The Complications of Slash as a Fanfiction Genre
This post calls some folk out who needed to be called out, and also draws attention to the blurry line of slash as a genre versus slash as the concept of same-sex relations. She also talks about the fetishization and over-sexualization of queer and gender-queer individuals — sometimes especially by slash writers — in real life. There’s nothing wrong with being turned on by slash, but there is something wrong with the entitlement that goes along with transferring and demanding that arousal be satisfied by real people. Would you like to be oogled and have sexual or intimate acts demanded of you for the satisfaction and sexual excitement of others? It’s objectification, it’s disrespectful, and it’s ignorant.
In some ways I think defining slash as a genre is a good thing; to me it means the fic has become so mainstream in fandom that it has created its own category with its own particular troupes and themes (some of them problematic, but that’s a whole other post). I also think it’s fair that, as slash identifies more as a genre, so therefore must het fic. Last year the admins at UR.org were called out for defining the Romance categories for the Hourglass Awards as "Romance" and "Slash Romance", and all of us *headdesked* in a simultaneous duh-moment; the categories are now defined more equally as "Het Romance" and "Slash Romance". Defining one as a deviation of the other as a norm is at the core of the privilege issues surrounding this debate. I think it’s more or less a good thing that slash becoming a genre has forced het to also become a genre.
But slash-as-a-genre does cause problems — especially in conversations about the topic — when some people discuss it (and whether or not they enjoy it) as a genre while some discuss it (and whether or not they enjoy it) as a broader concept. Most problematic is the discussion of slash that darts back and forth between the two definitions, using one to defend and justify what may really be homophobia and privilege. Value and moral judgments get clothed in false political-correctness, which somehow makes them "okay" to say.
Not enjoying slash-the-genre doesn’t make you a bad person. Saying so doesn’t necessarily make you a bad person. Just remember that any value/morality/decency modifier you choose to use when you do so can be rift with a subtext you may not even be aware of because individuals that identify with the lifestyles represented in slash and gender-queer fic are better equipped to see the privilege and homophobia beneath it than you are.