Crap is a sign of life. New bad stories are a sign that this genre — fan fiction, the genre I adore the most - is alive and well. Bad stories mean new people are trying to write in it, and people are trying to do new things with it, and maybe new people are joining the audience, too. When only the best and most popular are writing in a genre, it’s on its deathbed. (See: Westerns and Louis L’Amour.) I want this genre to be here forever, because I want to read it forever. So I’m happy that teenagers are posting Mary Sue stories to the Archive of Our Own.
Does that mean you have to be happy? Nope. I can’t make you do anything. (I can think you’re wrong, but hey, being wrong on the internet is a time-honored tradition among our people.) But when you start making fun of a writer and bullying her in the comments of her story, simply because she’s writing something you think is bad and embarrassing, well, that’s when I say: shut the fuck up or get the fuck out. Because she’s not a problem. She’s just doing what we’re all doing — having fun, playing with words, throwing something out there on the internet to see if other people like it.
But you. You’re trying to stop someone from having fun. You’re trying to shame people into not writing anymore. And that, folks — that is the definition of shitty behavior. (Mary Sue fantasies, on the other hand, are just the definition of human behavior.) It’s bad for people, it’s bad for the future, and it’s bad for the genre. So you’re a problem.—
This? Is really, really important (not re: me, as I am old, mean, and soulless, but re: writers who are not old, mean, and soulless), especially when you are talking about public commentary, and especially when you are talking about commentary that is unsolicited.
If you really want to improve the quality of Fic At Large, by all means, strike up relationships where you can have meaningful dialogues with other writers and provide trustworthy and meaningful commentary on their work, and (ideally! mutual beta love is the best love!) where they can do the same for you. In fact, if such a concept tickles your fancy, I know of a writing/making shit club that you might find interesting! But there is a world of difference between participating in a community in which people mutually solicit and provide suggestions for one another to help each other out, and leaving mean, snarky, abusive comments directly on someone else’s fic.
This is extra extra true if you could be construed as being in a position of power relative to them, which, if they are a new writer and you are not, you are.
I do not have enough words or reaction gifs to truly emphasize just how incredibly, incredibly important this is. The culture of mocking fanfiction on the internet (which almost always entails mocking girls when they write, and particularly young girls) is toxic and really sexist at its core, and, in a culture that mocks literally almost anything and everything young girls do, takes away one more space for young girls to do things. And those spaces are really, really important, because they’re places where young girls are creating and sharing things because they want to—they have a vested interest in this thing, and are taking a really big risk by trying something new (writing) and sharing it publicly (AO3, FF.net, wherever) for others to read (who are, more often than not, strangers, even in fandom communities). And mocking that process or leaving vitriolic, spiteful comments, mocks the girl who took that risk. And that’s teaching her to not take risks; to not share her work; to not, in fact, write or create ever again. And that’s the most detrimental thing you can do—to a girl, to a community, to a genre, and to art and creating in general.
also i’d like to note that there’s some painfully obvious self-insert, painfully badly written slash
some of it with an original male character, even
but it doesn’t get attacked like mary sue fic
which sends the message that girls and women can only find safety in identifying with male characters and living out their fantasies through male avatars
you’re not safe as a woman. what you want is wrong when channeled through a woman character. it’s only okay to want things if you imagine yourself male
trying to live out fantasies through a female avatar is evil and wrong and disgusting and deserved to be shamed into the ground
and that is sick and twisted shit
and ain’t nobody gonna convince me the overwhelming popularity of dudeslash isn’t pernicious while that double-standard exists
are there women and girls who would independently enjoy fantasizing through male characters in dudelsash if there weren’t that obvious, coercive fandom pressure?
but as long as the pressure is there, you cannot fucking tell me it’s not shaping how women and girls feel and where they direct their pleasure and you cannot pretend that the predominance of dudelsash is entirely innocent and simply a byproduct of female fans following their bliss
not when certain avenues of bliss are ruthlessly cut off by misogynistic hate