Migratory Slash Fandom

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Synonyms: Fannish Butterfly
See also: Slash, Multifandom, Media Fandom, Multimedia (multiple fandoms)
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First seen in 2012 on Fail_Fandomanon, migratory slash fandom (MSF) is the most recent term used to describe the idea that slash fans are always on the lookout for the next shiny, new juggernaut pairing (for older incarnations of that idea see Slash Slut and Fannish Butterfly). MSF is usually not meant as a complimentary term. Some people who dislike MSF say that these migratory fans write the same bland characterization across all their fandoms, and are only interested in pairing off white male characters.

Fail Fandomanon discussed Teen Wolf and MSF (a lot). The assumption that most Teen Wolf fans were MSF significantly bothered those who weren't:

I assume if you like Teen Wolf then it is 90% likely you are part of the MSF which I didn't believe existed until I saw so many people from various slash fandoms move over to the show. I also assume that you will most likely drop the show/pairing and find another slash bait series within the next 6 months.
Maybe this should go in some unpopular opinions thread, but it does not bother me one bit for you to make that assumption about me. I could not give fewer fucks about the meme's contempt for so-called MSF. I go where the fanworks are and if that book/show/indie movie that is so amazing and brilliant and better than things I like isn't producing fanworks, well, too bad. I guess I'll miss out on being one of four people rehashing the same discussions. I'll just be over here in my corner reading a fuckton of fic, which is what I come to fandom for. [1]


wildehack writes (on comparing Kylux to Arthur/Eames - or, more specifically, Hux to Arthur, and similar fanon interpretations):

so, here’s a three-am thought.

I think that (one of) the reasons I don’t love kylux as a ship (despite, obviously, weeping real tears over Children Wake Up every Thursday night), is because hux is a character created almost entirely out of wholecloth by fanon. He is remarkably consistent from fic-to-fic, but the thing you recognize him as is that-hux-from-that-other-fic, not hux-in-canon, because literally all Hux in canon does is look mad + offer terse pieces of exposition + fire the weapon that one time.

and the thing is? fanon hux was familiar the very first time I saw him, even before having other fic to compare him to.

because fanon hux? is fanon arthur from inception.

another character created almost entirely from fandom wholecloth, since his actual part in the movie was like five minutes long.

like. they’re SO MUCH the same? with the combination kinky/prudishness (prudish til you get him in bed, whereupon he is The Most Kinky), the charmingly repressed rage, the Love of Research and Order, the way lust/interest/affection is coded into irritation at The Neat and Tidy World being All Roughed Up by the hot mess of the other half of the ship? I would bet actual money that you could C&P “hux” for “arthur” in a baker’s dozen of inception AUs and the character is like…pretty much the same?

and, well. I’m pretty sure that arthur isn’t the first time I met this guy, this crowdsourced tight-lipped furious perfectionist with his neat clothes and his scowling defensiveness and his biting sarcasm and his embarrassed desire to have a dude who is both sweaty and emotional take him apart. I know I’ve seen him before, in lots of different places, wearing lots of different hats, most often slipping into characters that barely take up space in the canon at all, or revising canon characters years in the future, etc. (Draco, in all those fics where he grew up into someone eerily like Hux and Arthur and Erestor and Carlos in all those fics written before Dylan Marron was cast. For one.)

and without shitting on kylux OR arthur/eames at all–because I’ve read and enjoyed both of them, and also the heart wants what the heart wants, and I get that–I think it’s maybe worth. I don’t know. considering why it is that we gravitate towards This One Crowdsourced Dude. The familiar fanon ghost who leaves one shell behind and drifts into another, like a poltergeist. Or, like, a copy of a copy of a copy, dragged from harddrive to harddrive. a familiar ghost we drag around to install in fresh new bodies.

I think it’s especially worth considering why we’ve collectively/subconsciously resurrected this dude in a fandom mostly lacking in white guy/white guy ships. because he wasn’t THERE. I just rewatched TFA yesterday, and I can confirm: fanon hux is not in the building. a lot of loving effort went into imbuing canon hux with fanon hux. thinking about why we a) established that effort, and b) why we gravitate back to him, Our Fanon Guy, when there are other objectively more developed and interesting canon characters to fall in love with?[2]


Some argue that MSF gets into new pairings based on character archetypes and pairing dynamics.

Some pairings are easier to mold into slash archetypes (Sarcastic/Broody, Asshole Genius/Military Man, Mentor/Protege).

There should always be one in a current canon, so when the fans get bored with one (Kingsman for Mentor/Protege) they move to another (MCU Tony/Peter).

Right now Military/Genius is kind of stagnating in Johnlock, the canon is over and it's all covered in tons of wank splooge. I think the next ATG juggernaut will come from that side.[3]

Meta/Further Reading


  1. ^ Assumptions thread on fail_fandomanon, started on September 20, 2012. (Accessed Sept. 25, 2012)
  2. ^ "so, here's a three-am thought." by wildehack at Tumblr, 29 April 2016. archived. 5,279 notes as of 18 September 2017
  3. ^ ATG symptoms thread on fail_fandomanon, started on June 26, 2018. (Accessed June 27, 2018)