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[Fandom Stats] F/F Stats (Femslash February 2016)

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Hello, femslash fans and stats fans!  <3  I spent the past few weeks whipping up some info for you all on the state of F/F shipping and polyshipping, F/F-heavy fandoms, F/F terminology, and more!  :)  

Notes:

  • There are many other fandoms and ships with lots of F/F.  I just couldn’t fit them all!  :D You can see a bunch of them in my spreadsheets. The thresholds I picked as cutoffs for these lists were somewhat arbitrary – how many fandoms/ships I could reasonably fit on a slide; where there was a convenient big jump in the numbers; etc.  

  • Here is last year’s analysis for comparison.  I didn’t do exactly the same set of analyses this time around, though in the spreadsheet I collected data for a few more of the analyses from last year that I just ran out of time/energy to do.

  • The first couple slides, wherein I look at the amount of F/F on AO3, were inspired in part by a quirk that readers pointed out in my 2015 Year in Fandom post.  Folks noticed that all of the top F/F ships had produced over 50% of their works in 2015 and wondered why that was true for F/F and not for the other categories.  Based on the first two slides here, I’d say that’s because F/F as a whole is strongly on the rise!  (Whereas the other categories are less so.)  You can also read more of my past shipping stats (including a detailed relationship category breakdown from 2013 for comparison) if so you’re interested.

  • The final slide addressing the terminology used to refer to F/F and how it’s changing over time was inspired by the ~fanspeak episode of the @fansplaining podcast, in which @allthingslinguistic blogger Gretchen McCulloch joined hosts Elizabeth and Flourish to talk about many aspects of fan language (it’s an awesome episode!  :D ).  They talked about the term “yaoi,” which comes from Japanese fandoms but gets use roughly synonymously with “slash” as I’ve seen it used.  They talked about how it used to be used more often.  I was curious whether “yaoi” and its female equivalent, “yuri,” have died down in favor of the Western terms (at least on an archive like AO3 that is more dominated by Western fandoms) – and also whether “femslash” is dying down on AO3, where the existence of the F/F category tag makes it less necessary for searching for relevant fic.

    I was surprised to find “yuri” holding steady, though “femslash” does seem to be decreasing some in usage (though still getting plenty). I had also expected to see individual authors coming in with one tagging pattern and either sticking to it, or making a unidirectional switch over time.  Instead, I found them switching in and out of different tagging patterns in accordance with the customs of different fandoms (note: this is based on my looking at the patterns of only about fifteen authors so far – not actually very SCIENCE yet ;) ). Gretchen identified this as authors code switching to show that they understand the community norms – very cool!  She writes all sorts of awesome stuff about internet language usage at @allthingslinguistic; it’s one of my fave blogs, and I can’t wait for her forthcoming book on the topic!  Check her out. :)

  • Thanks to @solrosan for asking a question about polyships that prompted that slide!  That slide was lots of fun to put together. :D  Polyships are harder to reliably find than some of the other ones, for various reasons of tagging and ship size… there’s a good chance I missed a bunch – but this gives a great set of starting points.  (And ZOMG Carmilla fandom FTW with a MEGA-OT3 that has more than double the fanworks of any of the others!! Wow!)

  • Clarification: when I say “in the past year” at various points on these slides, I mean I searched for “< 1 year ago” on AO3.  I fudged this a couple times and labeled the past year as 2015 on the chart, because I was doing this search mostly in Jan 2016 or early Feb 2016.  Because I gathered this data over a couple weeks’ time, there are probably some minor inconsistencies for the data regarding the very active fandoms and ships.  (don’t take the specific numbers TOO seriously; if I could have gotten Google Sheets to round the numbers it used as labels, I would have).

  • Here are thespreadsheets with the raw data I collected over several weeks in Jan-Feb 2016.  Feel free to use the data!

  • Huuuuuge thanks to everyone who helped inspire and/or gave feedback on various bits of this: Lisa E., Mrs. Toasty, and the rest of the household; Gretchen McCulloch, @flourish, and @elizabethminkel.  Also indirectly to @centrumlumina for doing amazing and inspiring work on AO3 ship stats and co-running the awesome blog Femslash Revolution!

  • Despite various folks having given feedback on earlier versions, there are probably mistakes in the slides and/or data, which are all mine!  If you spot them, please let me know. 
  • Update: a reader asked how I found polyships -- whether I used the F/F tag or Multi tag. I’ll start by noting that polyships are not tagged very consistently. E.g., they're also sometimes just tagged with individual pairings and not a single tag -- A/B, B/C, and A/C but not A/B/C!
    For this analysis, I just looked at ships that used the A/B/C/[D+] polyship tag format. I found them in the following ways:
    - I looked in the F/F category (but not Multi, though that is a also obviously a great idea) and then added "Threesome," "Polyamory," "OT3," "Moresome," to the search to see which relationship tags showed up with those combos (and I'd also usually weed out "M/M" and "F/M" from my searches to try to just get the femslash polyships).
    - I also looked at all the large F/F ships in the fandom and searched the AO3 tags for those names to see which other characters they showed up with together.
    - If there were major female characters in the fandom showing up in F/F ships that I hadn't yet seen in polyships, I would also do tag searches on those female characters to see if I missed any polyships with them in it.I may have missed some ships by not also looking in Multi -- but I assumed that at least some authors would also tag them F/F and so they'd show up there, too.