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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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contextual brussels' sprouts
children of dune - leto 1
I went through and put my fannish essay-ish things in to my memories folder, which was kind of fun and kind of bizarre and kind of fun, since apparently, I get *really* energetic sometimes. I like ideas. I tend to wax lyrical on ideas and concepts and fandomy things. But I tend to only post when the ideas get a personal face.

Also, anyone notice I've lost even the most basic ability to give decently organized thoughts? It's just sad.

It's not the most comforting part of my psyche to be aware of this, but frankly, until something touches me personally, I don't really pay attention all that much. Not that I don't sympathize with numerous posts I've read on this or that issue in fandom or this and that issue etc, but more, I don't really feel like addressing it myself unless someone gives me a reason. Like I need a casualty list or something. It's weird. I need someone to crystallize it for me in their experiences, someone who feels it themselves so I can feel it with them. Someone I can relate to, or someone I know, or someone I like. Usually the combination of all three.

I had this interesting conversation with a good friend, who isn't a slasher or a slash writer. She's het, happy with it, doesn't get slash, really doesn't want to. She's content, fulfilled, doing what she does, and she asked me, a little curious, why I fell for slash after so much time being really quite content in het. There are tons of standard replies to that, and God knows, pick a day and a time on LJ and someone is telling us Why Women Love Slash, or Why Writers Love Slash, and it's like, the most overexposed topic in creation. And I've read so many, and I still get caught by that question, because you know, every answer is true, but that doesn't make them the right answer for me.

I mean, yes, there's the entire subversive thing, but you know, in LJ? It's a hell of a lot more subversive to be het. Hell, it's subversive to write gen these days.

And yes, the hot guys thing, totally with that one. And I'm sure there are psychological issues abounding about power structure and feminism and women's rights and sexual equality, and honestly, I read those and at the time, go *yes*, that has to be it, because it gives me a reason that I can latch on to and use in conversation. And they're true, too, or as close to true as I think any statement can get. And yeah, there aren't enough strong female characters on TV, I've heard that one, too. And yes, it is fun to just think of how friends become lovers and how close buddies become intimate, and all that fun stuff.

But that doesn't give me the answer to me, and since this is my LJ, this is totally all about me. As the name might suggest.

So, she doesn't like slash. She writes and reads het. We were discussing normality and her reactions to what she's read have been--well, interesting. She said she felt *weird* and sometimes was treated weird. Accusations of homophobia. Accusations of being narrow-minded. She didn't get specific, but then again, I really, really didn't ask. I know the script. She's in LJ, which is, as far as I've been able to ascertain, a big communal slash playground.

Again, I only notice when it's a personal thing.

So, I tried to tell her why I went from being a Logan/Rogue, het writer with a side of light slash in St. John/Bobby, to a Smallville slasher and QaF slash writer. Partly because I could tell she was honestly curious, and the explanations she'd read in LJ didn't do it for her. And you know? Before I started writing it, they wouldn't have worked for me either. Because the things I started to say to her were said to me and they made no sense then at all. It was like explaining my sudden strong passion for Brussels' sprouts. One day, I'd never liked them and ate under protest. Next day, I'm soaking them in butter and popping them back by the score. I mean, I love them because they're green and sharp flavored and oh so tasty and adorable like midget cabbages and you know, that's all true, that's why I love them. What I can't figure out is why all these things didn't convince me I loved them when I was hating every mouthful before.

It's like this huge question of context. Every explanation works in context, but outside of that, does anyone who doesn't read/write slash actually understand why we first fell for it? It works for slashers because everything said above is true. And maybe for most of you, it's true all the way through--that *is* the reason why you fell for it. It's just not my reason. Hell, I wrote my first slash story in a retaliatory frame of mind that was not kind to slashers at all. My next two just because I wanted to be able to say I could write anything. And because, well, Seven and Janeway, even to my slashless eyes, was just so freaking OTP it was scary.

Hmm. I remember this conversation I had with a slasher, though, in Voyager, early on, when I first OTPed Paris/Torres and she was expounding on the wonders of Chakotay/Paris. And I remember this bit of conversation that sort of makes me laugh now.

Me: "But why?"

Her: "Why not?"

Me: "But he's not even canonically gay!"

Her: "Prove it."

Yeah. That's a pretty good way to stop me in my tracks. How the hell do you prove a negative? I still get gripey about that debate. She crowed for *days*.

But I tried.

Me: "He's dating B'Elanna!"

Her: "I'm dating now. That doens't mean I didn't date anyone else ever."

Me: "Huh?"

Her: "For all you know, he spent his entire Academy days fucking his way through the wrestling club."

Me: *blinks* "But now--"

Her: "Is now. That doesn't negate possibilty of something else before."

Or words to this effect. I actually think that may have been the first conversation about slash I ever had. In a really alternate universe way, this is so like me and my Brussels' sprouts. I still get hives about C/P, but that's 'cause I really don't like Chakotay. He's still asparagus. *shudders*

I could feel more comfortable with it if I had any interest in any het pairings anywhere, if it was just the pairing that pulled me in. I could go back and say, yes, I'm a *writer* who writes slash, because for some reason, that sounds better. But no. I'm a slasher who occasionally falls prey to weird het vibes. When I fell into SV, I fell into the concept of slashing characters, period. That means poor Pete got kidnapped for duty once, and God help my bizarre ideas of symmetry, Peter Parker got dragged in. That means, my first instinct these days on seeing any show is watching for the subtext. That's not just a change in thinking. That's a fucking rewire of my head, even weirder than Brussels' sprouts if I actually sit down and think about it, and she *made* me think about it, try to explain it in a way that made sense without context.

Sometimes, I overkill on the inner analysis thing. I just felt this intense need to get it out *right* to her. I pimp my fandoms and I pimp my pairings, and both of those I can do pretty well, but to explain them to her, I needed context and damned if I don't have it.

Er. Yeah. Anyone feel like popping up and giving me their explanation?

For those who volunteered to beta-look at the page I'm building, give me a couple of days. Katherine's working on an image theme for it, which is going to completely change the layout, and okay, css is *crack*. I keep wanting to fondle it and do subversive things with it. I'll post a link as soon as we've redone it. God, I hope this works.
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Are you taking random comments from a rather random fangirl?

I'm not a writer, but I bat for both sides of the het/slash readership, tending toward OTP based on character interactions with a heavy kink toward three or more in a ongoing (not always stable) relationship.

So, the kick for slash for me is threefold:

Subversion of the intentions of the writers. Not that I defy what others expect of me, just that I defy the predictable outcome. In this vein, I found myself drawn to Hokuto/Seishirou het in the canonically gay Tokyo Babylon. I think my fun comes partly from the greater attention to detail necessary when you want to argue a point against the writer's own intentions. The deeper attention to detail thing carries through into non-sex stuff, like loving Utena for the fairy-tale opacity pilled onto murder mystery level complexity.

Less defined relationship roles allowing more power struggles and twisted relationships. Honestly, settled uke/bottom has no buzz for me /ever/, unless the alleged 'submissive' is trying to upset the characterization. I see a bias toward healthy, balanced heterosexual relationships goals in most het that lowers my general estimation of whether I'm likely to like it at all. This probably goes along with the canonically vapid characterizations of many girls. To give an example, I don't know why everyone wants to write Buffy treating Spike like an equal. /He/ wants it, sure, but the battle and failure are what powers that whole relationship.

Third and shortest: Boy pr0n tends to increase the hotness for me, particularly because even self-lubricating anuses are less irritating than badly written girl pr0n -- I /know/ how a clit feels, and I think chainmail would have trouble standing up to some of the treatment genitalia get in porn, much less some rather delicate and highly enervated parts. If it lacks the emotional kick from the two above points, I'll pick porn without girls every time.

I'm afraid I can't help with that. Not only has my dislike for Brussels sprouts been fairly constant since I was a kid (I mean as an adult I've become more tolerant of foods I disliked as a kid in general, in particular bitter flavors, but I haven't started to seek out Brussels sprouts dishes), I've also never been exclusively a gen, slash or het reader. I may have a slight preference for gen in that I really love plotty stories which don't forget half of an ensemble cast, but otherwise whether I like slash or het pairings or both changes from fandom to fandom. The downside of this is of course that I feel left out in all those slash identity discussions, because I don't really get the issues myself. ;)

The first slash story I read was Tangled Butterfly (JAG, Rabb/Webb, written by MoJo and Jori - I love their stories). I remember getting hot waves and fretting that someone might enter my office.. heh.

Then it was long time just het stuff and Clex was discovered. :-). Smallville slash archive and Omar's recaps at the TWoP. I was hooked.

But why I like slash? I have no clear idea. Firstly, it has something to do with great writers that make the stories so zestful I literarly drink text from monitor and stay longer at the office and even come to the office on Sunday to read LJ... ;-). Probably it is time to by a laptop.

Secondly - because it is unattainable? We women cannot really experience that, can we? But we are often suckers for sth. we cannot have? Maybe if I also wrote stories I would be able to discover more intelligible reasons. So far this is only explanation I have.

I would still read het or gen - if it is recced. I just don't have the time to go searching for the good stories, so I do it scarcely.

Also - I haven't really told about that to anyone except for my boyfriend, who doesn't get it either, but promptly reminds me it is time for Smallville on TV.


I've gotta agree with the difficulty of explaining the whys and wherefores of my slash obsession. The subversion factor, and possibly even a "perversion" factor, has something to do with it. I have definitely become a subtext junkie. There are shows I watch that have no sexual chemistry between any characters for me at all, but I often find that people I know and respect find slash (or het) vibes aplenty in these shows! Angel? Farscape, aside from Crichton/Sun? Invisible Man? Firefly? Say what you will--it ain't there for me in the least!

But one little spark of potential, especially the boy/boy kind, makes my ears prick up and my juices (creative and otherwise) start to flow. I was stunned to pick up on a textual het relationship in a new series this fall that caught my interest, but it's already been canceled, and the show was rather disappointing, so I'm thinking of doing some serious perversion work on it. (Keep watching the skies!)

I guess it's like the old line about obscenity: I know slash when I see it, even if I can't describe it or explain it. But what do I know--I don't care for brussels sprouts or artichokes, but simply adore asparagus. In other words, I got nothin'...

I totally agree with you on the weird switch thingy. One day I'm contently reading my Mulder/Scully het, happily in the norm. Back then, I wouldn't have described myself as being "in fandom"--I'm a naturally shy and reclining person who loathes to join groups. I just roamed through the archives (not even rec pages!) looking for interesting-looking smut. I was reading M/SC het just for fun, for sexiness, because I was bored. But eventually my appetite died. I just got very very sick of the het-ness of it all. And just for variety's sake I started reading slash, Mulder/Krycek because the thought of Skinner sexually with anyone was just wrong (dude! father figure!). To give the full story, it's not like boy-on-boy action was a new, unexplored territory for me. I'd read smut of both het and m/m kinds, and had as far back as I can remember. I liked both sides fine and about equal. Only I was sick of het now, wasn't I? And switching teams to recapture that good porny spark seemed like logic.

But slash somehow got to me in a way I was unprepared for, and I think I reeled under the assault. Slash fiction and fandom just clicked for me, in my head and in accordance with my tastes, in a way I'm still sort of reeling from. It fits me, and I groove to its music. I can't say it any better than that. Some people adore salsa music, and it's in their bones and blood. They don't have to explain why they love it. They just do. I just love slash.

Of course, I can understand why there's a need to quantify the reasons why. It's an odd phenomenon, isn't it, and getting to the core of the reasons for my love of slash is hard. Why am I hardwired to find men sexually attractive, to the almost complete exclusion of women? Why do I love to read? Why do I like the thought of two men together so much more than a man and a woman together? It's all apart of the weirdness that is me.

I mean, the need to explain is due almost entirely on the basis that it's weird that het and bi and gay women have a strange and exclusive love for m/m porny erotica in the written form. I can only add my two lame reasonings that I haven't heard mention of from others:

I'm totally turned off by het now. It's weird and whatnot, being as I am het, but the fic makes me wanna gag. Badly. So if I want to read smut of any kind, ever, it's going to have to be slash.

I like relationships that are defined by conflict. And pain, obsession and angst. I love clashy, enemies-fucking-like-bunnies slash. And slash has a treasure trove of pairings like that, where the romance is never shmoopy and is hard, intense and a little bit dangerous. It's hard for het to get there, and whatever you say about the rightness or wrongness of PC tendencies concerning m/f relationships, it's hard to find great stories out there with such destructive, and even violent, elements between romantically linked men and women. Take for example, Buffy/Spike. That relationship was both adored and reviled by fans because it was violent, sexual and degrading, on just thisside of abuse. I loved it, or course. Was glued to the screen--dropped my jaw the first time they had sex, it was so shockingly hot. But as I read somewhere in someone's lj, it's the het relationship for slashers. Not all slashers, as I recognize there are many slashers who love normalized romance, but for those of us who want/seek the deranged and sick love affairs. And het so rarely does that. If for nothing else, I love slash for that alone. It fulfills my need for dysfunctional yet HOT relationships.

(God, I sound just utterly twisted, don't I?)

So I love slash. And I love slashy subtext in all arenas of life--in fact, in RL, I'm a bit notorious for that. But I could no more tell you why I like slash so much than I could tell you why I wanna fuck men instead of women. I could say, it makes biological sense (reproduction is key!), or that certain men are aesthetically pleasing in a way that women aren't, or whatever the fuck. It all comes down to hardwiring. I think that also explains why so many people, when they talk about getting into slash fandom, sound like they're talking about love. "Clicking" or "I just knew" or "It was a long descent" --explaining love, the reasons whyfore and how, is impossible.

Total agreement on the finding het squicky opinion! I'm planning to write one het story soon, but of the dirtywrong! kind. What's funny is that I do like my slash happily-ever-after--makes me wonder why boys 'n' girls together, which is my life, doesn't appeal anymore. Go fig.

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