Slashing the slayer: a thematic analysis of homo-erotic Buffy fan fiction

Barker, Meg (2002). Slashing the slayer: a thematic analysis of homo-erotic Buffy fan fiction. In: Blood, Text and Fears, 19-20 Oct 2002, University of East Anglia, Norwich.


This essay reports the research that I have carried out on Internet slash fiction based on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series. I became interested in this area when I stumbled across slash fiction on the web myself and found that I enjoyed it. As someone who studies sexuality I was intrigued by this new (to me) form of erotic fiction and began to read the academic literature in the area. As I became familiar with the main theories, I wondered how they would relate to slash fiction written about Buffy, since this series differs from many of the programmes that have been slashed in the past. There are strong female and gay characters in Buffy, emotional and relationship-based themes are directly addressed, and the interaction between vampires and humans adds an additional dimension to the plot.
In my study, I analysed both slash stories and my e-mail correspondence with the authors of Buffy slash. I come at the topic as both a slash reader and a psychologist, and I hope that I achieve a good balance between the position of mutual knowledge (as a fan) and critical distance (as a researcher) as recommended by Tulloch and Jenkins (1995). In the past, slash authors have been stigmatised by other fans and by convention organizers (Jenkins, 1992), and several of my participants felt that they had been misrepresented in previous research. I hope to be accountable in my research (Bannister et al., 1995) and to give a respectful and realistic portrayal of Buffy slash and its writers.

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