About the strong arm of straight male preferences in media and its impact on women and bisexual/gay men.
I am about to divulge to you a somewhat shocking secret about women -- not all women but certainly many of us ... maybe even someone you know. This secret will disclose one of the reasons that "Brokeback Mountain" was wildly successful. It's also explains why a large number of gay male romances are read by women.
Yes, just as some men like lesbian porn, many women fancy the idea of two cute guys having sex. Since women tend to prefer written erotica, we go for romances rather than visual porn. When included within TV, movie and literary fandom framework, this female-centered male/male erotica is called "slash fiction". The term "slash" comes from the virgule (or slash) between character names - for instance Kirk/Spock is fiction dealing with a gay relationship between "Star Trek's" Kirk and Spock. Any two male characters from TV, movies or literature comprise "fair game". The erotica in written form is often explicit.
Some actors/producers occasionally have homophobic fits over such stories even though we never infer anything about the actual sexuality of the actors (and really, who cares?). This fiction is largely shared within the slash community. Age statements are required. Everyone knows what they're in for. You can generally only find slash if you know what you're looking for and should you happen upon it by accident, there will be a warning sign to inform you before your eyes can reach the page.
My recent show of preference had been "House" and specifically the House/Wilson relationship. The series had shown an uncharacteristic openness to the slash audience until recently. This openness seemed to exist due to a couple of writers and producers who would happily add "subtext" (a winking suggestiveness between the characters in the dialogue) to the series to please the huge audience of slash fans. Unfortunately one of the other producers and one of the series' actors (Robert Sean Leonard who plays "Wilson") have recently expressed significant distaste at the mere suggestion that House and Wilson might be "more than friends". When interviewed recently for TV Guide, Hugh Laurie ("House") made the thoroughly acceptable remark that he didn't see the characters as gay to which Leonard replied "thank you" as if the alternative possibility would be an insult to him. What a disappointment to see such a gifted actor whose work has seemed so sensitive and intuitive appear to lean so heavily toward homophobia.
As such the "House" hetero force field has seemingly been activated anew.
The network of course is Fox: stone age, simple-minded Fox. Slash women never expect any series to have the guts to actually tackle a gay relationship between two regular male characters. That would immediately transform the series into a "gay show" it seems. Gay male characters are to be clearly labeled as such and are then often ghettoized to be treated with an odd mix of political correctness and malignant neglect. From Fox we expect even less.
Something happened recently that has soured me on the series forever.
Men run the media ... if not in fact then by promoting women who only represent male interests. The simple reality of life is that 10% of us are straight, 10% of us are gay and the rest are to some degree bisexual. Clearly a LOT of men in the audience are having sexuality issues that make them uncomfortable with watching gay male relationships. Straight female and gay male opinions obviously don't matter at all because they are consistently exposed to lesbian relationships on TV with no regard to their "tender sensibilities". Then again perhaps we're just more adult about such things. Whatever is the case, "straight" male preferences rule.
One would have hoped that House (that once-brave series which has championed reason and logic and eschewed sentimentalism) would have respected its whole audience enough to just steer clear of the entire matter. But sadly House just gave us their one and only foray into regular character gayness ... two hot girls kissing What a surprise. It's an insult to the series and an offense to their audience to pass off this as a replacement. There was even a scene featuring one of the female characters examining her semi-naked lover for a spider bite. It was pandering to the worst sensibilities of the audience. If "House" didn't want to tackle a regular gay or bisexual character, why not just ignore the rest of the world rather than create the most stereotypical "acceptable gayness" of all?
You'll notice that the female character isn't gay, though. We must always keep the male perspective as the central focus. Heaven forbid she be seen as not wanting to have sex with men!
One wonders if Olivia Wilde (who played the regular "House" character now depicted as bisexual) would suggest such a storyline was an "obsession with homosexuality" as Robert Sean Leonard bemoaned regarding the House/Wilson concept (I wonder if he was bothered by an "obsession with heterosexuality" during last season's "Amber" storyline). Not that it would have mattered. Women, you see, are just expected to "deal with it". Olivia doubtless would have just had to suck it up.
Yes, they want the slash women to watch but they clearly don't value our opinions or our audience participation. So goodbye, "House", you might have been a ground-breaker, or at least an enjoyable series for everyone I know to watch (subtext included). Now you're just yet another symptom of the overarching problem in this culture that women's opinions are unimportant, gay men are condemned by some men's sexual identity problems, and lesbians are either used or abused or both. I'll continue reading House/Wilson fan fiction but my viewing of the series itself is now in the past.
And the world goes on in happy ignorance that gay people exist ... and then it even tries to pass laws against them -- perhaps hoping it'll make them "go away".
I hope everyone involved with "House" has had their straight credentials returned to the locked and upright position.
I am self-employed as a writer and internet traffic consultant. I have a degree in cultural anthropology. I've been married for thirty years to my college sweetheart. We have one son. My family has been in the USA for 350 years. I take right-wing incursions personally.