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gender and fanfic

My last post has me thinking a little about gender and fanfic. At least in the Tolkien fandom, it seemed like conventional wisdom that most fanfic writers are women. Not all of them; I can think of three offhand who I'm fairly share are male, though I'm hesitant to name names since their pennames don't make this obvious. But it does seem there's a higher proportion of women in fandom than in society at large or even among professional writers, at least in my experience.

I'm less sure about the why. So here are some questions floating around I'd like to see answered:

1. Why do you write fanfic?
2. Are you male or female? Want to describe that further? (i.e. I'm a girl but something of a tomboy)
3. What effect, if any, do you think your gender has on your decision to write fanfic? Are there other more important factors? Less important ones?
4. If it were possible to write fiction and have it published professionally (Sherlock Holmes pastiches, Star Wars tie-in novels, etc.), would you? Why or why not?
5. Do you think your gender has anything to do with <i>this</i> decision? Explain.

But those are just suggestions. If you have thoughts on this topic, feel free to share it however you like. And do feel free to spread the link to this to anyone you know.

I may do a post on this at some point, in which case I may quote comments made here. Or I may not; this may be just for my interest. So if you'd rather me not do that, just mention you don't want to be quoted and I'll respect that.   

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
jeanniewal
Jan. 29th, 2014 12:03 pm (UTC)
I started writing fanfic as a way to both feel part of the shows I loved (or show, at that point - Stargate SG-1) and to get myself writing again after a long break from it. I'm cisgendered female who identifies as bi/pansexual and I tihnk it was my orientation more than my gender which impacted on my decision to write fanfic - what an awesome way to safely explore sexuality!

I publish my original poetry in journals and anthologies, and I do write original fiction (although without much published as yet). If I were given the chance to publish fan or show based fiction I would treat it exactly as I do my original work: do I feel it's good enough to put out there? Does it have something to say to readers?

I don't think gender has much to do with it for me; possibly men feel more inhibited writing fanfic simply because it has this vast reputation for being a female playground?

Interesting discussion - thanks :)
dreamflower02
Jan. 29th, 2014 03:38 pm (UTC)
1. Why do you write fanfic?
Because it gives me a chance to get to know some beloved characters better, to explore the world of the source material from the inside. And because it is freeing and creatively satisfying. And because it's a way of communicating with my fellow fans.

2. Are you male or female? Want to describe that further? (i.e. I'm a girl but something of a tomboy)

I'm female. I haven't been a "girl" for decades, but I was more the nerdy-type than a "girly-girl".

3. What effect, if any, do you think your gender has on your decision to write fanfic? Are there other more important factors? Less important ones?

To be honest, I don't really know the answer to that one; I've never been anything but female, and so I can't separate that out from the totality of who I am. I will say that I have never been motivated by what some women fanwriters are--I've never had a "crush" on a character or been moved by their "hotness".

OTOH, I do have a very maternal response to my favorite characters, and sometimes want to hug them and mother them--so I am sure that response is gender-related.


4. If it were possible to write fiction and have it published professionally (Sherlock Holmes pastiches, Star Wars tie-in novels, etc.), would you? Why or why not?

Nope. When I was much younger, that was my ambition. But my attempts at traditional fiction were never as emotionally satisfying--which fanfiction is.
Now I am quite happy to just play with my hobbits and share them with like-minded people.


5. Do you think your gender has anything to do with this decision? Explain.

Possibly. As a woman I am used to the notion that the value of what I create does not need money to validate it.

shirebound
Jan. 29th, 2014 04:33 pm (UTC)
1. I started writing fanfic because I was reading stories about Frodo being tenderly cared for (something missing, in canon, in many places I longed for it), and I wanted to write stories that would make other people feel as warm and happy as those stories were making me feel. I also loved the idea of the 'give and take' (review and response) between author and readers, something that Livejournal gives me as well. As I continued writing, the urge to fill in 'gaps' in the Professor's tale also began to take over my life.

2. Female, but not a girly-girl.

3. I always assumed that there were more female than male fanfic writers because women tend to want to explore the emotional and caregiving aspects of the characters more than men might.

4. I would adore to have my entire "Quarantined" AU series published. It's a complete tale from beginning to end.
lindahoyland
Jan. 29th, 2014 11:02 pm (UTC)
Your feelings are very much like mine.Have you ever thought of putting your "Quarantined" series on a personal website in chronological order like I have my stories? Your stories always make me feel warm and happy.
shirebound
Jan. 29th, 2014 11:31 pm (UTC)
I love that idea, but wouldn't have a clue how to do it. I've never learned how to make or maintain websites.
lindahoyland
Jan. 30th, 2014 12:04 am (UTC)
I'm as dim as they come with coding and stuff but my website is simply copy/paste and no harder to use than LJ.Sadly Yola only offer limited free sites now but I think Webs
http://www.webs.com/
is very similiar. I love being able to display my stories as a unified whole which is how I think of them.
shirebound
Jan. 30th, 2014 01:26 am (UTC)
Thanks, Linda. :)
lindahoyland
Jan. 29th, 2014 10:58 pm (UTC)
1. Why do you write fanfic?
I began by wanting to fill in gaps then continued when I discovered there were people who enjoyed reading my stories.
2. Are you male or female? Want to describe that further? Female
3. What effect, if any, do you think your gender has on your decision to write fanfic? Are there other more important factors? Less important ones?
I like exploring emotions and sharing within a community. I've never thought much about gender and writing. Maybe the gift economy is more female orientated.
4. If it were possible to write fiction and have it published professionally (Sherlock Holmes pastiches, Star Wars tie-in novels, etc.), would you? Why or why not?
Yes.
5. Do you think your gender has anything to do with this decision? Explain.
I don't think so, but I would like my stories to survive after I'm gone as my fictional "children" created from my thoughts and ideas.
marta_bee
Jan. 29th, 2014 11:37 pm (UTC)
I've been reading all of these thoughts as they come in. Thanks for thinking about this topic and sharing your opinion. It's all been very interesting.

I actually print out and have the local copy shop bind my stories into a book every few years. Sometimes I give copies to frineds as Christmas presents, but mostly it's for me, to have it physically sitting on my shelf. It's nice, actually.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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