Lamb, P. F., & Veith, D. L. (1986). Romantic myth, transcendence, and Star Trek zines. Erotic universe: Sexuality and fantastic literature, 235-55.
One of the earliest pieces of research published about fan fiction, Lamb and Veith’s essay is a first crack at answering the foundational question of fan studies: why do straight women read and write about men banging? Lamb and Veith focus their analysis on Kirk/Spock slash. They argue that in fan fiction, rather than being presented as masculine, both characters become androgynous by acquiring both typically masculine and typically feminine characteristics, which often complement each other. By removing gender differences from the equation, fan fiction writers are free to explore relationships which are genuinely equal and unencumbered by power dynamics.
A table reproduced from Lamb and Veith’s essay outlining the different feminine and masculine characteristics given to Kirk and Spock in K/S fan fiction.
Kirk feminine qualities: Femininely “beautiful”; shorter, physically weaker; emotional; intuitive; sensuous, engages in much physical touching; verbal; evokes powerful emotional responses from others
Spock masculine qualities: Masculinely rugged; taller, more powerful; logical; rational; controlled, physically distant; reticent; keeps others at a distance
Kirk masculine qualities: Sexually ready at all times; is undisputed leader, initiator of action; is the “real” or “norm”, always at home; is fulfilled prior to Spock, only with acceptance of the bond is he firmly united with Spock; Spock complements his “at-homeness”; is sexually promiscuous (Spock assures his fidelity); is usually the seducer
Spock feminine qualities: Sexually controlled (except during his Vulcan mating cycle); needs to be led, follows Kirk into action; is the “alien” or “other”, always the “outsider”; is fulfilled only with Kirk; felt one-sided fidelity to Kirk even before the bond; needs Kirk for full identity; a virgin until marriage, he exhibits absolute monogamy after marriage; is usually seduced, but once unleashed his sexuality is very powerful