Anyone who says slash fanfic/het porn fanfic is remotely comparable to mainstream porn is talking total trash garbage. You shouldn’t feel hypocritical.
Yes, a hell of a lot of fanfic contains unrealistic portrayals of sex acts, or is out of character compared to the canon characters involved. However, fanfic is by definition not “objectifying” anyone because 99% of the time (even in stories that are pure smut) the characters are characters. Slash fic explores characters and relationships, even if it’s just a 500-word interlude where two dudes bone in the showers. Also, those plotless smutfics don’t exist in a vaccuum, they’re part of a preexisting culture and backstory. Think about it: if you posted a fic where two nameless guys have sex for no particular reason, it’s not going to inspire a lot of interest in slash fandom, even if it’s really well-written. However, if you post an equally short NC-17 Sherlock fic where John and Sherlock have a bunch of passionate sex after Sherlock’s return from the dead, then people are going to be super into it because they’re already into the John/Sherlock dynamic + the sex scene has an extra emotional component of tying into the overall canon.
The most popular fics are usually long and plotty — ie, the exact opposite of mainstream male-targeted porn, which is typically a variation on the theme of penises entering orifices with very little attention to characterisation/storyline. The ultimate goals of fanfic and porn are completely different. Even if we’re ONLY looking at the relatively small proportion of slash fanfics that are literally pure, unadulterated sex scenes with no connection to backstory, the purpose and execution are still quite different from, say, 10 minutes of girl-on-girl action. Plus, the characters already exist in the mind of the audience: we know who they are, and why they are doing what they’re doing, even in the sketchiest of scenarios. It’s not just the gay sex equivalent of a MILF fucking the pizza boy, or whatever.
Honestly there are so many differences here that I could go on all day. But basically you just need to think about what “objectifying” means in the first place. The main criticism of mainstream porn is that it portrays women as a) interchangeable examples of a physical ideal, with slim hairless bodies and big tits, and b) objects rather than active participants. Men in slashfic are the opposite of this. While they are usually good-looking, the reason why they’re popular in the first place has more to do with scenario/relationship dynamics/personality than just physical appearance. Which partly reflects the way in which people are socialised to judge men by their actions while women are judged more by their appearance. Thinking about slash pairings that are super popular right now, Sterek from Teen Wolf is probably the biggest. But while both guys are good-looking, everyone in the show is good-looking. Jackson and Derek are probably the most classically handsome guys in Teen Wolf, so why aren’t they the most popular slash pairing? Because they’re not being objectified, duh. People are writing 50,000-word epics that include backstory, worldbuilding, and a romantic/sexual storyline between Derek and Stiles.
I suspect that one reason why some guys are weirded out by explicit slashfic is that it messes with their idea of what women want in a guy. During conversations/arguments about sexism in the media, you often hear people saying things like, “But the guys are just as idealised as the girls!” which is VERY rarely true. The “ideal woman” almost always looks like a 20-year-old underwear model, while the “ideal man” is a much more nebulous concept, not necessarily linked with his physical appearance. This comparison would only make sense when if the world was full of unattractive, 60-year-old female politicians with hot, 25-year-old lovers. Or movies where the female equivalent of Bill Murray was paired with the male equivalent of Scarlett Johansson. If slash fandom teaches us anything, it’s that when women create their own erotica, it’s a lot more emotionally and intellectually complex than just the written equivalent of a porno.
Oh, and finally, fanfic is different from porn because porn is a business, while fanfic is a community where (mostly) women create things for each other in a gift economy, discussing sex and relationships in a way that isn’t necessarily acceptable in everyday society. plenty of people who read/write slashfic aren’t even attracted to men in the first place. which would be kind of a puzzler if you’re trying to argue that slash fulfills just the same ~objectifying~ purpose as mainstream porn.
[postscript to this whole thing — i kind of looked at this scenario with a “worst of both worlds” approach. most fanfic is so plotty and character-driven that it’s a COMPLETELY different genre than porn, so for the purposes of this post i’m really just referring to specifically NC-17 fic, ie the closest fanfic ever gets to “objectification” in that it’s relatively goal-oriented as an erotica scene. also, obviously there is a wide range of visual porn out there, but for the purposes of this post, you can assume i’m referring to the kind of mainstream hetero-male-oriented porn that most people complain about ~objectifying women. it’s 2am now and there are about a billion more points i could’ve made in this answer, but basically the whole thing can be summarised as: if you think slash fanfic objectifies men, then you don’t know anything about slash fanfic, and you don’t know what “objectify” means.]
Really, really interesting thoughts on fanfiction, slash and porn.
I always hate it when people call any story “pornography.” If there’s a real story, it’s not porn. Something can be sexually explicit without being pornographic.
Also, I like this point about how the most popular fanfiction is usually long and plotty — the opposite of pornography.
The Toast also just ran a really interesting post about slash.
Tagged #The thing is I've seen gay men arguing against slash and yaoi #I like pretty guys getting it on as much as the next chic #but if homsexual men find a problem with it there is definetly a problem with it #yaoi #slash Posted on 24 September, 2013Reblogged from girlsbydaylight Source hellotailor
today is bisexual awareness day. be aware of bisexuals. they are out there, and they are dangerous.