Cross-posting this from my shiny new tumblr, because I really find it interesting:
Who would have thought that the first thing I do when starting to use tumblr is to get immersed in slash fandom research? There’s quite a bit out there, though I’ve yet to find truly recent work. But now I’ve just discovered this gem:http://www.libraryofmoria.com/jsr/
… which is a study about slash - who reads and writes slash, how and why do they do it? - conducted by a trained scientist under a nickname. It’s ten years old, which of course is as good as a millennium when it comes to science in general and the demograpics are surely outdated, but the principles of human motivation don’t change in a decade.
I’ve only scrolled through it so far, but there really is a lot of fascinating stuff in there. There were 275 participants - most of them, indeed, straight or bi women, and most of them very young, though that surely depends on the fandom in question - and the reasons for being interested in slash range from sexual fantasies or love of a specific relationship to the facts that, for instance, there are fewer Mary Sues, there’s no need to be jealous of a woman you can’t identify with, or there’s a certain kind of sexual and gender freedom in it (which I’m not so sure about, tbh).
Interestingly, the fans were divided on the question whether or not they liked feminized (not genderbent!) men, which I think is still reflected by the works we can find out there. Personally, I really, truly dislike it when characters suddenly turn all delicate and feminized for no good reason (few things make me push the back button faster than delicate-damsel-in-distress!Watson, and most of my problems with Bilbo/Thorin go along the same lines - it can be brilliant, but very often it is not), but there must be people who like that stuff or it wouldn’t be there.
Interesting work, in any case, and fun to reflect about.