Slavefic

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Trope · Genre
Synonyms: slave!fic, servantfic, master/slave
Related: darkfic, non-con
See Also: kink, BDSM
Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom
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Slavefic is a fanfiction genre in which one character is enslaved to another, or pretends to be a slave. It usually refers to stories in which slavery is used as narrative kink, rather than historical fiction dealing with slavery accurately. However some fans use the term slavefic for any and all fanfic or profic featuring slavery or indentured servitude, including stories intended to make moral points.

Some slavefics are set in an Alternate Universe where slavery is an accepted economic and cultural institution. Some stories treat this as a significant moral problem to be resisted and overthrown if possible; others treat slavery as an unchangeable institution. Many other slavefics are science fiction, fantasy, or historical fiction.

Slavefics range from stories suitable for children, to fics featuring graphic violence and explicit (sometimes non-consensual) sex scenes. Slavefics have a reputation for having romances between the slaves and owners, and while this is certainly a common storyline, there are plenty of gen slavefics as well. There are also many dark slavery stories, in which there is a relationship between master and slave but it is essentially rape and does not end in romance.

Variations

M/s

The term 'M/s' is sometimes used for stories which feature lifestyle BDSM, or stories in which characters consensually choose to act as master and slave. These stories are occasionally also labelled as slavefic. Some fans believe that if there is consensual sexual domination and submission in a story with no true slavery, then it should technically only be described as D/s or BDSM. However, other fans argue that 'slavefic' encompasses all fiction which involve terms such as 'slave' and 'master', even if the relationship is consensual and not legally slavery.[citation needed]

Servantfic

A related type of story is servantfic, in which the main characters are a servant and his or her employer. Some servantfic (especially in Historical Fiction) involve indentured servitude, serfs, or vassals; thus the line between 'servant' and 'slave' is blurry. Regardless of legal status, these fic usually feature similar power dynamics to each other, and to slavefic as an overarching genre.

Fan Perspectives

As with many fannish tropes, there are various different perspectives on slavefic, from what the appeal is to whether anyone should be writing it at all.

One fan's perspective:

"Basically what I mean is…the use of tropes like a/b/o or slavery!fic without attention the very real and present potential for abuse, the possibility (even likelihood) of extremely dubious consent, and generally just a lack of sensitivity. Basically, if you’re not willing to deal with the crunchy possibly messy aspects of a trope that has an inherent, strong potential to create an abusive situation…I’m gonna at best be very wary.

Especially with slavery!fic, because much as people would maybe like to construct slavery as something that doesn’t happen in ~the modern era~ um well. So if you’re going to write a fic with it in it, okay, fine - but don’t just go merrily along your way assuming that your slavery!fic relationship is going to transfer neatly into sexytimes with no problems. If one person owns another person, whatever the situation, they have coercive power over that person and it’s important to remember that."[1] Part of a larger discussion by Lise about a fic she is writing deconstructing some elements of the slavefic trope.

Zina writes a more critical perspective on Stitch's Media Mix:

"Others still talk about their own kink interest in non-con (rape) or power imbalances in these works in a way that makes it clear that any attempt to forge a discourse and talk about what it is about slavery in fiction that makes many Black fans uncomfortable is being seen as an attack against their own sexuality and right to sexual expression.

But what about Black readers and members of fandom who are deeply uncomfortable with the way these two spaces misrepresent something that is actually present in our histories? What about the sexuality of Black fans and how prevalent a major potential trigger for us is in fandom?"[2] What Fandom Racism Looks Like: (Not-So) Sexy Slavefic

Another fan explains why they find reading slavefic satisfying:

"The kinds of underpinnings I love in stories:

The nature of being human:Often as opposed to or highlighted by something supposedly "else" . What do we all share, what is essential to personhood. Aliens, androids, intelligent animals and slaves all poke at it from different directions.

With slave fic it makes it particularly interesting to explore the different ways the different characters view what makes for personhood and how it shifts in the course of a story. There can also be very interesting tension between what all of the characters think and what the reader thinks which is nicely illuminating.

Discovering the other: The other side of previous one. Finding out about the depth of difference and exploring complex reactions to it. The slave/master dichotomy highlights the "other" part of this equation and throws nice structural dilemmas and atypical opportunities for discovery."[3] lapillus on livejournal

Sample Fics

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

Sample Fanart

Related links

Meta/Further Reading

References

  1. ^ Veliseraptor's response to potkanice, Archived version (Accessed August 6, 2020)
  2. ^ On Stitch's Media Mix; Archive capture; On Fanlore: What Fandom Racism Looks Like: (Not-So) Sexy Slavefic (Accessed August 6, 2020)
  3. ^ For iulia_linnea, who was curious..., Archived version (Accessed August 6, 2020)
  4. ^ reference link.