all 48 comments

[–][deleted] 34 insightful - 1 fun34 insightful - 0 fun35 insightful - 1 fun -  (10 children)

Talented authors can write about experiences that aren't theirs. But her discovering her identity is very convenient.

[–]JulienMayfair 42 insightful - 1 fun42 insightful - 0 fun43 insightful - 1 fun -  (5 children)

A straight man wrote the novel Call Me By Your Name upon which the movie is based. A straight woman wrote the story that became Brokeback Mountain.

Claiming you can't write about anything other than your own experience is just more toxic identity politics.

[–][deleted] 11 insightful - 1 fun11 insightful - 0 fun12 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Hear, hear. Well-said.

[–]just_lesbian_things 8 insightful - 1 fun8 insightful - 0 fun9 insightful - 1 fun -  (3 children)

Are they good romance stories of gay relationships? I've watched the latter but only seen the trailer for the former and I can't get over how strangely alien the stories feel to me, in a way. I wasn't sure if it was the art school Oscar bait vibe or if it's because I'm a lesbian with very limited exposure to gay men.

I don't doubt that non-lesbians can write good lesbian stories, but it doesn't happen very often. All the well-written lesbian stories I can recall had been created by lesbian authors. Most of the time, when non-lesbians write lesbian stories, it gives me the same weird alien vibe with the occasional, gross, overdone stereotype on top. Lesbian writers aren't immune to it, but non-lesbian creators of lesbian stories are almost always guilty.

[–][deleted] 5 insightful - 1 fun5 insightful - 0 fun6 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

Not the poster you were replying to, but lesbian stories have always seemed like a unique case to me. Even women have trouble writing women as people.

In the same vein I don't think even lesbian writers write truly lesbian stories. It's still filtered through the lens of a distinctly male centric culture that we're all results of.

[–]florasisHOMOSEXUAL FEMALE/Pussy is my God and I'm monotheist 11 insightful - 1 fun11 insightful - 0 fun12 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I don't think so. A lesbian author write something based on being a female attracted to others female. Male centric culture and heterocentrism influence everything, but if there is someone who can write something genuine on the topic on women/women love is a lesbian.

[–]RedditVihaaLesboja 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

From what I've heard, Call Me By Your Name is...let's say not good.

[–]jiljol 4 insightful - 1 fun4 insightful - 0 fun5 insightful - 1 fun -  (3 children)

Reminds me of Mara Wilson, the actress who played Matilda in the movie. She just CONVENIENTLY realized she was a "mostly straight bisexual" (<- her own words) immediately after the Pulse shooting and just as she was releasing some lame book about her short-lived career. She has dropped the "mostly straight" part nowadays because she realized it wasn't the woke thing to do.

It's totally cool to profit off of a horrible tragedy, guys!

[–]julesburm1891 4 insightful - 1 fun4 insightful - 0 fun5 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

And she’s always on about TQ issues on twitter. Sis, just stop.

(Also, oddly enough, Ben Shapiro is her cousin.)

[–]PeakingPeachEaterfemale♀ | detrans🦎 | eater of peaches 🍑 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Oh dang...did not know they were related! I looked up Mara Wilson and how she looks like now---Both Shapiro and Wilson have very similar features, might be able to pass off as siblings...

[–]haveanicedaytoo💗💜💙 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I had JUST read her recently-out memoir a few weeks before that happened and she literally has ZERO content in there about being bisexual or even having bicurious feelings. She didn't drop even ONE hint. (Or maybe I'm bad at picking them up?) And she has a lot of intimate/cringy details about her awkward love-life with boys. I'm not saying she's lying, because the same thing happened with Margaret Cho's memoirs, she had several books out where she was 'straight/bi' and then she suddenly came out as gay. Sometimes people just hide in the closet and this includes being dishonest in their memoirs but it was very unfortunate for her to choose to come out right after putting out a memoir like that. No one expects you to spread your vagina wide open and show us EVERYTHING in a memoir, but being LGB is a hell of a thing to leave out when you just come out a few weeks later anyways.

[–]haveanicedaytoo💗💜💙 30 insightful - 1 fun30 insightful - 0 fun31 insightful - 1 fun -  (6 children)

She didn't even realize she was bisexual until two seconds ago. THIS is exactly what I mean when I talk about "Confused bisexuals." Now this barely-bi woman thinks she's entitled to write about gay boys (not even BI boys, which, oddly enough, I'd be personally okay with, though it's not up to me to be okay with it) she is obviously a closeted yaoi/slash fan, who felt the need to write a story about cute boys doing cute things together, and there weren't any gay men on this entire planet who could write that story so she had to be the one to do it, what a hero.

If you can't tell, I'm annoyed.

It's extremely convenient for her to realize she's bi, when she's married and already knows she will never come face-to-puss with another woman. I'm not saying she's lying because actually she is a perfect example of my "Confused bisexuals" wall-of-text I wrote the other day here:

But I do feel like there is a HUUUUGE difference between her and a bisexual woman who's known she was bi her whole life and actually dated and had sex with both men and women. (And please nobody feel bad if this doesn't describe you and you're still bi, there's a million different ways to be bi.)

An analogy I can give is this. Imagine a girl from Korea who was adopted as a baby, doesn't speak a lick of Korean, grew up in an all-white environment, completely removed from Korean culture blah blah blah. She is going to have a unique life experience that isn't going to be like the typical Korean-American experience at all. So when she decides to write a novel about Korean-Americans and it's all kim-chi and K-pop, and plastic surgery and other cliches, and on-top of that, getting a lot of things wrong and offending other Korean people, what do you even say in that situation? Here is a woman who knows fuck-all about being bisexual, writing novels about it. I'm basing this solely on her saying she just realized she's bi at 37. Not the fact that she's never been with a woman. I know a lot of bi women/men have never been with the same sex. That's not the issue. This feels like she did a DNA test and found out she's half Korean and decided to write a novel about being a Korean-American girl just based on that. It feels really hollow/shallow.

Here is what she knows about: Staying in the closet her entire life and not even realizing she was bi. (If she is actually bi.)

Here is the elephant in the room: The reason she had to come out was not because readers had a problem with her being straight, it's because they had a problem with her being straight and writing gay, lesbian, and bisexual characters in unrealistic ways that didn't feel authentic. Saying "Well, I'm bisexual too, so there!" doesn't really fix the situation that those characters still suck and they're still unrealistic and don't feel like real gay/bi/lesbian teens/adults.

[–]8bitgay 23 insightful - 1 fun23 insightful - 0 fun24 insightful - 1 fun -  (3 children)

Now this barely-bi woman thinks she's entitled to write about gay boys (not even BI boys, which, oddly enough, I'd be personally okay with, though it's not up to me to be okay with it)

Right? It's a bit weird how people act like LGBTQ is interchangeable. Oh, she's a bi woman, so she also knows the experiences of gay guys by osmosis.

I mean, frankly I think people should write about whatever they want, otherwise gay people wouldn't be able to write about straight people either. Although of course writing about what you know might make it more believable and personal - and in this case writing about gay guys isn't part of a bi woman's personal experiences.

If she said something like "I'm not a gay man but as a writer I can write about characters who aren't like me", I'd be fine with that. Using the bi card though is way worse and even offensive, as it acts like we're all the same thing.

[–]fuck_reddit 23 insightful - 6 fun23 insightful - 5 fun24 insightful - 6 fun -  (0 children)

Ironically, she'd have been better to "come out" as "trans" and then do 0 work to present or transition. Then she'd be a "gay man" and also any criticism of her would be transphobic.

[–]florasisHOMOSEXUAL FEMALE/Pussy is my God and I'm monotheist 9 insightful - 1 fun9 insightful - 0 fun10 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Also, it's not about homosexuality. Hetero women can relate much more to gay men than a lesbian. As a lesbian, I cannot relate to gay men at all. So, what's the point of saying she's bi?

[–]les4leshomonormative 8 insightful - 1 fun8 insightful - 0 fun9 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Oh, she's a bi woman, so she also knows the experiences of gay guys by osmosis.

LMAO this is the most annoying thing. To harp on the original comment's Korean analogy it's like claiming that she understands Japanese or Vietnamese culture because she's familiar with Korean culture, and the original comment already discusses how she probably isn't

[–]MarkJeffersonTight defenses and we draw the line 2 insightful - 2 fun2 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 2 fun -  (0 children)

So when she decides to write a novel about Korean-Americans and it's all kim-chi and K-pop, and plastic surgery and other cliches, and on-top of that, getting a lot of things wrong and offending other Korean people

"I identify as a Korean! I've no apocrine glands too uwu"

[–]RedEyedWarriorGay | Male | 🇮🇪 Irish 🇮🇪 | Antineoliberal | Cocks are Compulsory 25 insightful - 1 fun25 insightful - 0 fun26 insightful - 1 fun -  (11 children)

I don’t care if she’s straight or bisexual. If she can write a story about a gay man that is still interesting and relatable, that’s all that matters. Sometimes, it’s good to get a perspective from the outside. Maybe some imagination was used, but you need to have good imagination to be creative.

But I’m at a point now where I’m sceptical if someone told me he or she was bisexual. Bisexuals definitely exist, but there are also a lot of straight people who pretend to be bisexual thinking it makes them more attractive to the opposite sex or gives them oppression points. There are also a lot of gay people who think they are bisexual because they find out they are attracted to the same sex but cannot fathom why they wouldn’t be into the opposite sex. Again, bisexuals do exist, and I bet there are almost as many of them as there are gay people. But it seems too easy to call yourself bisexual these days.

At the same time, I’m not going to dismiss a person who says they are bi unless I know for sure that he or she is bullshitting, because we all have our own unique experiences. I’ve had some people flat out say "that I’m not gay" because I’m not effeminate and accuse me of trivialising the struggles of gay people. Eventually they realised I actually am gay, when I showed no interest in the girls at my school and never asked a girl out to prom. It was still frustrating for me. Remembering what that was like for me, I don’t dismiss people who come out as gay or bi.

[–]VioletRemiCat, homosexual one 18 insightful - 8 fun18 insightful - 7 fun19 insightful - 8 fun -  (3 children)

pulling out the bi/"queer" card as if that makes them immune to criticism.

Why my lesbian card is not making me immune to criticism? :(

[–]florasisHOMOSEXUAL FEMALE/Pussy is my God and I'm monotheist 15 insightful - 7 fun15 insightful - 6 fun16 insightful - 7 fun -  (2 children)

You're lesbian, you're not oppressed enough. Try pretending to be a man to reach max oppression.

[–]VioletRemiCat, homosexual one 8 insightful - 1 fun8 insightful - 0 fun9 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

That does not work, they still know I am a woman!

[–]florasisHOMOSEXUAL FEMALE/Pussy is my God and I'm monotheist 8 insightful - 1 fun8 insightful - 0 fun9 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Not today. Today you are man just by saying you are.

[–]julesburm1891 16 insightful - 1 fun16 insightful - 0 fun17 insightful - 1 fun -  (6 children)

Can I pull my teen services librarian card for this one? Okay, but in all seriousness, I do think Albertalli is a good writer and her books are pretty popular with the LGB teens that I work with. (Personally, I enjoy that her books aren’t overly-dramatic coming out stories, but instead feature teens simply falling in love for the first time. They presents LGB romance as normal, not life-altering and angsty. I wish I had books like that when I was a kid.)

However, I do have a problem with people mobbing her for being straight and writing about LGB people until she was backed into this corner. If people are writing about others with care and respect, we shouldn’t denigrate them because they aren’t exactly like their characters. Writing and art should be tools to have a better and more empathetic understanding of our world, not drive identity insanity between us.

That being said, I also don’t think we should be forcing anyone to come out if they aren’t ready just because it suits some folks’ agenda. Most notably, I’m thinking of when Julie Murphy was forced to come out as bi after she wrote Ramona Blue. Murphy actually is bi and was not ready to talk about it publicly. It was rather unfair to her.

Perhaps Albertalli is bi. Perhaps she isn’t. What matters is that no one should be pressuring her to say she is simply because she writes decent novels for young people.

[–]fuck_reddit 10 insightful - 5 fun10 insightful - 4 fun11 insightful - 5 fun -  (0 children)

Yes, today I will deface the grave of Mary Shelley because she wrote about the experiences of a mad scientist whose family was murdered by a patchwork-undead man of his own creation because she was--in fact--an upper class woman who never had her family murdered by a patch-work undead man of her own creation.

[–]les4leshomonormative 11 insightful - 1 fun11 insightful - 0 fun12 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

Frankly I don't give a damn if she's straight, it reminds me of the "straight actors shouldn't gay roles :/" stuff. The entire point of art is to explore the world of possibilities, why not let straight people do whatever they want? If they do it wrong, we can call them out on it, but we shouldn't stop them.

Also, it does create a culture of "you have to come out" for possibly closeted artists/authors who were interested in exploring something they maybe don't want the entire world to know. I hate woke culture for focusing so much on minor shit like "a straight woman wrote a book about a gay teenager" instead of actual gay teenagers and what affects them

[–]RedditVihaaLesboja 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I think the "straight actors shouldn't play gay roles" comes partly from imitating the discourse around who gets to play X ethnicity etc while ignoring that these things are not equally comparable and partly from the fact that some actors just suck playing gay (cough Supergirl, cough Jenny's Wedding)

[–]haveanicedaytoo💗💜💙 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (2 children)

Yeah, I remember that Julie Murphy situation. It wasn't even her fault. The publisher had written the blurb on the back of her book in such a way that implied she was a lesbian who "turned bi" after finally encountering the glorious magical golden penis. I tried reading the book and I hated it (I think me and YA books just don't get along, I'm more of a nonfiction/biography reader.) All I remember of it was that it was waaaaay too long and there was a pregnant sister making everyone miserable.

What did you think of Leah on the Offbeat? I remember hating that one. It's been way too long since I've read it, but my memory of it is that Leah had a horrible personality and went on an SJW-rampage to ruin one of her friend's life due to some racist comment, and there was a lot of weird stuff about being a bisexual squeezed in there that I remember feeling like... "WTF is this???" I kind of want to re-read it now to see it it feels like it was written by a "Bisexual egg who hadn't hatched yet" (ohmygoddd did I really type that? Urrrghhh!!!!) I remember back then, feeling like "Okay, she did gay, she did lesbian, so she just had to do bisexual next, this clueless straight woman needs to do more research."

Maybe I'll re-read it IDK...

If people are writing about others with care and respect, we shouldn’t denigrate them because they aren’t exactly like their characters.

I agree with this. I know all my comments are coming off as gatekeepy, but as long as they do a good job and manage to not be inaccurate/offensive/fetishy, I'm fine with it.

[–]julesburm1891 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

To be fair, I’m not a huge fan of YA books either. (I prefer nonfiction or mysteries.) I just have a job where I have to read a fair amount of YA books. However, my criteria for judging YA books is different than most readers’.

Teens are a mess. They’re experiencing everything for the first time, so everything is big and dramatic all the time. They don’t really understand all their feelings yet and don’t know how to control them. Their brains literally can’t process risk or permanence until they’re older. So, teens do and say dumb things pretty much constantly.

Because of this, I actually like when YA authors write teens realistically and allow their characters to live through their boneheadedness and grow. Yes, Leah was totally ridiculous and obnoxious. But she also realized what an idiot she was and was able to be better.

Nah, I totally get what you’re saying. There’s definitely a line between being an empathetic writer and being a fetishizing writer. Some people are walking up to that line (or crossing it) and pretending to be fully on the empathetic side. We need to find a way to call people out for actual bad behavior while not dragging down decent people.

But, I do see how people could read Albertalli as walking up to that line and it’s fair criticism.

[–]haveanicedaytoo💗💜💙 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Yeah, that's a great point. After I wrote you my comment yesterday, I decided to re-read the book again to try and figure out why I'd hated it so much the first time. I read about one hour's worth, and in that time she mentions anime, manga, and cute manga boys several times, and talks about how she needs to go to her room and be in private so she can read Draco x Harry slashfic. I'd been feeling kind of guilty like 'I shouldn't be accusing everyone who wants to write gay male content of fetishizing' but after I re-read those scenes, I was like 'Ohhhhhhhhhh that's why! Yeah, I remember now!'

I'm still chugging through it, I'm about 1/6th of the way through.

Edit - oh, I almost forgot, she is Simon's 'best friend' but she keeps squeee-ing about how cute and adorable he and his boyfriend are together and how she used to have a crush on him. It's so uncomfortable to read about.

Haha, I don't mean to dump all my complaints about this book on you. It's just that I have no one else IRL to whine to. Anyone else would be like WTF are you re-reading something you already know you hate??

[–]florasisHOMOSEXUAL FEMALE/Pussy is my God and I'm monotheist 11 insightful - 1 fun11 insightful - 0 fun12 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

It's like trans complaining where a non.-trans play a trans character. Never heard gay complaining on non gays playing gay characters.

[–]les4leshomonormative 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

This exactly. It's not the LGB complaining... it's the SuperWoke

[–]braincollected 10 insightful - 1 fun10 insightful - 0 fun11 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I'm suspicious because she makes it seem like she "just" realized it, very conveniently, in the moment when she's being criticized. Kinda reminds me of Jameela Jamil coming out as "queer" (of course who knows what that actually means) when she was getting flack for landing a judge spot in a vogueing competition show or something like that. To be honest I couldn't care less about this woman. Yeah I guess it's wrong that a straight woman is profiting of writing stories about gay people (and I haven't read the book or seen the movie but apparently she didn't make a good job at it either?) but it seems like every day the woke crowd needs to find someone to pile on until they break them to then pat themselves on the back thinking they did something. I just feel like a lot of LGB people (and supposed "allies") think this is "activism" when to me it's barely anything.

[–]QueenBread 10 insightful - 1 fun10 insightful - 0 fun11 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

Let me understand. Unless you're AT LEAST bisexual, you cannot write about homosexual characters, ever? I think she should have the had the courage to say "yeah, I'm straight, so what? This is ridiculous. I wish she had the courage to call it for the idiocy it is, but I can understand her fear of cancel culture.

[–]haveanicedaytoo💗💜💙 6 insightful - 1 fun6 insightful - 0 fun7 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I agree. She actually did a HUGE disservice to straight women who want to write about gay boys by doing this. She should have just relaxed and said "fuck you all, I wrote a shitty bunch of books, but one of them was pretty successful and got turned into a movie and I got a one season show out of it and made tons of money and I have thousands of readers who like my books, so suck it, gatekeepers!" And I actually would have respected that way more. I hope this doesn't start a trend now where every straight woman who wants to write about cute gay boys uwu comes out a bisexual so that she can be allowed to write in peace.

[–]ImNOTRobertPaulson 10 insightful - 1 fun10 insightful - 0 fun11 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I never understood why people get mad if a straight author writes about gay characters. Shouldn't LGB be happy to be getting more recognition and characters we can relate to? Her books are not high literature, but I enjoyed the fact that the main characters happened to be gay. Their gayness was not everything about them, or even the "cool" thing about them.

Her coming out as bi actually kind of taints the books for me. I liked that they were written by a straight person because that helps reinforce that LGB is normal and understandable. A straight author bothered to write from the perspective of a gay teen. And did a pretty good job of nailing the feelings and emotions that come with it.

We shouldn't require an author to only write about their lived experiences. Should we get mad at her that the main character in one of her books is a teen male? Should male writers not be able to have female characters? Authors not write stories involving characters of other races? We wouldn't dare want anyone to profit off of characters that are not like them, right?

[–]fuck_reddit 8 insightful - 1 fun8 insightful - 0 fun9 insightful - 1 fun -  (2 children)

I'm so sick of this "straight people can't play gay characters" stuff... cause this is the result. Like, do gay guys know what being a gay high school guy is like far better than straight women? Hell yes. Does that mean we should throw out Love, Simon for the sin of being written by the wrong person? No. I think it did more good than bad. The really bad thing is that the author has to "come out" as "bisexual" to deserve the success the movie has brought her.

[–]FrostyNugsI'm allergic to nuts 12 insightful - 14 fun12 insightful - 13 fun13 insightful - 14 fun -  (1 child)

Wait until they learn that J.R.R. Tolkien was not, in fact, a hobbit.

[–]fuck_reddit 2 insightful - 2 fun2 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 2 fun -  (0 children)

Thats ok cause the Hobbits are based straight white oppressive colonialist imperialist Brits. The real problem is the Dwarves! Cause everyone knows making a greedy race is anti-semetic, but its totally not antisemetic to assume every greedy race is automatically based off of Jews... whack