January 23rd, 2007

Me writing

What I Learned in My First Poll

I did a poll for the first time, on Subversion in Slash and What It Means. Here are some post-poll thoughts.

What I Learned About Poll Construction

The main thing I learned was to be much clearer on the purpose of the poll. Collapse )

A Summary of Poll Results
ETA: The following were the results when I wrote this post. The poll has since been picked up by metafandom (Thanks!) and a bunch more people responded. The overall results are about the same as what I wrote, but the actual numbers are different, of course.

Twenty-eight people answered the poll. Most are on my f-list. Of those who aren’t, I recognized all but a couple of names.
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My Own Thoughts on the Subject

I mentioned in comments that I’m a little reluctant to talk about writing/reading slash as subversive activity because there’s the danger of sounding like I take this activity (and myself) too seriously. Fanfic is a hobby – it’s the most fun, most intellectually challenging, most creative, and most rewarding one I’ve ever had – but it’s just a hobby. I do it because it’s fun. I really don’t want to sound like I’m out to change the world through slash. I don’t want to sound like I believe that I can have some sort of huge impact on society through writing stories about mutant superheroes who have sex with one another. On the other hand, I think it’s possible to consider, analyze and discuss what might be subversive, what might be political, what might even be feminist in this activity without falling over the edge into that belief.

One of the cornerstones of feminist theory is that the personal is political. All of our activities can be subjected to a feminist analysis and we can learn from that analysis. If I can look for political meaning in housework, in family structure, in clothing, in naming conventions, why not in hobbies? Do I sound defensive? I think I am a bit, but I’ll try to get over it.

I see slash as potentially subversive in a few ways (and thanks to those who commented on the poll and wrote in your own journals on the subject – you all helped me to clarify my thinking):

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And that brings me back to my worry that talking about this stuff sounds like I’m taking both the fanfic enterprise and myself too seriously. One thing that always brings me back to realizing how ridiculous - on some level - all this discussion is is my insistence on "realism." It's very important to me - both as a reader and a writer - that the real world details be accurate. I think it's a kind of overarching realism that makes me as a reader (and writer, for that matter) believe in the outlandish comic-book world of the X-Men. OTOH, I really am aware that there's something bordering on the absurd in stamping my foot and insisting on realism when what I'm doing is writing stories about a guy who can kill people with his eyes. I will remind myself (and anyone who has read this far) that I really do know that optic blasts (which I cheerfully accept as real) are much less realistic than someone coming from Westchester to NYC and ending up in Penn Station instead of Grand Central (which would make me stop reading in disgust).