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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:thelana
Date:January 23rd, 2007 08:27 pm (UTC)

here from metafandom

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*hides*

I usually think that people are being pretentious windbags. At least a little bit. And I actually love slash.

*runs away*
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From:mofic
Date:January 23rd, 2007 10:11 pm (UTC)

Re: here from metafandom

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LOL! I probably am a pretentious windbag from time to time. OTOH, I write hot slash :-).
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From:thelana
Date:January 23rd, 2007 10:24 pm (UTC)

Re: here from metafandom

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That's always good :)

But yeah, the whole insistence on subversiveness has always seemed slightly over the top to me. Then again, I never got the glorification of subtext either.

If that is subversive then you can pass off pretty much anything as subversive. And if it is subversive why is that a good (or bad) thing? I never got the point of it other it let's people feel like a keyboard rebel. Maybe I have read too much Cyberpunk manifesto type of stuff, so this kind of talk just sounds really old to me. I mean, if it makes people feel better about themselves I guess it's a good thing. It just doesn't work particularly well on me. I know I'm not subversive for example when I like a really unpopular pairing or unpopular fandom, I just have odd taste.
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From:mofic
Date:January 24th, 2007 12:07 am (UTC)

Re: here from metafandom

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::shrug:: I do think I have good reasons to view slash as subversive, and describe them in the next post. I don't think it's over the top because I don't think that viewing ordinary activities through a political lens is over the top. Many everyday activities are, or can be, subversive. As I say elsewhere, if I can submit housework and naming conventions and family structures to a feminist analysis, why not fanfic?

That said, people certainly can go over the top with thinking that their hobbies are changing the world. I try to remember that and not fall prey to the insanity. Sometimes I succeed. ::shrug again::
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From:thelana
Date:January 24th, 2007 01:15 am (UTC)

Re: here from metafandom

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Yeah, but that's the thing, anything can be seen as subversive. Turning in a blank paper as homework, refusing McDonald's, walking only backwards. What makes slash more subversive than any of these?

Just like you can claim pretty much anything as subversive (if the whole fandom is crazy for a particular slash pairing, I'm subversive if I'm the lone supporter of the unpopular het pairing, right? I'm subverting fandom hegemony!) as long as you pick the right frame of reference. Anything can also be claimed to be not subversive given the same frame of reference.

Personally? I'm not much of a feminist. But I can easily see how one could claim that slash really is just more of the same old male worship, female minimalization, denying and villifying female sexuality (ewww het! of course male sex is so much cleaner and better and not icky! and of course only male characters are worthy of exploration!) and penis envy. As a person who likes slash I know it's not penis envy. But at the same time I think that from *the outside* a slasher trying to explain that it's not penis envy is like a straight guy trying to explain why circle jerks are not gay. It all depends on what lense you want to choose.

Yeah, of course this kind of intellectual masturbation is a lot of fun (and again, I mean this in the most positive sense of the world; I love fandom; I love meta; I love discussing things that have been discussed over a trillion times most of the time). One just has to be aware of the limits.

And again, I want to point to romance novels as an example of female fiction for females, centered around female sexuality. Seems that nowadays you can even even publish your personal alien-with-two-dicks rape fantasies, domina fic, submissive fic, not to mention that the ancient bodice rippers are of course about various whore/slavegirl/rape fantasies. Or your random run the mill courting, happy domestic desires. In slash all one does is project them. Is that better? Worse? Is it healthier that the project our fantasies on characters rather than fantasize about ourselves? Is it unhealthier? Are these things we feel we have to be cured of and that's why we project them? Should we try to cure ourselves? Should we admit them and tell us that they are okay? Are these our own fantasies or something a supposed patriachal hegemony instilled in us?

Meh, I say it's just a kink.
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From:mofic
Date:January 24th, 2007 01:37 am (UTC)

Re: here from metafandom

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What makes slash more subversive than any of these?

If you're interested in understanding why I see slash as potentially subversive, read the next post. If not, don't. I won't try to restate or argue with you here.
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From:thelana
Date:January 23rd, 2007 10:34 pm (UTC)

Re: here from metafandom

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I should probably mention that I'm a subscriber of "most fanfiction is porn. slash is a kink and it's no more subversive than guys getting hard at the thought of two female porn stars French kissing".

I don't think that the choice of guy on guy is subversive. I don't think that women for women (especially with a sexual focus) is all that subversive (seems to me that Romance Novels are doing that already). If there's anything subversive about it is that (1) it's ignoring/circumventing laws (2) that they are giving stuff away for free. Which I certainly appreciate (well (2) at least), but it's nothing something I spend much time thinking about/feeling proud of. Besides, I think most fanfic writers would be stumped if I told them that they might be subverting capitalism (except they don't, after all comments have replaced dollars as fandom currency).
From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 24th, 2007 12:29 am (UTC)

Re: here from metafandom

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*claps* Right on! I've never understood how women can complain about guys liking lesbian porn when they're slashers, or how they think it makes them more "edgy", but guys are just omgoppressive, oh noes.

*is a girl, would like to think I'm still allowed to be annoyed by some girls without being a traitor to women* But that's a whole other rant.
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From:thelana
Date:January 24th, 2007 01:23 am (UTC)

Re: here from metafandom

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I think that's why I tend to liken slash to porn. We scoff at porn because it's unrealistic and because it's male wish fulfillment. But what else is slash or romance novels? We like to believe that the nice, hot, sensitive guy is out there. Just like the guys like to believe that the hot, sexy, promiscuous chick who would totally do the geek next door is out there.

Of course we think that our fantasy and our take on the world is superior. Just like I'm sure the others think the same of their fantasy and world view.

Just like we scoff at porn plenty of men scoff at sensitive sappy chick flick heroes and who knows what they would think about mpreg. Maybe the same we think of porn stars with triple EEE breasts.
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From:mofic
Date:January 24th, 2007 01:38 am (UTC)

Re: here from metafandom

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Since I don't write or read pornographic slash or unrealistic slash, I don't relate to your comments.
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From:thelana
Date:January 24th, 2007 01:53 am (UTC)

Re: here from metafandom

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Seems to me that many people don't have those hang ups about either writing or reading it (or just a different definition of quality). And again, people might wildly disagree on what is out of character. I've even seen people actually state that they don't care if it's out of character and consider that part of the subversiveness (as in creating their own ideal version of guys).

Again, one persons this, the next person's that.
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