I thought I would take this week to vent a little bit. My project is specifically looking at the makeup and culture of YA fan fiction communities. The problem is that there is not a great deal of research performed in this area. Fan fiction has started to grow as a valid field of study for several subject areas (literature, digital humanities, etc). However, the majority of the studies do not cover the culture of the communities in general to provide an overview of why people write fan fiction, what they expect to get from it, and what kinds of support and programs they would like from their local public library to help them grow as fan fiction writers.
In fact, most of the research that is currently available is simply obsessed with “slash.” For those who do not know, slash is fan fiction which revolves around the relationships between characters. This concept translates in a straightforward way for things like Harry/Ginny fan fiction stories for Harry Potter. Yet, a large portion of slash actually revolves around the creation of different types of relationships not in the original source material. A great deal of it even sets up homosexual relationships between characters or even bestiality. Since this idea might confuse and excite many people, academia has latched onto slash with a vengeance. I have been able to find some valuable resources for my project of YA fan fiction cultural ethnography linked with library services, but it took SO long to sort through everything to find. It was like drowning in a sea of academics trying to explain slash to those who think it is a weirdly dark hobby. Perhaps these researchers simply want to goose their own prestige by performing “shock-based” projects and slash provides a helpful platform.
Again, lets just say…ENOUGH WITH SLASH RESEARCH! It isn’t new. It isn’t some type of writing voodoo. It doesn’t harm society. Stop treating the community like a group of people with ears growing on their foreheads.