I’m putting most of this under a read more because… somehow I wrote 2000 words about this omgwtf.
It’s no secret I like genderswap. I tend to prefer “born the opposite sex” genderswap, rather than “turned the opposite sex” genderswap but I’ll read both. The vast majority of genderswap tends to be of the male-to-female (MtF, to borrow the trans terminology) and I love that. MtF genderswap is inherently about taking a character in a position of power and privilege — because of their masculinity — and ripping away that male privilege and making them vulnerable. It’s interesting to me to think about the repercussions that change might have for the character, the people they know, and the world more generally. (For the record, the few FtM I’ve read seem to be the “turned opposite” variety which makes sense — it’s about taking a character without power and seeing what they do when they suddenly have it.)
But as much as genderswap is basically a bulletproof kink for me — I’ll read anything, even if the summary makes me wince, even if I can tell within the first paragraph that it’ll be stupid or OOC or ridiculously misspelled — 90 percent of it is disappointing. A lot of writers tend to:
(a) Make genderswap essentialist
(b) Ignoring the cultural impact on shaping our gender identities and how we do gender
(c) Ignore the “ripple effect” of that change in terms of how the character will be different and how differently people will treat them (what I sometimes jokingly refer to as “REALISM: we can haz it”)
So, while I really want to focus on reason (c) (it’s the one that irritates me the most), I should at least briefly touch on the others.