Sex Lives of Cult Television Characters

In the essay, The sex lives of cult television characters, by Sara Gwenllian Jones, Sara focuses on the work of slash (male/male or female/female) fanfiction writers. Sara is a teacher of television and digital media at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom. She also wrote a book called Cult Television, where she and other scholars examine show that are categorized as cult television to find defining characteristic to place them in this sub culture.

41WMNKJP2ZL._SX309_BO1,204,203,200_ (Book cover for Cult Television by Sara Gwenllian Jones)

This essay exemplifies the fact that cult television is a great basis of slash fanfiction.   The fact that in cult television literally anything can happen and be an acceptable outcome, spurs on fanfiction writers to the erotic relationships that are portrayed in most slash stories. The main writers of slash fanfiction are females, whom, aim to change normative gender constraints for males, to more emotional and sensual emotions that are generally found in romantic novels. With this shift to a more romantic/emotional man, this dictates a change in the masculinity and sexuality of men.

As stated by Marie-Laure Ryan in this essay in respect to fanfiction,

“Every act of reading constructs the text and actualizes its world in a different way”.

So in cult television, when an author writes a story, they open doors to allow for different worlds to be seen for that specific show. This then allows the characters to be portrayed in a different light, more specifically, to have slash relationships as a norm.

In this essay it makes a clear statement that with fanfiction, especially fanfiction of cult television, it allows the author to explore whatever they feel like. Whether it be objectively real or fake, right or wrong, true experiences or something they want to explore, what was once thought as myth and many other things, these are all acceptable things to see in fanfiction. This allows both the fans, who read the fanfiction, and the stories authors themselves to explore whatever desires they might have while still being connected to a character they already have a strong connection to.

In Audre Lorde’s, Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as a Power, she talks about how women use the erotic as a source of power for their unexpressed or unrecognized feelings.  In her essay she states,

“The erotic is a measure between the beginnings of our sense of self and the chaos of our strongest feelings. It is an internal sense of satisfaction to which, once we have experienced it, we know we can aspire. For having experienced the fullness of this depth of feeling and recognizing its power, in honor and self-respect we can require no less of ourselves”.

This relates perfectly to what these writers do when they write their stories.  Both writers and readers alike, search within their-self to what their desires are that they have yet to try out for whatever reason, and put their slash characters through it so people are able to experience it.  This then enables the writes and readers to know what they like and do not like specifically through characters in the cult television shows that they watch.