And Yet

25/3/16 00:27
taste_is_sweet: (My OTP has issues)
[personal profile] taste_is_sweet
So, Empire Online posted this thing about how Captain America: Civil War is a love story but Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes are not boyfriends (Which I found out via this Tumblr post originally by YouNeedToStrut). For those of you who aren't into links, the Empire post by Phil De Semlyen talks about how director Joe Russo refers to Civil War as a brotherly love story, saying:

"These are two guys who grew up together, and so they have that same emotional connection to each other as brothers would, and even more so because Bucky was all Steve had growing up."

Now, I made my own post about that whole 'Brotherly' thing back in February, generally going on the assumption that the Russos were madly trying to avoid a mass homosexual freakout. And then Sebastian Stan said this:

"I think it’s easy and generalising [sic] it to say that they’re lovers, when you’re forgetting that one has a lot of guilt because he swore to be the protector of the other, the father figure or older brother so to speak, and then left him behind." Adds the actor: "I have no qualms with it but I think people like to see it much more as a love story than it actually is. It's brotherhood to me."

Here's the thing. He's not wrong, and the Tumblr post I mentioned above has some thoughtful discussions on that fact. I know for myself that even way back in my Star Trek: Enterprise fandom days, I would occasionally wonder if we slashers were devaluing male friendship by interpreting the male characters' chemistry as romantic so much of the time. And I'm certainly aware that friends can love each other platonically.

And yet, I'm just so freaking disappointed.

It doesn't matter to me that the Russos' Word of God is that Bucket and Steeb are only friends. I'm used to creators overlooking or blindly ignoring aspects of their own work, especially when it veers towards territory they're uncomfortable with. Given what I've seen of Disney properties, it seems reasonable that even if the Russos were all over the Stucky like Red on Johann Schmidt, the mouse paying them would never, ever go for it.

But this is Sebastian Stan, who has played gay characters before and is actually playing Steve's long-lost whatever now. And if the actual actor who made Bucky Barnes live for us says Bucky and Steve are bros, not lovers, then...Then it's true. Then my wanting to see their relationship as anything other than that feels wrong. Illegitimate. Not a reinterpretation of canon, but a desperate scrabbling for something that never existed.

It's weird. I shipped Danny Williams and Steve McGarrett even when Hawaii 5-0 kept throwing women at Steve like spaghetti at a wall. In Stargate: Atlantis, I happily wrote around the cannon Rodney McKay/Jennifer Keller relationship to keep him with John Sheppard. I love Natasha Romanoff and Clint Barton shacking up even though they were both with other people in Age of Ultron (then again, I ignore a lot of things about Age of Ultron). But Sebastian Stan calls No Homo and suddenly I feel like a kid sneaking porn.

I wanted his approval, damn it. Not for me or my fic, because that's pathetic and creepy. But for the possibility that went into the fic. I wanted him to say, 'sure, that's cool,' and instead I got condemnation.

Maybe it is overly facile to see romance where there's only deep affection. Maybe we (female) writers are just picking out nonexistent subtext for all the same varied reasons we enjoy slash in general. Maybe we're just seeing what's not intended to be there, because we've been trained to (I urge you to read this brilliant essay on that subject). Maybe an actor's opinion about the character he plays shouldn't carry more weight than my own, but it feels heavier all the same.

This issue is that, as a writer who also writes fanfic, I'm always fighting the sense that my hobby is illicit; that I'm furtively dabbling where I don't belong. Allowing myself to do what I do is hard enough, without the knowledge that one of the actors who inspired it wouldn't accept my perception of his work. The fancy of tacit approval, no matter how spurious, is far more liberating than the certainty of its opposite. And honestly, I was expecting the guy who made his career playing troubled, gay sons to not reject the thought of a gay romance out of hand. Maybe seeing a romance in every love story is generalizing and easy, but that didn't mean he had to make it difficult.

The two seconds of the film wherein Bucky is happy

(no subject)

25/3/16 05:36 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ride-4ever.livejournal.com
Very thought-provoking. *scampers off to check out those links*

(no subject)

31/3/16 19:35 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] taste-is-sweet.livejournal.com
Thank you! The links are cool too. :D

(no subject)

25/3/16 09:05 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] trepkos.livejournal.com
I'm not sure what he said counts as condemnation ... The essay about the male gaze is very interesting!

(no subject)

31/3/16 19:36 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] taste-is-sweet.livejournal.com
I hear you. It just felt like it, really. "I have no qualms with it" sounded like there was a, "if you're dumb enough to go there" at the end. I realize that's probably unfair, but that's how it struck me at the time.

(no subject)

25/3/16 14:07 (UTC)
danceswithgary: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] danceswithgary
An actor's interpretation of text (or subtext) does not invalidate ours. *hug*

(no subject)

31/3/16 19:46 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] taste-is-sweet.livejournal.com
Thank you for the hugs!

You're right, of course--and definitely not the only one who's said that!--but it just wasn't what I'd wanted to hear, you know?

(no subject)

25/3/16 14:18 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] brumeier.livejournal.com
Ever since I started writing and reading slash, I've questioned my own interest in it. What is it about turning these male bromances into actual romances that I find so appealing? I'm not sure I've successfully answered that question.

Maybe because these friendships are so much deeper than anything I've ever experienced in my own life. I have no real basis for understanding a friendship that goes through fire and comes out stronger on the other end. A friendship where two lives are so intertwined.

This immediately makes me think of Steve and Danny. They have such easy affection between them, they've literally gone to hell for each other, and even the actors seem to think that a romantic relationship is the next logical step. Maybe because a friendship that has everything but the kissing feels incomplete somehow? Maybe because I feel that these characters are already almost everything to each other, so why not take it all the way?

In the case of Bucky and Steve, I see a friendship so deep and so important that it negates decades worth of Hydra brainwashing. I see that Steve would let Bucky beat him to death rather than fight him. And I don't understand how a friendship that strong can't be all-encompassing.

And this is really rambly. Sorry about that. ::grins:: But thank you for giving me more to think about on this subject.

(no subject)

31/3/16 19:51 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] taste-is-sweet.livejournal.com
That wasn't rambly at all. It was great! I've thought about those very same things too. At what point does (or should) a friendship that has everything except the romance actually become a romance?

I honestly love the idea of a friendship that can be as deep and all encompassing as Steve and Bucky's, but if it might as well be a romance...couldn't it be one?

Thank you for your thoughtful comment! ♥

(no subject)

1/4/16 12:41 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] brumeier.livejournal.com
I had another thought just now, too. That maybe, for me, I'm interested in the idea that there's one perfect person for each of us. One person that meets all of our needs. Which I know is unrealistic, but hey. Fan fic. ::grins::

Anyway, thanks for the thought-provoking post!

(no subject)

1/4/16 20:51 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] taste-is-sweet.livejournal.com
You're very welcome, and thank you again for your comments. :D

I love that idea too, which is probably why I adore soulmate fic so much. I agree that when there's good chemistry between the actors, it really does seem like they're soulmates. And hence why not in a romance?

(no subject)

26/3/16 05:40 (UTC)
amalthia: (Children of Dune)
Posted by [personal profile] amalthia
This is why I avoid actor interviews. The less I know about them and their opinions the better....but truly one person's view doesn't invalidate your interpretation. Even if he said yes, Steve and Bucky are totally in romantic love with each other, no romance like this would ever happen in a mainstream Disney movie, at least not in my lifetime. Or views will have shift much faster than they are.

EDIT: Sorry if my post was too negative. I think I'm deeply unhappy with that Steve/Bucky won't ever happen on screen and I think it makes me a little more bitter than anticipated. I had hoped views would have shifted by now to allow gay superheroes. I also think if Sebastian Stan came out and said something different and they didn't go there in the movie, people would have accused him of queer-baiting, maybe the studio told him to go with the "brothers" storyline to avoid conflict with fandom.
Edited 26/3/16 05:45 (UTC)

(no subject)

31/3/16 19:58 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] taste-is-sweet.livejournal.com
::Sends you virtual hugs::

You didn't sound too negative at all. I also agree with you that even if Stan or the directors wanted or supported a romantic interpretation of Steve's and Bucky's relationship that Disney wouldn't allow it. I also agree about how at least there wasn't queerbaiting.

There are gay heroes (and villains) in the comics, at least, FWIW. I try not to let the lack of them in the MCU get me down, because honestly I'd be upset all the time. It's possible that if (when?) there's a remake that Bucky/Steve will actually be a thing.

(no subject)

1/4/16 05:49 (UTC)
amalthia: (Children of Dune)
Posted by [personal profile] amalthia
I'm glad the comics are able to introduce more diversity, now if the TV/movies would get with the program. Though, I have found that TV is willing to go there far more than movies.

(no subject)

29/3/16 10:12 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] mcparrot.livejournal.com
I was very impressed with Mark Hamill's comment about Luke Skywalker, when some fan asked if Luke were gay, apparently he said, "If you think that Luke is gay, then he is."

I agree with what Brumeier says about why she likes slash. As well as what she said I think there is something about a romance that has both participants in an equal footing (no male dominance, female (even BAMF female) automatically weaker).

Slightly different discussion but an equal feeling of disappointment was when Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander series of books, was vehemently opposed to fanfiction. She just didn't understand/get what fanfic was all about. She felt it was a violation of HER characters. It made me feel that what I do was dirty and wrong, even though I wasn't writing fic for her work.

I think when someone we admire says something that invalidates our feelings and the things that we do and like, it is going to hurt.

(no subject)

31/3/16 20:02 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] taste-is-sweet.livejournal.com
Thank you. That is a perfect summation of why I reacted the way I did. I find it really hard to believe that creators would still have a problem with fanfiction. I consider it the ultimate in appreciation, and it would make my life if anyone wanted to write fanfic of my original work. It feels awful when someone who we consider to be in authority seems to condemn what we do.

Mark Hamill said exactly the right thing. Bless him.

I also agree with you and Brumeier about slash. I love the equal footing aspect of it too. There's more to it than that, but the true equality of it is definitely a major part.

(no subject)

31/3/16 17:56 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] squeakyoflight.livejournal.com
Strangely enough, I actually don't give a flying fuck at a rolling donut if Seb thinks the characters are in love or not. It's my fanfiction and his approval is not required. I guess what I'm saying is I OWN MY INTERPRETATION, MOTHERFUCKER!!! He can have his, I have mine. He isn't commenting on my fic, and I don't troll his *insert social media page here* so we're good.

Not that it wouldn't have been amazing for Seb to be all over the slash interpretation, but really his quote says it all: "I have no qualms with it...' and that, my friend, can be considered tacit approval for what YOU want to write, even if he doesn't feel the (not-so-brotherly) love.

Love what you love, Tasty! Write what you want to write! Life's too short to feel down because some guy you don't know has an opinion you don't like.

Sebastian Stan is a gorgeous human being and a talented actor and I'm very glad he's in the world. But my writing is for me, and I'll keep seeing my Stucky sub-text, thank you very much. And you can take that 'til the end of the line.'

xox

Squeaky
Edited 31/3/16 17:57 (UTC)

(no subject)

31/3/16 20:05 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] taste-is-sweet.livejournal.com
Squeaky!

You are absolutely right, of course. I have to say I was honestly expecting him to be more like Mark Hamill--who said whatever way you see Luke is legitimate--or for the romance thing to stop coming up after the Russo's had stated it was a brothers thing.

I'm glad he has no qualms with it, though. Because JFC, he'd better not.

(no subject)

1/4/16 12:46 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] brumeier.livejournal.com
I think that sums it up pretty darn well! LOL!

::fistbump of solidarity::

(no subject)

28/5/16 14:33 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] darkmoore.livejournal.com
It's very interesting.

I wonder if he would have been free to say "I totally see them as lovers or heading there," even though he knows it will never ever become canon. That the characters canonically never can go there because of stupid reasons of Disney and co.

A little off topic but ... remember how the whole SPN fandom was pressing for Destiel to become canon and Jensen was all like "That's not what Misha and I are playing though"?

SPN has found a wonderful solution by having Dean tell his fans that "You have your version and I have mine. Keep writing Shakespeare!"

For me it's always nice to know that the actors would maybe be on board or can see what the fans see, but I no in way think that Sebastian's comment on it being "brotherhood" invalidates your view of it. Not at all. That's the beauty of it all. You are free to interpret it the way you like and for me, when there is such a strong connection like it is shown between those two, I can very easy see it evolving to ... the next logical step.

Don't let this bring you down. I'm sure he didn't mean to say it's not possible. ;)

(no subject)

27/6/16 23:37 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] taste-is-sweet.livejournal.com
Thank you for your comment!

Interestingly, Sebastian said recently that he thinks the slash interpretations of Bucky and Steve are 'aww, cute'. He seems, as far as I can tell, to be remarkably bad at giving interviews, so I'm sure he wasn't actually trying to sound condescending. (Oh, Seb.) But at least he readily affirmed that he really doesn't mind how people see their relationship, even if it's not how he sees it.

Good for Dean. We'll keep writing. ;)

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