Slash fiction and homoeroticizing the buddy films

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Ops_was_a_truck, Feb 12, 2007.

  1. Ops_was_a_truck

    Ops_was_a_truck JOOOLIE ANDREWWWWWS!!!!!!

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    All right. This may end up being too sensitive for GD, but I’ve wanted to give this topic a try for a while. Flamepanther and I kinda touched on this earlier in a thread in TFGD.

    A few years ago, while I was studying for my communications & culture minor, I started looking around at buddy films to find a comparison film to…dammit, I can’t remember right now, but I was comparing the buddy film to a piece of literature. It might have been Shakespeare. I’m going to have to go back and have a look at that.

    …but the thing that I found strange and intriguing, as I did more of the research, is the way fans of subculture media treat the buddy relationships found amongst a pair of men (or, sometimes, a pair of women) in film. There are a variety of fan subcultures out there that have taken to homoeroticizing the “homosocial” (or “two social friends of the same gender”) relationships between the main characters in buddy films. This, for the those who don’t know, is often referred to slash fiction.

    Now, slash fiction exists in virtually every vein – there’s Buffy/Willow slash, Frodo/Sam slash, Vader/Luke slash…the list goes on and on. The most famous slash is probably the Kirk/Spock slash literature, which, although the literature itself is not a publicly present part of Star Trek fandom, there’s enough cultural acknowledgement of its existence that, yeah, it’s worked itself into the annals of not only Trekdom but ALSO it’s helped contribute to the view of Trekkies/Trekkers as strange, weird fans from the eyes of a common consumer (or someone not familiar with the subculture.)

    The thing that I’ve never quite been able to wrap my mind around, though, is this – what draws people to make the homoerotic connection between the two lead characters? If you move beyond the “dude, they’re gay for each other” garbage that most folks spew as a kneejerk when two buddy characters embrace or celebrate a mutual victory, you’ll note that virtually every male character in a buddy film is, ostensibly, established as heterosexual – John McClane was married, yet he developed a very personal relationship with the policeman in Die Hard, Sam and Frodo were flirting with the girls at the beginning of Fellowship and were shown doing the same thing at the end of Return, etc. So, in the context of the source literature itself, it’s already been established that these are heterosexual characters that match, approximately, a male stereotype. Kirk, Frodo, Luke, Spike, etc. – these are guys.

    …so why, then, do the authors of slash – who are, by the way, often very intelligent adult writers (not surprisingly, female as well) – feel the need to bring these characters together? Is it to indulge personal fantasy? Is it because they don’t feel the story they’re being told is the one they want to hear? Do they fundamentally disagree with the portrayal of these characters as men’s men or is slash fiction, from beginning to end, just a long-winded way for its authors to get their rocks off?
     
  2. Lance Halberd

    Lance Halberd oh hai

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    Short answer?

    Lack of identifiably gay characters in popular science fiction.
     
  3. flamepanther

    flamepanther Interested, but not really

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    That would make sense if most readers and writers of slash fiction were gay males. However, most of them are straight females. Why do straight females have such a strong need for gay male characters?
     
  4. Ops_was_a_truck

    Ops_was_a_truck JOOOLIE ANDREWWWWWS!!!!!!

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    Y'know, that's true. As a matter of fact, of the science fiction genres that I can think of, the only one with any relationship that would be as close to genuine slash on the actual small screen would be the relationship Willow had with her girl. However, there was very little of that relationship (onscreen, at least) that I think would fall under the category of slash, so we're virtually back to square one.

    ...so yeah, okay, I hear you on that, Lance. Anyone else?

    EDIT: ...and what Flamepanther hit on is exactly the part that I'm still curious about: Right, a good percentage of slash authors are straight, older women. Why are they compelled to write this type of material?
     
  5. Team Jetfire

    Team Jetfire Pop-POP!

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    I don't think that that is any reason why Frodo and Sam need to have that connection.

    People are just too sensitive to either handle the real thing, or they are looking for gay where there is only compassion and mutual admiration.
     
  6. flamepanther

    flamepanther Interested, but not really

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    I think in terms of earlier examples of slash fiction (Star Trek, etc.) there are a couple of factors that might lead straight women to screw around with sexual orientations.

    First, male-oriented sci-fi and fantasy often lacks any sustained romantic subplots. Since there are often not a lot of well developed (in terms of characters, not bra sizes) female leads in a lot of these stories (again, notably Star Trek), authors may be drawing romance candidates from the only available pool of interesting characters there is: other male characters.

    Second--and this is something I read on another forum, not my own idea--reversing a straight male character's sexuality might be a way of making it easier for female readers to identify themselves with the character.

    I think after this stuff has been common enough (and we've had it since the '70s at least) it also just becomes a fetish for a lot of girls... and who the hell can explain a lot of the fetishes some people have.
     
  7. Ops_was_a_truck

    Ops_was_a_truck JOOOLIE ANDREWWWWWS!!!!!!

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    Right, but I don't think that's what Lance was aiming towards. He was saying that there aren't any already-established gay characters in the science fiction subgenre, so, possibly, that niche has gone unfulfilled (pardon the poorly-used pun.)
     
  8. Ops_was_a_truck

    Ops_was_a_truck JOOOLIE ANDREWWWWWS!!!!!!

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    This is something I hadn't thought of, and it does make some sense. By setting up the other character as the POV character, the author essentially has an opportunity to experience her "Kirk fantasy" or "Spock fantasy," as it were.
     
  9. McBradders

    McBradders James Franco Club! Moderator

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  10. Lance Halberd

    Lance Halberd oh hai

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    Have you ever heard of fag hags? Without yourself being a gay male or a straight women, this is a concept you may not fully and completely understand as I do, so let me put it this way:

    Straight women love gay men, so much so, they often harbor unrequited love for us, and want to have our babies. They view us as being emotional, sensitve, loving, kind, witty, cultured, fashionable, charming, romanitc, ... I could go on and on but basically, we're the ideal males they wish straight males could be. And so they give these qualities to the lead male characters in their favorite fiction as a way to enhance their fantasies.
     
  11. Team Jetfire

    Team Jetfire Pop-POP!

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    Yes I agree that there is a lack of a proper cross-section of peoples in many different fictional stories and I think that Flamepanther makes a good point that these characters may not be acting 'gay' but acting more feminine to perhaps appeal to both Gay males and females.

    In terms of popular movies, I think that the Matrix could have pulled of neo as a gay male.
     
  12. Ops_was_a_truck

    Ops_was_a_truck JOOOLIE ANDREWWWWWS!!!!!!

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    I've seen this type of interaction before; I kinda have an understanding of the group of women you're talking about. Without a doubt, yeah...those girls are really trying their darndest to build a connection with the gay guys in any way they can. It kinda makes sense, then, that this (slash) would simply be a continuation if their aspirations.
     
  13. JoshBot

    JoshBot Well-Known Member

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    I've always looked at it this way: guys love to draw pictures of Wonder Woman making out with She-Hulk, right? Slash fiction is basically the same thing. It ends up being more focused on the romance than the sex, 'cause that's what most women like to see.
     
  14. Team Jetfire

    Team Jetfire Pop-POP!

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    Wow, I did not know that. It is the Will and Grace Syndrome.
     
  15. Ops_was_a_truck

    Ops_was_a_truck JOOOLIE ANDREWWWWWS!!!!!!

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    :lol  Slash fiction authors are from Venus, comic book artists drawing hot chicks making out are from Mars.
     
  16. flamepanther

    flamepanther Interested, but not really

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    Of course IMO, none of these very sensible reasons (and in fact no reason at all) justifies misusing another author's character for the sake of wish fulfillment.

    Lance: So in other words, it mostly comes down to women wanting men to be more like women?
     
  17. Team Jetfire

    Team Jetfire Pop-POP!

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    Yes but women hate other women.
     
  18. Ops_was_a_truck

    Ops_was_a_truck JOOOLIE ANDREWWWWWS!!!!!!

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    Personally, I've always believed the exact opposite. See, I don't have a problem with slash fiction or its authors; I'm just curious.

    In my opinion, any source literature is game for interpretation. Nothing is a tome. Using someone else's source material as a basis for your own creativity is both comfortable and fun. For some authors, like fan writers, for example, it's all they'll know. For others, it's just one of the many ways of expressing one's self literarily.

    In that way, the premise of slash fiction, at least to me, is just an understandable continuation the author's interests. But it's the onus of it, the stuff I asked about in the source post, that still befuddles me.
     
  19. Lance Halberd

    Lance Halberd oh hai

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    That's it, Tales of the Juxtice League is going 100% slash.
     
  20. flamepanther

    flamepanther Interested, but not really

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    You'll find authors who are in both camps as well.

    Me, I believe strongly in an author's ownership of his or her stories and characters. I don't see a problem with fan fiction in general, but it ought to continue in a direction that respects the wishes and intentions of the original author. To a lot of writers, their stories are like children, and not to be overly dramatic, but you wouldn't want to see your children raped, would you?
     

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