Slashing the Slashers

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Title: Slashing the Slashers
Creator: Cassandra and Jintian
Date(s): February 21, 2004
Medium:
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Slashing the Slashers was a panel at the 2004 Escapade.

From the program book: "... a not-so-virtual circle jerk - Cassandra, Jintian (We're all turning each other on with our words; is there something beyond the keyboard? Can slash itself, with its subtextual origins and the multisexual orientations it makes possible, be read as a metaphor for the relationship between fans?)"

Panel Notes: panel notes; archive link.

From a Con Report

The panel I was heading up with Cassandra, Slashing the Slashers, was on Saturday morning at 11 am. At about 11 am plus thirty seconds, she realized it'd be a good idea to have an icebreaker. Luckily I'd printed out a poem by Gwynne Garfinkle which coffeeandink linked me to when she heard we were doing this panel, so we ran out to my car to grab it, and ran back in to find our panel attendees pumped and ready to go. Eeek! But the running got most of the adrenaline and nerves out of me, so I was able to read the poem aloud without shaking too much. Thankfully, it got a good reaction from everyone: ode

1 the sex was missing. the having of the sex was missing. the writing about the sex was present & made the day seem like sex was present. the writing & the sharing of the writing about the sex were omnipresent. the thinking about the sex the fantasy the masturbation which is after all a kind of sex because you wouldn't (usually) do it in public the masturbation present. the writing about the sex more fun than the writing not about the sex. the sex was missing but better than the bad sex being present. the bad sex wasn't missed. the writing felt like the great sex & the sharing of the writing of the fantasy of the sex made life present.

3 the computer. & her computer. & all of her computers. the computer at work. the computer at home. the computer at work when the boss doesn't walk by. the computer at work. the idea. the idea about the sex. the writing. the writing on the lunch break. the writing on the sly. the writing to each other. the sharing of the writing. the sharing. the sex. the brain. the writing. the wetness. at our computers. the bosses don't know. the co-workers don't know. the writing the sex the sharing. the secret. the writing of the sex. the sharing.

(stanzas reproduced without permission, link to the entire poem here [1].

When discussing the panel topic with Cassandra prior to the panel itself -- this issue of slashiness between fans (that is, slashiness between ourselves, slashiness in our relationships with each other as writers, readers, and sharers of erotica and personal fantasies/creations, slashiness in the simple and intimate act of mindmelding via the Internet) -- I kept thinking, This is too big. This touches on too many things. There are so many directions we can take this.

And it's true that there were plenty of subtopics we came up with that could have suffered further exploration. How, as the poem says, quite often the things we write, and the homoerotic charge we feel writing together and talking and sharing our work and our kinks (both sexual and non-), is so much better than real sex can ever be. Or how we, as a majority female community, confront the physical aspects of "femininity" in ourselves and others when we move our thrillingly "anonymous" relationships offline and put tangible faces and flesh to screennames. How sometimes subtext that is present in an online relationship evaporates in person, or, on the flipside, can flame into text.

Still, the panel, in my not-unbiased opinion, rocked. There was so much energy in the discussion, all of it eager and positive, and many points were raised which I hadn't really considered. There was some fantastic discussion of bisexuality and fandom as a safe (and not so safe) space for exploration of the spectrum of sexual desire, with the point raised that, you know, this is also the one place where we all get it, and we don't have to explain ourselves to anyone. (Although obviously, it's wonderful to finally be talking about this sort of slashiness out loud). And people shared a lot of personal thoughts and feelings in addition to all of the theorizing, which is really what I wanted most from the panel anyway.

eta: further discussion on the issue of fandom as queer female space here [2] [3]

References

  1. the link [1]
  2. link is: Queer Female Spaces
  3. What Happened At Escapade, Part 1, by hesychasm]