Love Knows No Gender: Minors and Slash
|Title:||Love Knows No Gender: Minors and Slash|
|Date(s):||April 25, 2001|
|External Links:||Creating Love Knows No Gender: Minors and Slash|
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Love Knows No Gender: Minors and Slash is a 2001 essay by kkscatnip.
"In this issue, I will be discussing two controversies related to slash: minors reading and/or writing slash, and the slashing of underage characters. In the context I will be using it in, the word 'slash' is the equivalent to 'yaoi' or 'yuri', only it encompasses both m/m and f/f slash all in one word. By using the word 'minor' I mean an underage person, which in most places is someone under 18 years old. Both of these topics are very controversial and tend to rouse the steadfast opinions of slashers and non-slashers alike. I'm going to present a number of points of view on each issue, and elaborate on each view."
Some Topics Discussed
- differing ages of consent
- Star Wars and chanslash
- yuri and yaoi
- underage readers, underage writers, underage characters
- early use of the term squick
From the Column
Minors Reading/Writing Slash
When I asked a large amount of people, I found that many started on reading slash around the age of 13 or 14 and writing about a year thereafter. Granted that often, the slash younger people started off with stories that were simply two boys or girls cuddling, yet it was slash none the less. In my extensive interviews I found that teens that indulge in slash are usually comfortable with their sexuality, be it straight, bisexual, lesbian, or gay. They also tend to be more open-minded, but there are always exceptions.
There are two main viewpoints here, and both can be summarized with a short, semi-witty quote. Those who have no problems with underage people reading slash often say, "If they're old enough to be interested, they are old enough to know." Meaning, if a young person is old enough to want to know, they are old enough to have the information. Kids and teenagers are nosy and apt to get into things that parents may disapprove of. However, most everyone who holds this view felt it was important for parents to talk with him or her about the subjects. Have the younger person share the archives they read from, and the couples they run across.
For any underage people reading this now, I suggest sharing with your parents. If you don’t want to share, I beg you not read or write NC-17 fics because your parents can be prosecuted for your actions. If you still have the urge, talk with them about it. Talking about it is very important, and the idea of "getting away" with looking at slash won't work without the explanations that are best given by parents. While this point of view works for some people, it doesn’t work for everyone.
The second viewpoint is "They aren't ready for it and it's the law." The quote explains this viewpoint: many teens and pre-teens aren't ready (both by law and maturity level) to be reading material that is slash-filled and/or explicit.
One law that people who hold this view supported was the Communications Decency Act. The CDA is a law that made indecent speech criminal on the Internet. The part of it that applies here is the part that labels all slash as pornography, and thus, said is was illegal to post on the Internet. However, blocking the printing of anything is illegal, in that it violates censorship laws. If you would like to read more about the CDA and other Internet censorship topics, check Aestheticism's Internet Censorship FAQ.
The only downfall to both of these viewpoints is the age/maturity issue: age isn't a good mark of one's maturity level. One 15 year old can be fine reading NC-17 stories while another could be highly disturbed. This is where a gray area comes in, where the main thing everyone says is "It depends." One thing pointed out by many holding this view is that if a teen is ready for the material and can handle it well, it can have good results. A few surveyed said that slash gave them something to do other than experiment sexually, and (like romance novels) gave them an idea of what positive emotions to expect when getting into a relationship.All three viewpoints have their own good and bad points. I will leave it up to you to draw your own line in the sand, and to decide if and when to cross it.
It is just as controversial a topic as the last, some reasons similar and others very different. One similar reason is the legal issues: A lot of people squick at the thought of breaking some sort of law. According to Age of Consent laws, legal age for homosexual acts can range anywhere from 13 to 21 to being downright illegal depending on the area in which you live. If you'd like more information on the AOC laws where you live this page is very helpful. Of course, If the characters live in an alternate universe I don’t think that the law will be listed on that page, or anywhere else (unless the creator specified, but most times those types of things aren't addressed).
One other reason that many people don’t slash minors is they feel slashing underage characters is inappropriate because of the character's emotional state. To elaborate on that: Not only are minor characters teens, but most characters are experiencing a great deal of outside pressure and probably wouldn’t be able to endure a lasting relationship with anyone (male or female). So on top of the normal roller-coaster-like conflict of maturing feelings; most characters have other outside pressures. If you'd like to read an article about the topic of teens' emotional states, look here.
Mostly in the Star Wars fandom, underage slash is termed 'chanslash'. This comes from the Japanese suffix -chan, which can mean 'Little'. Many have strong aversions to chanslash for the reason that they don’t believe a 14 or 15 year old should be engaging in sexual activities. Not that they don’t have sex, many teens do have sex, but that they shouldn’t be doing certain things. This viewpoint broadly falls under the emotionally immature reason, because they aren't ready for the emotional aspects that come with the acts. There are other reasons that slash authors refuse to include minors in their works, but most of them relate to the ones already discussed.I hope you enjoyed this issue, I must say it's been the hardest one for me to write so far. The next issue will be about Harry Potter slash, so everyone who has been asking for it can rejoice. ^_~ As always, feel free to request topics, (though, I've got enough fandom requests to last me forever!) and thanks for reading!