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On Slash

Kind of more specifically, on the appeal of Slash to heterosexual women (or I guess hetero men since that would be even more confusing to me). It's something I've never quite understood why a woman who fangirls guys would find slash fic/art/etc. appealing. Not that I'm condemning it because hey, different strokes for different folks but when something confuses me, I like to try to figure it out.

Emily and I were having a chat this morning at breakfast at the bagel place and she was telling me about the quirks of K-Pop fandom. Evidently it's a big no no for the K-Pop members to be seen holding a woman's hand or touching her because that would be inappropriate but evidently not only is the implication of slash ok, it's almost encouraged in the genre - even though homosexuality is seen as taboo in Korean culture. What? That confused me even more.

When it comes to fandom and especially fic, my fantasy would be to place myself in the role of the woman which leads me to wonder. For a slash fan, are you placing yourself mentally in the role of one of the males in the scenario? Are you just an observer? Are you something else? That made me wonder if my imagination is actually too linear with a complete preference on het. That I'm not thinking creatively enough or are somehow too "vanilla" to enjoy an alternative setting.

Or does a slash fan prefer it because like with the K-Pop thing, it's "safe" insofar as if the object of desire is seen as "taken" that they lose their appeal somehow because it pops the bubble of the person putting themselves into the fantasy?

Emily also brought up another good point. By pairing two male objects of desire together, is way to have a kind of a two-for-one deal? Additionally, is it also a way to manipulate your view of the usual role the males play - such as making the usually less dominant one be the lead and the more dominant one taking the more submissive role? Either way, I still wouldn't understand the appeal since it would bring me back to my original confusion at not being able to insert myself in the scenario.

Interesting thought with that choice of words - a threesome with a female added in does appeal to me. But that likely is a ramble for a different day.

Thoughts? Opinions? I'm interested to know!

This entry is crossposted from http://missdiane.dreamwidth.org/93366.html. You can comment here on LJ or if you prefer, on on the original post at DW using OpenID. comment count unavailable comments are currently on Dreamwidth.


( 12 comments — Something to say? )
Nov. 15th, 2015 06:08 pm (UTC)
Not to say I don't like het, as well. In our shared fandom my favourite pairings are the het ones. More generally, as someone who prefers the romantic to the explicit sort of slash, I think there's an element of an extra barrier for the lovers to overcome, which shows how much the lovers value each other.
Nov. 15th, 2015 06:13 pm (UTC)
That's another interesting thought - the taboo, the extra hurdle.

Then again, I'm the type that prefers het where there is a struggle involved (not the physical type unless y'know...it's mutually consented to. lol). An "easy" romantic relationship fantasy is boooring to read. There's got to be something with a bit of drama to make it interesting (they dislike each other initially, warring cultures or classes, square peg/round hole personalities)
Nov. 15th, 2015 06:17 pm (UTC)
Indeed, there's plenty of het with enough trouble in it.

My very favourite slash pairing (see icon) is one where I could easily see them as male and female, or two females. I like it because their personalities fit together so well.
Nov. 16th, 2015 01:57 am (UTC)
Well, having written slash before (I used to be a huge fan of The Cure until several things happened in rapid succession which made me decide that they sucked forever, but before then, I wrote Cure slash) I couldn't tell you the appeal of it then or now.

I think for me it's just how men like seeing two women they find attractive, I like seeing two men I find attractive. I can't write smutty fiction about men I don't find attractive, especially. Maybe also it was the lure of the forbidden.Also I know is the first time I read a cure slash fic it had an immediate and visceral "Woooooah, mamma!" effect on me. I couldn't say why.

Lately, I have some trying to persuade me to write some Devo slash, which is odd and sexy at the same time. But then I think that young Mark and Jerry are hot. Nerds are sexy. I had someone who hated me at the time inform someone in the Cure that I was writing slash and he was a real ass to me about it. So I'm have frozen--not just cold--feed about it.
Nov. 16th, 2015 09:43 am (UTC)
Thanks for the input!

I never did understand why guys are all "woo hoo!" about lesbians but I guess for the sheer visual, it could work. After the initial titillation, I'd be all "ok, what's next?"
Nov. 16th, 2015 04:07 am (UTC)
Uhm, you might want to take a seat....this may be long
First, what I like best are stories. Good stories. Good, well written stories. With grammar & syntax, and plot & character development, that are believable. Where there are realistic thoughts and emotions and reasons behind what happens.....not just Tab A goes into Slot B stories with smut on the side.

A good story is one where I care not only WHAT happens (and let us be real 99% of fan fiction is completely formulaic and predictable), but why it happens. I want to know why things are said or not said, and how these particular people/cyborgs/avatars/monsters came to be in the situation they are in. I have to be invested in their narrative, I want to be able to relate to the hero/heroine/heroes/heroines/antiheroes etc. if all that structure and thinking are there, I am down for whatever or whoever is being talked about.

That being said, I am not a HUGE fan of fan fiction, mostly because so much of it is written not about characters (purportedly) but about "real" people. (Yes, the quotes are necessary, because the authors have never met these people, and so are only presenting their own views on who they think these people are.). I don't like writing about real people, because everyone deserves a private life. What my conjecture about the artist/author/actor/singer/sports person is just that, and will usually bear little relation to who they actually are. If you are writing about characters from TV shows or movies or books, It's a different animal. You are more or less filling in the blank pages, it's a different thing.

I wrote a piece once about an actor, and I regret it to this day. It was wildly unfair of my to have treated a real person as so much narrative fodder.

But anyway. I have read fan fiction, usually about whatever my current pop culture obsession is at the moment. And usually after I have exhausted all the conventional media & am looking for more insight. (I am an insatiable when I get interested in something. I do not do shallow dives people, I o down to the core & wallow.). Good fan fiction can bring depth to something, can make you view something from another angle, can tie up loose ends. It can be very satisfying.

I don't have a preference for slash or het. A good story is a good story and can be relatable no matter the pairing. I think because I find that emotion that I respond to, and for that plant or mammal or binary code, I can feel. Often times, it can be easier to find that in slash fiction because the characters are allowed to be more complex because they aren't as tied to traditional binaries. A man can be strong & sexy & have body issues in slash fiction. A woman can be shy & clueless & be a dominatrix in slash fiction. There is less of a need to fit a particular mold and often, because it is trying to be inclusive, slash fiction is more open to catering less to a particular type of reader. The net is cast wider, so there is more chewiness in the text.

I like complicated characters, they are more real to me. Hence, if the more complicated, nuanced characters are in slash, there I am. I find a lot of het fiction is wish fulfillment written by younger writers. Thus, it can be easily plagued by bad spelling, grammar, wafer-thin character profiles & unbelievable plotting. I have no patience for that. Sparkly MarySue's long legs & banging body encased in couture & attracting every man, but especially hot actor man who will have sexy time with her in chapter 3 & marry her in chapter 5 is boring. Give me insecurity & bad decisions & settling with the hint of contentment somewhere down the line & I am all in.

So, Uhm, what was the question again?
Nov. 16th, 2015 09:49 am (UTC)
Re: Uhm, you might want to take a seat....this may be long
Dang girl! Now that's sharing!

I completely, absolutely agree that good slash fiction with character development is better than blah, boring het fiction any day.

I think the trend of formulaic situations and plots has what's likely turned me off to most romance books. I used to read a LOT of them and now...bleh. That and if I pick up a book and read the back and the names are obnoxious, it gets an automatic pass (Oh look! It's Storm wooing Raychelle. NOT)
Nov. 16th, 2015 02:52 pm (UTC)
Re: Uhm, you might want to take a seat....this may be long
Well, you know......once I warm to a topic, I sort of go..... *heh*

Good writing will always win, but later on today I will try to write a more full answer on slash.
Nov. 17th, 2015 05:42 pm (UTC)
Now, I guess the other issue to address is WHY slash fiction?
I think the original conception of slash may have come out of the idea that fan fiction is usually written about characters from TV shows and movies. (Only more recently is it books, because you needed the internet to exist for those weirdos to get together.) In those forms of mass media entertainment, it is more likely that you have men moving the action, men as the leading characters. Thus, unless everyone on Star Trek:TOS is going to be getting with Nurse Chapel or Lt. Uhura you had to pair Kirk & Spock or Spock & Bones.

Then you add in the transgressive nature of such pairings, that forbidden fruit thing is hot. Of course, as societal attitudes changed, the concept of same sex pairings became less outside the norm. Why is it still popular? Is it because the writers are still dealing with a limited set of characters to pull from? Or is there so much slash because slash is honestly more popular? Is slash more popular because there isn't another good outlet for homosexual romance?
Nov. 20th, 2015 04:08 am (UTC)
Re: Now, I guess the other issue to address is WHY slash fiction?
As I tend to write mostly slash these days, I found this question really interesting and one that's been debated more than once. It's interesting because when I first ventured into MFU, I didn't see the slash. I didn't get the stories, the few that existed, and then it sort of swept over MFU fandom and that's all anyone seemed to be writing. I didn't get it.

Fast forward twenty years and the receipt of the boxed set and suddenly being able to see the episodes, I finally see what everyone was talking about. I saw the looks, the gestures, intended or not, they were there and open to interpretation.

As to why I prefer writing slash, there is a degree in comfort, pairing up the guys and knowing that they are well suited for each other, without the threat of a woman to make it come all undone. Slash is a way for them to have the physical closeness and love without losing all that made them what they were (i.e. UNCLE agents).

I find a well written slash story more appealing than most regular fiction these days. Certainly more appealing than most gen MFU stuff - and remember this is my opinion and no more right or wrong than someone else - for slash seems more honest and more open than most gen stuff.

Now, surprisingly enough, I don't slash anyone other than Napoleon and Illya. I don't see it in most of the other fandoms I've read or written in. For me, it just hits home in that fandom. For the life of me, I don't know why, it just does and it just feels right.

Now imagine how much more rambling I could be with a little sleep.
Nov. 20th, 2015 10:30 am (UTC)
Re: Now, I guess the other issue to address is WHY slash fiction?
for slash seems more honest and more open than most gen stuff.
veritasema said about the same to me. Perhaps it's because when you're reading most gen fic, the writer is SO focused on projecting themselves into the role the female protagonist, they don't really think hard enough about the character that would be truly suited for the male character?
Nov. 20th, 2015 03:41 pm (UTC)
Re: Now, I guess the other issue to address is WHY slash fiction?
Perhaps, although I don't tend to project myself into a story as a female antagonist. While I'm sure certain aspects of my personality leaks into my writing, usually as a strong and capable woman, I try to keep myself at arm's length and never have I put myself into a female love interest's role. I'm not sure if it's because of being so content with what I have that I don't dream about having one of the guys or what. I'd much rather have them with each other, though, as a woman might destroy their friendship and/of career.

It's hard to say as my answer would be different on another day.
( 12 comments — Something to say? )