Yesterday, during the whole AmazonFail debacle, I was checking for about the fortieth time to see if any of my books had gotten their rankings back and was reading over some of my book reviews. It got me thinking about something I haven’t thought about in a while, so I decided to put it out there and see what y’all thought.

I don’t know how many of you have noticed this, but a whoooooole lot of reviewers and other readers over the years have seen Stevie from my book Easy as being effeminate. This has always surprised me. In fact, the first time I saw someone call Stevie that I was shocked. I mean, in my head Stevie has never, ever looked, sounded or acted in any way feminine. He’s always seemed as male as any other guy to me. So I wondered — I still wonder — where the perception of him being effeminate comes from.

What do y’all think? Do you think society has set up an expectation that small, “pretty” blond men would act in effeminate ways, and therefore that’s how people tend to see/hear those characters in their heads? Or is it something in particular about Stevie that I’m not seeing because I’m too close to him? (those of you who have read Easy can help me out with that!) Or is it something else entirely, some Factor X that I don’t know about and can’t even imagine?

Any and all opinions will be received with much interest, and with many thanks in advance. “o_O” factor aside, it’s actually kind of cool in a way that a character can be different for each reader. That is how I’m choosing to look at it *g*

Written by Ally Blue


Ally is a rich and famous author of hot gay manlove. She travels the world in her private jet, being waited on hand and foot by her team of pretty young men who bring her umbrella drinks and make out for her pleasure . . . Okay, so that's her dream life. Her novels of Manlove & Angst are mostly written in her living room, in between working at the Evil Day Job and doing Mom Stuff. Oh, the glamorous life of an author!
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"Same window… different view" by Ally Blue was published on April 14th, 2009 and is listed in Ally Blue.

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Comments on "Same window… different view": 12 Comments

  1. Zot wrote,

    Well, there’s always this bit:

    He carried a big bag full of varied treats from the candy barrels at Mast General Store, as well as two used CDs and a hot-pink, long-sleeved t-shirt with Princess spelled out across the front in rhinestones. Stevie would love it.

    which gives just the tiniest hint that at least one of the other characters in the story thinks he’s a touch… swish. I’ll admit, I’m one of the folks who always considered Stevie on the fem side of things. Not outright flaming, but not particularly masculine either. He kind of falls into the traditional damsel in distress role, too, which might contribute a bit to that impression.

  2. SCSPaine wrote,

    What Zot said.

    The happy-homemaker, apron-wearing, organizing, and oh-please-rescue-me neediness also contribute to the perception. He seems very nurturing in many ways and that’s been a stereotypical feminine role. Also, if I’m remembering correctly – it’s been awhile – S only bottoms, no? So there’s that bias.

  3. Ally Blue wrote,

    Yes, Stevie is a total bottom. So, Zot and SCSPaine, y’all are absolutely right that those are traits people would see as more traditionally feminine for sure. Am I completely clueless that I never did see that? Because I didn’t. I mean, I seriously never did. Well, except for the Princess T-shirt, LOL, but Stevie does love to mess with people.

    Of course I can’t see this as a bad thing. No matter how carefully an author draws (or thinks she/he drew) his/her character, readers are always going to see those characters differently from how the author intended. Sometimes just a little differently, sometimes very differently indeed. I think in Stevie’s case, his heart and soul came through loud and clear, so if most folks saw him as kind of fem when I didn’t that’s totally cool with me :)

    Anybody else? What are your thoughts?

  4. CourtneyLee wrote,

    Easy is still in my TBR, but I have a general thought. I think that sometimes, because so many manlove readers are straight women who also read het romance, we tend to subconsciously seek out the two common gender roles in the heroes unless they are very clearly both non-twink, non-exclusively bottoming, very masculine characters, especially if there are physical differences that resemble the male/female pairing of tall and broad + slim and shorter. I think it’s human nature to want to categorize and define even when we try not to.

    I love it when manlove authors mess with that, though, like when Jet made smaller, slimmer Hell the top to Brent’s taller, more outwardly masculine image. It’s one of the things I love most about MM romance, actually: the ability to play with and blow out of the water assumptions based on gender roles and perceived notions of how relationships usually work versus how they can be different but no less functional or happy. Manlove tends to focus in the individual, not the type, and that makes it very special.

  5. sage wrote,

    I always thought Stevie was fem — but hey, there are soooo many types of gay guys, that I don’t mind reading a fem ever once in a while….

    There have been books by other authors that (to me) both men were on the fem side. Again, it takes all sorts to make the world go around.

    That you have a successful, published book — that people love and recommend — that is all that matters…

  6. sylvan wrote,

    One of the reasons I’m a fan of MM “romance”. Most of the characters defy the established gender roles, they’re just people falling in love, and/or lust :)

    Stevie read to me as a young man learning to live and love, establish for
    himself who he wants to be through some pretty traumatic experiences. Tough guy, but
    sweet and warm, fierce need for attention and affection. But I never felt he was particularly
    fem, not even with the physical stuff. Even the t-shirt thing came off more playful than
    anything else. I LOVED the story, by the way and highly recommend it!

    So thanx again Ally Blue!

  7. Ro wrote,

    I have a straight male cousin who is small abt 5’6, 140 lbs and he was always picked on, yet there is nothing “girlie” abt him, in fact he’s mean, but I guess that comes from being called a “punk” too many times.

  8. Kathleen wrote,

    What I love about MM books is the heat. You don’t always get that with het books. I love the lust and growls and emotion between the two guys. I don’t care who is fem and who isn’t. Nor do descriptions of the guys mean much to me. I adored Hell and Brent in Jet’s book just as much as I loved the guys in Cameron Dane’s ReneCade. As long as the lust/heat/holy moly is there, so will I be :-)

    I also loved Easy and will now be re-reading it this weekend!

  9. Tara wrote,

    The thing about being any type of artist is that once you share your work with others it can be viewed in ways you never imagined.
    Stevie seemed outgoing, friendly, flirty and comftorable with being gay which coupled with some other observations (like those others posted) could lead people to picture him as flamboyant. People associate certain roles, be they sexual or occupational, with gender. In comparison to the macho job of construction work, Stevie worked as as baker.He didn’t seem the type to be intrested in “many” manly pursuits. I think of stevie as a soft sensative soul the nurturing kind, even if he as inner strenght to survive. Stevie had a vulnerability about him and a wide eyed innocent nature despite his rough life. It does remind me of the strenght of women in the way that it is emotinal not physical.

  10. Tara wrote,

    The thing about being any type of artist is that once you share your work with others it can be viewed in ways you never imagined.
    Stevie seemed outgoing, friendly, flirty and comftorable with being gay which coupled with some other observations (like those others posted) could lead people to picture him as flamboyant. People associate certain roles, be they sexual or occupational, with gender. In comparison to the macho job of construction work, Stevie worked as as baker.He didn’t seem the type to be intrested in “many” manly pursuits. I think of stevie as a soft sensative soul the nurturing kind, even if he as inner strenght to survive. Stevie had a vulnerability about him and a wide eyed innocent nature despite his rough life. It does remind me of the strenght of women in the way that it is emotinal not physical.
    I loved the book, it was one of the first that i read in e-book and also m/m a great intro and still a favorite.

  11. dlee wrote,

    I just bought Easy because I wanted to see what I would think in comparison to everyone else. I stayed up till 4am cause it was a good book! Stevie did not seem feminine to me despite knowing a woman with that name. Once again, Thank you, Ally.

  12. Ally Blue wrote,

    Thanks, dlee! In fact, thanks to everyone who commented, and I’m a total slacker for just now getting back to this! Y’all had a lot of great insight into this topic. It was really interesting reading through what everyone had to say. And yes, you know, once I got over the initial shock of realizing that not everyone saw Stevie the way I did, I thought it was pretty cool that MY boy, who grew out of my head and heart, was a person who could come alive for others in ways that were different from how he came alive for me. When you think about it, that really is a pretty amazing thing.

    Bottom line: human thought, human emotions, human reactions, and human nature in general fascinate me. I guess this is why I do what I do :)

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