She wasn't kidding. QaF is about four gay men who are all friends and a hot little twink one of them picks up and deflowers. It's also got a couple of lesbians as primary supporting characters. It's lauded as the first show that has an entirely homosexual main cast, and let me tell you, the "breeders" aren't represented well, when they show up at all. And it's got lots of nudity, lots of sex, lots of m/m kissing. If you like that sort of thing, it's definitely hot.
The Wikipedia entry about the show says something that I find fascinating:
The network's initial marketing of the show was primarily targeted at gay male audiences, yet a sizeable segment of the viewership turned out to be straight women.Whoa! Big shock here, people! A certain segment of the straight female population loves romances between gay men!
This is something that is NOT a shock to anyone who knows anything about Slash fiction, which originated from a reference to the "/" punctuation between "Kirk/Spock" fan fiction written by and for women that depicted Kirk and Spock in a sexual and romantic relationship. This is also not news to the producer of Brokeback Mountain who told Ang Lee, the director of the movie about a pair of gay cowboys, that their core audience was not gay men, but rather straight women (although five years of experience runs between the makers of QaF and the producer of BbM, so hindsight is indeed 20/20). And male/male erotica (or m/m/f) is certainly the growth industry in the online erotica publishing houses. In an interview with the Smart Bitches, two editors from Ellora's Cave said:
And an up-and-coming genre that we are eagerly acquiring is m/m erotic romance, as well as m/m/f ménage.So, what's up with that? Why might women be attracted to gay male romance and/or gay male sex?
Because, if, as I argue in my article*, romances are actually about watching the hero figure out and confess his feelings, if they're about watching him move from the "masculine economy of use" to the "feminine economy of exchange," then watching TWO men have to figure it out for and with each other is more than twice as wonderful as watching one man figure it out for and with a woman. As Meghan Daum says:
With Jack and Ennis, however, there's no woman to pick up the emotional slack, and they're forced to experience their feelings without the benefit of female translation or analysis. In other words, they are (at least for each other) as emotionally available as it gets.That's not actually the point of my post, however. ::sigh:: My point--and I do have one, to rip off Ellen Degeneres shamelessly--is to speculate on why it's the complete jerk alpha male in QaF, Brian Kinney, who is most attractive to everyone, both in the show and in the audience.
If women are attracted to romances to watch the men realize that they can't survive without love, and if they're attracted to Slash (which, in its purest form, focuses on relationship rather than just sex) and m/m romance to watch TWO men have to deal with the vulnerability of falling in love, then why is the irresistible alpha male quite so irresistible?
Because it's much more impressive to make the rake, the asshole, the user, fall in love than to make the nice guy fall in love. If the one man who refuses to admit that love exists (Brian says in the pilot episode, "Love is something that straight people tell themselves they're in so they can get laid. And then they end up hurting each other because it was all based on lies to begin with") can be seen to be emotionally vulnerable, then causing or watching that vulnerability gives a female reader/viewer power over everything that user, that alpha male, represents. A friend of mine recently wrote on her blog:
I want to take a man who doesn't express love and inspire him to express it to *me*.I think this says it perfectly.
This connects, I believe, to my point about m/m romances. Ennis Del Mar is the much more affecting character in Brokeback Mountain, precisely because he's the most emotionally stunted. Watching him deal with his emotions is so much more heart-breaking because he has no idea how to go about doing it. A romance with a HEA would show Jack and Ennis finally able to express their love. Their story is a tragedy, however, precisely because they were never able to verbalize their emotions to each other.
My husband, one of the good guys, was slightly put out over my tongue-dragging, panting interest in the character of Brian Kinney in QaF. He complained that all his life he was told to be considerate of other's feelings, kind, and unselfish, only to find that women are most attracted to the emotionless jerks who treat them like dirt and discard them without a thought, all for the hope that they'll be the one to affect him and make him change his ways. I told him there was a big difference between the fantasy of conquering the alpha male and the reality of having him in your life. After all, I ended up (very happily!) with the nice guy. I just enjoy watching the alpha male get his come-uppance.
*Frantz, Sarah S. G., 2002. "'Expressing' Herself: The Romance Novel and the Feminine Will to Power," in Scorned Literature: Essays on the History and Criticism of Popular Mass-Produced Fiction in America. Eds. Lydia Cushman Schurman and Deidre Johnson. (Connecticut: Greenwood Press) pp. 17-36.