The M/M Shipping Thing: Misogyny, the Male Gaze, and Feminist and Queer Representation
Follow up post to this one, here. Read this to see my thoughts on the importance of allowing women to see men through a lens where male sexuality is something to be celebrated, not feared. Seems like a lot of people can relate to this, and I just love talking about it so have some more of my thoughts.
First of all, it’s a numbers game…
Going off of this point by @colt-kun which I’ve copied and pasted here. This gives a great overview of a purely statistical analysis of why m/m ships are more common.
“There’s also the sheer numbers to take into account.
Take the first Avengers movie as an example (because frankly its one of the few recent blockbusters with two female speaking roles). Two females, Black Widow and Maria. Then eight males, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye, Hulk, Loki, Fury, Coulson.
Not counting polyships/selfships for ease of math, and using the characters cisgender identities bc that is what they are largely seen as (no disrespect meant to any trans/nb interpretations)
Possible f/m ships: 16
Possible f/f ships: 1 (2.2%)
Possible m/m ships: 28 (62.2%)
That’s not even accounting for screentime, character chemistry, interaction times, etc. thats just the NUMBERS.
When there’s a large disparity in character gender then yeah, you’re going to see a heavy inclination to m/m ships because that’s really ALL THATS POSSIBLE. The fans have a natural desire for more story and romances, they want to world build and AU. We’ve done that since stories were first told.
So of COURSE you’re going to see a lot of women - of all sexual orientations - leaning towards m/m pairings because when there’s only potatoes at the buffet… you eat the potatoes. Think of all the shows an movies with only one female character in a cast of men. Is it really difficult to see WHY there’s a lot of m/m ships there?”
Mainstream media is male-centered and male-dominated.
Going beyond just the numbers the fact is that in the majority of popular films and TV shows many of the female characters aren’t well-rounded or on screen as much as most of the men. There is a tendency for women to be the secondary characters or maybe to have one main female character. This makes it hard to really relate to and invest in a lot of the female characters out there. Not that people don’t, but it’s not going to attract a huge following.
Take Supernatural (low hanging fruit I know) where even if there are a large number of women that appear throughout the series, there aren’t many that stick around(and let’s not even go there with all of the deaths and how sexist that is right now ha)or interact with each other in a way that would lead to a lot of shipping. Even in my lovely Hannibal fandom, the Marlana ship which people love and people write for just isn’t going to have as much of a following just based on the fact that they aren’t the main characters. And Marlana is a good example of a w/w ship where they aren’t objectified, don’t die, and still it’s a secondary focus. There obviously are some exceptions, but they are few and far between.