The slash fandom confessions of @hetwhitefangirl
If there’s one universal truth about fandom, it’s that even though it’s vast, extremely diverse, and populated by women, white dudes still rule the roost.
At least they do in slash fandom—the part of fandom focused on male/male relationships—where the mantra “slash is the sound of white men fucking” is so common people have written songs and made one famously controversial satirical banner about it.
But now, for what may be the first time ever, a brave new satirical Twitter account is stepping in to defend the oppressed heterosexual white fangirls who just want to squeal over two boys in love.
The “No Homo” banner, and the discussion around it, takes a hatchet not only to the generic ‘two white dudes bantering’ formula that seems to generate tons of buzz from fandom around a show but to the fangirls who continually flock to turn those movies and shows into huge fandoms, most notably Sherlock, The Avengers, Supernatural, and Teen Wolf. The phenomenon of slash fans who migrate between Anglo media franchises, hopping from one eminently slashable white dude pairing to the next, is so noticeable that fans have formed several terms for it: Any Two Guys, Migratory Slash Fandom, Random Militant Slashers.
None of this, however, has stopped fans from being drawn to those characters and tropes, though it has led to increased discussion about why fans are drawn to certain pairings over others, and how to increase representation of diverse fandoms and female characters within slash fandom.
Recently, one fangirl dove into the fray with a Colbert-esque Twitter account: @hetwhitefangirl. While fandom has parodied the migratory slash fandom many times, this is probably the first time it’s ever happened via a Twitter roleplay account. @hetwhitefangirl, whose real name is Jess, is actually a “homoflexible” fangirl who’s in most of the fandoms she mocks. That’s her in her Twitter pic. She blogs at lastofthetimeladies on Tumblr, when she’s not skewering slash culture and the fangirls who make it happen.
True to the slash party line, @hetwhitefangirl hates Elementary but loves Jennifer Lawrence. (She’s strong, funny, and doesn’t threaten any of fandom’s popular male/male ships, which makes her the perfect fangirl totem.) @Hetwhitefangirl’s commentary is current, and she squeals with fangs bared:
And she doesn’t just stop with mocking the migratory slash fandom. She also mocks other het white fangirls—like the Ten/Rose shippers in her own fandom, Doctor Who: “I love all the companions on Doctor Who except Martha,” she tweeted, pithily summing up years of fandom drama. “She's so whiny & sad. Not that I'm stuck on Rose...or racist! I just don't like her.” When questioned further, she clarified, “oh lol I meant on the real Doctor Who, not the old Doctor Who.”
Naturally, the Daily Dot couldn’t rest until we cornered @hetwhitefangirl and asked her to fill us in on her misunderstood life. The result is a hilarious, snark-filled interview that takes potshots at just about everyone. Don your armor, fans, and read on!
Daily Dot: What made you start your Twitter? Was it because there weren't many fangirls like you?
There are definitely a lot of fangirls like me, but I feel like a lot of the time we're reduced to a flailing mess and don't have a voice. I wanted to become the voice of the fandom (or all fandoms). I think allies like me don't always speak up enough about their experiences as allies. It's important for all of us slash shippers to stick together against the homophobes of the world!
DD: Can you describe your ideal couple? What makes them unique?
What my ideal couple looks like is two tall, pale, and skinny British men with a little bit of muscle. They would have a lot of angry sexual tension at first because they would be rivals at something, but then they would realize they were in love. I mean, there are so many other ideas for couples I get, and sometimes I feel like writing fanfiction but with my own original ideas, but I think the important thing that makes all of these couples unique is that they have the kind of chemistry that only two men can have. There's that build-up of subtext and then finally they kiss and become everyone's OTP [One True Pairing].
DD: How does being a slash fan empower your everyday life?
I feel incredibly empowered, being a slash fan. A lot of people don't want to get in touch with that part of themselves—the part that accepts gay subtext as canon and unabashedly reads and writes kinky fanfiction about it. I feel bad for people who can't accept the reality of gay characters on TV. It's really a shame that there are so many people out there like that. I feel like if I were to ever meet a gay person, I would feel empowered knowing that I'm a slash fan and an ally, and I would befriend him really quickly.
DD: What will happen to fandom if Sterek doesn't become canon?
I already consider Sterek basically canon. There's enough subtext that it might as well be. People can ship what they want to ship, but the fandom isn't going to change to fit the mold of the small minority of hetero-supremacist shippers.
DD: Do you feel there's a need to talk more openly and honestly about the love lives of white men in fandom?
Yes! There is not enough discussion about gay men in fandom at all! That's why I'm so glad my Twitter has gained popularity—there I can be truly candid. I think a lot of slash shippers feel the need to hide out of fear for the so-called "social justice bloggers." But these same bloggers, who are supposedly pro-LGBT, are also denying that many of my ships are canon. That's falling just short of oppression! We have to speak honestly about our ships. We have to discuss every moment where one man's eyes hold the other's, and the way their hands touch, and everything like that. Seeing the "gay" in things is not difficult if you look, but you have to be willing to talk about it openly and honestly.
DD: Do you have any fetishes?
Does gay sex count? :P
DD: But what are your thoughts on yaoi?
I love yaoi! I spend a lot of time reading smut about all my OTPs, and sometimes I even write it.
DD: Have you ever read any femslash?
No, I don't read femslash. Lesbians aren't really my thing. I just don't see the appeal. Maybe I'll kiss a girl out of bicuriosity sometime, but I'm not really, like, into that kind of stuff.
DD: Female characters in your slash fanfic: Do they make great side characters or are they just needless window dressing?
I think female characters can make great side characters! There's something to be said for love triangles between two men and a women—you think the men will be fighting over the woman, but you come to realize that in the end the two men end up together! I love the idea of a female rival for one of the members of one of my OTPs. As long as my OTP gets together in the end, it's great. It just adds to the tension between the men! So yeah, women are great for love triangles. Also, being the platonic best friend and confidante of one of the guys. If she's not a part of a love triangle, she shouldn't be a part of the love story at all. I like it when female characters kind of become like the mentors of the gay characters and ship their relationship before it even happens. Does that make sense? It's like female characters who are best friends of the men are real-life slash shippers in the fanfiction world!
DD: Would you ever consider shipping best friends Troy/Abed (Community), buddy detectives Gus/Shawn (Psych), mentor/mentee John/Ronan (Stargate: Atlantis) or House/Foreman, buds Tony/Rhodey (The Avengers), love/hate rivals Stringer/Avon (The Wire), or those buddy cops from Common Law? I have no idea why I mention these characters specifically.
I ship everything if I see the chemistry there.
DD: Do you think fandom has a problem with race?
I don't really see race when I look at people—I just see people! I think the people who have a problem with race are the people who are still racist and are afraid to admit it. The fandom as a whole doesn't have a problem with race. But the people who try to call other people out for "racism" and "cultural appropriation" (lol whatever that means) are the people who haven't caught on to the fact that art is art, regardless of race. Like the casting in movies and television. If they'd had a black guy who auditioned for Sherlock Holmes better than Benedict Cumberbatch, then the black guy would have gotten the role. But Benedict Cumberbatch is and always will be the perfect Sherlock. They cast it that way for a reason. (Plus a black Sherlock Holmes would be weird. I mean, those stories were originally written like a few centuries ago, before black people even lived in England.)
DD: Any words of advice for fandom?
Don't ever stop shipping! Don't let anybody tell you what to ship or what not to ship! Don't let the social justice bloggers get you down! Your opinions are valid and well-formed, and they should be respected.
As always, fangirl logic proves irrefutable.
Photo via hetwhitefangirl by Aja Romano