Well… that explains some of it..

I’m only just barely aware of the whole LiveJournal community thing.
I’ve had a blog for 5 years now, so I didn’t really have any use for LiveJournal. At least not until I wanted to participate in a fic challenge or two that was on LJ.
Seems I’ve been missing a lot of fan fiction related discussion. No more.

An additional note about FanLib

Would I ever post any of my fics there? At this point I can’t imagine doing that.
However, I DID create an account there using my preferred user id/name at other fic sites. Reserving it, so to speak. “;->” Just don’t expect to see any fics from me there any time soon.

A Moment of Cluelessness…

Okay… I’ve been writing fan fiction for over 5 years now. Really. 99.99% of it can be found here, on my blog.
A link to an interview with an academic type person (Someone at MIT) on BBC radio was posted to the TtH Forum: BBC 5 Live interview with Henry Jenkins.
He (Henry Jenkins) attempts to explain fan fiction in the 3 minute interview. One of the things that struck me is that he said fan fiction is primarily written by women.
Huh. This struck me as odd… The fic writers in the fandoms I read on a regular basis (BtVS (mostly crossovers), Kim Possible, and some anime fic writers) seem to be equally spread between male and female writers. Not sure about the age distribution.
Of course, we’re talking about a small subset of one corner of the fan fiction universe. And he, apparently, has been writing/examining the fanfic community for over a decade. I’ll have to bow to his longer experience.
And… of course… “TtH” is owned/nurtured by a woman. Sure, Jinni lets some of us help out and someone else (jrabbit) does the heavy coding work that makes it such a great archive site, but she’s the ultimate authority there.
Anyway… someone pointed to his blog and I found the article there that directly ties into his interview:
Transforming Fan Culture into User-Generated Content: The Case of FanLib
It makes for interesting reading. And includes anecdotal info on the fan fiction gender issue (Guess I’m going to have to dig deeper – find his books, etc. to get a clearer picture of that. Does he have non-anecdotal evidence?) Sure, he does say more men are writing fan fiction than before but he ties it into the growth of online communities. We’re apparently in a minority of miniscule proportions…
Not sure how accurate it is… but it certainly leaves me feeling like I’ve been clueless for not being aware of the gender disparity in fan fiction because I hadn’t noticed it until now.
Sort of like when I first started reading the feminist websites I now hit on a daily basis (like Feministe). A whole community / range of thought I’d missed.
(Oddly enough, I actually have a degree in English Lit and this kind of thing (fan created media/literature) wasn’t on the radar screen when/where I was in school. It wasn’t something we studied. Only one of my professors even came close to approaching this kind of topic.)
I don’t like that feeling of ignorance. Gonna have to fix it. Now.

Oh yeah… the topic that this whole thing centers around?
There’s a new-ish web site for fan fiction called FanLib. Someone went out and got VC money to start a fan fiction website similar to YouTube. And the fan fiction community that is aware of it (mostly over on LiveJournal it seems. It’s been going on for over a week and I just heard about it tonight.) is up in arms.
Go read the article above for details. And if you aren’t careful… you’ll be sucked into the ever widening discussion about it at places like metafandom where it and the brief LJ mass banning of user journals in a fumbled attempt to pacify some right wing group of critics are the main topics of discussion.
And.. what does the FanLib issue and the “which gender dominates fan fiction” discussion have in common? Seems the FanLib folks committed the faux pas of aiming their site/sight at that prolific fan fiction demographic – the 15-34 year old male. The same “choice” demographic that Hollywood makes movies for and video games are aimed at.
In the process, totally ignoring the 99% (I might be exaggerating slightly) of the fan fiction community that ISN’T in that demographic. And when this was pointed out to them… the ignored the portion of that 99% that is in the majority. Go read the comments to Jenkins’ article about FanLib to see what I mean. They say it better than I can.