Rewriting Society's Future: Women, Star Trek and Slash Writing

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Academic Commentary
Title: Rewriting Society's Future: Women, Star Trek and Slash Writing
Commentator: Genevieve Petty
Date(s): 2000-2002?
Fandom: Star Trek
External Links: an extract can be read here
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Rewriting Society's Future: Women, Star Trek and Slash Writing by Genevieve Petty is an academic essay discussing Star Trek fan fiction from a feminist perspective. An edited version of the essay won The Carolyn Krause Maddoxx award for best undergraduate paper at UofL in 2002.

An excerpt:

By sharing visions of their desires through slash in "zines" and over the internet women are simultaneously constructing a community that gives them support they haven't found in modern social structures where such desires are unwelcome. Men understand the threat posed to their position by women's yearning for relational equality. Not only have males been taught form birth to believe hierarchy is the only workable social framework and military organization the only efficient method of operation, but they also enjoy its advantages in all areas of their lives. Men do not desire change because any change is perceived as loss. Thus, men experience radical ideas in literature, whether or not labeled feminist, such as slash, as a "sexual assault." In reaction, men as "society" block these ideas entry into mainstream media at every turn (as Star Trek producers and scriptwriters refused exploration of certain hints in canon relationships that fans desired) and force such radicalism underground.102 Slash remains at the grassroots level but internet access is spreading it rapidly and increasing its community exponentially. The more the membership increases, obviously the more support for individuals will become available. The mainstream feminist movement ignores slash, even though this fanfiction graphically details needs and desires, aspirations and ambitions of real women, because its inclusion would prohibit Feminism from media time. Liberal feminism is the only variety that male liberals permit to be displayed. Thought control has always been the most effective form of domination. Certainly the pornography industry which grosses over 10 billion a year would "have multiple cows" if erotica

went successfully mainstream.

One reviewer has called it: "A thorough and careful examination of slash-writing by and for women. Petty begins with the traditional nod to Star Trek slashdom and online forums, expounds a bit on cultural perceptions about pornography (and why slashing is a far healthier and proactive pursuit than skin mags), and ultimately, offers a very encouraging and supportive message. Compelling, well-researched and soundly reasoned." ~ Metafic by Bennie Robbins.