shadowkat67 has an interesting post on the Spike/Buffy relationship, on tops and bottoms and on subversion of societal norms.
The thing is, gen and het are default settings in our culture. If you read/view Harry Potter and think about no romantic pairings at all, or wonder if Hermione will end up with Harry or Ron, that just makes you a reader/viewer. But if you read/view HP and think about Harry and Snape or Remus and Sirius in a romantic involvement, that's far enough out of the mainstream to be labeled.
This is why I say that being a slasher isn't about percentages of gen and het, or how much slash you write or read versus how much gen or het you writer or read. Being open to same-sex romantic/sexual subtext is still rare enough that that label is pretty absolute. I should add, I'm not talking about it being more subversive, whatever exactly that means. I'm just saying it's not a mindset the vast majority of the population is in
Way back in the day, flambeau wrote:
There's a rant that comes around pretty frequently that's all about how men should be men, guys should be guys, hey these are guys we're writing about, stop feminizing them already… And someone else says hey, hang on, stop calling this kind of thing feminization, I don't act like this and my women friends don't act like this and labeling all this wussy behavior as feminine is kinda misogynistic dontcha think, and there's a side discussion about what's feminine and what's female and social construction of gender.
My Logan completely rejects all labels associated with sexual orientation, identity or behavior. He just wants what he wants (and whom he wants) and doesn't think much about what any of that means. Since for a long time he was so divorced from human society in some sense, he finds that the idea of claiming identity or group membership according to sexual orientation or behavior just feels alien to him. He says to Scott that he thinks it's like saying "what team you're on" and he's not much of a team player. As Oliver tries to explain to one of the other kids, Logan isn't gay or bi-, he's just Logan. Still, his orientation is bisexual even if he doesn't claim the identity that goes with that orientation. He is attracted to members of both sex and acknowledges (to himself, anyway) that he misses having sex with women sometimes.
In The Mad Woman in the Attic Syndrome and Why "Normal Again" Doesn't Fit Buffy's Characterization, viciouswishes makes the interesting point that
What "Normal Again" does is bring in the element that Buffy is not truly in charge of her life. She can't be because she's too mentally deficient to make the proper choices for her welfare. In this world, Buffy's 'problems' complicated by her place as a Slayer are solved and fixed by doctors. Essentially, she's becoming the stereotype of the madwoman in the attic who can be fixed by modern medicine, and if not, must be locked away from the world because she's a threat to society as Buffy is in the "Normal Again" universe.There’s interesting discussion, including counterarguments, in the comments, but i haven’t had a chance to really read them yet.
As the madwoman, Buffy's instructed by her doctor to kill off all the characters she's created. By doing so, she will regain control of her 'real life.' These characters are the ones who believe in Buffy's independence
While "Normal Again" gives the average viewer a nice look into the meta behind the supporting characters of BtVS, the episode essential ruins the character of Buffy. It leaves her as a victim, like those other petite blondes in horror movies, of her own mind and has a diagnosis for a cure. (Considering that most of society believes in the treatment of mental disorders through therapy and medication, it's unlikely that if Buffy truly suffered from schizophrenia that viewers would object to her treatment.) By curing or locking away an insane Buffy, she's no longer the keeper of her destiny, no longer the Slayer. She's going to be the woman running into the dead end alleyway and being killed by the monster unless saved by a male protagonist. If "Normal Again" is to be believed, Buffy is reduced to the madwoman instead of the complex character who's story spreads over seven seasons; she is only another mislead woman who needs to be fix by society
Additional tidbit from viciouswishes :)
The vibrator was invented in 1869 by a doctor seeking to cure 'female disorders,' including hysteria. Hysteria was believed to be caused by the uterus freely roaming around the body causing inexplicable emotional outbursts. Doctors would bring their patients to orgasm and note the calm and relaxed nature the women exhibited afterward.