Okay, I admit, I’ve succumbed to the Glee fandom despite my best attempts to avoid it. Although my participation is mostly limited to lurking, I have created a couple of music videos and am currently planning out a long multi-chapter fanfic centered on Kurt.
While lurking, I’ve read a few fanfics myself…not many because, honestly, many of them were obviously written by teenage fangirls. Not that all teens are horrible writers….just the ones I happen to come across. But I’ve noticed some…well, frankly, atrocious clichés and tropes that populate the fics, especially where Kurt is concerned (and Blaine to an extent). Although it’s not just the fics, but also fanart as well (¬_¬)
And it drives me crazy. I swear that these certain writers have no idea of characterization…much less met a gay guy before in their life…
1) Kurt does not say ‘Oh, my Gaga!” (or any other fashion icon’s name)…He has never ever said this on the show. He says “Oh, my God!” …never ‘Oh, my Gaga.’
2) Kurt does not wear makeup. OMG, this one drives me INSANE. Kurt may be gay, but that does not mean he wears makeup… The only time he’s ever worn makeup on the show is as part of a costume for a performance. He’s never worn it routinely. Yes, he has his moisturizing routine but that is not the same thing as wearing makeup.
3) Kurt does not wear high heels. The only time he has worn heels is in the season one episode ‘Theatricality’ as part of his costume. In addition, Kurt does not wear girly clothing. Okay, yes, he has worn sweaters that might be considered feminine, but overall Kurt’s clothing style is very masculine, particularly in season two. I believe that all the ‘girly’ clothing was primarily in the first half of season one when they hadn’t quite nailed down his character yet. Kurt’s style has matured and consists of a militaristic style as well as a somewhat punkish-gothic look (I mean, he did wear pants with safety pins down the leg and across the waist…as well as tidbits of so-called ‘bondage’ wear).
4) Honestly, as far as I’m concerned, Kurt is not that flamboyant, at least not anymore (he really has matured since season one). That was more true for the first half of season one when he was basically a walking stereotype since they didn’t know the show would be sticking around. Yes, he has his ‘moments’ (as does Blaine), usually when he gets excited about something, and he has interests that are stereotypically considered ‘girly’ but I just don’t see him as that flamboyant. I just don’t. I had a friend in college who is gay (and extremely open about it). He is no where near as well dressed or well manicured as Kurt (he dressed like a straight guy who just didn’t give a flip about his appearance) and he was more flamboyant than Kurt. So, for me personally, when Kurt is compared to this guy I knew, Kurt is not overly flamboyant all the time; only at certain times XD
5) Kurt is not a dainty, delicate little flower. I cannot count the number of times I’ve seen writers act as though Kurt is so fragile and is a damsel in distress in need of saving and protection. (¬_¬) Puh-lease. Seriously. Have you even watched an episode of Glee? I love how Chris Colfer described Kurt once; as a “tough guy in designer clothing.” He is not weak-willed. He is not wimpy. Kurt is a strong, tough character; he does not need someone to fight his fights for him. He is a Hummel after all XD.
6) While we’re on the subject of dainty, delicate little flowers, Kurt is not that tiny! I have seen so many fanfics and especially fanart that depict Kurt as this tiny little thing. Kurt is TALLER than Blaine! Not shorter! He’s 5’10”-5’11”! That is NOT TINY! Just because he looks tiny next to Finn does not mean he is a tiny little thing. Finn is 6’3”! He towers over everyone. But on the flip side of the coin, for those writers who have noticed that Kurt is the taller of the two, Blaine does not need to stand on his tiptoes to kiss Kurt. Blaine may be shorter but the height difference is not that great, only two or three inches. I believe that part of the issue with the height difference and why people have trouble accepting that Kurt is taller is that it’s because people see Kurt as the ‘girly’ one and therefore must be the shorter one (¬_¬)
7) This one is becoming less true as we learn more about Blaine but still…Blaine is not Darren Criss! Writers will toss in any odd reference to Darren Criss’ past work on A Very Potter Musical or just random tidbits about Darren’s personality. I admit, I don’t know much about Darren but I know enough to know that Blaine =/= Darren Criss. Stop writing in references to AVPM, Darren’s love of Red Vines, the pink sunglasses he’s fond of (Blaine wore them once and never have they been seen since)… That’s not Blaine. That’s RPF. And I don’t read RPFs.
8) This one is for all the fanartists out there. Kurt is NOT blond! Or a redhead. He has brown hair. Accept it. And it’s not even light brown hair, it’s fairly dark. Yes, Blaine’s hair may be darker but it’s not that much darker. They both have dark hair. I suppose it could be the artist’s way of differentiating between the two in their art, but there are other ways to do it; for example, Blaine has curly hair, Kurt does not. But whatever you do, please do not give Kurt blond hair…please. I’m blonde, Kurt is not. And another fanart annoyance, Blaine’s complexion is not that dark. Yes, Darren Criss is half-Filipino and yes, it is implied that Blaine is as well. But Darren’s skin tone is not that dark…or green O_o (Yes, I have seen some fanart go a bit too far in the olive skin complexion department). Sure, he’s definitely darker than Kurt, who is as pale as they come, but he’s not that dark. This is almost like when fanartists depict Uhura from Star Trek as white (¬_¬)
9) PLEASE STOP WRITING AND/OR DEPICTING KURT AND BLAINE AS HETERONORMATIVE!!!!!!!! This one is the one that really makes me think that these some of these writers have never met a gay guy before. This is a relationship between two guys. Keyword: GUYS aka BOYS. One of them is not the ‘girl’ of the relationship while the other is the ‘guy’. I don’t know about you, but every gay guy I’ve ever known has despised being emasculated and compared to a girl. They are guys. Kurt even felt offended when he felt his dad was emasculating him; when his dad says that it’s easy for him to talk ‘guy stuff’ with Finn, Kurt declared quite forcibly “I’m a guy.” But because most people are used to the girl/guy type relationship, they ascribe those characteristics on Kurt and Blaine. But it’s just not fitting. As far as I’m concerned, based on what we’ve seen so far, Kurt and Blaine’s relationship is probably more equal than any of the girl/guy relationships on the show.
Everything has Blaine being the one who asks Kurt to prom, Blaine proposes to Kurt, Blaine serenades Kurt constantly, Blaine does this, Blaine does that. Why the hell can’t Kurt be the one who asks Blaine to prom, proposes, etc. Why can’t Kurt sing a love song to Blaine every once in a while? To me, all this does is make Kurt the girl in the relationship. And on that note, why does a lot of fanart depict Kurt has extremely feminine? Last I checked, he looked like a guy. Perhaps he can look slightly androgynous at times, but most of the time, he’s very clearly a boy.
But this whole heteronormative thing...? I've seen it in every slashy things I've read. It's particularly prominent in the Star Trek fandom as well. I've seen Spock emasculated and turned into the girl more times than I can count and it's irritating (I saw this prominantly during the 'ship wars/Olympics, which is the only time I've read Star Trek slash). All it tells me is that these girls who write this have never met a gay guy. At least that's my impression.