verushka70: CKR's hands are just so damn sexy. (CKR's hands)
[personal profile] verushka70
So in the last 12 years when a ton of shit happened to me IRL (mostly repetitive strain injury-related, then a terrible combination of aging/sick parent related with job loss/layoff with returning to school/switching fields/careers), I fell of the Internet and out of fandom stuff for much of that time. I started to fall off around 2003-2004 due to severe bilateral tendinitis, and my absence was probably longest/participation was lowest from 2005 to around 2010 or 2011.



Much like being in a relationship for ten years had shielded me from the massive shift in online or "e-dating," my absence from fandom had not prepared me for the "shock of the new" and sites like Tumblr. Everyone was not on LJ anymore.

Via Tumblr, many fen self-identify who they are by means of short terms, some of which I hadn't heard or had heard, but didn't really understand. So by this self-identification I learned lots of new terminology -- for example, what cis gendered or non-binary or "ace" means. (I'm sure those terms were out there well before Tumblr, but I had not encountered them more than a couple of times prior to getting on Tumblr.) So I dutifully Googled a lot of stuff &/or asked other fen. It's all been really interesting and cool, even if it makes me feel so. very. old...

I am still not up on all the lingo of all these many ways of identifying, but... in reading the casual self-definitions of people on Tumblr, I've been thinking about what pulled me into fandom (lo, those 25 yrs ago! thank you Forever Knight, for bringing me to due South!) in the very first place.

It was slash that brought me to fandom -- the contemplation of slash, the mental continuation of attenuated, thinly disguised canonical semi-slash/pseudo-slash scenes, the (I'll admit it) fantasizing about "what really happened" between male characters in "missing scenes" because they couldn't be shown to be kissing or touching each other sexually on the actual TV show in 1992 (on Forever Knight) -- though their faces, inches apart, certainly utterly implied it was going to happen. That is what brought me into fandom.

I had not gone to a scifi/SFF con before that (unless Ren Faires count, which I don't think they do). Before the late 80s mainframe LISTSERVs, I had not known that any other woman on the planet was looking at the same two men on the same TV show I was watching, and thinking the exact same thing I was: they're gonna kiss; if they're not, they should be; these characters are totally loving and screwing each other in a parallel universe where this can actually be shown on TV. I had absolutely no idea there were tons of other women online engaged in the same thing, until I found them on the FORKNI-L email LISTSERV I joined in 1992 or 1993.

But what do we call ourselves? Do we have a name outside fandom, in the larger world, or in academia or gender studies? Do women who love slash have a term specific just to the love of slash? (Was there ever an archaic term for this, like from centuries ago? because that would be so cool... though I doubt that women of yore were able to be "out"/open about how they felt about seeing two dudes together, at least not if they found it super-sexy and squee-worthy.)

If there is a term for "women who enjoy contemplating/imagining two men being romantically &/or sexually involved with each other," is that terminology dependent on how we identify sexuality-wise? (given that there seem to be as many LGBTQ women who dig slash as there are vanilla het chicks, possibly more, that seems unlikely)

Is liking slash it's own thing, separate and apart from gender and sexuality? (Are there male slash fen? who aren't LGBTQ? IDEK -- I truly don't. Would this term -- if one other than "slash fan/fen" exists -- apply to those guys as well as us females, or would any such terms distinguish between the genders of the slash-admirers?

Maybe cis and non-binary and ace are terminology formed within that particular confluence of university studies and fandom (that's certainly where I was and what I was doing when I got into fandom).

But "slash" was a term before people were able to get slash stories through email lists or off the 'net. (I am familiar with the history of the term "slash" and origins in fandoms like original ST or MUNCLE.)

Yaoi (as a term) became popular in the late 90s, but that more describes the genre itself, than us women who love it. (And I can't say I personally relate much to yaoi for the simple fact that 99.9 times out of 100, I am not into boy/boy or tween/tween m/m... For me personally, at least one of the "m"s in "m/m" has to be an actual adult man -- YMMV -- Plus I'm not a manga/anime fan, unless you count a crush on Racer X when I was about 6 years old... I totally ditched Speed Racer for Racer X *g*!).

While such a term might be specifically about fans who like to contemplate m/m romance/sex, I would think it Could not be exclusively about watching/contemplating m/m couples being romantic &/or having sex -- because so much slashfic in so many different fandoms is PG rated with no sex at all, or primarily portrays the m/m relationship as deep partnership/friendship expanding into the realm of more than platonic love, yet less than explicitly sexual.

So... It's an interesting question, and I really don't know the answer. This isn't the first time I've pondered this in the last several months... it's just that I finally bothered to post the question.

I suppose I am fine with the term "slash fan" -- I just wondered if there was another term.

(I do object somewhat to the term "slasher" even though it is most expedient, but only because of the potentially violent connotations of "slashing" and "slashers.")
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