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Perhaps no show toys with slash fans more than The CW's long-running drama Supernatural. For instance, the show created a minor character, Becky, who is a fan of the show's two ghost-hunting brothers and has written slash stories about them.
But Maygra, who has written some Supernatural slash stories, says such ploys can backfire. "A lot of the slash community in Supernatural are really offended by it, because they think they're being kind of dissed."
Jim grins, then looks up as he presses against Spock's side. "I'll
keep you warm." —waldorph, "Love Story"
In a meeting room at the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach, several dozen people sit in a semicircle of chairs. Posters plaster the walls, showing brainstorms from the Escapade discussions. One, titled "shared traits/tropes," lists items like "screwed up backgrounds" and "fans love snark." Another poster is titled "robot love."
Convention organizers allowed L.A. Weekly to sit in on one discussion, about slash's relationship to the outside world. Fans argued about the benefits and costs of privacy. Some compared slash with the "proletariat" and hacktivists. One asked whether slashers want to influence Hollywood or just "play with our toys." Someone answers, "Play with our toys!"
Calysta Rose leads the discussion along with Charlotte C. Hill, who co-organizes Escapade. Hill, a consultant in Santa Barbara, discovered slash at a science fiction convention when she looked under the table and found a zine where Kirk and Spock have sex. ("I was 14 and went, 'Holy crap, they should,' " she tells the Weekly.)
She sees discussions like these as empowering for women, and says the slash community has even helped certain women gain the strength to leave abusive relationships.
"We gave them a more emancipated sense of themselves," Hill says. "The sense of support for exactly who we were — that was not available with our neighbors necessarily, or our church, or our co-workers."
For Rose, Escapade is, as its name implies, an escape. She considers herself queer — although in the past she has dated men and is sexually attracted to them, they don't interest her romantically anymore. She has depression and anxiety and spends much of her time taking care of rescue cats. "Pretty much the only reason to go out of my house is to get cats and get cats their food," she says. "Fandom brings out the social butterfly in me."
Early on, she liked the naughtiness of slash. But now it's about the emotions.
She doesn't like tragic stories. She doesn't like infidelity. She wants sex and emotion to happen together, in perfect tandem. It doesn't happen enough in the real world. But in slash, she says, "It's like a completely and utterly unrealistic happily ever after."