In which David Willis invents something even better than the Bechdel Test.
LESLIE IS ACTUALLY ME
I NEED EITHER CANON LESBIANISM OR ENOUGH FEMSLASH FUEL THAT I CAN TOTALLY CREATE HEADCANON LESBIANISM
David Willis didn’t invent anything new. The Bechdel Test is suppossed to show whether a lesbian could enjoy a piece of entertainment or not. Straight feminists just hijacked it. Don’t give credit to a man for something lesbians have come up with and is a tool most of us use to navigate through mainstream tv/movies.
Not only that but isn’t the entire purpose of that questionable piece of art up there to make fun of fan girls?
And note that the two words he uses to describe the ship are “tragic” and “hot” like we’re only allowed to be tragic victims of homophobia or hot objects for guys to look at. Not like there are any other sorts of romance stories you could tell about lesbians…
I am very confused.
I don’t understand how this comic is “making fun of fan girls,” or how Leslie’s preferences speak for all story possibilities ever, rather than being only Leslie’s preferences.
Let me talk about Leslie by talking about myself a bit. I was raised in a very strictly fundamentalist Christian home. Sex was simultaneously put on a pedestal and demonized. While trying to navigate these feelings as a teenager, I would come up with insanely unhealthy sexual fantasies in which I would concoct scenarios in which expressing my sexuality honestly would be okay. Stuff like “oh man, me and my sexual partner did some stuff that means we’re definitely going to Hell, point of no return, guess we get to have sex a lot now without worrying ‘cuz it’s too late for us, OH WELL.” You know, a bunch of teenaged angsty fatalistic crap. Some of that still pokes around in my brain as an adult. It’s dumb and it’s stupid and I know better now, but it’s still a part of myself inside.
This is one of the attributes I gave to Leslie as a character. She too was raised in a fundamentalist home, though her problems are like a million fold worse than mine since she’s into girls and her parents kicked her out of the family when they found out. Part of her brain is still hooked on fatalistic, doomed romantic couplings she fantasized about as a teenager because that’s the only thing her twisted upbringing would allow. I have done a strip or two about this, and in today’s strip she’s actually full-out admitting this is a thing she has. I liked to think she was finally embracing it as a part of her, while simultaneously understanding the problematic parts of it. But, well, she’s a person, not a series of perfect ideals, and so she tries not to beat herself up over it.
This is a … kink? that I have noticed is shared by some lesbian friends of mine, and I get positive reactions to these strips from them when I do them. It is something we share together as human beings. That’s why I was extremely happy Rosalarian reblogged this comic, because I often have trouble connecting with people, and so this positive reaction from her was a very important day-lifting win for me. It meant I got something right!
But I see these comments in response to this strip about how it “hates fangirls” or is about how the comic is explicitly about how “tragic” is the only kind of lesbian story that can be told, and I don’t even know how to respond to this because it is absolutely so far from what I thought I was saying. I have spent a good portion of the past week in this stupid pit of despair, this dumb existential crisis that I should be too smart to be stuck in, that usually I can ignore as a simple misunderstanding and move on, but…
I think the difference here is how personal I’ve constructed Leslie’s brainpatterns, how dear they are to me. I put a lot of myself into her, and I am seeing this pile of responses from strangers telling me how awful everything here is, finding this narrative I don’t know from where and using it to describe me as the people who traumatized me so as a child. And I’m hesitant to even say that, because I’m a straight dude so my life is probably way better than most people’s anyway, and I don’t wanna bully anyone else, but… I don’t know. I really wanted to speak up about what I thought this strip was about. It wasn’t about making fun of fan girls. It was actually really personal.
So just ignore me.
I’ll probably delete this in a few minutes when I think better of it anyway.