July 27th, 2006

Scott smiling

Is Slash of Necessity Anti-canonical?

I participated in comments on a post that appeared in metafandom the other day that began with someone saying “I hate slash” and went on to explain why. The OP felt a little overwhelmed by the number of comments and removed public access to the post. Since she wants no more comments, I won’t mention her name, but I will quote her, since her post prompted this one.

Her anti-slash arguments were two:

1. Slash (of the m/m variety) doesn’t show women having sex. She’s a woman, and as she said, “Kind of bluntly put, if I’m not involved, I’m not interested.”

2. Slash depends on changing characters and showing them doing things they don’t do in canon.

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I do think it's a particularly difficult challenge to take a character who presents as heterosexual in the source text (or whose sexuality isn't explored but is presumed to be heterosexual) and make him credibly gay or bisexual and also still credibly himself. Presumptions of heterosexuality are so entrenched that we need to be very convincing in our portrayal to challenge that presumption and not sound like we’re making up a whole new character. But it's meeting that challenge that's a lot of what I enjoy about writing slash and it's seeing someone else do that well that's a lot of what I like about reading it.