What Do People Assume About Fanfiction Writers? What Creates this Stigma?

I’m sure you’ve heard it all before, someone talks about a fanfiction they wrote when they were younger and they receive a judging glance. They might get something like, “You write fanfiction? Isn’t that for teenagers?” This is a phrase I have heard all too often. Aside from this statement, there are many other claims that people make about fanfiction writers that simply aren’t true.

Aside from the age factor, there are many other assumption people make about fanfiction writers, mostly people who have little idea about it. This includes:

  • All fanfics are sexual
  • Fanfiction isn’t real story telling/is unoriginal
  • Only girls read/write fanfics

Two articles that I read to look for insight into these ideas make good points, and I will be referencing them in the article.

“All fanfics are sexual”

This assumption is false. Yes, some fanfiction writers will have two fictional characters, or their character and another fictional characters having sex. This isn’t always the case, however. Emma Lord from Bustle had this to say back in 2015, “fanfiction” is not a synonym for “ALL DAY ALL NIGHT PORN GUYS,” which sums up the point quite nicely.

This is what we call “smut,” a kind of fanfiction that has two or more characters having sex, which is the opposite of “fluff.” Fluff is when two or more characters are doing PG things like kissing, cuddling, calling each other cute nicknames, etc. There is a difference between the two that some people don’t see, this is part of the reason that this assumption about fanfiction writers was created.

“Fanfiction isn’t real story telling”

Just because we are writing about fictional worlds, doesn’t mean that what we are writing isn’t valid. Yes, we aren’t making up our own worlds like J.K Rowling or J. R. R. Tolkien, but we are adding our own cannon into already existing universes, in a sense creating a pocket universe.

Contrary to popular belief, fanfiction writers ARE creating a story, a story that includes worlds that are in the public domain. Many other authors take from the very same domains, acting like they don’t. Like Fifty Shades of Gray, this started off as a Twilight fanfiction before blowing up.

A related assumption is that all fanfiction is “unoriginal,” that we all copy off each other and that’s it. There is a chance in any writing genre that someone will blatantly copy. That’s just reality. There could be two different stories with the same two characters, but the story and relationship could be totally different. No fanfiction is 100% original after all, we add little things to set ourselves apart.

“Only girls read/write fanfiction”

The Shameful Narcissist says, “Fanfiction shouldn’t be considered less valid…I believe another major reason for this is because it is usually a feminine domain.” Not all fanfiction writers are women, but the ones that are do it to have a voice.

There are people who are closeted fanfic writers, people that don’t outwardly admit that they write fanfiction. Some of them are men, others are women. This assumption combines age with gender, making it one of the most common assumptions. The whole, “teenage girl” stigma attached to fanfiction can turn people off, alienating them from the community.

Be an informed fanfic writer and inform others to end the stigma.

By Leah Zemont

I have been writing since 7th grade, it's one of my passions! Creative writing is important to me because it allows me to express myself.

2 replies on “What Do People Assume About Fanfiction Writers? What Creates this Stigma?”

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