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May 27, 2011


They seem to have infested the Fan Fiction Wiki entry:

"More women than men read romantic fan fiction. While men who are attracted to an actress often search for revealing photographs of her, women attracted to an actor often seek out erotic stories with a character he plays. A fan of Orlando Bloom, for example, might search for "Legolas erotica".[13]"


Someone should correct that.

Don't critique - refute!

"For men, physical and psychological arousal are united..."

Yet men suffer from what the Japanese amusingly term "morning wood," without any psychological arousal necessary: it can be nothing more than bladder pressure. And from the other side, there's no evidence most men beyond their teens experience lust while being unable to control their physical arousal. To claim otherwise really requires a good, serious scientifically based study--or the hope that readers will be part of a culture that automatically accepts whatever pap they're fed.

I'm pretty much in agreement with your demolition of Ogas & Gaddam, but I'm a bit confused about the citation about Japanese, women and manga. Just to state my own biases, there is something completely different in the way Japanese think about sex, both men and women. I've tried to write a post about this, but it never seems to jell. In fact, I think that Ogas & Gaddam have the serious problem of thinking that their hangups about sex are everyone else's.

A few years ago I recall seeing one of those studies in which someone attached a penile plethysmograph to a lot of guys and had them look at porn. They came to the conclusion that male bisexuals didn't really exist (or were extremely rare), because regardless of what they claimed, most men claiming to be bisexual mostly got erections looking either at members of the same sex or at members of the opposite sex.

One of the researchers was interviewed for a newspaper and simply said, "For men, arousal is orientation." It seemed to me that he was simply asserting something that he hadn't established, and that his experiment was actually evidence against. Lots of self-identified bisexuals didn't register as bisexual according to his measurement, and his conclusion was not that this was a bad way to gauge bisexuality, but that these people were all wrong about their own sexual orientation.

Aren't they the ones making the assertion (that "Fanfiction.net = erotica")? Isn't the person making the assertion the one with the responsibility to prove it?
Handwaving and asking you to provide evidence against their assertion is a nice technique, well used by creationists, antivaxers and alt-med enthusiasts.

@liberal japonicus

I think the Doctor is pointing out that a thing can hardly be argued to be universal, if we find that it does not apply across cultures.

@Doc Science

I think the best example of their general approach to research is their use of AOL search terms, in which they investigated the difference between male and female interests by ... deciding which search terms were from male or female users, based on their interests.


I guess what I was thinking about is that there is an problematic underlying notion that 'sex' is a universal concept. Now, obviously, the basic mechanical aspect is pretty much universal, but what goes under the big tent of the term 'sex' seems to be so different in Japan as to be something else entirely.

To give a non lascivious example, when the tsunami struck, there was a lot of discussion about the absence of looting in Japan. This led other folks to find various examples of what they thought was looting. In a comment I pointed out, someone said 'ha, here is a video of a looted warehouse, oh, and by the way, they also have people scamming!!' What is interesting to me is that the commenter took absence of looting = moral superiority, whereas the absence of looting doesn't really mean moral superiority, it is just reflective of a culture that is more focussed on group acceptance, or as Ruth Benedict pointed out, a 'shame' culture or following Doi's notion of amae (there are a lot of criticisms of both, mind you, but it is interesting to me that Benedict was criticized for implying that guilt based cultures are superior to shame based cultures, yet here, we have the inverse, where an extension of the notion of shame results in some Westerners taking umbrage at the fact that Japanese might be somehow superior)

There is also a lot to be discussed about the writing system example, which has a lot of ins and outs, but I don't what to threadjack here. At any rate, a cross-cultural comparison won't really dent folks like Ogas and Saddam's notions, because they have a procrustean bent to clip off any bits that don't fit in the box and stretch out stuff to fill up any empty spaces.

If women aren't visual about porn, how do we explain:

* Explicit fan art, both completely original and manips which often remix pictures of characters and pictures of actual porn actors.

* The existence of the niche industry of porn explicitly targeted toward women. Even aside from the studios that try to create porn for women who like men, there is plenty of lesbian porn *created by and for lesbians*. Without any nekkid men in them at all. For a few examples, check Tristan Taormino's studio. Or say the classic lesbian porno How To F*ck In High Heels.

* The clear desire for a visual porn industry aimed at their interests evidenced in the recurringly multi-fandom trope in slash fanfic stories of "the guys shoot a porno." Check the comments to that kind of fic - they are full of people saying OMG, if only! There is even a fic series revolving around a fictional "Gay Porn For Girls" studio. There is a market. It's just extraordinarily under-served.

* The existence of picspam communities and tumblrs explicitly intended to facilitate drooling over pictures of beloved actors (or their characters), musicians, and other celebs. Check the comments, again. How many of the comments are "OMG HOTTT!!" or some variation? A LOT. And how many people's recs for seeing a new movie include commentary on how many times the main male character(s) are shirtless, wet, or both? Again, a lot.

And that is just off the top of my head.

EVEN WITHIN THE FANDOM COMMUNITY, there is clearly demonstrated interest in, desire for, creation of, and consumption of erotic images.

If Ogi and Sai missed it, it's because they really weren't looking, or because they deliberately pretended not to see.

I forgot to say, but it is also a separate point from my previous comment:

The authors do acknowledge that around 1/4 of the viewers of porn sites are women, and then dismiss that as some random example of outlier highly erotically active women.

What I have been wondering is, who the heck do they think is out there writing erotic fanfiction? Did it not occur to them at all that perhaps some of the same people viewing porn might also be writing fic?

And that not everyone's only entree into either the worlds of porn or of new fic and other fannish content is via a search engine. I have never once since I found the fannish community used a search engine to find fandom-produced content. I don't know anyone who regularly does. We deliberately take fannish content out of search engine bots' indexing sweeps.

I post that there is at least some overlap between the portions of the female population reading fic, even if not writing or in any other way engaging with fannish content, and the portion of the population that looks for visual porn online.

I'm not a social scientist and I don't have a Ph.D. but even I'm certain that it's just not valid to generalize the results from non-randomly-selected surveys and scavenged usage and search data. At best, they could use that type of material as background or input to design a real study.

While their product description references Kinsey, their so-called research methods apparently fail to build on the important aspects of his research.

I suppose that explains why neither author appears to have written a scholarly or peer-reviewed article on this subject.

At best, this book and its authors will be quickly forgotten, at worst, they've contributed negative knowledge (superstition and factoids in the garb of research) to the world.

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