Update 1: The post on teen.com referenced in this has been edited. I’ve written a post to reflect these changes, which includes screencaps of the original post.
Update 2: Teen.com has taken down the Teen Wolf post entirely
Hi all, We appreciate your feedback, have taken down the Teen Wolf fanfiction post & are handling it internally. Thank you, Teen
— Teen (@teen) October 26, 2015
It’s not uncommon for websites to try to drive up clicks, shares and comments by publishing a post being critical over something. Knowing it will enrage a group of people. Whether it’s women, geeks, or particular sports fans.
Today’s post? It’s over at Teen.com and titled “11 Scott McCall-Stiles Stilinski Fanfics That Prove Teen Wolf Fans Are Nasty AF“. It’s exactly what the title suggests, a judgemental opinion piece that not only quotes fanfics but links to them. Either stories on Archive of Our Own (a website filled with transformative works – art, fiction and podfics) or the writer’s blog posts on their blogs. And all without notifying the authors that they were being quoted, or asking their permission.
So what makes these fans “nasty as fuck”? (Yeah, an acronym isn’t going to tone down what it means.) Scott and Stiles are written as being in a non-canon same-sex pairing. In the realm of fandom, canon is what’s on screen. Or in books or games that creators have said fit in the timeline. But fandom is filled with people who see potential in non-canon pairings- characters that aren’t involved on screen.
Ex: Bert and Ernie are a non-canon pairing. While Sesame Street has never confirmed that Bert and Ernie are gay, if you ask most people, they believe they’ve been in a relationship this entire time.
And yes, some people write non-explicit and explicit fanfiction. About canon and non-canon pairings. So what makes this nasty? From the piece, apparently it’s just that it’s two guys who aren’t together on the show having sex. Gay sex, clearly, it must be gross.
So why do people write non-canon fic? For the most part it’s because they see some sort of promise – a relationship built on friendship, shared experiences. It’s no different than when people watch a show and say that they ship the hero with a female in the background. Except that in this case, it’s two guys.
Slash fic isn’t anything new. The term was actually coined from fanfiction written about Kirk and Spock back when Star Trek the Original Series was on the air. Kirk/Spock.
A lot of people also slash fic because they want to see more representation other than just straight relationships. The creators of Teen Wolf wouldn’t dare make two of the main characters be in a same-sex relationship. They seemed to flirt with the idea of Stiles being bi – having Caitlin ask him if he liked boys, too (she’s bisexual). So a lot of fanfic writers take the risk that TV shows feel they can’t make, and write slash fiction- often exploring relationships that are healthier than the canon relationships on screen.
One thing is true, the demographics of fandom and fanfic writers is overwhelmingly female. And it seems like it’s socially acceptable to make fun of the hobbies of girls and women. How dare teen girls (and adult women) write about sex and relationships? How dare they express sexual interest? And how dare women be sexually attracted to the idea of men having sex with each other, when the entire porn industry rests on straight men wanting to watch women have sex with each other.
But that’s a post for another day- I’m getting away from my point.
Teen.com could have published a post wondering why people write explicit fanfiction for a show about teenagers. Or wondering why anyone would see this as a viable pairing. But this wasn’t that. It was a post that was solely about judging the people who write this, sharing quotes from their stories to mock them, and then linking to direct the shaming to the writers themselves.
Bullying is such a prevalent problem. On the internet with everyone, and especially with teens. It seems unconscionable that any site geared towards teens and tweens would be so tone deaf to the world around them that they would publish a post that’s explicitly bullying someone for writing something they care about.
And we should expect better.
If you feel compelled (as I did), you can scroll down to the bottom of their page, and use contact us link to send them an email to let them know that you feel it’s inappropriate for them to publish material bullying someone, and asking that they post an apology.
(If anything, isn’t it a little odd that a site geared towards teens and tweens is linking to explicit fanfic at all?)
Disclaimer: I write fanfic about canon and non-canon pairings, and don’t hide it. But I would have written this even if I didn’t.