South Park Self

you get a girl to say your favorite things when you're a boy

Today's favourite quote about slash fan fiction:

"A woman ... has published a sexual fantasy about men for other women without a single care for the hurt feelings of the patriarchy’s death-grip on pleasure."

Part of the reason why I love this stuff is because it's so deeply, radically subversive. At the most fundamental level, slash permits a conceptualisation of sexual experience which is intrinsically shifting, free of the inbuilt assumptions about power which bedevil even the most utopian and egalitarian heterosexual encounter. Good slash is based in fluidity. It contradicts the drift towards active male, passive female which is the reductionist extreme of conventional male/female relations, but which is woven into the basic fabric of our patriarchal culture. Slash fic watches two men in a sexual encounter: neither is necessarily dominant, and the writer is free to conceptualise the power relations as she sees fit.

But if this were the only point, there would be far more femmeslash on the net than there is - it's actually a tiny fraction of the whole. That's because slash isn't just a celebration of fluid power roles, it's explicitly and deliberately a subversion of the heterosexual status quo. It's a giant up yours to the patriarchy, in fact. Watching two women addresses the desire for equal power, but femmeslash also takes place in a space outside the patriarchal order - it provides an alternative without actually threatening the patriarchal assumption of male dominance. Slash is as threatening as hell. It says, hello, patriarchy! we appropriate your dominant, heterosexual male characters, the ones which are so much more central and better-developed than the women in so many of our popular mass texts, and we rewrite them in a sexual image we prefer. Also, in sharp contradistinction to the largely male-owned and male-oriented porn industry, we're girls doing this. Sucks to be you.

Which, of course, also goes some way to explain why I seriously do not enjoy the locked and exaggerated gender roles of the Omegaverse, which in political terms is entirely vindictive: it assaults patriarchy by rewriting male characters as caricatures of female biology. I find it uncomfortable and cruel and lacking the potential for subtlety of more fluid slash.

(It also explains why the frothing homophobia of the religious right is so much more strongly directed at gay than at lesbian partners. Lesbians escape the patriarchal order. Gays deny it; in fact, their existence actually assaults it. I am a wholehearted supporter of LGBT rights because that's the only possible human, moral or intelligent stance, because I'm proudly South African in the constitutional sense if nowhere else, but also because the damned patriarchy should be assaulted early and often and anyone who's doing it on any level deserves my support.)

The subject line is David Bowie, because who else could it be given the topic of the post. "Boys keep swinging" is one of the great parodic takes on machismo.
This is interesting to me -- I've frequently had problems with slash because it's women writing...about a relationship wherein women don't exist. That the only path to claiming power is to remove ourselves from a presence in the struggle. So your view of it being a reversal....intrigues me.