I Blame the Dutch (mpoetess) wrote,
I Blame the Dutch

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I sort of wrote a slash essay too, though it's 10 times as scattered, completely personal instead of fandom-oriented, and nowhere near as cogent as thebratqueen's. It wasn't intended to be an essay, just an answer to two questions from ginmar, but because I am the longwindedest bastardess on the face of the planet, it turned into one. Cleaned up somewhat from its original format as responses in gehayi's journal, it lies within.

A little on slash vs. friendship, and a lot on why I slash

ginmar asked "I have to say, one thing that just doesn't get mentioned about slash is what it does to male friendship. Is such a thing possible in a slashy universe? I mean, slash definitely adds sex to the story, but how many slash stories just deal with friendship?"

I think that there isn't a slash story that just deals with friendship because the very meaning of the label "slash" is "stories of a sexual or romantic nature between characters of the same gender." However the main idea of your question, I think, is a good one -- does an interest in slash de-value the idea of same-sex friendship. If you see every tender moment between two men or women in a show or book as a sexual or romantic one, you're probably ignoring or dismissing a lot of interesting and valuable facets of the way people communicate and connect to each other.

I don't think all slash fans (and this could mean people who just enjoy pointing perceived subtext out or interpreting it in the canon, or people who enjoy writing slash fanfiction) feel this way, but I agree that some may, and probably it can seem like a lot more given how loudly we squee when anything remotely tender or respectful, out of the ordinary, occurs between two men.

I think exploration of friendship between characters -- same-sex or not -- is a valuable thing, and should exist in more stories, slash and het alike. I think exploration of friendship between men, specifically, because it's such a hard, strange thing in this culture, is a very good thing.

On the other hand, when I read and write fanfiction, I'm mostly interested in love stories. A lot of people are; it's just what appeals most to us. And the love stories that appeal most to me are same-sex ones: m/m most of all, though I do like the occasional f/f too. I don't hate het or gen fic, or even dislike it, but I'm mostly uninterested in reading or writing it unless it has a very striking plot (I'm horrible with creating plot myself, so that would be for reading), it focuses on one or two characters I really care about, or it was written by a friend. So, I love seeing friendship, between all sorts of characters, explored in stories, but alongside the love/romance/sex, because that's my primary interest in fiction.

ginmar also asked, "The other thing I wondered is, How come so many pretty normal white women1 write gay sex? Obviously, I can understand why gay people do it---duh, it's why I write het. I'm actually afraid to ask that question, though."

I think it's a good question, when it's asked in a way that doesn't imply "because ewwwwwww" or "because it makes me think you're disturbed." Which I don't think she did here. (I assume "white women" was just a nod to the fact that there aren't that many women of color writing slash (or at all, in this fandom), a fact that Te, among other black fanwriters, has pointed out too. The biggest demographic group is white women. Though I would say that there's a lot more bi women writing m/m slash, as opposed to the usual perception that it's all straight women, than most people expect.) So, legit subject of interest.

Unfortunately I don't have an answer, despite it being a good question.

I can't answer as a straight woman, to why straight women write gay sex, because I'm bi. I can guess at their reasons, assuming they're similar to mine, and I might be right, or not. Still, that doesn't really explain why a woman who's attracted to both men and women for herself would get pleasure (emotional, sexual, any kind) from writing about men being attracted to each other, either. I don't know if I have a real answer to why it appeals to me, let alone any three slashers who probably couldn't agree on their reasons either.

I can do my best to give it a brief shot though:


1 Later Ginmar clarified that a more accurate phrasing of what she meant would be "suburban or middle class women."

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