Slash (was Moderating a busy list etc...)

Neil Ward neilward at dircon.co.uk
Fri Apr 27 01:16:04 EDT 2001


I'll steal this note, as a caution:

<potential homoerotic connotations discussed.  warning if this bothers you>

Kyla said:

<<Also, a friend of mine who reads a lot of slash tells me two interesting
things. Most slash is written by women (even though most slash is
male/male). And some people think (and have written dissertations on the
subject) that fanfic is sort of a modern form of folklore, based on a common
tradition, the kind of stories one tells around a campfire. Not just slash,
specifically, all fanfic. Interesting, huh?>>

I've also heard these things.  Probably 95% of slash is written by straight
women about two male characters, and it is not viewed as being the same as
gay-themed fiction.  The person who explained this to me also suggested that
the origins of fanfic were the amateur stories written by women - exactly
the 'campfire' storytelling you are describing.  I'm sure she won't mind if
I quote her here:

"I can't help but think it's part of the larger cultural pattern that
genders 'amateur' artistic efforts as female, but
professional ones as male, a stereotype still in operation.  <snip> Writing
fanfic, something intended never to
be published, except in a limited sense of private circulation to a peer
group, conforms perfectly to other types of women's writing.  And as a folk
effort, it fits neatly into the tradition of storytelling that has been a
'women's' effort for, perhaps, millennia.

Deborah said, on slash and the dominance of male characters:

<<DWJ hasn't got this problem, in general.  (Nan, Tanaqui, Janet, Zillah,
...) though her male to female ratios are still a bit
off.  That's why I'd never slash DWJ.   Millie, after all, is perfect for
Christopher.   Though I admit to curiosity about Howl
and Christopher...  No, never mind.  ;)

Going back slightly to my previous reference to my child mind, I was
definitely sliding into adult mode when I read a homosexual subtext into the
relationship between Konstam and Joris in "The Homeward Bounders".  The
adult me was mildly annoyed when Konstam decided, instead, on a life with
the pretty, red-haired lady with pointy shoes.  My younger self would have
relished the neat, 'pantomime' ethic, with players typically pairing off,
heterosexually, and stepping to either side of the stage.  So, hmmmm, a K/J
slash pairing would be interesting.

Neil (who has now finished "Howl's Moving Castle" and thanks the Goddess of
Synchronicity for persuading DWJ to introduce a character named Neil just at
the moment he was considering consigning his synchronicity theory to the
dustbin).


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