Why Slash

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Related terms: Women and Slash
See also: My Thoughts on Yaoi, In Defense of Fanfiction
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Like the proverbial salmon swimming upstream, there often comes a time in every meta fan's life when they feel compelled to return to the Ultimate Question: but why slash?[1]

Fans sometimes refer to this perennial wondering as "why slash" or "the why slash debate" and answers are as varied as fen.

The persistence of the "why slash?" debate, while no equivalent existential soul-searching exists for "why het?" (rather than specific ship manifestos for favorite pairings), reflects the idea that being a slasher is a question of identity and self-definition for some slash readers, rather than just a reading and/or pairing preference in a fandom.

Some Fan Comments

1995

Heh. Right. In 20-odd years of writing and reading and *active* discussion (the question was raised on more than one occasion, in fact, as to whether there was a correllation between the drive to analyse into the ground and the drive to read/write slash), there has been nothing even approaching consensus amongst the members of the 'slash community'. If you manage to achieve it here, I can only conclude that you're ignoring some major issues! [2]

1997

… I got tired of the many stories that distort the characters beyond recognition: The sweet, sensitive Avons; the genius Vilas; the stupid, naïve Blakes; the evil, devious Blakes; the omniscient Avons; the homicidally jealous Jennas. Needless to say, these show up with equal frequency in gen and slash. An intense relationship between Blake and Avon is a given: it's there on screen. IMODO, extrapolating from the operatic emotions on screen to the erotic, whether it's explicit or implicit in a story, is not as fundamental a violation of the series universe as, say, stories where Avon and Orac bring about sudden bloodless change by undermining the Federation banking system (or many of the equally ludicrous gen plots that hang on some bizarre wishful thinking about Avon's character and the way the world works). I don't think the slash concept, especially in stories that are not explicit, is any less canonical than PGP stories where everyone survives.

What I really like sometimes is a story where it's obvious that the emotions are incredibly intense and clearly encompass, without being limited to, the erotic, but neither of the boys notices. Just like in the series. 8-) What want is stories about that relationship, in any form, and since slash is the only easily identified fan fic that can be relied on to explore that relationship, then that's where I'm going. I don't mind the sex, usually, either, although the novelty wore off a while ago. 8-) [3]

Example Meta Essays

Also, see Timeline of Slash Meta.

1990

1997

1998

1999

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2010

2011

  • sex, and slash sex scenes by Shoshanna. Essay on the writer's initial discovery of and views on slash as the (sole) genre that integrates people's lives in the bedroom with their lives outside it. (April 2011)

2020

Other Examples

Notes

  1. ^ Slash Theory metabib 2005-04-22, (Accessed 2008-11-03)
  2. ^ Agnes Tomorrow, at Lysator, V96 #172 (December 31, 1995)
  3. ^ comment by Sue C at Lystator Volume 97 : Issue 290 (23 Dec 1997)