Fanfic vs. Canon: Female Characters in Harry Potter

As we well know, fanfiction is dominated by stories about male characters, which can appear a bit paradoxical at first, since it is predominantly written by women.

Several explanations can be advanced on the subject:

  • Canon books, movies and TV series are more often centered around male characters than female ones
  • Even when there are canon female characters, canon male characters are deemed more interesting than female ones in terms of story development and character arcs
  • Or it could be due to internalized misogyny: we would be taught since infancy that men are more of the hero-type than female

The aim of this post is not to solve the question entirely. However, I was thinking that in the case of fandoms based on books, it could be relatively easy to measure how often female characters appear in canon and make a comparison with their presence in fanfiction.

With this question in mind, I naturally turned over to Harry Potter:

hp_yay

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Popular tropes in fanfiction

This week, Elizabeth Minkel and Flourish Kink asked Twitter what their favorite tropes in fanfiction were. This resulted in this interesting chart … and also inspired us: what can we say about favorite tropes or genres with our data about long fics published on AO3 in 2015?

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All about mpreg in fandom! a surprisingly popular niche

Today, let’s dive in a subject a lot of us heard about, but might prefer to ignore… Mpreg! As in, male pregnancy (learn more on the Fanlore page). Yup. As usual, we studied fanfictions that are 10K+ words.

Mpreg is kind of a controversial fanfiction subgenre: people are either fascinated or put off, with very few stance for a middle ground. On AO3, actually a tiny minority of fics are labeled mpreg: in 2015, we counted 1357 fics tagged with mpreg published on AO3, that is 1.9% of the total of 10K words + fics. However, those fics are widely read: they attract way more readers than their number alone would predict.

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