izzady: The White Queen is very strange (alice)
[personal profile] izzady
So I slept late yesterday due to not feeling well, and then was silly and had caffeine. As a result I did not really sleep last night. Instead I lay in bed and thought thinky thoughts about things. Today I tried to write some of them down. They are ridiculously long, but my brain feels so much better.

So here is the first installment:


Wow, seriously, I ship Alice/White Queen so hard. She is her Champion! Whee! I just want to see more of them so much. I made embarrassing noises in the theatre. The White Queen is so whimsical and Alice is so bemused and yet strangely direct.
I mean I guess there could be Alice/Hatter going on too if you wanted there to be, but seriously Alice/White Queen, it was all over the place.

Actually, I could ship Alice/Red Queen too in an adversarial, sneaky seduction sorta way. I mean, Alice infiltrates the Red Queen's castle by showing up naked on her lawn, and suddenly becoming her 'favourite' and running around in that Dress(!). (I may secretly ship Alice/Dress. Or possibly I want to ship me/Dress. It was indulgent and unnecessary and I love it with a burning passion.)

and that led to...

Rambly discussion of femslash and the (relative) lack thereof

Because Alice got me thinking, and I'm sure much of this has already been said, but it's floating around in my head, so here we go. (Footnotes to attempt to alleviate my abuse of parentheses.)

There are probably a lot of different reasons why there is way less femslash than slash in fandom[1]. Some of these probably have to do with why stories about gay guys in particular are so appealing to the people who write and read slash. However, I think a lot of it really just has to do with the equal or greater disparity in easy source material.

There is just not as much out there that screams 'femslash me!', particularly in film and television, which is where a lot of fandom source material comes from. I mean, the fact that the Bechdel test[2] even exists as a concept is pretty much a testament to this. If you want to slash characters who have canon tension and chemistry, they kind of have to interact sometimes[3]. For something to leap of the screen as femslashy it needs to be passing the Bechdel with flying colours and then some[4]. Plus, as is true for slashing guys (no really, it is), not every story with a significant relationship between two characters will lend itself to slashing, and when the pool of possibilities is already small, this means you're not left with much.

I honestly don't think it ever really hits me how rarely I see femslashy things until I do see them. It's like I see so many slashy things that I've subconsciously convinced myself that my femslash goggles are not as strong as my guyslash ones. But every once in a while I come across something and go 'Wow, they are so totally be into each other!' and it reminds me that if it were there, I'd likely be seeing it.

Tim Burton's Alice was one of those moments for me. I was full of shippy glee while watching it and then my wonderful Women's Studies major roommate started going on about how much of a big deal it was for her that there were actually multiple, interesting female characters in it, and I kinda went, 'Oh duh! That's sort of a prerequisite, and there isn't a lot of it going around'.

I didn't have to work to femslash Alice, there was subtext. Debatable subtext, but subtext. Not as much subtext as in many of the ridiculously slashy canons that many of our fandoms are based on, but subtext nonetheless. There was subtext partially because there were characters to have subtext between, which is, unfortunately, rare.

Basically, (omg, I have a point?) as much as we love our pretty boys, I think slashers would slash girls a whole heck of a lot more if we got a little more in the way of girls to slash[5].

And in a round about way, I think this is significant when we're talking about women as slashers and why they are so into gay guys. I'm not saying that we're not into gay guys. I'm also not saying that there aren't a significant number of women slashers who would not be interested in femslash even if it were more readily available. I'm just not sure that those women necessarily represent the overwhelming majority of slashers, just because guyslash is the overwhelming majority of what we write and read. And I think it might be important to keep that in mind.

When the discussion about why we slash gets to the point about how sometimes we want to get away from the problems that come with talking about straight relationships, and the next question is 'but why don't we talk about lesbian relationships?' part of the answer is that we do. Why do we do it so, so much less? Well, part of the answer is that we really, really don't have as much to work with.

[1]Clearly, there is a bunch great femslash out there, but the disparity is obvious.

[2]To pass the Bechdel test a movie/show/(book I suppose) must:
a. have at least two female characters
b. who talk to each other
c. about something other than a man
It is freaking depressing how many things, even things with kickass female characters, do not pass this test. Or that do pass it on the basis of teeny-weeny scenes.

[3]Not that there's anything wrong with slashing characters who don't have a strong canon connection - rare pairings, crossovers, whatifs etc. are awesome - but it's bound to create less volume of work than really compelling subtext.

[4]I suppose it is theoretically imaginable that two female characters could have a lot of interesting interaction while incidentally only talking about men. But I imagine that that's even rarer than things just passing the test. Two women cops or whatever who are pursuing a suspect who is a guy, for instance. But really are they not at some point going to talk about equipment, or location, or donuts, I dunno.

[5]Case in point, all the awesome femslash that is out there for fandoms where there are awesome relationships between women in canon (the existence of Gwen/Morgana, for instance, makes my heart go pitter-pat). Not to mention all the awesome femslash that gets written even when the characters don't have much of a canon relationship at all. (see 2) If you consider that large chunks of femslash are working with character dynamics and character popularity equivalent to rare pairings of the het or slash nature, I think it puts the relative scarcity of femslash in context a little.

So yeah I need to work on brevity. I maintain that academia trained it out of me.


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