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Heterosexual fanfiction, where are thou?

Updated on March 5, 2013
How the fanfic authors see it.
How the fanfic authors see it. | Source

I've been reading and writing fanfiction ever since 2005 (and hopefully improved throughout the years). I've read fics which left me banging my head against the wall because the idea was just so amazing while the writing, formatting and grammar made my eyes bleed. I've read fics with cliché plots but written in such an amazing way that I couldn't stop myself from loving them.

Recently, I found myself browsing various memes and that left me wondering. What the heck happened to heterosexual pairings?!

Don't take me wrong, I love well-written slash as every next person (in fact, I'm to be blamed for several short snippets of slash - nothing all that big, though. YET). I love every kind of well-written fanfiction as every next person. But really - what happened to female-male interaction?

I've recently started to discover fandoms of various series of Star Trek - mainly The Original Series (also The Animated Series, but the fandom is basically the same one in this) and Star Trek 2009. I was surprised about the amount of slash pairing stories.

Star Trek TOS main pairing seemed to be Kirk/Spock. That is quite understandable I think, given the amount of long eye-contact in almost every single episode, the occasions when Spock is showing emotions because of Kirk and how much is Kirk willing to risk for Spock in return. It's actually no wonder that after the five year mission Spock decided to jump the ship and remove himself from all the emotions the human crew made him feel - if for nothing else, then for all the beautiful angst it brings to fanfic authors, who can write bittersweet stories of Kirk and Spock and their doomed love. McCoy generally seems overlooked in TOS, and then there are some pairings like Spock/Chapel, maybe Scotty/Uhura (these two definitely look so nice together in TOS) or even McCoy/Chapel - but that's it. As much as nice and in-depth the female characters were, it certainly didn't bring them much love I think.

Star Trek 2009 seems even more fixated on the slash pairings. Pick Sulu, Chekov, Kirk, Scott, Pike, Spock, McCoy, Spock Prime or even Sarek - and make them into couples or threesomes and I believe you got an idea how majority of the fan fiction scene looks like. If there is heterosexual pairing, it's mostly Amanda/Sarek or Spock/Uhura and sometimes McCoy/Chapel - the latter often ends in Uhura and Spock breaking up and him finding love in the arms of the dashing Captain or gruffy Doctor. There may or may be not occasional mentions of McCoy/ExWife or Kirk/CarolMarcus - but that's it. Mentions, while the final pairing is often slash.

I love to read bromance. I love to read gay romance. But sometimes, I would love to read some heterosexual romance, or male-female friendship, too.

I would love to say something smart in the end, such as "let's restore female-man pairigs fics!" But given the fact that I'm currently working on several fanfics with slash pairing, the hypocrisy could kill me.


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    • profile image

      Nikki 2 years ago

      Fiinndg this post solves a problem for me. Thanks!

    • Katie Armstrong profile image

      Katie Armstrong 4 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      A lot of authors don't seem to have a good grasp of how to write female characters, which is kind of strange. Women aren't some mythical creature that only exist in fairy tales--authors can go out and interact with real life women pretty much any time they want to in order to see what women are like. This is especially strange in the context of Star Trek, where part of Roddenberry's idea of the future was a completely egalitarian society free of sexism and restrictive gender norms (and also, in his mind, free of clothing, which explains most of Kirk's interactions with aliens).

      Yeah, most fanfiction ends up in the bedroom, but that's because many series don't include bedroom scenes, or at least not satisfying bedroom scenes. Harry Potter, for instance, has few romance scenes when compared to the overall number of pages (though many pages are given to Harry having romantic frustrations, the impending doom of You-Know-Who is a little more pressing, lol). Thus, there are tons and tons of HP smutfics written by fans who are longing for that release of tension. They need catharsis, so they write it themselves. (I'm guilty of writing several smut-inclined Kingdom Hearts stories; to be fair, the major themes in that series are 'connections', 'the heart', 'emotion', 'memory', etc. but the games themselves don't provide any romantic catharsis yet. I don't release those fics into the wild, though--I write them to release tension, so it doesn't subconsciously work its way into less romance-based fanfics, lol.)

      The extreme example here is Twilight. Four quite large 'romance' books go by with hardly any romantic payoff, so a fan wrote an almost equally long fanfic which eventually became Fifty Shades of Grey...which has hardly anything except sex. And really, that's no better, lol.

    • profile image

      Ann 4 years ago

      I totally agree. I'm not against well written slash but I'd like to see some convincing het relationships once in a while. (my search led me to this article) Variety is cool! And I also agree that there aren't many strongly written female roles in many series. That problem makes it hard to work with cannon and het relationships without making OCs. Also I dislike that a lot, if not most, fan fiction romantic relationships seems to just be a lead in to pure smut. It seems to be what people want though... :( There's more to life than sex.

    • Katie Armstrong profile image

      Katie Armstrong 4 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      What appeals to me about slash pairings as a (female) almost exclusively slash fanfic writer is the power dynamic between two men in a relationship. I hate the cliched seme/uke roles with a fiery passion--what makes slash interesting is when it's not basically just a hetfic where the woman has her pronouns changed. Look at the pairings in Star Trek--Kirk and Spock are very near one another in rank, and their interactions don't necessarily suggest who would take the more 'active' role (e.g. Kirk is Captain, but Spock is physically stronger, etc.), and that's what has made that pairing interesting for decades.

      I try to put off writing the bedroom scenes as much as possible because there is some sense of that power struggle breaking down once that point is reached.

    • Veroniquebee profile image

      Veroniquebee 5 years ago from Czech republic

      Well, I can understand the "one candy + one eyecandy make two eyecandies - so let's have it!" opinion of the slash pairings. But as you say, some of the pairings make no sense, written the way they often are.

      About lack of believable female characters - I think that mostly depends. I think that quite a lot of fans of Star Trek watched the series, read some books and watched the movie, so their view of the characters is probably slightly different from someone, who only watched the series, only read the books and only watched the movies. Not that any of this is bad or would make you a bad fanfic author, but I think it's good to see more sides of the character.

      But personally I'm getting the feel that most of the fanfic authors are females - and, quoting my ex-boyfriend - "slash is literature for women." So - no wonder there is so much of it!

    • Rebecca2904 profile image

      Rebecca 5 years ago

      Great hub! I often find that there are so many slash pairings, particularly in the Harry Potter fandom, that make next to no sense and it seems like the author has just put them together because they're both pretty hot and would look good together. I think a bigger concern in the Star Trek world isn't the lack of male/female interaction, it's the lack of believable strong female characters full stop. I love Star Trek TNG, and I particularly love Doctor Crusher, but it seems like the only times she's well written is in fanfic, in the actual show she normally comes off as pretty weak and indecisive. Perhaps that's why slash is so prevalent in Star Trek - fanfiction writers just don't have any believable femal characters to work with.

      (I'm also not at all against gay romance, I just prefer it when it's believable.)