Okay, it happened again. A fanfiction writer got publicly humiliated (which was recorded by the BBC, though it hasn't been aired - yet). In front of the very actors she admires. It has happened to fanartists before - talk show hosts or interviewers pulling up sexually explicit fanworks to embarrass actors and humiliate the fandom. And apparently it keeps happening. I'm wondering why. Why do journalists feel the need to shame (mostly) women for using a fandom as canvas to artistically express their sexual fantasies and desires?
Because it's always male actors and their characters. And it's usually slash art or fanfiction.
Sexually explicit fanfic is a predominantly female avenue, fanart to a lesser degree, but usually only women draw and paint what other women like. Why is that? Why do women of all ages gather in communities on the internet to create and share erotica featuring their favourite characters? Because it's the only safe haven we've got, that's why. We've created this niche for ourselves, because society still teaches us that having and expressing sexual desire isn't something women should do. It's shameful. And that is suffocating and restrictive.
In fandoms we are free. Free to experiment, free to express ourselves, free to share and exchange thoughts and fantasies, something that we aren't in the real world. Young women who are still trying to figure stuff out have the guidance and support of older and more experienced women - who in turn gain fresh perspectives and new ideas from their younger counterparts. And, even more importantly, we are safe. Safe from judgement, safe from predators, safe from shame.
Exposing us like that, publicly shaming and humiliating us, destroys that safety. It destroys the one place, the one thing where we can be ourselves, where we can let our imaginations run wild collectively. That is why it's such a horrible thing to do.
So why, why do that? There is a reason the fourth wall exists. Don't break it. It keeps us safe - us and the creators of the source material.