I wonder, sometimes, whether femslash isn't more heteronormative than mslash because it takes gender (female) as stable and given. elsewhere, I rationalized this by commenting there's a presumed alignment between the gender/sexual identity of the readers/writers and the gender/sexual identity of the characters in femslash fandom that doesn't exist in mslash fandom. not that that alignment isn't still the site of slippage and tension (I certainly know femslashers who identify as straight women). but the situation is different. I have a problem with calling mslash "more queer" for that reason. I don't see why there has to be a hierarchy of queerness. I do think the queer inflection is differently located -- perhaps more in on the side of fan community than on the side of fan texts (and with all the complicated negotiations of gender politics that that entails).
personally, I think it's awesome that slash fandom is one of the few public spaces where men are the ones at the margins. not that it's possible to escape a world of male privilege, but this is one of the places where that privilege is at its lowest idle [at least internally]. personally, I believe that with this comes the responsibility to treat our own marginalized group -- men -- with hospitality and generosity... to sum it up I think that gender shouldn't be a criterion for how people are allowed to participate in this community... not that it doesn't make a difference. the positions and histories that we speak from of course make a difference. just that, you know, we should approach those differences with tolerance. that's what we need to do to avoid being inadvertently regressive.
so if everyone is on the same page, I thought that while I'm here I'd do a roundup of some of the meta posts on femslash that I've saved over the past couple of years, many of which are relevant to the above issues of gender and sexuality.
what and why is femslash?
alixtii (who is out as male) - Thoughts [2007-02-03]
The problem with lumping both femslash and m/m slash under the same "slash" label isn't only that somehow femslash always seems to end up dropping out of the discussion altogether (no matter how much some might protest that they really do mean both brands of slash), but that the grouping just plain doesn't make much sense. In addition to the gender of the objects of desire (a not insignificant difference, obviously!), the tropes, the communities, the ethoses (ethoi?), and the dynamics of the fic are all so incredibly different that one can't help but ignore one or the other when using the term "slash"
animimares in hp_girlslash - Why do femslash? [2006-03-19]
My question now is to ask you; why do you read/write/draw femslash? Who read/write/draw femslash?... I look around the community and I see a variety of people; a variety of stories and a variety of possible reasons. I know my own; I’m a lesbian and I am better at relating to homosexual themes than het, because I know gay, right? I do it because when I write it I write about something I know about and something I can understand. I read and write femslash because it has something to do with me! But my reason is not the only correct one.
anna_maria and lasultrix - debate Extremely Important Things [2004-03-13]
Femslash isn't a genre. You can't say "I don't usually like femslash"... If you like m/m, and you like m/f, but you don't like f/f, you have issues with sexuality and/or gender that you need to deal with on your own. vs. Femslash is a genre in that there is a totally different dynamic attached to it than is attached to het or even m/m slash. And thus is makes sense that people can generally read m/m slash and het and not often read femslash.
why isn't there more femslash?
carmarthen - Why is there so little geeky academic discussion of femslash? [2007-02-20]
Seriously, the "why do we write slash? what does it mean for feminism? blah blah ad nauseaum" discussion goes around fandom what, every week? Where is that for femslash? I don't think femslash is as simple as "lesbians like reading about women!"
You probably remember viciouswishes (in)famous post Community, Identity, and Femslash, which spawned responses by trancer21 here, jennyo here, fox1013 here, and viciouswishes' follow-up here [August 2006].
volsi in hp_feminism - Femslash [2005-09-26]
I primarily read femslash. This may be because, as a lesbian, endless cock has limited appeal for me... So what is it about femslash that dissuades writers?... What do you think are the main problems facing femslash, how does femslash relate to the rest of fanon, and how do you (as feminists) feel about how the characters are portrayed in femslash?
tehlils - M/M vs. F/F [2005-01-11]
So, everyone is talking about why M/M is more prevalent than F/F... I don't think its lack of relating to female characters or there not being enough strong female characters in various fandoms. What I think it comes down to is language, sexuality, media and comfort... We need more of a reason to bring two women together romantically than we do two men. This isn't always the case, but it often is. We're also faced with horrible examples of the romantic f/f relationship in the media... We're faced with assumptions and a need to be comfortable with our sexuality in order to write f/f fiction.