In her letter, “Speaking in Tongues” Gloria Anzaldua states “they convince us that we must cultivate art for art’s sake. Bow down to the sacred bull, form. Put frames and “metaframes around the writing. Achieve distance to win the coveted title “literary writer” or “professional writer” (Anzaldua 167). This sentiment is extremely reminiscent of the treatment fanfiction and fanfiction authors receive when they try to claim they are real writers and that their works are real writing. Fanfiction is fan-written work based around a subject with any fanbase one could think of. It is commonly thought of as weird and shameful to take part in when in reality there are fanfictions out there that are leagues above many applauded works of literature and cinema.
Fanfiction is written for a multitude of reasons, the primary one is exploring the possibilities of a piece of media. Anzaldua expresses why I enjoy fanfiction so much: “the world I create in the writing compensates for what the real world does not give me” (Anzaldua 169). A huge theme in this class is the erasure of queer history and media. Even today there is a stunning lack of representation of LGBTQ+ people in popular culture. Fanfiction is a popular outlet for people who want to see more of themselves in a piece of media they like or relate to. A lot of the authors we have learned about in this class wrote so that people like them could feel represented, and that is essentially what fanfic writers are doing on a smaller scale.
Gloria Anzaldua wrote “Speaking in Tongues” to reach out to other women like her, who do not often see themselves in the media they wish to pursue. Fanfiction is a similarly comforting thing to me and many others. Those who write fanfiction can interpret pieces of media they connect with in ways that make themselves, and the readers, feel seen. The incredible thing about fanfiction is that it does not exist to appeal to everyone, it exists for people to find something that appeals specifically to them.
3 thoughts on “Fanfiction from the Queer Perspective”
As someone who loves fanfiction, this was an amazing post to see. Not only is fanfiction conforming but it allows a freedom that other types of literature just simply don’t. One connection that I would also make to the idea of making fanfiction and different types of writing that diverges from “metaframes” that Anzula speaks and bring up a quote from Khor who said in her author’s note from “The Legend of Auntie Poe”: “If history failed us, fiction will have to restore us” (Khor 286) I think fanfiction not only fits within those definitions but also extends this as it takes the stories that an exclusively straight and provides an alternate story that can restore the queer people reading it.
I really love the connection of Anzaldua’s piece to fan fiction, I had never really thought of fan fiction in that light before. Fan fiction allows for the open possibility of characters to experience what one is going through, which is certainly reaffirming in itself. Fan fiction is a perfect vehicle for queer stories and experiences because, like the queer identity itself and as Eve Sedgwick defines it, has endless possibilities.
I also wrote about fan fiction as a vehicle for queer stories, and it was really nice to be able to see this form of work through another lens. I think that one quote from The Legend of Auntie Po that relates to fan fiction is the last quote prior to the author’s note, where Mei says that she can go on “to have my very own story now” (Khor, 284). It alludes that there exists storylines of the characters that are more than what is explored in the original piece, and that is exactly what fan fiction has been used to do, create stories that appeal to the creator of the work that has not been expressed in the original work.
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