lierdumoa: Queer Advocacy and Slash Fandom: Then and Now
Most advocates for queer rights would agree that we suffer from a lack of positive representation in the media, and that prejudices within the media both reflect, and contribute to prejudices in society at large.
In order for people to hold prejudice against queerness they must first believe…
While I agree with the fundamental baseline argument that slash fanfiction, on a basic level, works to represent queer characters and make the world a queerer place, I have huge problems with the argument this post lays out.
For one thing, it is significantly rewriting slash fandom history to make the claim that “slash has shaped how modern media represents queerness,” or to imply that the existence of early slash fandom did anything to further out characters who already had an immense amount of homoerotic tension.
Slash fandom did not invent the concept of homoeroticism. Queer subtext without payoff is a fundamental part of the celluloid closet. (If you have not yet watched or read The Celluloid Closet, I strongly recommend doing both.)
Historically, slash fandom has only been groundbreaking for the people who have been in it. The lesbian relationships on Voyager and Xena were built organically from fan followings, but they also were never more than fully subtextual, much like Mulder/Krycek on the X-Files. Buffy’s groundbreaking lesbian relationship wasn’t a product of a fan following, and was actively resisted by a huge part of the Buffy fandom at first. As a subculture, an awareness of the existence of slash fandom did not directly impact the way shows portrayed queerness, until arguably the mid-2000s with the influence of Doris Egan on Smallville and House, and the rise of other shows with huge slash followings. And it’s only begun to significantly impact mainstream media representation in American and UK television within the last few years, with Merlin and SPN.