One of the things I find so fascinating and effective about slash is its ability as a genre to locate and address absences within canon and fanon. Certainly, lots of fanfic (I nearly wrote “manfic”–oh dear) does this as well, but what I think is unique about slash is that it has an agenda–slashers go in looking for absences to fill in in a very specific way (ahem).
The slash that I’ve found most effective are those stories that are able to rush into a gap and build the K/S relationship within it. What I find interesting is that there is a menu of narrative gaps in canon/fanon into which slashers have a tendency to rush: the “lost years” between the end of the Enterprise‘s first five-year mission and the beginning of ST: TMP, for example, or the quick and (for slashers) unsatisfying ending of the TOS episode “Amok Time.”
I say all this because I truly admire slashers’ tenacious ability to speak up, their refusal to allow absences to persist and their understanding that, as fans, they have as much right to re-present narrative gaps in the manner of their choosing.
To me, the general slasher attitude is quite at odds with the smug, we-know-we’re-right attitude of the contemporary, dormant feminist movement. The slasher knows that Paramount is never going to present Kirk and Spock as lovers; therefore, if she/he wishes to see K/S represented in that way, it is the slasher’s responsibility to write it. Being silent and acting sullen won’t convince Paramount otherwise; so, rather than cede the ST narrative to the corporate drones in Hollywood, slashers embrace the role of the rhetor and create their own sexy, transgressive rhetoric.
In my next post, I’ll examine what I see as the feminist movement’s active silence in contemporary culture, and the real-world ramifications of their ceding of the narrative to all who stand to gain from re-defining feminism on their own terms.