So why don't I like slash?
I should do. I'm young, female and straight. 98% of slash is written by heterosexual women. The figure for readership is almost as high. And yet it does nothing for me. I've tried reading it; had people recommend particularly good ones for me and yet it just leaves me cold. Or, to be more precise, disinterested. I just don't get anything out of it neither emotionally or erotically. In the King Kong fandom people squee when the idea of Jimmy with any guy is mentioned - I'd much rather read Jimmy/well written OC.
Anyway, I've come up with a few possible reasons why slash just ain't my bag (baby):
1. According to wikipedia "the generally accepted theory is that heterosexual women find male/male relationships erotic, much as some men consider lesbian relationships appealing". Now I'm aware this isn't the only reason why women write slash, but it is clear it does play a big part. I've seen plenty of fics preluded by "guy1 and guy2 are so hot together!". But the whole male/male thing does nothing for me. Remember the episode of Friends where Ross watched Carol and Susan and it wasn't as hot as he thought? I don't find anything particularly sexy about two guys together. What's the point of that when you could have sexy guy to yourself? ;)
2. There is just way too much slash out there and it's all starting to sound a bit samey. Because there's so much (some fandoms seem to be almost exclusively slash or highly slanted towards it) maybe I'm getting bored with it because they're covering the same issues over and over again with just slightly different frosting. Any originality it had by being new or different has been sucked away by the sheer volume of fics. It's not 'ooo, look, slash! That could be an interesting new take on things.' it's 'ooo, look, yet more slash. Where's something else?' Although the same could be said of most fic, it stands out in slash more because there is just so much of it.
3. I would like to read more male/male friendships, which to me are much more interesting than slash. I don't know why so few people write m/m friendship fics - maybe it's because it's too difficult. Maybe because it's not something we see freely in society. Maybe it's because they think their work is going to be interpreted as slash when that's not what they're intending. I know I was recently writing a scene between Jack and Carl (King Kong). The two have known each other a long time and whilst Carl is his friend, Jack knows he's not a very good man. I was having dilemmas about writing about Jack loving Carl like a brother because I didn't want some well meaning but misled fan squeeing about the slashy undertones between the two. Not that the idea disgusts me but it wasn't what I was getting at. Two of my fandoms have great m/m friendships (McKay and Sheppard, Fraser and Vecchio) and I love the interactions between them. They're fun, supportive and there really is something beautiful in the fact that two guys could be such wonderful friends and care about each other so deeply. I love writing about those bonds and can't understand why they need to be pushed into something romantic. It's like some can't believe that love can exist between two guys without there being sexual undertones (which is often suggested in society as a whole) and that saddens me. And to be honest annoys me a little. It feels like a cheap way out of trying to write a believable guy/guy friendship.
4. Unless a character is written as gay in the show I have a hard time seeing them as that way no matter how well they are written. Especially when they are very clearly shown as heterosexual. The inner characterisation nazi in me just doesn't allow it. All the time I'm reading it I'm thinking 'well there was nothing in his character before that suggested he was attracted to this guy'. When I write something I'm always thinking 'why' - why would the character do this? why would they say that? what are they trying to get across? A lot of slash I've read simply hasn't been believable enough from either a motive or characterisation pov. I certainly couldn't write it because I'd get into a twist about trying to figure out why they had changed in such a fundamental way. (This is probably the reason why Capt Jack slash sits okay with me as it is clearly hinted at in canon). Also it doesn't help that a lot fic seems to feminise the characters in some ways so they don't behave like 'guys' anymore. A lot of the time it just doesn't feel realistic. Just because they're gay doesn't mean they don't have testosterone. Or as someone on pottersues once put it 'Dear Slash Fans, Remus Lupin does not have a vagina. Thank You.'
5. When we read we are seeing everything from a character's pov for that scene or set of scenes. For that time we are living their world through them. Now a lot of the time imagination and transference allows us to empathise with these characters and situation - whatever is happening to them we can relate it to something we've experienced. As a straight female though I find it hard to relate to a gay man. I can sympathise with them, sure, but I can only have a base understanding of such a specific experience and so I don't get as involved with the characters. Nor would I feel comfortable writing it because I'd be too worried about creating a stereotype rather than something that is 'real'.
6. Slash is used by some (particularly in the HP fandom) as a cheap plot device. I've lost count of the times I've read something about and the slash has basically been subsituted for the plot. Slash does not automatically make a story interesting and it can rarely work as a plot on its own. Of course this happens in het too, but het is not so much of an 'issue' as such so at least there is often a more complicated plot going on. There seems to be a huge vein of lazily plotted slash fics out there which solely rely on the idea that being gay is an issue for these characters - and of course it is, but to see countless clone fics written around this hardly inspires interest.
7. As far as I'm concerned Slash is GnR's/Velvet Revolver's guitarist and I can't see beyond that. 'Slash' just makes me think guitar solos, top hats, black death vodka, dropping cigs down pants and lots of hair.
Now I realise that I haven't covered every slash fiction ever, but these sweeping generalisations are the reasons why I don't like the majority of slash fic. I'd be really interested to see what other people think - especially if you don't really 'get' the fascination with slash either (it'd be nice to know I'm not the only person on the net who isn't a fan of it too!) Anyone agree with me that there's a real 'faddy' quality to some slash - like people are jumping on the band wagon cos it makes them feel cool/specially/different?
As a het writer I often feel like I'm in the minority in lots of fandoms, which in a way can be very cool cos I've got less competition as such :D
I might even go crazy and write a Captain Jack het fic - I'd be pretty much the only person doing that right?
(Wow, you got to the end of all that waffle? Well done, have a cookie!)