In spite of the fact that I know changes in interests are normal, I'm used to there being things that I've always liked and always will like - things like french fries and Tolkien. But I'm starting to realize, over the last couple of years and especially lately, that there's one thing that I used to adore and now not only am I not really into it, it even sometimes depresses me. And I liked this thing so much that the great majority of my media consumption (and therefore my entertainment, relaxation, and creative pursuits) revolved around it.
This thing is slash.
You understand, if you've been reading my journal for any length of time - particularly during the Holmes Era - that this was a fairly devastating thing to realize. How can I dislike slash? As I so often point out (when people would tell me that they "usually hate slash" but love my fanart), as a lesbian, my life essentially is slash - meaning a same-gender love relationship features heavily into it. But lately, the more potentially slashy pairings I come across in modern media, the more it depresses me.
I ran across the term "queerbaiting" recently. It's used in reference to those shows, movies, books, etc. that tease audiences with the potential of a romantic same-gender relationship but never actualize that relationship. Anime and manga are, and have always been, terribly notorious for this, but it's becoming more prominent in Western media as it becomes more acceptable to acknowledge the existence of same-gender relationships.
This concept pretty well encompasses my current feelings toward slash (when the term refers to potential relationships in fiction, not anybody else's fannish tendencies, which of course I heartily support one's freedom to have). It doesn't bother me so much in fiction that's historical, fantasy, or sci-fi, but I'm finding any contemporary media with slash potential to be more and more depressing. I think this is because in a contemporary story, there's every possibility (from a social and personal-identity-development standpoint) that the characters could be in a romantic relationship but the creators refuse to commit, out of fear of audience rejection or just plain manipulation. And I find that watching such things and picking up on the clues that used to delight me now only makes me sad and frustrated.
This comes with all sorts of complications. For example, I very much believe that two fictional people of the same gender should be able to have a close relationship without it being romantic. It's important to show that that kind of relationship exists in reality too. And I'm sure I could find exceptions to this where the slashiness doesn't give me feelings of despair. But the fact remains that lately, watching shows with extremely high slash potential and no real hope of actualization upsets me. And the fact that it upsets me... upsets me >_< I never used to care whether my favorite OTP had a chance in hell of ever happening in canon. I mean, it was always kind of a given that they didn't. I guess what's changed is that in our world now, the complete absence of established same-gender relationships in media is not a given. And I don't want it to ever be a given again.
I'm sorry to let go of this piece of my fannish history. It's not like I think I'll never get starry-eyed over two same-gender characters in a TV show or movie again, but things have shifted, and while I accept that this is how I feel now, I miss the time when it didn't bother me.