A chart illustrating all of the possible explanations people have suggested for the lack of femslash in my AO3 ship stats survey, and the ways in which they might interlink.
Note: Not all of these theories are necessarily true, but the descriptions below are written as if they are.
Wow that chart is amazing. I know not all of these reasons are true but a lot sound like amazingly good hypotheses. Like just… yes. oh and if we’re counting vids, then maybe I’m more of a F/F “reader” and “Writer” (fanvid watcher and creator) than I thought lol!! It’s so interesting to try to consider ALL of these variables.
Some of my newer followers may not remember the time I made a chart explaining how the unpopularity of F/F is a complex phenomenon which resists simple explanations.
If I was making this again now, I would definitely consider how the high proportion of queer women in F/F fandom may be affecting its perception and treatment by other fans.
This is so interesting and cool - I think some of these explanations have merit, others less so.
(For example, I don’t think “there are no interesting enough female characters/relationships” really holds water when there are MASSIVE M/M pairings between minor characters that barely interact, and five minutes on Tumblr will show you where the interesting women characters are.)
I also think it’s partly because of the history of fandom - back when there really were hardly any women to write about, a lot of these explanations were truer than they are now, but in the intervening years they’ve become received wisdom that isn’t challenged often enough. Slash has, in large corners of fandom, become the status quo, and for newcomers navigating fandom for the first time it’s often the most accessible option. (This is why I was in Harry Potter slash fandom for a while before discovering that femslash and gen were more suited to my tastes.) I think at least part of slash’s dominance in current fandom is a case of “but we’ve always done it this way”.
I think it would be really interesting if we could somehow reset fandom and start it again from scratch and see what sorts of fanworks people would be drawn to create without the weight of fannish history that slash has. Maybe it would be exactly the same anyway, but maybe it wouldn’t.