|01:31 am - The Male Female: Slash and the female writer.|
I haven't been using this account much. I would say this is usually reserved for things fic related and judging by oh, the last 6 or so months, I haven't been writing much.
But I have been reading. A lot....
And I'm rather curious about something. Well, more annoyed than anything and it's a common problem that along the entire spectrum of slash (one that I thought was limited to Twilight due to the series' heavy focus in angst and lovey-doveyness) and I wonder if it's on the slash reader consciousness as much as I think it's should be. What I'm talking about is kind of hard to explain, because I would need to cover a few things first. That being:
1) Gender roles
2) Femininity and Masculinity.
4) Slash readers and writers.
Well, here we go....
1) Gender Roles
Gender roles are typically societal norms established, practiced and directed by either male or female. Anything practiced out of that specific directive depending on your gender can lead to ostracism, hostility, orientation assumptions or peculiar looks depending on how far off the gender role grid you're willing to go. For example, an aggressive woman in authority can be viewed as a bitch because it is not generally desired or expected of her, but an aggressive male in authority will get little to no slack. A househusband might get weird looks and perhaps even taunts from other men while of course, it is to be expected from women.
2) Feminity and Masculinity
Biologically speaking, feminity and masculinity are traits found in both genders but usually tend to differ for each person. Although socially applied to the sexes, femininity shouldn't be confused with shopping, make-up or girltalk and masculinity shouldn't be mistaken for liking sports, playing video games or chasing tail though what ultimately creates those gendered ideals amongst individuals is typically charged by feminine and masculine traits. These traits aren't to be confused with hobbies. In many ways they are evolutionary forms possessed but differently distributed within sexes (though this isn't always the case). Men tend to exude more masculine traits such as: aggressive, dominant, assertive, etc. Women tend to exude more feminine traits such as: empathetic, passive, receptive. Clearly, these traits aren't exclusive. I've seen my fair share of aggressive passive females and dominant empathetic males, but this is clearly where individuals confuse what may be a gender influenced trait and what has to be a gender role.
In regards to writing, I find characterization pretty important. Every person has a history, perspective, emotional spectrum and ways of interacting with the world. I read fanfiction, so I don't expect the work to be flawless (lord knows my stuff isn't) and I don't expect all writers to do loads of research and delve into their characters like a psychologist, but at the same time, you're telling a story and it can only work if you have some key elements involved, plot, character arc/dynamic, a believable concept/interesting story, etc. It's suppose to be fun, yes! But if you're posting it publically, chances are you are also posting it for others to enjoy. Part of what influences that character is gender, merely because of how others interact with that individual and how that individual interacts with others. For example, if you're writing a female hero fending off 2 men, chances are they view her as weak. It could influence whether or not she wins the fight. A male hero faced with the same 2 men, may have a completely different altercation.
4) Slash readers and writers
Those of us that read slash, read for many reasons. I suppose the most popular reasons being that we absolutely love our sex/erotica/lemon/whatever the hell you want to call it, we enjoy love stories and we want to see a world that just so happens to be too awesome for canon (or in some cases totally canon and no one is admitting to it). We desire these things so much that we have our pure PWPs, hardcore Angst and Hurt/Comfort tales just for the hell of it. But we tend to fall into a Slash niche, because we become possessed with that reader/writer passion and we create all these....clones of stories and lose focus of originality in aspects of characters and story formula.
There is one thing I'm completely and utterly aware of; we're making our own worlds and it's all for fun and fantasy. Totally get it.
But even a fantasy has to be bought. Even a fantasy has to have some form of realism. I would have thrown down my controller if while playing Skyrim, taking on a dragon, it started prancing around singing Disney songs slowly sucking away my life simultaneously. Humorous, yes, but it takes away from the general mood and mythology of the story. It wouldn't have sat well with us if suddenly Dumbledore popped up in the middle of Deathly Hallows and was all "Lol, I'm alive." and it damn sure doesn't sit well with me that Princess Leia kissed Luke only for us to find out -albeit last minute - that they are related. It's continuity, realism, and total entrapment in a story that keeps the pulse alive and makes another world. We wouldn't want our favorite novel writers to sell us short because we wouldn't continue to read, so why do we allow our slash writers to do so?
No hate or disrespect to my fellow, slash writers. This is to better our writing, but surely what we are seeing now is pure laziness. And after about 5 of minutes blabbing, I think actually bring to point what the hell I'm talking about: Feminized/Idealized Male Characters in Slash Writing. This is different from effeminate gay characters in slash writing, or male characters that have strong feminine traits. It's a form of writing where either the writer gets too involved with their own emotions regarding the story or not enough emotions period and start to bleed their own mind and personality into the characters. That's not to say that our creations aren't pieces of who we are. Write what you know, right? But....for each character, there is a story, a history, etc.
Here's my problem then. There is a difference between a good angst story and a melodrama. There is a difference between a good, male character and a perfect male character. These differences are realism and mediocre storytelling and the more I expand through slash fiction, the more I'm seeing it and seeing that a load of readers are buying it. I don't like to think of Slash fiction as Romance Novels, because I've seen stories go places, talk about real emotions and issues while utilizing owned characters of multiple fictions. I've seen gay rights brought up, mental conditions, family loss, rearing children and other interesting aspects of life. I've seen multiple awesome kink tales, stories that made me laugh until I choked, made me flail and made me cry. They are out there. But it is becoming harder to find them and more common to see the simple formula of what we idealize in the male gender and his role while applying it to a male/male relationship which is different within itself and nothing like the heterosexual world most people live in. Not to mention, most of us are women influenced by woman thoughts and woman desires. This isn't me establishing a gender bias but cold, hard facts of biological/societal differences. So for every Twilight Jasper/Edward fic (oh lord, there's a lot of them) that profess their undying love for each other every fucking paragraph, singing songs on guitars and reading poetry to each other and crying all the god-damned time, there is another potential story wasted, an expansion of character squandered. Not to say that lovey-dovey stories can't be done, just those types, those heavily idealized heterosexual men with female minds in homosexual relationships doesn't cut it for a believable story. Well, not to me at least.
It's so common, I believe its accepted and even sought out. I even see some of it in my own writing, especially my oldest stuff, so I'm not immune. I'm not stating that this is necessarily a problem. It annoys me like hell, but I can live with it. I bring this up because a story told is important and it wouldn't hurt to consider these thoughts while reading or writing one. It changes and opens up your imagination, realism and understanding of human interaction. For writers, it provides complexity, richness and flesh to characters and a story. They become your children, rather than your clone or dream men. For readers, your enjoyment is enriched and more enjoyable and so much more addicting.
In the end, slash stories should be good and fun, no matter what couples/universes/genres/fictions you like.
Current Mood: pensive