RSS Feed
Jul 1

Writing a story with enough, but not too much romance

Posted on Wednesday, July 1, 2015 in Writing links

Dec 14

Slash and Yaoi

Posted on Friday, December 14, 2007 in Writing

Slash and yaoi are getting more and more popular. Both deal with romantic love and sex between men or youths. None of that is completely new, but what is quite unique, I imagine, is that both writers and readers are women, at least the great majority. What surprises me personally, is that sometimes those women are lesbians. In any case, it’s women, who are interested in reading about men involved in sexual relations.

I’ve read many explanations for this. Among others, the fact that these types of fandom (stories written by fans – that is ordinary readers, tv viewers and movie goers) lack positive female characters/role models. That is probably true, but I suspect that slash – the western variety – would be popular anyway.

Another explanation is that the young women who read, watch tv or movies like to identify with their favorite character, who is male, naturally. Most heterosexual young women are fascinated with attractive men. If they identify with a male characters they can hardly – if they’re heterosexual – feel particularly enthusiastic over a female partner for that man. So they pick the male character they like second best and make him the first guy’s lover.

Besides, many men aren’t ashamed of admitting they are turned on by watching two women in a sexual situation, something that doesn’t have anything to do with increased openness and tolerance for homosexuality. Why shouldn’t women be allowed to get turned on by watching two (good looking) men together? These phenomena are probably caused by the same thing.

I think it’s interesting to note that rise of this interest coincides with a time of increased equality in the western world, maybe in Asia too. On the other hand, I find it hard to believe, though naturally I don’t know for sure, that there are a great number of slash fans in the Middle East.

Either way, I think slash and yaoi is connected with increased equality.

One reason that is often mentioned as an explanation why women like to read about men who are lovers, is that we’re not happy about our role in society. Women are stilll, despite the increased equality, subordinate to men in many contexts. For instance, we usually get paid less for our work. Besides, men are still over represented among violent criminals. That might lead to a sense of dejection, that after so many thousand years, we women still risk being beaten, raped and killed by men. How many men are raped and killed by women?

Naturally, there’s also a reaction to this increased equality. Either because of low self esteem or maybe a wish to rebel against what they feel is the feminism of an older generation of women, some young women choose to submit to male dominance. They pose nude, give private sex shows in front of their webcams and they also claim to be eager to be treated as slaves by dominant macho men.

I won’t go into that, because it doesn’t interest me and I don’t really know much about it. It’s completely alien to me.

Looking at the average slash or yaoi story, you’ll find that the lovers are two men, even if in yaoi one of them is a feminised boyish or even girlish youth. No submissive woman. Possibly a submissive male, but usually two relatively equal males.

Naturally you’ll get that in a lesbian relationship too. Two equal people in a relationship. Straight authors naturally lack the interest in this type of thing, but why don’t the lesbians enjoy reading about it? I’m afraid I don’t have the answer to that question.

In any case, the point is that we – heterosexual women who read and write fan fiction and especially slash – don’t like to identify with a submissive woman in a relationship. The ‘pure’ relationship between two men appeal more to us.

You mustn’t think fanfiction fans are very numerous. Unfortunately. There are still many, particularly older women, and possibly teenagers, who enjoy reading the old type of romantic fiction, with couples consisting of a dominant, older, well-to-do man and a younger, beautiful, but submissive female.

There’s no accounting for taste. Personally, as a fan fiction author, who also writes slash, I can only say I’m glad that there are some people who like my type of story.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: