Slash

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Terminology

Below is a partial list of slash specific terminology.

  • Bandslash stands for slash stories and fandoms that focus on male musical groups instead of media like TV, books or movies.
    • Popslash is the subset of Bandslash for boy bands.
  • BL is the abbreviation for boys' love.
  • BSO can stand for Beautiful Sex Object, Batterable Slash Object, or Battered Slashable Object. The use of all three forms predates 1999.
  • Genderfuck or genderswitch are relatively recent terms that describe stories in which one (or sometimes both) male characters are transformed into women, usually by some mysterious magic. Genderfuck sometimes includes stories where male characters cross dress, especially if they have to pass as women as opposed to drag queens or visible transvestites. In almost all cases, the characters involved identify as male and do not willingly crossdress or change sex.
  • Mpreg stands for male-pregnency. These stories feature a male character somehow becoming pregnant (magically, through mutation or science, alien intervention or not addressed by the author at all), usually via receptive anal sex with his male partner. It allows the authors to portray their male/male pairs having a family of their own, with a child who shares both parents' genetics. In almost all cases, the details of how the pregnancy occurs, proceeds, or ends is not described in detail and generally, the pregnant man behaves like a very stereotypical pregnant woman complete with mood swings, food cravings, swollen feet an so on. Despite not being well regarded, mpreg remains a fairly popular sub-genre of slash.
  • M/m fic, boyslash, yaoi are variations of slash.
  • F/f, saffic, girlslash, yuri are variations of femslash.
  • Non-con stands for sexual relations where one participant is not fully willing or consenting but generally does not include a violent physical attack. Drugs, mind-control, blackmail, magic love potions and sex with an unconcious person are all examples of non-con. The use of violent physical power is still called rape.
  • Uke a Japanese term describing the bottom, or receptive partner, in a male/male sexual relationship. It also implies a feminine or submissive man.
  • Seme a Japanese term describing the top or penetrative partner in a male/male sexual relationship. It often implies a hyper-masculine behavior.
  • Surprise!buttsex is a mocking term used to describe poorly written slash where one partner has anal sex with their partner without any sort of preparation like lubricant, foreplay or even letting them know before dropping their pants and plunging in.
  • Switch refers to someone who has no strict preference as to whether they are top or bottom during sexual intercourse.
  • Top and bottom terms that come from the real world gay community and describe the penetrative and receptive partners in sex. In fanfic it also implies dominant/hyper masculine behavior or submissive/feminine behavior.
  • "Wngwjleo" stands for "We're Not Gay, We Just Love Each Other". This is a type of slash story where the main characters remain "entirely heterosexual", with the exception of their one true love.

Historical Definitions

See Historical definitions of slash.

Early Slash

During the early 1980s, if a reader wanted to purchase slash contained in a fanzine, they would frequently have to send the fanzine publisher a copy of their drivers license in order to verify their age. [1]

In 1981, same gender pairings were being discussed, as was how people preferred to view the Kirk-Spock-Bones relationship. Verba cited a survey which said most people preferred to see that relationship as a friendship.

Early slash was not about gay. Slash has not been about GLBT until the Xena fandom when the two met for the first time. There were no females really to pair the guys with and write a good story. The female characters were limited and not as multidimensional. The only obvious people to pair them with were male characters. Homosexuality was never expressly talked about. Homosexuality was still a bit of a titilation/retaliation thing in fandom. Slash was about creating logical pairings and subtext. Fandom would and did use threats of outing during the 1970s and 1980s as a way of getting fan compliance. Slash was not about queerness or homosexuality just like a lot of slash, for the most part, now isn't. Fan fiction, unlike GLBT lit, seems to have no concept of orientation or has the concept that sexuality is so fluid as to not be worth mentioning.

The term, slash, was used for the first time in the fanzine Night Tonight, Spock which was published in 1985. (Langley)

It wasn't until 1985 that the word slash was first used in the fan fiction community. (Langley, Boyd, Curtin) According to Langley in a phone interview in the summer of 2005, this date is subject to some leeway as the date was ascertained by herself and Mary Ellen Curtin going through fanzines in their extensive, personal collections and trying to find the earliest usage. Langley's date of 1985 is helped as she was a long time participant in fandom and can draw upon her own fannish experiences to put a time frame on the date. When looking through Usenet records from that period of the 1980s, the fact that the word might not have been used till that time is logical. The Kirk/Spock convention of using the slash to denote a romantic pairing was still not standardized until the late 1980s, early 1990s. The word is not used in Star Trek Lives! but has picked up enough usage to be used by Henry Jenkins in 1992. Verba's discussion in her book, Boldly Writing, uses the word slash in the index but as a see K/S. K&S is used by the Verba to denote Kirk/Spock friendship stories.


And there was a lot of discussion during the 1990s if Queer as Folk was slash because it featured canonically homosexual characters. Most canon, I think especially with the older stuff, just assumes heterosexual norms. And fan fiction was not necessarily about making social statements. So much as it was about repurposing the "texts" for their fans own needs. Much of that involved personal enjoyment, etc. IF there was a larger social agenda of normalizing homosexuality in the English speaking culture, I don't think it would have caught on. Especially as GLBT rights are NOT something that a lot of the slash community is on the band wagon with. The first big pro GLBT movement in the fannish context that I heard of wasn't until Xena and femslash.

Because a lot of slash is about turning men into objects of lust and desire though obviously exceptions. With the men in the Star Trek fandom, a lot of them were married to women in the Star Trek fandom. Or married women. The cliche about heterosexual married women writing slash came from that early period.

annlarimer on LiveJournal said the following at http://telesilla.livejournal.com/415237.html?thread=2553605#t2553605

"There was an idea floating around for a while in hte 80s/90s that if a publisher of a slash zine couldn't get a printer to take the thing (it happened -- and at least one publisher was rumoured to have had her originals 'confiscated' by an offended print shop), that it would be a great idea to look for a gay-run print shop and have the work done there."

Reactions to early slash

What was the initial perception of slash in early fan fiction communities? Answer: In an academic paper, an author cites Henry Jenkins who says:

Jenkins (1992) explains, "The colorful term, 'slash,' refers to the convention of employing a stroke or 'slash' to signify a same-sex relationship between two characters (Kirk/Spock or K/S) and specifies a genre of fan stories positing homoerotic affairs between series protagonists" (186). This genre emerged in the early 1970s in the Star Trek fan community, and was initially met with significant resistance. Most academic study of slash fan fiction has concluded that it generally involves loving relationships between otherwise-heterosexual men, and is a way for women to evade or reconstruct gender to their liking. However, fan reaction to academic theorizing about slash has been vocal and divergent in opinion; this will be explored in more detail below. All of these categories of fan fiction are visible as antecedents to the categories in X-Files fan fiction.


Slash History Timeline

1970s

  • There are stories from this period of printers destroying homoerotic content that was printed in fanzines. [2]

1974

  • "A Fragment Out Of Time" is the first known Star Trek slash to be published in fanzine. The author was Diane Marchant. The vignette was published in Grup #3. The language was highly coded and didn't refer to Spock and Kirk by name but rather referred to them as he and him.(Curtin, ksboyd@sfu.ca, Verba )

1975

1976

1977

  • According to Katherine Langley, one of the earliest pieces of femslash to appear in a fanzine was "Kismet," by Dani Morin. This story appeared in Obsc'Zine #2, published in August of that year. This story’s plot included Uhura discussing with Chapel the nature of Captain Kirk and Spock’s relationship. This is a way for Chapel to cover her own feelings for Uhura. The appearance of this story proceeded the publication and stir over the Kirk/Spock material by three years; Diane Marchant’s Kirk/Spock “A Fragment Out of Time” was published in Grup 3 in September of 1974.

1977 to 1983

1978

  • Between January and March, Thrust was the first Star Trek fanzine published to contain only Kirk/Spock slash in the early part of this year.

1980s

1980

  • The Starsky and Hutch community in England veered into the land of slash. This happened when “Forever Autumn” was published in March. “Forever Autumn” was the first piece of slash to be written in this community. According to Langley and ksboyd@sfu.ca, this caused a disruption in the community as members worried about the reaction of the actors, networks and producers to this material. They feared that those parties would attain these materials and begin a crackdown to prevent the proliferation of this material.

1980 to 1984

  • 1981 The first MediaWest is held over Memorial Day in Lansing, Michigan. A fan run, media based convention, MediaWest gradually began allowing more and more slash content (panels, programming, fanzines and video show). However, as a 'family friendly' convention, slash has been segregated or reserved to later hours (ex. the slash video show is held after 10pm). http://www.mediawestcon.org/
  • The Professionals community starts up and starts up as a primarily slash based community.
  • Zebracon a Slash convention is held in Chicago, Illinois. It was initially focused on Starsky and Hutch fandom (Zebra 3 was their car's call sign). It then branched out to embrace The Professionals and other cop/spy/sf shows. The convention was held annually and then switched to a 2 yr cycle. [6]

1981

  • Slash was being discussed in the Star Trek fan fiction community, as was to how people preferred to view the Kirk-Spock-Bones relationship. Verba cited a survey which said most people preferred to see that relationship as a friendship.
  • The procedure, in the United States, around 1981, if you wanted to get an adult content or slash fanzine generally involved sending the fanzine publisher a copy of your drivers license. [7] According to accioslash, "A signed statement reading, "Honest guys, I'm really 18" didn't cut it as an age statement." [8]

1984

  • Archives from net.startrek during that period show that discussion of slash, referenced as K&S instead of the current convention of K/S to refer to the Kirk/Spock relationship, was happening on the group, along with advertisements for various Star Trek fanzines.

1985

1988

1988 to 1990

Then again, I must agree with the idea that there's only so much you can
say, even in alternate universes, time travel, etc. The passion just
ain't in the creative community any more, I guess.
Kinda like the way Professionals slash fandom took off and generated
gobs of fanfic, but has slowed quite a bit. I think readers (as well as
writers, who I can't speak for) do get bored after 8 - 10 years of the
same single fandom....
  • In May, 1990 [9] on rec.arts.sf-creative in May 1990 there was a Call For Discussion regarding whether or not slash fiction should be allowed or banned on the grounds that it could be considered obscene or offensive.

1990's

  • Duran Duran slash and het fic circulated in fanzines like UMF, the Zine for the Creative Duranie. UMF editors noted that Duran Duran were aware of the fan fiction. Sidewinder notes that the RPF people at the time did not seem to come from the same community as "traditional fan fiction fans" were coming from. (Sidewinder: [10])
  • 1990 Escapade - a fan run media based slash convention was first held near Santa Barbara, CA, bringing together slash fans face to face (some for the first time). Most attendees were women and the first fandoms focused on the Professionals, Blake's 7, Star Trek and Starsky & Hutch. As of 2007, the convention has been held every year and has grown to encompass a wide range of attendees (men and women) and many fandoms. http://www.escapadecon.net/

1991

SLASH: THE APA
OE: BAST
Addr: [xxxxxxxxx]
[xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]
Frequency: semi-annual
MINAC:
Interest: Slash fiction (mainly anime and manga, but not really
restricted to that). "Slash" refers to stories or manga in which the
sexual preferences of the characters are altered -- the term
originated in Star Trek fandom with Kirk/Spock (say
"Kirk-slash-Spock") stories. This apa is NOT for everyone -- it
contains somewhat graphic descriptions and illos of homosexual
activities.

1992

  • In March, the Nifty Archive came on-line. It is well known in fan fiction fandoms as a repository of boy band and celebrity erotica.
  • On the [soc.motss newsgroup] in December a discussion on "Porno for women vs. Women's porno" provides information on where and how group members can find slash zines, and on the introduction of academic interest in slash and fan fiction exemplified by Henry Jenkins's recently published "Textual Poachers" book.

1993

  • 1993 First slash mailing list created, run from a private list-serv on the East Coast. It was called "Virgule" (another name for the / symbol) and membership was limited to women. It remained active through the 1990s, until more fandom specific slash mailing lists on Egroups and YahooGroups became popular.

1994

  • The Blake’s 7 fanzine, Southern seven 9, was published. Among the stories in this zine was "Cruelty Has a Human Heart" by Jane Carnell. While not explicitly f/f, there is, according to Sarah Thompson [12], a non-sisterly type f/f relationship depicted between Soolin and Dayna.
  • The alt.tv.highlander and alt.tv.highlander.creative newsgroups are created, allowing broad fiction content including adult and slash.
  • Announcement for Virgule Con posted to rec.arts.sf.fandom newsgroup. The convention was held in Seattle, October 7-9, 1994. Convention geared to media slash fans featuring panels, art show, charity auction, dealer's room, music videos, more.

1995 to 2000

  • The 1990s started an important phase in the fan fiction community. This was the emergence and integration of the Anime community into the Real Person Fic and media fandoms. Anime fen brought with them their own traditions and terminology, concepts like yaoi, yuri, and lemons.

1995

"Slash" is specifically homosexual couples (in some fandoms where there
are openly homosexual characters, as in anime fandom, it is sometimes
used to mean stories in which characters who are *not* established
homosexuals in the source material have homosexual relationships.) I
don't know if het couple fiction has its own specific term-- it's usually
referred to as "non-slash erotica" or something like that.

1996

1997

1998 to 2003

  • For a period between 1998 and 2003, it looked like Eastern and Western fan fiction cultures would merge as each seemed to borrow concepts, terminology and practices from each other. By 2004, this merging seemed to be dead. Yaoi and yuri were not being used in Western oriented fan fiction communities. Slash was not being used in Eastern oriented fan fiction communities. Each community seemed to have retreated into itself. The cross over fannishly was becoming smaller. Anime and Harry Potter fan fiction were not sharing, in similar numbers, the same fan space at larger automated archives.

1998

  • Zoë Rayne was the third person to publish Joxer/Ares under her old pseudo name, Dyevka. The first two authors to write this pairing were Miriam Heddy and Black Rose. (z_rayne: [22])
  • Athea was the first Joxer/Ares author with her War God series, writing the new pairing in a Hercules/Iolaus mailing list.
  • By this time, Liz Griffin was penning her Janeway/Torres fan fiction. Her works would be described by others as the zenith of this romantic pairing. [23]
  • Chick with a Dick: Male characters, often in slash, who are written as overly feminine while still retaining their male identity. Origins: 1998, God Awful Trek Fan Fic. This term was most often used in the context of m/m slash, where traditional gender roles were overlain on members of that pairing.
  • On March 12, 1998, Sofie Werkers founded the Rareslash mailing list.
  • Several fan fiction communities discussed slash. As a result, various defenses of slash articles were written and began circulation in the fannish community.
  • On ASCEM, related dialogue involves the issue of if slash and het need to be rated differently.
  • 350 pieces of slash were posted to alt.tv.x-files.creative. (Rosalita: [24])
  • WPAdmirer wrote her Chicago series, an ER/X-Files cross over that was influential in ER slashy circles. (Cathy (huntersglenn@cox.net) on alt.tv.er.creative )
  • Tom Paris raped in prison fanon developed. The idea that Tom Paris was raped in prison first came from fen who had read it in a story by Brenda Antrim. The story worked this concept in so seamlessly that other people borrowed it for their own stories or assumed it was canon and referenced it in their own works. As more people did this, the idea perpetuated and perpetuated until there became honest debate within the fandom as to whether or not this idea was actually canon.
  • From October 15, 1998 till September 12, 2002, FanFiction.Net had an active policy forbidding ActorSlash while they have Musicians and other real person fic categories. [25]

1999

2000's

2000

  • Yuricon and ALC Publishing were founded. (http://www.anilesbocon.com/ ) They have anime and manga that caters to women’s desire for f/f anime related materials.
  • Mailing lists were also at their shining and brightest thanks to the ease of use of services like Topica and EGroups. A number of influential lists that would influence the course of their fan fiction communities were founded. These include RS-X, Better Buffy Fics, Prospect-L, ER Realms of Slash, Fanthropology, and Harry Potter for Grown Ups.
  • BadFic, a tradition which can be traced back to Paula Smith’s Mary Sue, became more main stream and critical, less kind approaches to critiquing fan fiction began to happen. This was evident across fan fiction communities with the rise of lists and websites like Better Buffy Fics, Citizens Against Bad Slash, the Wicked X Witches and God Awful Fan Fiction. It was also mirrored in the greater proliferation of MSTs of fan fiction.
  • Fuh-Q became part of fannish terminology. Fuh-Q was originally the title of a story written by JA Chapman (see JA Ingram) and Olivia Montieth for the Small Screen round robin on ASCEM. Charlene Vickers and JA Chapman then started an off-topic list called Fuh-Q where several authors converged to talk about things that couldn't be discussed on ASCEM. Carola, aka ladykardassi, a Fuh-Q member adopted the name and used it as a title of an on-line zine. The phrase was used on alt.startrek.creative.erotica.moderated annd made popular by jacquez, hafital, and ladykardasi who were are original members of the Fuh-Q list and still are to this day. The word came from an in joke on the Usenet group. A common misconception is that this fannish tradition was a result of a discussion about Spock only having sex once every seven years. (http://www.livejournal.com/community/fanspeak_help/3054.html). In truth it had to do with Jen Ingram's, formerly Jen Chapman's, take on the Picard/Q relationship. Olivia Monteith then suggested the name for their personal discussion group as if to say, "If you don't like what we're talking about, Fuh-Q!" Fuh-Q is still a thriving community of friends which is in its tenth year.
  • By this time, Anik LaChev had started writing the Janeway/Seven Uber classic, “Campus.” (http://home.arcor.de/hanninanni/)
  • On February 3, 2000, the hpslash mailing list was founded.
  • On April 7, 2000, the Bindlestitch, a Due South slash oriented mailing list was created. (Marythefan: http://www.livejournal.com/community/fanthropology/65512.html?replyto=1435112)�
  • In June, in Melbourne, Out-A-Space was held. This was a mini convention run by Spaced Out. They had a panel on slash. Amongst the things discussed at this panel was why gay men were uninterested in reading stories featuring gay storylines as written by heterosexual women. (http://spacedoutinc.org/DU-04.html)
  • In June, SinpOZium, a slash convention, was held in Sydney, Australia.
  • On June 28, 2000, Prospect-L, a Sentinel slash and gen discussion mailing list, was founded.
  • In September of this year, the Femme Fuh-Q Fest was started in the Star Trek [37] fan fiction community. It currently houses over 320 Star Trek f/f slash stories.
  • beatlesfanfictionlist was founded on September 24, 2000.
  • On October 21, 2000, ER Realm Of Slash, a mailing list dedicated to ER slash, was founded. (Kathy (huntersglenn@cox.net) on alt.tv.er.creative)�
  • On October 23, 2000, Majolique posted her story, "Midnight Confessions" to the hpslash list. This story is credited as being the first Snape/Harry fan fiction published. [38][39][40]
  • On October 31, 2000, Unquiet posted part one of "A Different Lesson" the hpslash mailing list. [41][42][43]
  • On November 2, 2000, the snapeslash mailing list was created. (titti: [44])
  • On November 3-5, the first BASCon (Bay Area Slash Convention www.bascon.org) was held in Burlingame, CA.

2001

2001 to 2003

2002 to 2004

2002

Not only are a lot of female writers of m/m slash simply uninterested in f/f, many are actively uncomfortable with it (for reasons I won't even go into because that's another rant)--a few to the point of saying it shouldn't even be called slash at all. And again, while I must reiterate that none of this is limited to slash (because it's so not, even though okay, apparently maybe I am gonna pick on it a little), I find prejudice like that ridiculous. [56]

2003

Slash usually refers to fanfic concerning the romantic/sexual pairing of two male characters (the definitive slash couple being Kirk/Spock). I have seen female pairings called "femslash," "fem-slash," "f/f slash," "female slash," "girlslash," sometimes just "lesbian fanfiction," or "femmeslash" Heterosexual fanfic is usually called "het".
However for all intents and purposes one can find all these combinations just searching for "slash", the term seems to be becoming more generic.
And yes, the term "romantic" was used up there very intentionally, I have seen lots of slash, indeed the very first slash I ever saw, that was purely about romantic love rather than sexual behaviour.

2004

2005

2006

Blog Pulse: Real Person Fic (RPF), Real Person Slash (RPS)
Google Trends: Star Wars fan fiction, Star Wars slash. 2004 to late 2006.
Blog Pulse Trend Tracker: Star Wars slash, Star Wars fan fic.

This section needs more information.

2007

Technorati 360 day chart for slash generated on April 14, 2007.
Due South related chart from Blog Pulse dated April 18, 2007.
Harry Potter gen, het, slash mentions on blogs according to IceRocket for the past three months as of June 28, 2007.
Keyword search information for Harry Potter slash for December 2007.

Sources and additional reading

See Slash bibliography.

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