m/m generalizations

The One Shame in "Shameless;" Lori Perkins on Feminism: We Love Jenni

Tony and I have been catching up on episodes of “Shameless,” because we missed a few while catching up for the last three weeks on Season One and Two of “Downton Abbey.” And one thing is for sure, after coming from nothing but the fantastical world of “Downton Abbey,” to watching back to back episodes of “Shameless,” is an intense experience.

Last night we watched the Gallaghers and those close to them drink to excess, do drugs, sell drugs, dig for dead bodies, and yet show the kind of love that most TV shows lack. It’s often twisted, and yet balanced with characters like Fiona who is probably one of the best examples of modern feminism around today. They even get into some of the kinkier aspects of sexual exploration. And they even topped my erotic novels with one scene where the neighbor has sex with his wife’s mother in order to have a child…while having sex with his mother-in-law in the same room with his wife. Now THAT’S not something you see on TV often. Imagine Ricky Ricardo having sex with Mrs. McGillicuddy.

In any event, I often wonder if the writers and producers plan things ahead of time. The title of the show, “Shameless,” really does cover it all. Most of the characters are shameless in almost every respect. But I found it interesting last night when I noticed that the one shame still around is being gay.

Don’t get me wrong. “Shameless” handles LGBT characters better than most TV shows. They break a lot of the stereotypes and the gay men are the kind of gay men we don’t see often on TV. And yet the shame is still there, as if looming over the gay characters just as it looms over gay men in real life. For example, in one recent episode Ian who is openly gay is fooling around with Mickey who isn’t openly gay. One thing leads to another and Mickey’s homophobic father catches Ian and Mickey together and he goes ballistic. After the father pistol whips Mickey and beats him to a bloody pulp, he then phones a female prostitute. When she arrives he tells her to fuck the gay out of his son. And we see Mickey do just that, all in order to prove to his idiot father that he’s not gay and he likes screwing women.

And if you think that kind of thing doesn’t still happen in real life today you are sadly mistaken. Ian and Mickey are two excellent examples of how some gay men have to live and survive in the world. And that’s because that same brand of shame that has been following us around for years is still there.

Lori Perkins on Feminism: We Love Jenni:

New publisher Riverdale Ave Books just released a non-fiction book about the life of Jenni Rivera.

From Amazon:

“We Love Jenni,” is a frank and revealing biography of the late Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera written by The New York Times best-selling author Marc Shapiro and journalist Charles Vazquez that goes behind the scenes to tell the riveting story of the iconic Latina, who was killed last December 9th in a plane crash in Mexico.

Shapiro, author of popular biographies of celebrities such as J. K. Rowling and Justin Bieber, says the book tells the story of a woman “who never shied away from any of the huge problems she faced in life – her rough and tumble childhood, her cheating husband, her first love who in reality was a child molesting monster, her son’s indiscretion with an underage girl and so much more.

I will most likely read and review this one. I love to read bios like this because I write fiction all day and sometimes it’s nice to take a break from fiction when reading for pleasure. But I would also like to post a few comments from Lori Perkins about Rivera and feminism, followed by a few of my own and how I feel about feminism.

From Goodreads:

I came of age in the feminist era, and still live by the feminist adage, “the personal is political.” It has been my guiding mantra.

It is also the reason why I wanted to publish WE LOVE JENNI: An Unauthorized Biography of Jenni Rivera by NY Times best-selling author Marc Shapiro and Charlie Vasquez.

Jenni Rivera was an everywoman. I felt like she was my sister-in-law or my cousin through marriage. She was so real and her life, the ups and downs, was so open for all to see. It’s what made her music and her TV show so powerful.

You can read more by clicking the link above. But I wanted to post about this book because I’ve always felt close to the feminist era, too. I come from a long line of women who worked as professionals and raised families at the same time. So does Tony. And while there’s nothing wrong at all with women who choose to stay home and raise their families, we truly don’t know any who do that.

In other words, our entire lives have been surrounded by strong, independent women. Even the women I work with in publishing…and it’s mostly women…are all strong, independent businesswoman, from Holly Schmidt owner of Ravenous Romance to all of my editors with loveyoudivine.com. And that’s always been the case.

I’m making a point of this right now because of an article I read last weekend that suggests gay men (and m/m authors) bash women in m/m books. And while I suspect the blogger isn’t talking about all m/m books, the article spoke in a general sense, but I didn’t see that distinction made clearly enough, and I took offense to that as a gay author who does write m/m books. I once had a very rude, arrogant male character who treated women poorly in a book, and this character used some offensive sexist dialogue in the book. But when my publisher talked to me about it I ultimately made the decision to remove his vulgar comments so I wouldn’t offend my female readers. The publisher would have let it go to print, it wasn’t me speaking it was the character, but I made the decision to remove it. And it wasn’t something that altered the content of the book. So I take this very seriously, and I personally don’t appreciate being lumped into categories by amateur bloggers who tend to bloviate.