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The symbolic slash, used to separate the two names in a romantic pairing, from which slash fiction takes its name

Femslash (also known as "f/f slash", "f/f", "femmeslash", "altfic" and "saffic")[1] is a subgenre of slash fan fiction which focuses on romantic and/or sexual relationships between female fictional characters.[2] Typically, characters featured in femslash are heterosexual in the canon universe; however, similar fan fiction about lesbian or bisexual female characters is commonly labeled as femslash for convenience.[3] The term is generally applied only to fanworks based on Western fandoms; the nearest anime/manga equivalents are more often called yuri and shōjo-ai fanfiction.[4] "Saffic" is a portmanteau of Sapphic from the term Sapphic love and fiction.[5] "Altfic" as a term for fanfiction about loving relationships between women was popularized by Xena fans.[2]

As of 2006, femslash is enjoying increasing popularity and is the "dominant form" of slash in some fandoms.[6]

There is less femslash than there is slash based on male couples;[7] for example, in the Lord of the Rings fandom, only a small number of femslash stories are written about the Arwen/Éowyn pairing in comparison to slash between the male characters.[8] It has been suggested that heterosexual female slash authors generally do not write femslash,[7] and that it is rare to find a fandom with two sufficiently engaging female characters.[2] Janeway/Seven is the main Star Trek femslash pairing, as only they have "an on-screen relationship fraught with deep emotional connection and conflict".[9] Although it is debated whether fanfiction about canon lesbians such as Willow and Tara of Buffy the Vampire Slayer counts as "slash", their relationship storylines are more coy than heterosexual ones, which entices Willow/Tara femslash authors to fill in the gaps in the known relationship storyline.[2] It is "relatively recently" that male writers have begun writing femslash, and this entry of males into femslash has occurred within Buffy femslash. The femslash authorship is mostly female.[10]

The television show The L Word set up a contest at the website FanLib.com where fans could submit a femme slash fanfic. The winner's story was incorporated into a scene of a third-season episode.[11][12]

In more recent TV series, such as Rizzoli and Isles, Warehouse 13, Orange Is the New Black, Supergirl and Once Upon a Time, the slash-shipping portions of the fandoms are the most significant, particularly in online forums.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lawrence, K. F.; schraefel, m. c. (2006). "Web Based Semantic Communities – Who, How and Why We Might Want Them in the First Place" (PDF). University of Southampton. Retrieved 12 August 2007.
  2. ^ a b c d Lo, Malinda (January 4, 2006). "Fan Fiction Comes Out of the Closet". afterellen.com. Archived from the original on 16 May 2008. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  3. ^ Herzing, Melissa (April 2005). The Internet World of Fan Fiction (PDF) (Thesis). Virginia Commonwealth University. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  4. ^ "Lunaescence". Dictionary of Anime Fandom. Archived from the original on 4 July 2007. Retrieved 19 July 2007.
  5. ^ Tosenberger, Catherine (2008) "Homosexuality at the Online Hogwarts: Harry Potter Slash Fanfiction" Children's Literature 36 pp. 185–207 doi:10.1353/chl.0.0017
  6. ^ K. Faith Lawrence (March 2008). "The Web of Community Trust" (PDF). University of Southampton. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 December 2010. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  7. ^ a b "Fan/tastic Voyage". bitchmedia. April 1, 2003. Archived from the original on 2009-02-15. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  8. ^ Thompson, Kristin (2007). The Frodo Franchise: The Lord of the Rings and Modern Hollywood. University of California Press. p. 178. ISBN 978-0-520-24774-1.
  9. ^ Julie Levin Russo (August 2002). New Voy "cyborg sex" (PDF). j-l-r.org.
  10. ^ "Slayage: The Online International Journal of Buffy Studies" (PDF). slayageonline.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  11. ^ Hibberd, James (December 5, 2005), "Lights! Camera! 'L Word' Action!". Television Week. 24 (49):4
  12. ^ (December 5, 2005), "At Deadline".MediaWeek. 15 (44):3