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gender

[QUOTE] From Valuing queer identity in Monster High doll fandom | Sara Mariel Austin | Transformative Works and Cultures

Monster High’s recent ad campaign claims, “We are monsters. We are proud.” Race, ethnicity, and disability are coded into the dolls as selling points. The allure of Monster High is, in part, that political identity and the celebration of difference become consumable. The female body, the racialized body, and the disabled body have long been coded as monstrous. Monster High reclaims this label, queering it.

Valuing queer identity in Monster High doll fandom | Sara Mariel Austin | Transformative Works and Cultures ift.tt/2fX1mrx

[QUOTE] From Fannish masculinities in transition in anime music video fandom | Samantha Close | Transformative Works and Cultures

Just as hooking up is central to many sexual subcultures, rewatching, reworking, reviewing, and redoing are central aspects of many fannish practices. (…) This queer, fannish emphasis on the re, rather than the mix, is the place where creation and authorship in fan communities most clearly opposes normative practices of future-oriented production.

Fannish masculinities in transition in anime music video fandom | Samantha Close | Transformative Works and Cultures ift.tt/2cN4EOZ

[QUOTE] From What we talk about when we talk about bronies | Anne Gilbert | Transformative Works and Cultures

(My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic) is feminized for adhering to (feminine) tropes, and for doing so with bright pastel colors and chipper voices talking about friendship, but it was deliberately created to be both girly and good.

Bronies’ praise, however, frequently separates FiM from its association with its feminist possibility and young, gendered target audience. They contend that the series “has a higher quality writing style than other children’s shows, with varied themes, and the plot and characters develop over the seasons” (Angel 2012). Bronies discuss how they were not expecting to like and watch such a program. One recounts, “First we can’t believe this show is so good. Then we can’t believe we’ve become fans for life” (Watercutter 2011). Another notes, “If you asked me three years ago if I would be running pony stuff and watching My Little Pony, I would be like ‘What? No, that’s girl stuff’” (Peters 2013). The aspects of the show lauded by bronies, including its animation style and clever references to geek and pop culture, are associated with masculine genre and aesthetics, and their praise thus reframes it as something more suited to an adult male viewership.

What we talk about when we talk about bronies | Anne Gilbert | Transformative Works and Cultures ift.tt/2b1VNZd

[QUOTE] From Protected: Beatles Fangirls: A History Posted on June 18, 2016 by popmitzvah http://ift.tt/1Y1oRnm

If Beatlemania quickly became synonymous with The Beatles as a star text, then so too did the powerful and self-determined performance of female desire. The Beatles fangirl did not so much experience a loss of control than she declared a rejection of control through her emotional performance as a fan.

The modern Beatles fangirl continues to recognize and pay tribute to this feminist legacy; the budding convergence culture which nourished her predecessors’ multiplicity of obsessive experience has become the norm for her.

Protected: Beatles Fangirls: A History
Posted on June 18, 2016 by popmitzvah
ift.tt/1Y1oRnm ift.tt/28T5w2K

[QUOTE] From Janelle Monae: Sci Fi Queen Yet Uncrowned by Sam Keeper http://ift.tt/1qjrY8Z

I think the choice of words in that article—”uncomfortable”—reveals unwittingly the feeling present through the silent parts of geek culture that may not explode in paroxysms of racist, sexist, and homophobic rage whenever anyone dares to intrude on their supremacist fantasies… but that quietly through their silence, through their discomfort, through their resistance to the 21st Century social order, give strength to the howling, spoiled princelings of the digital age.

To someone that draws their identity from outmoded conceptions of gender and sexuality, Monae’s genderqueer persona and her unstated, ambiguous sexual desire…is probably “uncomfortable.” To people unused to thinking about Sally Ride, Monae’s use of Ride as a touchstone is probably a little “uncomfortable.” She’s working with a repertoire that’s maybe not familiar to geeks, and if there’s one things geeks hate, it’s not being smarter than everyone else in the god damn room, so, again, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to posit discomfort and the bias it represents as a possible reason for Monae’s lack of attention in geek circles.

Janelle Monae: Sci Fi Queen Yet Uncrowned by Sam Keeper

ift.tt/1qjrY8Z ift.tt/1sqMYex

[QUOTE] From “Geek hierarchies, boundary policing, and the gendering of the good fan” Kristina Busse, Participations 10.1 (2013)

If female fans are dismissed more easily, then so are their interests, their spaces, and their primary forms of engagement. Or, said differently, gender discrimination occurs on the level of the fan, the fan activity, and the fannish investment. There is a ready truism that enthusiasm for typically male fan objects, such as sports and even music, are generally accepted whereas female fan interests are much more readily mocked. Likewise, fangirls are mocked as is fan fiction, an activity more commonly ascribed to females. More than that, affect and forms of fannish investment get policed along gender lines, so that obsessively collecting comic books or speaking Klingon is more acceptable within and outside of fandom than creating fan vids or cosplaying. Even the same behavior gets read differently when women do it: sexualizing celebrities, for example, is accepted and expected among men but gets quickly read as inappropriate when done by women.

“Geek hierarchies, boundary policing, and the gendering of the good fan” Kristina Busse, Participations 10.1 (2013) ift.tt/1tr9CBz

[QUOTE] From Rebecca Tushnet, Economies of Desire: Fair Use and Marketplace Assumptions

On a more doctrinal level, respecting creativity as a human force should lead us to think differently about fair use, among other things, by encouraging us to take account of noncommercial motivations even in contexts current doctrine sees as commercial. Joanna Russ, the feminist science fiction writer, suggested that the“what if” of slash fanfiction was “what if I were free?” What would I read, what would I write, what relationships would I have with the external world and with other people? Asking “what if I were free”is very different from the claim-staking of the rhetoric of opensource software, which focuses on the idea that open-source software is “free as in free speech, not as in free beer.” That common phrase has always struck me as hiding within it many unexamined and problematic assumptions about what free is with respect to speech and how it relates to a commercial marketplace. What free is with respect to women’s voices, of course, has been fiercely debated at least since John Stuart Mill (and his wife) wrote The Subjection of Women. Slash and other fanworks come from a background of constraint, where acting as if we were free to write our own versions is a different kind of act than using our already-extant freedom to create open-source software instead of proprietary code. Women as writers have rarely had the luxury of exclusive control to give away.

One aspect of that unfreedom has been an inability to participate in the money economy on the same terms as men. Fanworks represent an alternative outlet for creative energies.

Rebecca Tushnet, Economies of Desire: Fair Use and Marketplace Assumptions ift.tt/1dL4BAw

[QUOTE] From “Geek hierarchies, boundary policing, and the gendering of the good fan” Kristina Busse, Participations 10.1 (2013)

If female fans are dismissed more easily, then so are their interests, their spaces, and their primary forms of engagement. Or, said differently, gender discrimination occurs on the level of the fan, the fan activity, and the fannish investment. There is a ready truism that enthusiasm for typically male fan objects, such as sports and even music, are generally accepted whereas female fan interests are much more readily mocked. Likewise, fangirls are mocked as is fan fiction, an activity more commonly ascribed to females. More than that, affect and forms of fannish investment get policed along gender lines, so that obsessively collecting comic books or speaking Klingon is more acceptable within and outside of fandom than creating fan vids or cosplaying. Even the same behavior gets read differently when women do it: sexualizing celebrities, for example, is accepted and expected among men but gets quickly read as inappropriate when done by women.

“Geek hierarchies, boundary policing, and the gendering of the good fan” Kristina Busse, Participations 10.1 (2013) ift.tt/1gQemxE

[QUOTE] From Anne Jamison from the “Future of Fanworks” chat with fan studies authors, going on right now. Join in!

It’s not just entertainment, though, the white male legitimizing voice and how fans (and women) crave it. Lev Grossman’s a good friend of mine and has said some great stuff in favor of respecting fanworks. But his quote from my book was reblogged 12K times. Orders of magnitude more than any female author, fan or non-fan. It was a good quote. But still.

[QUOTE] From Michelle Dean, Why You Should Worry About Amazon Buying the Right to Publish Kurt Vonnegut Fan-Fiction

One of the weirder bits of news sailing through the Internet this week is Amazon’s acquisition, from the Vonnegut Trust, of the right to publish fan-fiction based on the, uh, Kurt Vonnegut universe. (…) Setting aside the question of whether or not anyone will actually make use of these rights, though, the very fact that this kind of licensing is becoming standard practice should raise eyebrows. The Vampire Diaries, Gossip Girl: those are clearly commercial literary properties. They were designed for merchandising and licensing and spinoffs. Vonnegut: eh, not so much. And the thing is, literary novelists have a long tradition of being, ahem, “inspired” by each other’s work. (…) Do we want “serious writing” to be a place where people must license characters from each other? Does that do a disservice to the way in which literature is, for a lot of writers, an ongoing conversation with their predecessors? How would postmodernist novelists, for example, be curtailed by such rules, since they often incorporate commentary on the characters of others? Forcing everyone to get a license would send chills down the spine of any novelist thinking of writing, say, a feminist novel from the perspective of, say, Holden’s girlfriend Sally Hayes, not just anyone who wants to engineer a meeting between Holden Caulfield and Serena van der Woodsen. Michelle Dean, Why You Should Worry About Amazon Buying the Right to Publish Kurt Vonnegut Fan-Fiction

[QUOTE] From Lori Hitchcock Morimoto, Trans-cult-ural fandom: Desire, technology and the transformation of fan subjectivities in the Japanese female fandom of Hong Kong stars

Cult fandom historically has constituted women as the mainstream other against which fan identities are constituted.

Lori Hitchcock Morimoto, Trans-cult-ural fandom: Desire, technology and the transformation of fan subjectivities in the Japanese female fandom of Hong Kong stars

[QUOTE] From Alisa Freedman, Train Man and the Gender Politics of Japanese ‘Otaku’ Culture: The Rise of New Media, Nerd Heroes and Consumer Communities

Female otaku have received more media attention (N: in Japan) since around the time of the Train Man phenomenon, but, rather than being embroiled in discussions about the family, they have most often been showcased as a creative force ofconsumers and producers of Japan’s flourishing manga and anime industries and as brave pioneer members of fandoms generally dominated by men. Although positive, these reports present female otaku as anomalies rather than role models and reveal aspects of gender segregation in otaku culture. Alisa Freedman, Train Man and the Gender Politics of Japanese ‘Otaku’ Culture: The Rise of New Media, Nerd Heroes and Consumer Communities

[QUOTE] From Catherine Coker, Earth 616, Earth 1610, Earth 3490—Wait, what universe is this again? The creation and evolution of the Avengers and Captain America/Iron Man fandom

The relationship between slash fan fiction and comics fandom is problematic not only because of the shift of medium from source text to fan text but also because of the shift of fan community. Comics fandom is often viewed as consisting of heterosexual white men and comics are often explicitly marketed to them, excluding and othering the rest of the audience. Comics fandom online subverts this expectation of audience because the majority of fan authors and creators are women. While canon plots privilege action and conflict, and the problematic depiction of women characters in them is so obvious it hardly need be discussed, comics fan fiction reverses these trends: stories privilege emotional arcs, and female characters are depicted as more recognizably human even when they are secondary to the male characters.

Comics fan works thus become completely transformative because of the shift in both fan space and fan audience: texts that are homophobic become homophiliac, authors and readers who are male become female, and that which had previously been other becomes the new norm. For these reasons, the fans are not just aware but indeed hyperaware of their own identity as subaltern and subversive practitioners.

Catherine Coker, Earth 616, Earth 1610, Earth 3490—Wait, what universe is this again? The creation and evolution of the Avengers and Captain America/Iron Man fandom

[QUOTE] From Suzanne Scott, Fangirls in refrigerators: The politics of (in)visibility in comic book culture

Fan conventions have historically been characterized as safe, even utopian spaces in which differences are embraced. My work on the Twilight protests at San Diego Comic-Con 2009 (Scott 2011), the recent sexual harassment debacle at Readercon 23 (Colby et al. 2012), and comic book artist Tony Harris’s November 2012 Facebook screed against “COSPLAY-Chiks [sic]” who “DONT [sic] KNOW SHIT ABOUT COMICS” (Dickens 2012), all indicate that these utopian characterizations of comic book conventions belie how gendered subcultural tensions manifest in these spaces. Specifically, the hostility directed at the Batgirl of San Diego from fans and publishers alike suggests a sort of panopti(comic)con, in which fan expression is increasingly policed.

Suzanne Scott, Fangirls in refrigerators: The politics of (in)visibility in comic book culture

[META] New issue of Transformative Works and Cultures on comics fandom

Fan studies journal Transformative Works and Cultures has published its thirteenth issue on comics fandom. Here are links to all the articles, on topics ranging from women in comics fandom to fans on 4chan to Captain America and various other Avengers-related things. Enjoy! As usual, we’ll be posting some good quotes from the articles too.

Editorial:

Matthew J. Costello: The super politics of comic book fandom

Theory:

Suzanne Scott: Fangirls in refrigerators: The politics of (in)visibility in comic book culture

Praxis:

Catherine Coker: Earth 616, Earth 1610, Earth 3490—Wait, what universe is this again? The creation and evolution of the Avengers and Captain America/Iron Man fandom

Lyndsay Brown: Pornographic space-time and the potential of fantasy in comics and fan art

Tim Bavlnka: /Co/operation and /co/mmunity in /co/mics: 4chan’s Hypercrisis

Symposium (short articles):

Forrest Phillips: Captain America and fans’ political activity

Babak Zarin: The advocacy of Steve Rogers (aka Captain America), as seen in hetrez’s “Average Avengers Local Chapter 7 of New York”

Amanda Odom: Professionalism: Hyperrealism and play

Rebecca Lucy Busker: Fandom and male privilege: Seven years later

Kayley Thomas: Revisioning the smiling villain: Imagetexts and intertextual expression in representations of the filmic Loki on Tumblr

Ora C. McWilliams: Who is afraid of a black Spider(-Man)?

Interviews:

Matthew J. Costello: Interview with comics artist Lee Weeks

Kate Roddy, Carlen Lavigne, Suzanne Scott: Toward a feminist superhero: An interview with Will Brooker, Sarah Zaidan, and Suze Shore

Reviews:

Daniel Stein: “Comic books and American cultural history: An anthology,” edited by Matthew Pustz

Drew Morton: “Of comics and men: A cultural history of American comic books,” by Jean-Paul Gabilliet

[LINK] New fan-themed issue of the journal Participations

The tenth issue of Participations, an online open access journal for audience studies, has a section full of new articles about fan culture. The section was put together by the Fan Studies Network, a network for fan studies researchers.

I haven’t had time to read any of the articles yet, but it sounds like there’s some very interesting stuff in here about many fandoms and fan practices – from Doctor Who, Glee, and Star Wars to Tumblr, kink memes, fandom and politics, and dojinshi. Here’s a list of all the fan-themed articles in the issue (all links go to PDFs):

Bennett, Lucy & Tom Phillips: ‘An introduction: The Fan Studies Network – new connections, new research’

Booth, Paul & Peter Kelly: ‘The changing faces of Doctor Who fandom: New fans, new technologies, old practices?’

Busse, Kristina: ‘Geek hierarchies, boundary policing, and the gendering of the good fan’

Chin, Bertha & Lori Hitchcock Morimoto: ‘Towards a theory of transcultural fandom’

Ellison, Hannah: ‘Submissives, Nekos and Futanaris: a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the Glee Kink Meme’

Hills, Matt: ‘Fiske’s ‘textual productivity’ and digital fandom: Web 2.0 democratization versus fan distinction?’

Lamerichs, Nicolle: ‘The cultural dynamic of doujinshi and cosplay: Local anime fandom in Japan, USA and Europe’

Pett, Emma: ‘”Hey! Hey! I’ve seen this one, I’ve seen this one. It’s a classic!”: Nostalgia, repeat viewing and cult performance in Back to the Future

Proctor, William: ‘”Holy crap, more Star Wars! More Star Wars? What if they’re crap?”: Disney, Lucasfilm and Star Wars online fandom in the 21st century’

Sandvoss, Cornel: ‘Toward an understanding of political enthusiasm as media fandom: Blogging, fan productivity and affect in American politics’

Whiteman, Natasha, Joanne Metivier: ‘From post-object to “Zombie” fandoms: The “deaths” of online fan communities and what they say about us’

Bury, Rhiannon, Ruth Deller, Adam Greenwood & Bethan Jones: ‘From Usenet to Tumblr: The changing role of social media’

McCulloch, Richard, Virginia Crisp, Jon Hickman & Stephanie Jones: ‘Of proprietors and poachers: Fandom as negotiated brand ownership’

Freund, Kathrina & Dianna Fielding: ‘Research ethics in fan studies’

Jones, Bethan & Lucy Bennett: ‘Blurring boundaries, crossing divides: An interview with Will Brooker’

Delmar, Javier Lozano & Victor Hernández-Santaolalla & Marina Ramos: ‘Fandom generated content: An approach to the concept of ‘fanadvertising”

Sturm, Damion & Andrew McKinney: ‘Affective hyper-consumption and immaterial labors of love: Theorizing sport fandom in the age of new media’

 

[QUOTE] From Fan-Yi Lam, Comic Market: How the World’s Biggest Amateur Comic Fair Shaped Japanese Dōjinshi Culture

The Comic Market was dominated by women from the beginning (90 percent of its first participants were female), but in 1981, thanks to lolicon, male participants numbered the same as female participants for the first time in Comike’s history. With almost ten thousand participants, Comic Market was now Japan’s biggest dōjinshi event and the center of dōjinshi culture. It grew big enough that the nineteenth Comic Market, in the winter of 1981, was held in the International Exhibition Center in Harumi. A year later, a convention catalogue was sold for the first time, both to help visitors to find their favorite circles in the crowd of almost a thousand circles and to help finance Comic Market’s expansion. Comike also encouraged the many fan-related companies to include advertisements in the catalog.

Internal conflicts on the Comike planning committee underlay some of these developments: they marked the ascendancy of the faction led by Yonezawa Yoshihiro, who favored Comike’s unlimited expansion. Though he was criticized for purportedly selling dōjinshi out to commercialism, Yonezawa couched his plans for Comike in terms of a collective organization of the convention by all participants, including staff, circles, and visitors. Whatever the underlying reality, these public principles remain little changed today.

Fan-Yi Lam, Comic Market: How the World’s Biggest Amateur Comic Fair Shaped Japanese Dōjinshi Culture

[REQUEST] Call for survey participants: Women’s Production and Consumption of (Male) Homosexual Erotica

The OTW Events Calendar for May includes a call for participants for a survey by researcher Lucy Neville. Here Lucy gives some more background about this survey and the research it will be used for.

I am a Lecturer in Criminology and Sociology at the University of Middlesex (this is me: www.mdx.ac.uk/aboutus/staffdirectory/neville.aspx – you will find an overview of my qualifications, research interests and links to previous open-access research reports).  I am also a writer (and appreciator!): of prose, poetry and slash (this is me: pouxin.livejournal.com/ – if you want to read any more of my writing, please send a friend request). I am currently carrying out an academic study into women’s involvement in sexually explicit m/m slashfic and gay erotica/pornography more generally. I would really appreciate it if you could take the time to complete the below survey.

docs.google.com/forms/d/14A61d7HpL3ojI2pzA07cHR1LhU4UiYJs-1wX5H9-BLg/viewform

What’s the research for?

The purpose of this research (both earlier focus groups I conducted and the survey) is to gain a better understanding of what appeals to women about (male) homosexual erotica, and how this sits within their wider thoughts and feelings around romance writing, erotica, pornography, gender and sexuality. As such, from a slash perspective, it is specifically looking at women who produce and/or consume explicit m/m slash.  I see this very much as an exploratory piece of research, and have no expectations per se as to what I might ‘find’, I am just very interested in hearing about the diversity of experiences people have had, and their own reflections on their enjoyment of homosexual erotica. I think this is a very nuanced and complex area, and I don’t expect to find any ‘one size fits all’ theory at the end of this. But I would like to produce a piece of research that can act as a stepping stone towards a better understanding of how and why women interact with gay erotica, and, hopefully, will reflect a lot of your own experiences back at you, offering an opportunity for interesting future discussion.

For a detailed description of how I came to do the research and what my research philosophy is, please see this post.

Who is the questionnaire for?

The questionnaire is open for both readers and writers of male homosexual erotica. I am interested in exploring all forms of gay erotica, from m/m slashfic with a sexual content, to wider gay (male) erotic literature, and gay (male) pornography.  Some questions will only be applicable to respondents who are either readers or writers (or both), so if a question does not apply to you (e.g. you do not write fic, only read it, and the question is asking you about writing), please leave it blank.
This survey is specifically interested in looking at women’s production and consumption of gay erotica, pornography, and m/m slashfic with a sexual content. As such it is only open to those who identify as women. However, if you’re a man involved in the slash community and you would be interested in sharing your opinion around any of this, please do get in touch. I see this very much as exploratory research and welcome all dialogue!

Due to issues around consent, the questionnaire is only open to those aged 18 and over.

What will you do with the data?

For your protection, I have sought and obtained ethical approval for this study from the Research Ethics Committee of the University of Middlesex, and in accordance with the recommendations of the British Sociological Association.  All research (and data collected from it) will be conducted according to the University’s ethical guidelines and the British Sociological Association statement of ethical best practice. All data is untraceable back to you, will be stored securely (on a password protected computer), and will be treated as anonymous. Only I will have access to the full dataset. Nothing you say will be attributed back to you personally.

I will make all aggregate data available to participants through my LJ page, and by informing other relevant organisations (e.g. the OTW). If you have any feedback on any of the findings, please don’t hesitate to get in touch – a lot of my previous research within social sciences has adopted an ‘action research’ philosophy (where participants are actively involved in how data are used and interpreted to form a community of best practice), and as such I welcome opinions, feedback (and constructive criticism) that can help me to design better research going forward, and get the richest interpretations from the findings themselves. As an academic, I also see this as a really fantastic opportunity for me to receive informed feedback on my work before sending it off for peer-review!

I will also link to any publications that arise from the data, and, while I won’t always be able to post completed articles on my LJ page due to copyright issues, I will happily email full articles to anyone who is interested.

If you would like to be involved in a further discussion about any of the issues raised by this questionnaire, please go to the discussion on my livejournal page or email me (l.neville@mdx.ac.uk).

Filling in the questionnaire

If you are at all uncomfortable with any of the questions, please don’t feel under any obligation to answer them – just leave them blank. Any data you provide is useful, so please don’t feel that you need to answer all the questions if you don’t want to.

I’ve constructed the questionnaire to enable participants to give lengthy responses if they want to, as from my experience in the slash community I know a lot of us have a great deal to say. However, if you don’t want to provide additional information (or are in a rush!) please don’t feel obligated to give lengthy text box answers.

The questionnaire should take 10-25 minutes to complete, depending on the length of your answers.

If you have any further questions about the research, please feel free to contact me: l.neville@mdx.ac.uk

I have already carried out focus groups with women who are involved in the production and consumption of gay erotica, but am interested in conducting more interviews and focus groups in this area. If you are local(ish) to London and would be interested in participating, please contact me via email or through my LJ.

Thank you for your time.

UPDATE: Thanks so much to all participants so far for feedback on the q’naire, it’s incredibly helpful, and while I can’t change the actual questions now I’ve started it (re: validity, reliability etc.), I will of course make use of suggestions/feedback/concrit over wording when I analyse the results etc. Keep it coming!

[META] Can Fandom Change Society? (by PBSoffbook)

Can Fandom Change Society? (by PBSoffbook)

Before the mass media, people actively engaged with culture through storytelling and expanding well-known tales. Modern fan culture connects to this historical tradition, and has become a force that challenges social norms and accepted behavior. Whether the issue is gender, sexuality, subversiveness, or even intellectual property law, fans participate in communities that allow them to think outside of what is possible in more mainstream scenarios. “Fannish” behavior has become its own grassroots way of altering our society and culture, and a means of actively experiencing one’s own culture. In a sense, fans have changed from the faceless adoring masses, to people who are proud of their identity and are stretching the boundaries of what is considered “normal”.

(more)

[QUOTE] From Abigail De Kosnik, Should Fan Fiction Be Free?, p120-123

Over the past decades of sharing their transformative works, fan fiction readers and writers have generally felt wary of commodifying a form of cultural production that is essentially derivative and perhaps subject to copyright infringement lawsuits.

(…)

Digital appropriation artists have developed a number of monetization models: royalties, distribution agreements, reasonably priced licenses that permit remix practitioners to sell their appropriations legally, and small-scale compensation intended only to reimburse remixers for their outlay. Although fan filmmakers and game modders have experimented with these models, fan fiction writers have not conducted similar experiments in marketing their works.

(…)

Fanfic authors who think that selling appropriative art is always and absolutely against the law are mistaken. No such case law exists, and many appropriating artists make money from their work today without constantly encountering legal trouble.

Why, then, do fic writers resist earning income from their output? Many scholars of fan studies claim that fan fiction is, and must remain, free—that is, “free of charge,” but also “free of the social controls that monetization would likely impose on it” —because it is inherently a gift culture, as Hellekson describes in this issue. In fact, even the fan organization, the Organization of Transformative Works, one of whose goals is to redefine fan works as transformative and therefore legal, states: “The mission of the OTW is first and foremost to protect the fan creators who work purely for love and share their works for free within the fannish gift economy.”

(…) writing fan fiction for personal gain —financial, psychological, or emotional— aligns with the fact that self-enrichment is already inherently an important motivation for women to produce and consume fanfic. For some women, belonging to an affinity group or discussing stories with fellow writers and readers is not the primary reason for engaging with this type of fiction. The rewards of participating in a commercial market for this genre might be just as attractive as the rewards of participating in a community’s gift culture; and the existence of commercial markets for goods does not typically eliminate parallel gift economies.

(…)

If fans successfully professionalize and monetize fan fiction, the amateur culture of fic writing will not disappear. Although fans have legitimate anxieties about fan fiction being corrupted or deformed by its entry into the commercial sphere, I argue that there is far greater danger of this happening if fan fiction is not commodified by its own producers, but by parties foreign to fandom who do not understand why or for whom the genre works, and who will promote it for purposes it is unsuited for, ignoring the aspects that make it attractive and dear to its readers.

Abigail De Kosnik, Should Fan Fiction Be Free?, p120-123