There’s always been a number of vocal anti-slashers in attendance; they will occasionally make snarky comments about my zines as they pass by my table in the dealer's room. I generally ignore this sort of behavior. After all, if I’m not interested in something, I don’t spend any time on it, and I can’t imagine why they want to waste time on something they’re not interested in/dislike. But some people just feel impelled to run their mouths.
I *was* oddly entertained by an incident at this year’s convention. It involved someone who was vocally and decidedly on the gen-only side. (She didn’t like slash and she didn’t like het either.)
The hotel (they are so patient with us!) allows attendees to post fannish flyers up in certain specified areas of the hotel. I was busy posting flyers for my upcoming K/S zines on one wall when a woman (a total stranger) came up next to me, posted her flyer, and said:
“Well, I *never*!”
(Full disclosure – she didn’t say exactly that; I can’t recall her exact words, but they were spoken in just the sort of outraged primness that phrase implies.)
I don’t recall saying anything in return, but that didn't stop her. She began ranting on and on about how it’s always been an outrage there’s so much filthy artwork in the art show, but she couldn’t *believe* that all she had to do was just glance through the dealer’s room door and have her eyes assaulted by porn. She went on to say it was bad enough when it was only “SL”* who indulged in that sort of thing, but now all kinds of people were making dirty art.
Surprisingly, she wasn’t commenting on my flyers – I had, at first, assumed that's why she started talking, but I don’t think she even looked at them.
I couldn’t resist, and said in my best perky voice that yes, there were lots of talented people doing wonderful erotic artwork; and that I’d published quite a bit of erotic artwork in my fanzines.
She stalked off.
Of course I couldn’t resist going to have a look at this example of filth and pornography which so offended her.
It was quite a lovely fantasy/pagan piece of a green man/horned god carrying a wood nymph in his arms. The nymph had long flowing red hair, which artfully covered almost everything but did leave one breast – and thus one bare nipple - exposed.
Now, I am very used to extremely explicit art, and I am rarely shocked by anything. I have to consciously put my head back into that “shocked by anything” place. The only way I succeed in doing this is to imagine my mother seeing the piece in question. That does the trick every time. My mother probably wouldn’t have liked this piece either. (Example: My mother didn’t approve of ballet; she considered ballet sinful.)
But… there are a lot of classic statues which are much more explicit than that painting. This woman’s reaction seemed so out of proportion to the piece. Has she ever seen the Venus de Milo? Or Michelangelo’s David? Or the endless examples of classic art throughout the ages?
(*SL = well known fan artist who has done exquisite artwork in numerous fandoms. She had app. 20 pieces in the MW art show from all sorts of fandoms, all beautiful.)