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What Does It Mean to Say that Slash is (or isn't) Subversive? - Mo's Journal — LiveJournal
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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[User Picture]
Date:January 23rd, 2007 06:38 am (UTC)
Okay, now that I've read through all the comments to this, I think I am understanding more of what you and everyone else means by "subversive" -- in the sense that to pair same sex partners together based on a storyline in which they are, as written by the original writers, not paired together is challenging to the notion that everybody is hetero unless proven gay? As in to be hetero is the norm and to not be is against the grain... Is this what everyone is meaning by compulsive heterosexuality?

If so, then I guess this is why I've never thought of slash as subversive... because I don't look at people and see them for any sexual orientation. At least not usually, anyway.

This whole topic makes me think of something rather off topic -- my mom was talking about my oldest son (who is only 4) and the conversation turned to his distant future. It was one of those classic things where she said "One day his girlfriend will see these pictures and he'll be so embarrassed!", and I paused for a moment and said to her "Or his boyfriend. You never know..." And she thought that was really odd of me, but I thought it was equally odd to assume that he is or will be heterosexual.
[User Picture]
Date:January 23rd, 2007 12:34 pm (UTC)
I'll probably do a follow up post saying what I learned (both about poll construction - oh dear) and about views of subversion. Briefly, for here, I've often heard slash (either as a genre or in specific cases) referred to as "subversive." I took this to mean challenging to presumptions of heterosexuality in media or to sex roles in society (e.g. if I portray a powerful man, head of a paramilitary organization, willingly taking a submissive role to another man in sex I subvert notions of masculinity). But recently I've seen the term used with reference to slash challenging authorial intent. I was wondering whether this was a widespread view among folks reading my journal.

And what happened with your mom is happening again and again throughout your son's life, in a variety of forms, and you can only be there to challenge some of them and your views will only dominate in some cases. Case in point - my kids have not reached an age where they can't have mixed gender sleepovers, although many of their friends were banned from doing so at age 11, 12, or 13. As I've said to my son (reverse genders for girls), "I don't assume you are having sex with a girl if she sleeps over and I don't assume you're not having sex with a boy if he sleeps over. Your body belongs to you and you'll make those decisions yourself." But since other parents banned the mixed sleepovers, the fact is that most often when kids sleep over (I had an extra last night) they are the same sex as the kid they're visiting.
[User Picture]
Date:January 23rd, 2007 01:00 pm (UTC)
Oh my goodness... Interesting about the sleepover example! So true...

I'm not at that stage yet, so that never even occurred to me... But this did bring to mind another example of how I simply don't think about gender issues and then later "get in trouble" (ok, now we're getting WAY off the topic you originally were wanting to talk about): I used to babysit for two girls in my home, before my 2nd was born, so it was just me, my first son, and these two girls. My son and one of the girls were both 2 at the time, and then the other girl was 4. One day they got super messy, so I stripped them all down naked and gave them a bath. Together. Never once did it even occur to me that this might bother the girls' mother. Of course the girls had so much fun splashing water all over in the tub and told their mom when she came to pick them up. She was less than pleased with me for exposing them to a member of the opposite sex naked. I suppose she would have been even more appalled to find out that, normally, *I* get in the bath with my son! I still do, with both of them now. My husband does, too, from time to time. Seeing naked body parts is just the way things go here in my house ;-)

In any case, your example makes me realize I probably have a lot more issues waiting for me as my children get older and step further out into a world that assumes both conventional gender roles *and* heterosexuality.

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