Gender & Sexuality

Event Date: 

Monday, June 12, 2023 - 12:00pm to 1:15pm

Event Date Details: 

Event Location: 

  • SSMS 3017

Laura Halcomb Graduate Student, UCSB Sociology

“Shameless smut:”

Consent, pleasure, and fantasy in sexually explicit fanfiction

I will present data and ideas from a work in progress that examines themes of consent, pleasure, and fantasy in sexually explicit fanfiction, an amateur literary genre mostly written and read by young women. During this workshop I will share some preliminary ideas based on a data set of about 11,000works of fanfiction I collected from the popular website Archive of Our Own (Ao3). I plan to use a mix of computational and qualitative methods to analyze the data. I am interested in many aspects of this data, including the popularity Ao3 as a noncommodified creative platform amid influencer culture, the types of creative works that amass fandoms, the happy coexistence of graphically sexual writing alongside intentionally non-sexual writing, and if and how writing sexually explicit fiction is related to sex work. One idea I am currently exploring is how consent operates as a community practice. I will share preliminary data examining consent practices in both the story narratives (between the characters in the fanfiction) and the tagging conventions on the website (between the readers and authors on Ao3). I am particularly interested in how the authors depict consensual and non-consensual sex, and, relatedly, how the author’s tags and notes alert readers to the content of the story and sex depicted. Please note that this will include discussion of non-consensual or rape fantasies