Wednesday, December 26th, 2012 08:36 pm
Yes, really.

Because while I may not be into m/m much most of the time, and have my own Issues With Slash Fandom, I've seen a few posts pop up on tumblr recently (here's the most recent) which have been taking the very simplistic line that slash's popularity is purely a result of misogyny, and that writing m/m is equivalent to only writing about white people. These posts also act like het is this POOR OPPRESSED MINORITY which, no.

It's nearly 2013, fandom, have we still not moved beyond this? Can't we argue about something else now?

First off: het is not a tiny minority of fic in general. If it's a tiny minority in your fandom, that sucks, but there's plenty of others where it's the majority or at least around as popular as m/m.

Acting like het and f/f are equivalently unpopular is INCREDIBLY ANNOYING to me as a femslasher. No they are not(*). Acting like het is "ignored" for the same reasons as f/f is EVEN MORE ANNOYING to me as a queer femslasher.

Yes even if you are queer yourself. If you write het instead of m/m or f/f you are missing the chance to write about queer relationships just as much as m/m writers are missing the chance to write about women. This doesn't make writing het inherently bad (I write lots myself! Het is great!) but it does torpedo the idea that het is inherently less ~problematic~ than m/m.

(I also don't think writing f/f is inherently more ~enlightened~ than writing m/m, but that argument is at least internally consistent)

Also the way people conflate the supposed popularity of slash vs het with the way everyone writes white characters skeeves me out. Fandom is definitely racist, but is there any evidence that het is on the whole any less racist than m/m? Because it feels like that's the subtext. In Homestuck the anti-m/m people criticised the juggernaut m/m pairing for being "white cock" when THEY WERE EXACTLY THE SAME "AMBIGUOUS"/WHITE ETHNICITY AS EVERYONE ELSE.

Secondly: People write m/m for lots of reasons. Is it sometimes internalised mysogyny? Definitely! In the same way that SOME of het's popularity to homophobia. There are other reasons for liking both.

Some women have an m/m kink. Others are queer women who find f/f sex too personal to write about, or want to write about same sex relationships and can't find any relationships between female characters that hit their buttons. There's LOTS of other reasons too, none of which I'm really qualified to write about since I'm not really into m/m, but if I can listen enough to take note of them so can you.

Criticise sexist m/m for being sexist. Criticise fandom for writing so much of it's gen about men. But don't act like your shipping preferences make you morally superior. Unless you're a femslasher, obviously(**).

(*)NOTE: As much as the AO3 has very nice features for collecting stats, it is NOT representative of "fandom" as a whole. It was to some extent originally created by and for writers of m/m porn who got booted from other archives, and there remains a definite bias towards slash and slash heavy fandoms.

I have no idea how to find equivalent stats for other multifandom archives, but for example going to fanfic.net and clicking on the most popular Marvel comics subfandom (Xmen) the first page of stories sorted by favourites is mostly het, with some gen/ambiguous, a few femslash stories, and I could only see ONE slash story. Obviously this is not a totally representative sample (even the Xmen movie tag has more of a slash/het balance), but it does go to show that slash is not universally dominant even within Marvel fandom.

That said: I'm not in Marvel fandom, but I think a lot of the resentment in the specific post I linked to comes from the MASSIVE amount of slash coming out of the Avengers fandom right now. And sure enough, even at fanfic.net, slash seems to be more popular than het in both the Avengers movie tag and Avengers comics tag (the latter of which is full of movie fic. BAD AVENGERS MOVIE FANS NO COOKIE)

Maybe my issue here is people saying "fandom" when they mean "the specific fandom I'm in". But if you don't want people from outside your fandom criticising your argument, you have to be more specific :P

EDIT: Out of curiosity I checked out all the most popular ff.net fandoms by category that I was sufficiently familiar with to identify character gender. All were either roughly evenly split between m/m and m/f or dominated by het (though it's not always easy to tell pairings from gen, so some of that may have been m&m or m&f friendship). Glee was the only one with much femslash.
(**)As someone who finds herself in the mood for creating m/f more often than for creating f/f, I'm really not in a position to judge. We like what we like!

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