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My Beef With/Watching The Woods: People, I Am Very Disturbed...

Posted on October 5, 2012 at 3:10 PM

Warning: This entry contains discussion of sexual abuse and general squickiness. Because of the subject matter of this entry, it may also not be appropriate for readers under the age of 18. Please proceed with caution if you are underage or feel you might be triggered by this blog entry.

I have to preface this entry by saying this: I don't scare easily guys. I don't even get disturbed easily. Barring existential and common fears like the unknown and the idea of failing to do something important and being disregarded for it, I can count the number of things that scare me on one hand. These things are:

  1. Clowns, barring the Joker because he is awesome.
  2. Tunnels, especially if they are located in the woods.
  3. Darkly lit, claustrophobic bathrooms.
  4. Static, particularly if it's in a video. Especially when it's in a video.
  5. Wasps because they are nasty little fuckers that like to hover around your soda and sting you for no damn reason whatsoever.

There is very little in regards to my fandoms, both past and present, that truely terrifies me, people. Very, very little. I can accept a hell of a lot about my fandoms that most people would look at and sneer. I can accept that while it is incredibly wrong to ship Barbara Gordon with the Joker, it can and does happen. I can accept that there is Rule 34 out there of Achenar and Saavedro (I've even seen a relatively SFW picture of that pairing and it disturbed my little Saavedro-loving heart very, very deeply). I understand that some deeply disturbed and insane people think it's OMG HAWT! to ship Murtagh and Eragon or Violet and Klaus together, and there are even more insane and disturbed people out there that think shipping Bruce and his underage son Damian is an okay thing. I understand the appeal of shipping the Doctor and the Master together, or Jack Harkness and pretty much everyone in the cast (because Jack Harkness is made of Smexy and Awesome). I even understand doing a Lovecraftian horror story where your character ends up getting raped by an Eldritch abomination and becoming pregnant with its unearthly spawn; that theme is used quite a bit in Cthulhu Mythos tales.

But people, people, why on earth are you Slenderfans shipping the Slenderman and human characters together?

I just... why? I have to shake my head and wonder, because I truely do not understand the appeal of Slendershipping, as I will call it from now on. What is it about pairing Slendy with humans that gets you so damn hot and bothered that you need to write porn about it?

Guys, I don't know if you realize this, but Slendy is supposed to be scary. That's kind of integral to its appeal. I would say that most people get into the Slenderman Mythos out of a mix of curiosity, apprehension, and fascination with its central entity. I'm pretty sure that if it wasn't all three for some of you, it was at least one. Trust me, I am a statistics tutor. I think I can confidently say that at least 80% of the appeal behind the Slenderman is that it is terrifying. So, if Slendy is intended to be piss-yer-pants Nightmare Fuel, then why are there fics about it raping human beings? Where is it ever stated, in-universe or out of it, that Slendy is a rapist, pedo, perv, etc.? Because that's horrifying, it really is, but it's not horrifying in the right way for this Mythos. The horror of this Mythos should stem from the fear of something unknown and very persistantly patient stalking you, hunting you, the idea that you are prey and you don't even know what your stalker wants. The Slenderman represents, as I have theorized before, the fear of the unknown, and it does this so well that some people believe it's something that really exists (or might one day really exist through sheer belief in it, if the Tulpa Theory is to be believed). So then why are there rapefics about it? I know Rule 34 exists of everything. I understand that's a given. I would expect you guys to ship Tim and Masky, or the Rake and Slendy or whatever, because it's going to happen anyway. But people, you are shipping human beings with a non-human. You are writing bestiality fanfics without even realizing what you are doing, and that? That is just as disgusting in my opinion as shipping an underage character with an adult character is. That's as disturbing as shipping siblings together. And last I checked, bestiality was considered animal cruelty, which is illegal. You are writing fanfiction about something that is technically illegal in most places of the world.

So then what could possibly be the appeal behind Slendershipping? Well there is a pretty big fanbase for using the stalker angle as a fetish. Plenty of people have a stalker-with-a-crush fetish, but for the most part, people think that's creepy. It's really considered more of a horror trope, but I see the logic behind it even if it's not my thing. Now the bondage angle, that I can understand more readily, because there definitely is something very hot for plenty of people about someone being tied up and held hostage (in a kinky way). And of course, Slendy's tentacles/tendrils would make good tools to bind and immobilize things before a kill, which just makes it all even creepier should you see it with its tendrils out. So again, I do understand the logic there. And then there's the tentacle porn angle, which I also see the logic in but still think is a bit odd. And all of these things I could understand being appealing if you were talking about someone that is human, or at least is human enough to have the same sexual compatability with a human being (like a succubus or angel or something). But people, we are not just talking about a non-human here. We are talking about something that probably doesn't procreate anyway (seeing as there's only a single Slenderman) and that is definitely not supposed to be sexy in any way. The difference between Slendy and something like a demi-god being used as sex objects in fiction is that you're not necessarily supposed to fear a demi-god, and you actually are supposed to fear Slendy.

Again people, I understand if this is being used as a horror trope. It is very horrifying to be raped, especially by something that isn't human. Lovecraft used it as a theme in his works, although he never openly wrote about it, and even today the idea of eldritch spawn is still used in literature and film to freak people out. For a relatively recent example, Let's look at the film Alien. Think about what the Xenomorphs, the titular aliens, look like and how they procreate. That film is pretty much nothing but one big horrific rape allegory. In an even more recent example, the film Splice has a lab-created genetic mish-mash creature that is trying to kill the female protagonist so she can rape the male protagonist and carry on her lineage (paging Dr. Sigmund Freud, you are needed in the front lobby...). The idea that you might end up being the victim of sexual abuse is terrifying enough, but then you have something... other doing it, or something awful and hideous and wrong and inhuman, and it just becomes so, so much worse. I can understand the idea of writing a horror story where your protagonist ends up being captured and raped by the Slenderman if it's intended to be terrifying.

But people aren't writing this with the intent to scare, and that's where I start to have a problem and feel very, very squicked out. People are writing this kind of stuff with the intent to titillate, and that in my own personal opinion is just disturbing, weird, and kinda sick. I feel the same way about any fic in any fandom where rape is used as a way to get cheap titillation instead of to provide horror. I've ranted more than enough on this blog about rape being used in pairings involving the Joker, and it's just as wrong to me in any other fandom. So why would I ever feel it's okay here, just because the antagonist is not a human being? I'd feel the same way about a Marble Hornets fic where, I dunno, Alex raped Jay or something. Rape's not supposed to be sexy. Ravishment fantasies are. And the two are not the same thing.

Thing is, folks, I can accept a hell of a lot of things with this fandom and I don't really care if you wanna slash-ship characters, but come on. Shipping humans with the Slenderman is just weird. I know the internet has seen enough hentai to know where Slendy having tendrils is going, but no. Just no. Why would something that's clearly not human want to engage in "activities" with human beings anyway? The bottom line is this: this fandom has enough horror and disturbing moments without adding SlenderRape to the list, and Slendy's intended to be Paranoia-Something-Is-Stalking-Me Creepy, not Pervy Creepy. This is not a Lovecraftian horror fic set in Dunwich, for God's sake. We do not need SlenderHuman hybrids and freaky tentacle rape scenes. I know you think we do. But we don't. I promise you, we really don't. I'm not gonna stop you from writing this stuff, because I really can't, but if you are considering writing a fic like this, stop and think about it. Just really think about what the Slenderman Mythos is supposed to be as a whole. I know the canon's nebulous, I know the antagonist doesn't have a clearly defined motive (which, in turn, has become a character trait almost), but does it even make any sense for it to be a rapist? Does making it a pedo even sound like something that's okay to write? Would you really want a younger Slenderfan finding this stuff and reading it? Is it really in any way sexually appealing when you look at your idea and then compare it to all of the collective story-telling and legends surrounding this entity?

What I'm trying to say is this - the Slenderman has been around online for about four years now, and it has already been defined as something that views human beings as prey to stalk and capture. It's been around long enough to develop a character, and its character is defined as something inhuman, malevolent, and more interested in causing dread than anything else. It's good to experiment with this character, and it's a lot of fun to see what new things you can add to it to make it even more frightening. But some things just don't mix well with certain established character traits, and some things will just never be a very PC thing to write about. Rape is one of them, and in regards to this fandom and indeed any fandom, it needs to be a subject treated with caution. I took the utmost precautions in my Jokerfic The Telephone Game, in which rape was a plot point, and even then I still got bashing, flaming, complaints, and blatant crude allegations made about what my sexual interests were based on what had happened in the story. When you write a rape scene as being erotic, it's like a slap in the face to people who have been sexually abused, and that is not an okay thing. Please, you have to warn people before they click on a link for a story you write if there is rape in the story - or better yet, just stop writing rape as erotic and use it for what it was intended to be: a horrible fate worse than death that nobody, human or not, should have to endure.

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