The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
As a dorky preteen during the 2010s, I was bound to be exposed to the large world of popular fanfiction sites, such as Wattpad, AO3, and Quotev. I would endlessly scroll through users’ stories and write my own fascinating plotlines for my own original characters for hours. It was the most time-consuming hobby I had all throughout middle and high school and I still cherish those memories to this day. But, why? Aren’t those websites just for nerdy girls who just want to imagine that someone like Jon Snow or Draco Malfoy would find them attractive in another universe or creepy Bronies who create uncomfortable writing about animations? While those users are definitely around, I’ll have to argue that the majority of this online activity is more wholesome than the media would like to make it to be.
The Hate Around Fanfiction Is Another Way To Shame Teen Girls For Their Interests
If we glance back at the Beatlemania of the 1960s or the phenomenon of Directioners, teen girls have never been allowed to show their liking to a piece of media without being humiliated. While teenage boys could positively tape posters of scantily-clad images of Pamela Anderson and Renee Tenison to their bedrooms, the second a girl put up an average photo of Nick Carter on their wall, they are labeled as obsessive and boy-crazy. Letting girls have a way to express their interests is vital to their development as adolescents and shaming them for something boys have always done is irresponsible for our society.
Writing As a Hobby, Regardless of the Subject, Improves Literacy
While I received taunting from my peers about the geeky conversations with friends about certain fanfictions, my English teachers were always impressed with the level of my writing in their classes. Unsurprisingly, having a hobby that involves you to create various drafts and character profiles heavily benefitted my vocabulary, sentence structure, and other aspects that were fairly advanced for the average 13 year old.
Gaining a Community and Virtual Connections
From my own experience, online fandoms have always had a sense of belonging, but writing and reading fanfiction creates its own parasocial relationships. The exchanges between readers and authors in the comments of various chapters gives both involved a feeling of inclusion and can often lead to online friendships. These relationships can include compliments on each other’s writings, conversations about the newest episode of a familiar TV show, or even just a simple venting of each other’s days. All of the friendships I had helped me develop my own voice and personality among others and transferred into my in-person life.
At the end of the day, we should let people enjoy what they enjoy. Whether you decompress from a long day with crocheting or writing a fun oneshot about your favorite anime, it’s completely valid.