(( ooc: Yes. We real women are sexist against female characters who don’t exist. That is clearly the conclusion to be drawn from slash writing. Certainly my desire to write and roleplay stories about boys touching other boys’ naughty bits is a direct reflection of how I feel about every female thing in the universe, fictional or otherwise. Womb-hater. That’s me. It’s not as though fandom trends could possibly represent a varied but intersecting set of complex experiences and negotiations by fans who are working through both highly individualized (but also often communally and culturally experienced) notions of gender.
What I want to know is why some people (usually men) take it so personally that I’m writing slash or reading yaoi. Could it perhaps be because I’m not living out YOUR fantasy but inhabiting my own? Isn’t this an interesting tactic. Trying to make women feel like they’re not being feminist enough as a way of putting them in their place. (The worst part is I’m pretty sure that they’re not doing this intentionally. They’re just that thoughtless.)
What we have to ask ourselves, girls and boys, is this: Who benefits? When it comes to pairing characters together, the ones who benefit are not Men as a category or Women as a category, but fans of whatever gender identity who happen to like that pairing.
It just so happens that most of the people who like male x male pairings are women (not to mention men who like men, ilu guys too, it’s just that this particular image targets teh ladies). If I’m writing or roleplaying a pairing, guess who feels as though they aren’t being ignored? People who like that pairing. Guess who feels like they’re being ignored? People who don’t like that pairing. So actually, by writing slash, I am giving something to a largely female audience. Females who exist in real life. Not fictional characters. Real people. So how can you say women are being ignored when it’s largely women who are benefiting? ))
Curious how you seem to imply that people’s interests, sexual or otherwise (since slash is as much about satisfying a kind of emotional fetish as a purely sexual one), are divorced from wider cultural contexts, and that misogyny, be it external or internalized, is not reflected in the way people approach sexuality.
Question: why do girls feel the need to eliminate themselves from their own sexual fantasies in order to get off? Why do women feel threatened by their own presence as sexual beings?
Okay, I wrote a really long thing that is rambly and you probably don’t want to read. I’ll try to be more direct.
First off I’d like to take apart your questions for a second. I would disagree that girls are eliminating themselves from their own sexual fantasies. They are eliminating female bodies. That’s quite different from eliminating themselves entirely!
Can we both agree to rephrase your question as: Why are girls eliminating female bodies from their fantasies?
I can explain why the distinction is important if you’d like. Once we’ve agreed on the question and established why it needs to be phrased that way, then I’ll answer it.
Second question: Are you sure that the problem is that women are threatened by themselves as sexual beings? What leads you to conclude this, other than the fact that female bodies are not present in the fanfics? Do you have any evidence supporting this assertion aside from the lack of female bodies? By other evidence, I mean, are people actually out and out saying things that suggest that they’re uncomfortable with themselves as sexual beings? I’ve seen too much evidence to the contrary over the years that I’ve done research on yaoi/slash fan culture for that to be a credible assertion, but I’d like to know where you’re coming from and what your experience has been.
I think the issue I have with the question is that it’s assuming a lot based on the single fact: There are no women present in the fanfiction. You can’t draw a simple one-to-one conclusion from that.
What’s far more likely, given that what’s missing from the fanfiction is representation of female bodies, is that the issue has something to do with representations of the body. Somehow, the representation of the female body has become something undesirable. Or it’s possible that it isn’t about the female body, but the male body. It’s not that representing female bodies is undesirable but that representing male ones is desirable.
I would hesitate to call it threatening unless there’s a reason to believe that the women feel threatened by it. You can’t conclude simply from its absence that it’s threatening. There has to be something else that affords it the valence of fear. I think it’s more reasonable, when we’re discussing fetishes, to talk about desire (hence why I was using the term desirable/undesirable above). But I’m wondering why you use the term “threatening”?