Thoughts (femslash meta)

From Fanlore
Jump to: navigation, search
Title: Thoughts
Creator: alixtii
Date(s): Feb 3rd, 2007
Medium: online
Topic: Femslash, Slash
External Links: Thoughts,
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Thoughts is a 2007 Livejournal post by alixtii on differentiating femslash from slash.


The problem with lumping both femslash and m/m slash under the same "slash" label isn't only that somehow femslash always seems to end up dropping out of the discussion altogether (no matter how much some might protest that they really do mean both brands of slash), but that the grouping just plain doesn't make much sense. In addition to the gender of the objects of desire (a not insignificant difference, obviously!), the tropes, the communities, the ethoses (ethoi?), and the dynamics of the fic are all so incredibly different that one can't help but ignore one or the other when using the term "slash"--the two types of fic are just too disparate to fit comfortably under one label. A generalization about "slash" is hardly ever going to speak in any meaningful way to the situation in femslash. The differences between the two genres are legion. (This may vary from fandom to fandom, but in my experience femslash has never been as OTP-oriented, for example, as either m/m slash or het.)

The only thing we're left with is that both types of slash involve same-sex encounters. And while at one point in fandom, the "ooh!" of same-sex sex might have been important enough to link these two within a same genre, I don't think that's the case anymore. We categorize fics now based on the genders of the objects of our desire more than on the dynamics of the relationships involved, I think, and so femslash and m/m slash end up becoming more diametric opposites than anything else.

Of course, there's also still the "saying 'femslash' is like saying 'female doctor'" problem, which is why I try to make a habit of never using the term "slash" unmodified at all.

Comments at the Post

This is also a problem with the lesbian and gay community--or rather, the lesbian and gay communities, because most lesbians and gay men have nothing in common except that homophobes hate both of us, and funding groups won't fund us separately. I prefer to reclaim the word gay in general usage (when coming out to complete strangers, for example), so I would probably be wont to use the "generic" slash when talking to people who've never heard of fanfic. On the other hand, I've recently taken to using f/f, m/m, and f/m when indulging in meta (unless I'm ranting about slash or het fans).
Firstly: as someone who's interested in m/m pairings, and not at all in f/f or f/m pairings, I tend to agree with you.

Now: I notice the people who disagree with you here refer to male/male as "boyslash". Personally, I don't call male/male "boyslash", and I don't think it fits with what I read/write/enjoy in fandom. I tend to prefer men, usually men in their late 20s, 30s and 40s. Calling these men "boys" just seems odd to me. (When I see the term "boyslash", I tend to think of--rightly or wrongly--teens, boybands, and/or anime.)

It may just be semantics, but there may be more to it. YMMV, and all that. Interesting post!
I've been thinking about this issue, and was just poking at the relevant qfs post. I agree in large part. in fact, thank you, because I hadn't fully conceptualized this problem. but I also believe that, as in queer culture at large, there's something to be said for the project of building solidarity across gender. it's important for boyslash and girlslash factions to recognize their affinity, if not their equivalence. that said, the (boy)slash as unmarked term problem does bother me (and again, this problem is not unique to fandom -- somehow lesbians are always erased in discussions of gayness at large, which is why "gay" has fallen out of use as an umbrella term). I tend to handle this by presenting girlslash as if it's the norm. I talk about (girl)slash a lot, both personally and professionally, so it's really a rather devious approach. I don't know if this is an effective strategy by any criteria, but it makes me feel better.