Some thoughts, if I may, on the very broad topic of Femslash and Kink. I think from what I’ve read and written; and certainly when it’s done at its best; kinky femslash is actually down and dirty, in your face character study and exploration. Yes, it’s also porn. And porn is fun. But let’s set that aside for the moment.
Whatever the kink, it’s a personal, intimate and often secret desire of the character’s and a chance for the author to open a window into the character’s psyche. The act of disclosing it can quickly show the type and level of relationship and commitment between two (or more) characters. The situation or encounter (act) itself is filled with trust, power, personal power, and respect explorations. And it all happens quickly. From the moment it comes up, by the characters’ actions and reactions, the author has to start digging in deep. Why this desire? What do they get out of it? What is it about their canon lives that make this fulfilling? Or is it more of a personal trait? What would be the other’s reaction? What will they get out of it? Is this their kink as well? Do they have another? And then, the above personal kink questions about them. What about the relationship? What does this play mean to the characters? How will it change them? Often, this is done not by ‘telling’, but by quite literally ‘showing’. By the end of a scene, the reader can know and understand a great deal about the characters, their reactions to situations, and their relationship to each other.
I think kink can be especially useful in femslash. Women characters are notoriously underdeveloped, lacking both back-story and character arcs. And often, with so few women characters to write for, we end up choosing secondary characters. So already, character exploration is clearly needed. Add to that the chance to explore trust, power, personal power and respect issues for characters whose canon lives either lack these qualities or their story simply ignores them. Even the all too rare characters who get real canon attention can handle some more in depth look.
I guess I should have been clear in the beginning. I’ll try now… I’m not defining kink in any hard line D/s, B/d, S/m way. I hesitate to define it at all, almost preferring to take the “if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…” cop out. Certainly I’m including BDSM and D/s, but when I say ‘kink’, I’m also including the full spectrum of fetishes and play that adults engage in. Fetishes… I would love to read more of that. That would be some character study.
Also, on a related note though not specifically femslash, I have a short rant of sorts about Kink as a catch all phrase at my journal-
I welcome thoughts.