More than a decade after the Harry Potter craze kicked fanfic culture straight into the mainstream, we’re still seeing regular appearances from that most embarrassing of journalistic genres: the poorly researched thinkpiece expressing shock, horror, bemusement, and condescension for fandom and the (mostly female) fans who write fanfiction.
So for anyone out there who has just been hired to explain the intricacies of fanfic culture to a confused and ill-informed audience, here are a few misconceptions we can get out of the way before you even start:
- Myth: It’s written as “Fan Fiction”
- Myth: “Fandom” is a morphing of “kingdom”
- Myth: Fanfic writers are mostly dudes
- Myth: Fanfic writers are all teenagers or modest young women who shouldn’t be exposed to this kind of Internet filth
- Myth: Fanfic writers are sexless, fat, repressed middle-aged spinsters
- Myth: Bronies are special
- Myth: Fanfic is bad for teen literacy
- Myth: Most fanfic is on Fanfiction.net
- Myth: Slash fanfic is the equivalent of lesbian porn for straight women
- Myth: All fanfic is super weird
- Myth: Fanfic is just practice for “real” writing
- Myth: All fanfic is porn
- Myth: Fanfiction is plagiarism
- But what about copyright?
- Myth: Reporters should ask celebrities what they think about the awkward fanfic fans write about them
- Myth: The fourth wall is made to be broken
- If you must…
Myth: Reporters should ask celebrities what they think about the awkward fanfic fans write about them
No. First of all, asking a celebrity to simply “react” to fanfiction being written about the fictional character they portray (and occasionally the actor themselves) is actually shorthand for “I’m a lazy reporter who would rather exploit fans than do the work of rounding up real questions for this interview.”
Secondly, this celebrity who is having lots of slash written about them has already been asked about their thoughts on slash by the other 145 million unoriginal reporters who came along before you and went, “What can I do to be edgy? Oh, I know, I’ll show them the fanfiction about them on the Internet!” They are sick of being asked this question.
Thirdly, depending on any number of personal/social/contextual factors that have nothing to do with the show, the fandom, or the content of the fanfic, being asked about fanfic could make them feel uncomfortable, which means you were just rude and invasive for stupid reasons.
(In which Gav and Aja attempt to debunk every terrible article ever written on fanfic, which we hopefully will never have to read again.)
GUYS THIS PIECE IS 5,000 WORDS LONG AND TOOK TWO MONTHS OF US GOING “OH CRAP WE FORGOT TO INCLUDE X!!” And in the end our editor just threw up her hands and didn’t cut a word.
So congrats, fandom, THIS IS THE SINGLE LONGEST ARTICLE IN DAILY DOT HISTORY.
Who would ever think fanfic writers were male? >.> It is 100% true. Sometimes I feel like it is the only space where you are presumed female instead of presumed male on the internet.