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What Does It Mean to Say that Slash is (or isn't) Subversive? - Mo's Journal
January 22nd, 2007
05:12 pm

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What Does It Mean to Say that Slash is (or isn't) Subversive?

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From:executrix
Date:January 23rd, 2007 01:47 am (UTC)
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I figure that just as a broken clock is right twice a day, *sometimes* TPTB will come up with a pairing worth writing about.

I also think it's interesting that there's no accepted term for a story that has one or more same-sex pairings AND one or more mixed doubles, e.g., Scott/Logan, Marie/Bobby.
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From:mofic
Date:January 23rd, 2007 01:52 am (UTC)
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Yeah, that's interesting. And not only is there not a term for it, it's kind of an unusual occurrence ime. I hate the "everybody's gay" phenomenon, so I do have lots of heterosexual couples in my fiction, even though I focus on the same-sex ones. But I often feel like that rules my fiction out for some, and although I hate "warnings" I put a note at the beginning that although it is slash it does have heterosexual couples in it, and that sounds awfully like a warning.
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From:executrix
Date:January 23rd, 2007 01:09 pm (UTC)
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One of the salient characteristics of fandom is that, for just about any value of THAT, some readers will say, "Euwww, your story has THAT!" and others will say, "What a cheat--I was expecting hard-core THAT and there's barely a mention of it!"
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From:talktooloose
Date:January 23rd, 2007 04:09 pm (UTC)
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Heh. My latest chapter got an "ewwwwwwwwwww - het kissing!" comment.

"Slash". "Everybody's gay". hmm, I suppose that there are two ways of making slash and perhaps one is more deliberately subversive than the other. If you do the classic slashing of het buddies, you are part of a tradition of questioning meanings of love and the interactions of love and sex in ways that break the code of "manliness". If you are writing fic "realistically" (you know, "realistic" optic-blasting mutants), then sexuality begins to behave in the confusing ways it does in real life and there is also a larger amount of heterosexuality around.

Whether the latter is less subversive depends on how it's written. I often call your Scott/Logan pairing subversive and, now that I think about it, it manages to work in both the above categories. By making Scott a subby bottom to Logan while still being the uncompromising military leader of the X-Men, you subvert notions of maleness and leadership. By making Logan a man who couldn't give a rat's ass what society thinks of his choices sexually, you make a point that sexuality is a social construct and cannot be equated with gender norms.

But you also took pains early in your fic to depict Scott's coming-out process in a realistic way and you continue to work with issues of gender and sexuality not in a mythic manner, but in one that mirrors our own society's work.
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From:mofic
Date:January 23rd, 2007 05:20 pm (UTC)
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Heh. My latest chapter got an "ewwwwwwwwwww - het kissing!" comment.

I know! How do you feel about that? I don't know who it was that said that, but I personally find it pretty disturbing when women talk about not wanting to see women sexually engaging in fanfic because they find it gross.

If you are writing fic "realistically" (you know, "realistic" optic-blasting mutants), then sexuality begins to behave in the confusing ways it does in real life and there is also a larger amount of heterosexuality around.

LOL! One of the problems with talking about this stuff in depth is you can sound like you take yourself too seriously, like you're not aware of the humorous implications or of the fact that this really is at base a hobby. I do want to do a "What I Learned" post about this poll and talk about some of my ideas about slash theory, but I don't want to come off sounding pompous or as if I believe we change the world through slash. And at this point as you're asking "When is mofic going to get to the point?" I will say that 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.

And yes, I am trying for a story line and a relationship between the characters and between each of them and society that subverts in both those ways you describe. At the same time, I'm also trying to reflect the subversive elements of change from within that so many of us are living when we live openly queer lives yet conform to societal norms in lots of other ways (conventional jobs, raise children, community involvement).

Okay, and now I sound like I'm taking myself too seriously again, so I will remind myself (and you) 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).

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From:talktooloose
Date:January 23rd, 2007 05:30 pm (UTC)
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..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).

Wait, what if that was their mutant power?


Regarding Saturday: Thanks for the research. I am up for a photo gallery visit and then tea and chat with you. I will look over the two galleries mentioned in your letter. Free is good, but I don't mind something that costs but not too much (as opposed to MOMA).
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From:mofic
Date:January 24th, 2007 11:05 am (UTC)
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Cool term! I usually just put a line in the intro that says "Yes, it's slash but there are heterosexual characters, too. Just like in real life."
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From:executrix
Date:January 24th, 2007 03:21 pm (UTC)
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thanks, kyuuketsukirui! I've seen the term "bitextual" but I thought it referred to the writer rather than the product.
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