Sterek? Merthur? Wincest? Harry Potter/Draco Malfoy? Who are you shipping? Nominations are open in the AfterElton Ultimate Slash Madness Tournament
GEE I WONDER WHO SHOULD WIN THIS?
mmmm all that beige dick
WHITE DUDE SLASH IS THE ONLY SLASH AMIRITE???
SLASH IS THE SOUND OF TWO WHITE DUDES FUCKING, APPARENTLY.
•surely having gus in there is a mistake •oh look we are inclusive we have one poc in our big ol whitebread list •hooray for inclusiveness with an inter-racial pairing! •don’t even get me started on how only like 2 of those characters are canonically into dudes •and they aren’t even fucking each other •where is the love for actual gay couples on television? •where is the love for poc ships on television? •oh wait this is tumblr •silly me
I had to reblog for the commentary and awesome tags because word. This is something I’m always thinking about really because it’s so blatant but never gets discussed in fandom except in occasional spurts. What we see here is the fandom Slash zeitgeist of sorts. Why so predictable AfterElton? Because fandom is so predictable. I’ve seen it with every new trend or hot new couple in fandom year after year after year — Slash is a white dude world. If two hot white cis dudes are anywhere near each other, they will get slashed. There have been several instances in a movie/tv/book/band verse where two men of color or a man of color and a white man had the most “slashable” chemistry, but fen went out of their way to slash the white dudes in the movie/tv/book/band, and it was the white ship that would always be the most popular ship in the fandom. Time after time I’ve seen this.
People always argue that it’s because the “character of colors” are just not as ~interesting~, etc. etc. excuse excuse. Look, I’m not arguing that characters of color are not treated horribly by TPTB and often go seriously underdeveloped and unexplored (hey how’s Boyd doing over there, Mr. Davis?), but there are many instances when characters of color are developed and still get ignored. If you tell me that Rhodey from the Iron Man movie franchise is not an interesting character and doesn’t have a fuckload of chemistry with Iron Man himself, I’ll laugh at you. But could you find fic for them at the movie’s height? Not that much! Trust me, I searched. But, people went out of their way to slash Iron Man with other white dudes. That’s just one example. I have a ton of them. Don’t even get me started on fandom’s reaction to Elementary and the casting of a woman of color as Watson.
But I’m not arguing that folks can’t ship what they want. People are attracted to what they are attracted to, and you love what you love, but it’s also important to understand how socialization, race, and dominant societal norms (like patriarchal white supremacy) all play a role in what we see, are attracted to, and from what lens an audience is most comfortable looking at the world. And I speak as a woman of color who’s shipped popular white dude ships (and I’ve gotten shit for it), but I still recognize the forces at play that make it so that white males are getting the leads, the complex storylines, and the development at the expense of women and characters of color. But I don’t think it’s always about who gets the better storyline. It’s also about how certain norms shape what folks consider “attractive” and “slashable.” I think it’s a hard issue for fen to think about and discuss, but it’s one that will continue to be this huge elephant in the room unless we start to do more to challenge the media and fandom.
The trend seen in AfterElton’s poll is problematic, especially when over the years I’ve seen so many good shows/movies/books/bands get ignored by fandom — and sometimes it seems as if the largest reason is because those shows/movies/books are lead by women or include folks of color, or the leads are too old, or just don’t fall into the “slashable” formula (two hot youngish white cis dudes). These shows and ships often don’t take off in fandom in the same way, and I don’t know about you, but it’s something I’m constantly saddened by.