Yvonne Anisimowicz, B. A. (Hons).
Everyone is a fan of something—a TV show, an author, a sports team, an artist. For some, this fandom can lead to the creation of fanworks. Fanworks include stories (fanfiction), drawings (fanart), songs (filk) about the characters in a fav novel, and videos from movie or tv clips (fanvid), among others. Through the magic of the Internet, fans get to share their enthusiasm and their fanworks, creating that shared community that we call “fandom.”
Guess what? Many fanworks contain sexual content. One of the most prominent online archives of fanworks has more than three quarters of a million registered users and is home to more than 2.3 million fanworks.2 All works are tagged with keywords describing their content, typically “sexual content,” “smut,” “relationship(s),” and “romance.”
Fun Facts About Fanworks:
· Of 824 adults (18-66 years), 15% reported using fanworks containing sexual content, with 15% of those used only fanworks with sexual content
· For sexual fanworks: fanfiction (71%) and fanart (55%) were the most popular
· Women and men use sexual fanworks to the same extent
· But more women use fanfiction (86% vs. 60%), and more men use fanart (67% vs. 39%)
Fandom’s origin is obscure,3 but this is not a fringe interest!!
As fandom enters the mainstream, more people are becoming aware of and using fanworks, sometimes without realizing it—for instance, did you know that Fifty Shades of Grey was originally written as Twilight fanfiction?4
1 Rule 34 (n.d.) Retrieved from http://fanlore.org/wiki/Rule_34
2 Archive of Our Own (n.d.) Retrieved from https://archiveofourown.org/
3 Grossman, L. (2011). The boy who lived forever. Time, 178(3), 44-50.
4 Downing, L. (2013). Safewording! Kinkphobia and gender normativity in Fifty Shades of Grey. Psychology & Sexuality, 4, 92-102. doi: 10.1080/19419899.2012.740067