Exploring Desire. Sexual and Gender Identities in Fan fiction Communities

Thesis event information

Date and time of the thesis defence

Topic of the dissertation

Exploring Desire. Sexual and Gender Identities in Fan fiction Communities

Doctoral candidate

Master of Arts Silja Kukka

Faculty and unit

University of Oulu Graduate School, Faculty of Humanities, Languages and Literature

Subject of study

Literature

Opponent

Professor Susanna Paasonen, University of Turku

Custos

Professor Kuisma Korhonen, University of Oulu

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Sexual and Gender Identities in Fan fiction Communities

The object of this doctoral thesis is to examine online fan fiction communities and how the themes of sexuality, gender, and sexual identity are discussed both in the texts fans write, and in the conversations in online kink meme communities. Kink meme communities are fan spaces dedicated to sexually explicit or pornographic fan fiction.

The thesis aims at understanding and highlighting the rich and nuanced view contemporary fan fiction writers and readers have on sexual identity, female and non-hetero desire, and gender. The thesis shows that fans have strong connections to the Queer movement, and that they discuss sexuality and gender in sensitive, insightful, and nuanced manner.

Slash fiction and kink meme communities are shown to provide women and trans- and non-binary people safe spaces where the themes of sexuality, gender, desire, pornography, and different traumas can be discussed safely through fiction. Safe online spaces are especially important for women and trans- and non-binary people, whose sexual and bodily self-determination and self-expression are not always quaranteed or respected in the real world, nor in mixed-gender online spaces.
Last updated: 10.10.2022