Column: Battle of the genres

‘Fanfiction does not seem as serious as other published books, but all are forms of expression and tell stories that entertain readers.’

Fanfiction has received a bad reputation over the years. I am often told how fanfictions aren’t “actual literature books,” and writers would never get taken seriously for their work. 

Fanfiction are fiction books made by fans and can be written about any subject the writer is interested in. Most of the books are written by fans just for fun. The writers see it as a fun hobby, and it can be a safe place for people who need distractions from their everyday lives. Similar to how authors of published books write stories to entertain and create an escape for the readers, fanfiction writers create these stories to build a fantasy world out of their favorite characters.

In fact, over the past few years, many fanfictions have gotten published and some have become shows or films. They have become really huge yet they receive massive amounts of hate. 

One of my favorite fanfictions ever is “After” by Anna Todd. It’s a book series originally created as a fanfiction of Harry Styles. The story exploded with many people loving it and hating it. “After” got published, and then turned into films that were released in theaters throughout the world. Initially, the book gained popularity since it was about Harry Styles, even then many haters thought fanfiction didn’t deserve to get turned into films because of how cringy it is. People who dislike this genre of writing argue it’s not fair to professional authors who’ve been in the industry and worked hard to gain the support of a publishing company.

I prefer the fanfiction genre over other books. The reason why I started to enjoy reading was all because of fanfiction literature. I found an app back in fifth grade called Wattpad, and as a young girl, I was obsessed with shows and needed something to fill the hole. By reading fanfiction I got to see the characters in a different way than their original roles. 

Many people, like me, find fanfiction to be a distraction from the real world. We get to find comfort in characters we love and explore them differently. When I tell people I enjoy reading, I am always scared to tell them I read mostly fanfiction. The fear coming from the reputation fanfiction receives of being called cringy and weird. I’m not one to stand up for myself, and never telling people what books made me happy was difficult. Once people found out, I would constantly get reminded how bad and gross I am for reading something I enjoy. 

Another big reason why it’s so hated is because so many cisgender women read and write fanfiction. Seems like no matter what teenage girls do or enjoy, there will be huge discussion as to why it’s dumb or gross. In today’s society, women can’t do anything without men hating and finding something to bash on.

Not only do fanfiction writers struggle to gain respect for their creative outlet, but the readers of those fanfiction books do too. Fanfiction does not seem as serious as other published books, but both are forms of expression and tell stories that entertain readers. In my opinion we shouldn’t be judged and ashamed of the reading we enjoy. Everyone has different preferences, and they shouldn’t be put down for the genres they like.