Hamline News

April 27, 2012

Gender and Sexuality: Normalizing the Deviance in Fanfiction Communities

Dianna Fielding, Advisor: Sharon Preves

Communities of non-professional writers have written stories based on another author's work for amateur publication since the 19th century. These writings, known as “fanfiction,” frequently explore aspects of the characters, setting, or plot that the original author did not write about. Two unique explorations, slash and genderswap, within the fanfiction community explore the conceptualization of gender-nonconformity and homosexuality. Academic views on fanfiction in the past have been limited to literary studies focusing primarily on literacy acquisition in non-native English speakers (Black 2005). This study closely examines how fanfiction creators and consumers negotiate the borders between homo- and heterosexuality and maleness and femaleness, while exploring gender and sexuality in a safe environment of their own creation. Through a content analysis of literary works by Star Trek fanfiction writers, this study explores how fanfiction creators and consumers create communities based on their beliefs about gender and sexuality.