Buffy looking up

Oh, look, meta

Two items for your consideration today:

+ cupidsbow: How Fanfiction Makes Us Poor, thoughts on reading Joanna Russ's How to Suppress Women's Writing
+ matociquala: a little commentary about the previous essay

The essay is a typical reaction to reading Russ and realizing that it's all true and all still happening and all completely infuriating. And then the writer goes on to think about fandom, this ghetto of unpaid women writers. It's invisible, just as women's writing has been all along.

ETA a bunch of stuff:

agilebrit rants that if people want to be taken seriously, they should be writing fanfiction they can make money from, that is, fanfiction based on material that has fallen out of copyright. (Twain characters. Sherlock Holmes, etc.)
inalasahl comments on the vast extension of copyright we've seen in the last century. (So that Disney can continue to own Mickey.)

Put these two together and what do you have? In a world with a sane copyright law, Trek fanfic would be Trek pastiches. Men would be writing them. (Oh, look, back when you could write Trek tie-in novels with some freedom, and earn royalties for your work, writers like John M Ford and Greg Bear and so on did write Trek fanfic.)

... And women would be creating some other community for doing something uninteresting to the economic and artistic mainstream. Because the underlying cultural issues would not have changed. Huh.

I'm more likely to agree with swan_tower in this discussion than I am with the women offering me arguments about why things have to stay exactly as they are and why they're happy with their low status. But since I have discovered that I am happier doing than talking about doing, I will go make myself happier with a cup of coffee and a problematic plot outline and leave the meta to the experts. I am in the plotting stages for... er, four stories right now. I hate plotting.
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Thanks for the link. I couldn't bear to read through all the comments - but I'm wondering if anyone has posited the idea that fanfiction is fun and an experience of community - writers sparking one another...and there IS an exchange, it's just not monetary...
Yeah, some of the commenters definitely understood & made that point. That is indeed one of the payoffs of fanfiction, isn't it? The community is pretty cool.
Only read the first essay, but was very disturbed by her sense of entitlement when it comes to other people's intellectual property. Was a little unclear what she wanted to see happen in the fanfic community. Payment for stories? Cuz, that's so never going to happen and should never happen for the reasons expressed by one of the first commenters.

If you play in someone else's sandbox, you can't charge other people to see the sandcastle you built.

er, yeah, lol.
She was kinda short on solutions, yeah. I think she was still in the outraged phase after the kick in the head that the Russ book is.
yummy yummy stuff lady - thank you for linking to it! As a fan of Russ, period, it's great to see someone thinking about fanfiction/women's writing in these days with her in mind. The only thing I wonder about is the invisibility factor - I think fandom/ficdom gets more and more visible every day. At least, one hopes it will. And perhaps someday it will be seen as productive instead of derivative by more than pop culture academians and those of us who consume/create it.

(and i need a yummy icon... *ponders*)
I found these two links in my occasional scan of metafandom today. Sometimes there's good stuff there!

I think fandom is getting more visible, yes. When television producers are reading Television Without Pity to find out what fans think, there's something interesting changing. My sarcastic side wants to comment that as soon as fanfic is viewed as productive and worthwhile, the men will be swarming all over it and making it theirs... but that's probably too cynical.
but that's probably too cynical

lol. perhaps, although I'd believe it. On the other hand, I've always thought that women, in terms of their sexual fantasies, were by and large more interested in narrative and men more visually interested (hence the written erotica for women and centerfolds for men) - obviously this is not a hard and fast rule, and it breaks as soon as one looks at individual consumption, but....it's always influenced my understanding of why fanfic is predominately written by women.
That's an interesting point: socio-bio differences manifesting, eventually, in differences in artistic taste. Though not all fanfiction is pornography, note!
sorry - i know i came off as sounding as if it was - I didn't really mean to disenfranchise a huge portion of the fandom world... i think my roots were probably showing in the worst way *grin*
Heeeee! I'll rush to admit, the porn is fun. Though so is the genfic. And so is the romance. And so is... <3 fanfic.
I didn't read any of the articles. But, for anyone interested in the question of copyright and piracy in general, there are a few good links: http://www.baen.com/library/palaver4.htm

I should note that these are a few years old, from the creation of the Baen Free Library, in the middle of all the noise the music industry was making over Napster and other free download sites. The Library is a section of the Baen Books website, where they publish old backlist books for free online. The Palavers were a series of articles by Eric Flint, one of their big authors and editors, explaining why they were doing it, which required a background in the theory and practice of copyrights.
Baen Books has been doing some worthy stuff recently. I'm reading the palavers on copyright law now.

The extension of copyright has had some interesting unintended consequences-- it only occurred to me yesterday to think about what would be elevated to the culturally-acceptable "pastiche" if copyright still only lasted 17 years.

I'd still be not owning my Buffy stories, though. I am okay with that. It was specifically the freedom & the relief of pressure to succeed that followed from not owning the material that I sought when I started writing fanfiction. Note that I am in the camp that approaches fanfiction as a practice ground for original fiction, and will not react with hostility to the suggestion that I should consider transitioning. Though I suspect I'll keep writing the fan stuff as well, because it's fun. And I love the characters. And I love the community.
Sure. Based on what I've seen around the Web, I think male writers may usually focus more on original characters within the setting (i.e. some other Starfleet crew), but that may be an overgeneralization.
Cause & effect might be interesting there, too-- the fanfic community shies away from original characters out of fear of the Mary Sue. That is, the interest in writing them might not be a male/female thing, but instead an effect of the culture in which the writers are working. Maybe. That would be my first guess, though!
Could be. On the flip side, there are plenty of "Captain Gary Stu" fics out there, not always acknowledged as such; maybe because of less conditioning against it in some quarters? (I'm only guessing, and yes, I'm male.) Certainly there's a lesser emphasis on hurt/comfort and so on, generally speaking. Different foci for different writerly POVs?