I started writing this as a comment in response to stella_polaris
's post, here
, but it was getting long and I decided to make it an entry in my own journal instead.
said how cool Scully was and how it's so hard to find another fandom/series with such a great female character and I totally agree.
The inability of most writers to come up with good female characters reminds me of how stores that aren't stereotypically feminine (like hardware stores) sometimes have stupid marketing gimmicks to try to get more female customers, like selling hammers with pink flowers printed on them. Like women never want a hammer for, you know, hammering things, as opposed to matching our nail polish.
The problem is rooted in writers having the idea that men are people and women are Other, we're Not-Men, and therefore we can't possibly have the same motivations or feelings as normal human beings. Some writers get that they're supposed to make "strong" female characters and they end up writing the inhuman, ballbusting Mary Sues because that's the only alternative to "damsel in distress" that they can come up with. It's sad.
I was thinking last night about the reasons why people like slash (because, according to mijan
, some asshole at Phoenix Rising gave a talk claiming that slash fans hate women's bodies and want to be men
*. Nice.). I say the reason male slash is so much more popular than femslash in most fandoms is because most fandoms have no more than one, and often zero, female characters that are interesting and well-developed (as characters, not boob-wise) enough to write about. Buffy and Xena are two exceptions, where there are more cool female characters, and there we see more femslash. It occurred to me that Harry Potter fails DTWOF's movie litmus test "The Rule"
, which states that a movie (or book series in this case) should have:
1. At least two female characers who...
2. ...talk to each other...
3. ...about something other than a man.
Harry Potter fails on the third one. We hardly ever see two female characters talking to each other and when they do, it's always about a male. Correct me if I'm wrong but I'm pretty sure there isn't one single scene out of all six books where two female characters have a conversation that isn't about Harry, Draco or Voldemort. In contrast, the male characters talk to each other about all kinds of things besides women: school, sports, plans for the future, other people of their own gender.
Not that I'm trying to hate on J.K. Rowling - she's no worse than any other mainstream author. My point is that HP slash is naturally going to be pretty male-centric because the source material is male-centric. It's harder to write a relationship between two characters when we never see them interact with each other in canon. I think even more important than the difficulty in writing femslash is the difficulty in getting an audience for it. Fanfic is much more popular than unpaid, web-based original fiction because you already have a built-in audience. That's why bad writers warp the canon characters beyond all recognition: they want to write original fiction but they recognize that if it isn't attached to an established fandom then hardly anybody will read it.
When a fanfic author works with less-developed characters, there are going to be more gaps to fill in with original stuff and the impression I get is, unfortunately, the more original stuff you have to add about the characers, the harder it is to attract an audience.
Therefore, liking male slash doesn't automatically make you a misogynist.
OK, it looks like, although the abstract said that, the actual talk didn't. But still.