Why do femslash?

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Title: Why do femslash?
Creator: animimares
Date(s): March 19th, 2006
Medium: online
Fandom:
Topic: Fanfiction, Femslash
External Links: Why do femslash?,
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Why do femslash? is an essay by animimares. It was posted to the livejournal community hp_girlslash and received 96 comments.

The Post

Mes amies,

I’ve mentioned some of what is to come next in the discussion I started about OTPs, but this time I will not focus on a specific pairing; merely femslash in general. Why do we do it?

I’ve been thinking (I tend to do that) and the thoughts turned into questions that I couldn’t answer fully myself. You have to help me here, because the following is simply musings – not even close to a conclusion. Help me!

It was very interesting to see how professors, psychologists and all in all professionals view what we use a lot of our time on. It dealt mainly with the subjects of slash, since that seems to be the most common concept when speaking in fanfic terms. According to the article it is mainly women writing slash (which we can agree on if we look around in the communities) and many of the stories are used as a tool to create smut or porn (I will partly agree on this – we all know people can write deep stories without sexual themes and we read and love them for that, but there is a LOT of porn in the Harry Potter fandom). This is the experts talking. Then they started discussion what kind of people wrote fanfiction. Devoted fans, most often (duh?) and people who just liked writing but didn’t have the energy to create a whole new universe for their stories. But what was in common for all these people writing slash in fanfiction was that they were all playing with sexual limits. They were looking at the “what is commonly accepted in society” and kicked the prejudices in the arse by going a bit further.

My question now is to ask you; why do you read/write/draw femslash? Who read/write/draw femslash? Are we all perverted, old men who need the kink because we have run out of porn movies (no offence); are we all lesbians who can’t/won’t/don’t do het (like me :P) ; are we all heterosexual women who are just playing with the borders of what is allowed; of sexuality?

I look around the community and I see a variety of people; a variety of stories and a variety of possible reasons. I know my own; I’m a lesbian and I am better at relating to homosexual themes than het, because I know gay, right? I do it because when I write it I write about something I know about and something I can understand. I read and write femslash because it has something to do with me!

But my reason is not the only correct one. How did we end up bringing girls together who are in cannon not (no matter the subtext we may cling to)? Do we simply love the characters so much we want to explore their full potential? Do we simply like the interaction of girl/girl? Why; is it – in the end – because of the smut?

What is it we find in the many words about long hair, breasts, girly lives and girlkissing? What is it we’re looking for here? Good stories? Good characterisations? Smex?

I do it because it suits me; I’m looking for stories that can make me think - yes, that’s girls – yes, that’s them – yes, that’s me – or simply YES. But why do you? What are you looking for?

Comments to the Essay

[eska_rina]:
why do you read/write/draw femslash? Who read/write/draw femslash? I'm not entirely sure why I do it. I think I got into femmeslash (and het) because not many people in the fandom do that. But it has probably also something to do with me mainly being interested in female characters in books. I like to read about, write about and explore female characters. I find sociaty's view on females a lot more interesting than their/our view on men. It's probably because I'm a female myself and all that, and I'm curious about how other females can be. I think. Right.
[miduhyo]:
I write femmeslash for the same reasons I write het and slash--because the pairing appeals to me. I don't believe in OTPs. I don't even really have any pairing loyalties. But pairings appeal to me because the characters in the pairing are appealing and putting them together is another way of looking at canon. It has nothing to do with gender. I am just as likely to write femmeslash as I am to write het or boyslash.
[snarkylightning]:
Why do you read/write/draw femslash?

I read/write femmeslash for the same reason I like slash and het. If the dynamic appeals to me -- either because it's interesting or hot -- then I want to experience it in ways that canon doesn't. Especially slash and femmeslash.

Generally, I can see the het pairings in something. Generally, I even respect them. But sometimes a different dynamic involving one of the characters works better in my opinion. Either that, or I am unhappy with how a het pairing is written, not because it's het, but because it turned the girl into a wimpy, clingy, needy woman.

How did we end up bringing girls together who are in cannon not (no matter the subtext we may cling to)? Do we simply love the characters so much we want to explore their full potential? Do we simply like the interaction of girl/girl? Why; is it – in the end – because of the smut?

It all started because I thought that pre-HBP, Tonks would be an awesome lesbian. Then I looked around with someone who I could pair her with and I stumbled over Ginny and was like: YES! I think that in a book of god-knows-how-many characters, at least two of the females are bound to be at least bicurious. Thus, I don't feel like making some of the character temporarily gay (or bicurious or whatever) is a great sin against the original books, because hey! Gay is a compliment from me. I'm a lesbian. I like girls on girls. :)

The reason I write is because I enjoy the dynamic of two particular characters/want to explore something new. The reason I read is because I find an interesting or funny or hot fanfic that looks well-written. I'm not too picky when it comes to pairings 'cause there's so little femmeslash compared to het and slash, so I'm willing to give pretty much any fic a try if I'm in the reading mood.

What is it we find in the many words about long hair, breasts, girly lives and girlkissing? What is it we’re looking for here? Good stories? Good characterisations? Smex? Why do you? What are you looking for?

I'm looking for interesting stories that explore the characters. Hopefully they have good characterization. Well-written, hot smut is a bonus.

(I hope my thoughts aren't too haywire. Interesting discussion! :D)
[pit_chick666]:
i read femmslash because it appeals to me more than slash and het, mostly because i am a lesbian. i usually dont read the smutty stuff, but if it happens to come up in a chapter fic, then ill read it but i wont go out of my way to find it. i mostly read it cause i get out of it what the original author didnt put into the actual universe, like the HP one is devoid of all female/female pairings. i read it because the authors here are soo damn good at writing out the characters, it temporarily makes me think that the f/f pairing were in the book. it also gives me a chance to escape into a world that i wish existed, with lots of pretty girls and girlkissing.
[transcending]:
(Everyone else has pretty much covered everything, but I'll try to add my two cents.)

Why do I love femslash? That's a good question.

First of all, femslash is a rarity in most fandoms, at least compared to the amount of slash and het. Obscure things tend to catch my attention, which is how I originally got into f/f. I found a fic, thought well, I've never seen this before, read it, and I never looked back. Since then, I will happily read and 'ship any femslash pairing, which is somewhat bizarre because (depending on the fandom) I can be extremely picky with slash, and even pickier with het. I suppose it's a sort of survival technique for me; good femslash is so hard to come by that I figure if I start caring about things like pairings I'll metaphorically starve to death. :P

To add to that, I simply love female characters. I can't quite explain it. If I find a well-written girl I'll go completely ga-ga over her. And if there's two (or more) of them together? Yes, please! Once again, I'm not sure why, but I adore female interaction and dynamics. I connect with them more. I do love my slash, and there are het pairings I worship, but in the end, my major soft-spot is reserved for girl love. (I'm definitely not a het-hater, I just don't read fic for it as much as same-sex pairings, mainly because het is more common in the media fanfiction in general is based on, so I sort of get my fill of it from that, so to speak.)

Of course, on the shallow aspect of things, I find the female body to be lovely, so femslash is also very aesthetically pleasing to me. To me it's not all about the mad sexing, though; I like my porn with plot or at least character development.

(So ends my probably incoherent ramble.)
[kannaophelia]:
There's all kinds of complex reasons I could go into but I suspect I like saffic for very simple reasons, really: I don't find males all that fascinating, in fiction as well as life. It's probably as simple as that..