dagas_isa: Kanzaki Nao from Liar Game (Default)
[personal profile] dagas_isa posting in [community profile] fem_thoughts
Please note that these are hypotheses, not definitive statements. And that even if all these reasons are all totally true and applicable everywhere (which they aren’t), none of them are inherently bad or good things.

Definitions:

I’m using ‘more conservative’ for more fic that focuses on realism or a fairly narrow set of realistic tropes, and ‘out there’ for tropes that are more geared towards idfic or common fanfic fantasy set-ups.



1. For people who write for feedback, being conservative is a better strategy.

Writing for smaller fandoms is different from writing for larger fandoms in that the maximum audience size is a lot different. In smaller fandoms, getting the largest audience really does depend on avoiding people’s squicks, whereas larger fandoms can afford squicking out a few people in order to really hit the kinks of relatively small proportion. Also larger fandoms tend to fill up on vanilla first time/cute romancey stories pretty quickly, while smaller fandoms take much longer to hit that threshold, if they ever do.

F/F, in general, has a much smaller base audience than m/f or m/m, so writers need to aim wider in their appeal, rather than cultivate a niche following, so even in relatively large fandoms the instinct is to go broad rather than deep.

2. Taste-makers in f/f are more conservative (?)

People don’t write in a vacuum. So if the early writers in fandoms where f/f is popular write more conservative fics, and the archives and contests are run by people who have more conservative tastes, and more people leave feedback for stories that are more familiar, then chances are new writers who enter the fandom are going to be influenced by what already exists.

3. Newbies/Dabblers tend to be more conservative in their early/occasional f/f stories than they would be if they wrote it more often.

People writing any kind of fic for the first time are already pretty nervous about stepping outside their comfort zone, so a first time f/f writer will stick with their comfort zone when trying a new pairing, and someone trying a new trope will stay with their familiar pairs. Also, outside of some very isolated pockets, there are fewer people who write f/f mostly or exclusively and opposed to people who write f/f in addition to m/f and/or m/m. And if the m/m or m/f audience is larger, then the more out there tropes are going to probably be written with those categories in mind.

4. Previous fannish history doesn't support more out-there tropes.

People who come in a new fandom from older fandoms where it’s totally normal that people write fics about Alice being a paper clip and Beatrice being a staple remover are more likely to bring that attitude into their new fandom. On the other hand, if say, if the characters as inanimate objects trope doesn’t already exist in someone’s fannish experience, it’s harder to create that from scratch.

5. The types of fandoms that lend themselves easily to f/f pairings are harder to work different tropes into.

Some fandoms lend themselves easily to hand-wavey justifications for why someone should suddenly sprout wings. Other fandoms are fairly gritty cop shows with no supernatural elements or movies about working for a high-end fashion magazine with no supernatural elements or slice-of-life series about high-school girls with no supernatural elements. The major f/f fandoms seem to fall into the latter category.

6. There are unfortunate implications for the f/f iteration of some tropes that are popular in m/f or m/m pairings.

A few examples: I’d love for there to be more f-preg and babyfic about my favorite couples, but truthfully there’s a fear of drawing on the pregnant lesbian trope, which isn’t something that exists so much in m/m or m/f pairings. There’s also a fear of drawing a skeezy male gaze contingent (or being accused of being a skeezy male) if writing f/f with dubcon or noncon aspects, which doesn’t exist so much with m/m fic (obviously m/f is different here).

7. Stories featuring f/f relationships are expected to be more realistic.

Assuming that most f/f that isn’t made for male fans of girl-on-girl relationships are written by queer women or their allies to be about queer female experience in one way or another, there’s more pressure to represent f/f relationships realistically rather than tell more over-the-top melodrama or really hot fantasy fanservice stories.

8. Rare pairs are already hard enough set up, why add to the challenge?

This doesn’t apply to couples that are canon or practically canon, but for ships that already take a lot of set up such as two women who’ve never met or spoken to each other in canon or even crossover ships, then creating a regency AU around them takes enough work that it might as well be an original story.


[Null-hypothesis] More out there stories do actually exist in fairly decent numbers; they just don't have many readers. And more people would write these stories if they knew that readers existed for them.

I’m of the belief that everything people want to see either already exists, or would happily exist if some writer knew there was an audience for it. However, as it stands, what’s out there might not be by the best or most popular writers or in the largest or most popular fandoms, or feature a favorite pairing, or do the trope exactly the way people want it, or even be terribly easy to find. And so the people who would read it, don’t because they believe it doesn’t exist, and the people who would write it don’t because they believe there’s no audience.

In short, the people who would read more trope-based f/f and the people who would write it keep missing each other.
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