Hayden Hunt displayed no such capability. She didn't re-imagine anything. She didn't change anything except names and pronouns and swapping penis for vagina. Her stories are exactly the same word for word. That's what we call lazy. That's what we call mistreating readers. That's what we call insulting and hurtful to queer people.

We're not interchangeable. Not in life. Not in stories. We aren't all the flamboyant gay good or the butch or the uber femme trans lesbian. You can't just write a story as MM then change 'he' to 'she' and think you're re-imagining a story.

I have re-imagined stories countless times. I LIVE for taking traditional romantic tropes and making them queer as hell. And queering fairytales my favorite thing to do.  But I don't simply simply change 'Cinderella' to 'Ashton' and leave everything else exactly the same. That's not re-imagining. That's bad writing. Every good writer who's queered fairytales, from Marie Sexton to Tami Veldura and so on, knows this, and have written damned good queered Cinderella tales. It takes a hell of a lot more work than changing pronouns and body parts, and it's insulting to even consider putting that on the same level.

That Hunter is queer herself doesn't make it okay. That's what we call abusing your own community. Don't shit where you sleep.

No, this is not an instance of an author who can do what she likes with her own books. I mean yes, technically, no one can stop you. The same way no one can stop the assholes who write plantation owner/slave and nazi/jew stories.

But shitty actions have consequences, and you don't get to take offense when your crappy behavior is called out.

An ethical writer would look at their MM story and go 'I wonder what would happen if they were women instead of men" and write a whole new story. They would have said 'hey, readers, look at what I did, I hope you enjoy this FF take on my MM novel!'

A lazy writer with no respect for readers or her own community says 'I'll just change the names, pronouns, and body parts'.

If you are defending this reprehensible behavior, you're part of the problem. You are defending an unethical writer, abuse of the queer community, and abuse of readers.

1 comment:

  1. I am so tired of the attitude that being queer somehow makes us morally untouchable, as if we cannot be racist, offensive, or commit crimes. To me it's putting being queer on a pedestal over and above being a decent human. It also doesn't mean you are morally better than a cis-het person just because you are queer. That is very dangerous and divisive thinking.

    Er ... sorry for the rant.


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