I refuse to be a gorram victim. No one EVER discouraged me from writing--in fact, one of my MALE classmates, clear back in 1981, signed my yearbook "To a good friend and future best-selling author." Everyone in my life cheerleads me and wants me to make it. Not a single person has ever said to me, "Dude, you're on crack. Don't even try because the odds are so stacked against you."
Is the publishing world a man's game? Eh, maybe. For now, especially in the genres I write in. But more and more women are getting into it all the time. Our "capitalist society" may have some problems, but it's that same capitalist society that allows women to go out and build our own businesses--including publishing businesses!--from scratch.
The reality is that fanfiction is very much under the radar for some very good reasons. Can you imagine the outcry if some MAN started making money writing Harry Potter fanfiction and taking money out of Jo's pocket? It ain't the fanfiction ghetto keeping us poor, it's the lack of desire--or maybe guts--to go out and create our own worlds and send them out to be "judged" (heavens, such a harsh word) by others. It's easier and safer to stay within our own insular little section of fandom and get praised by our insular little set of friends. The occasional flamer can be laughed off and ranted about, and we can get petted by our LJ peeps and assured that our writing isn't really the crap that person said it was.
The choices you make determine the life you lead. Harsh reality is that we're not going to get paid for writing fanfic. If we want to get paid for our writing, we're going to have to write our own original characters in their own original settings...and then send it out. You're not going to get paid if the stuff just sits there on your hard drive getting moldy.
And I daresay that most of the people on my flist could get paid for their writing. Their technical skills are up to par, they've honed their craft, they've figured out what works and what doesn't. But for many of them, writing is a hobby; it's not what they want to do with their lives or how they want to make their livelihood. And why should we get paid for our hobbies? My husband likes to go Jeeping. Does he get paid for that? Oh, hell no. But I don't see him whining about being "kept poor" because he's chosen to do something for fun that he knows he'll never be paid for.
Same thing with fanfiction. You might, maybe, get tapped to write a tie-in novel someday, if you become a well-enough-known fanwriter. It doesn't happen very often; it's one of those million-to-one chances. But instead of crying about how fanfiction is keeping you poor, write stuff you can actually sell.
Fanfiction isn't devalued because it's written by women. That's the victim mentality again. Fanfiction is devalued because (a) most of it is crap, sorry to say; and (b) it is derivative. I'm not going to go all elitist on you and call it a "waste of time" like some folks do--hell, I cut my teeth on the stuff and it taught me valuable things about writing that I couldn't have learned any other way. But if you're going to whine that it's "keeping you poor," I'm going to laugh at you. Well, DUH. If you want to get paid, then you are wasting your time writing fanfic. That's just a fact of life.
Pop culture is never taken seriously by the people experiencing it at the time. If you want to write fanfiction and be taken seriously, write fanfic of stuff that's in the public domain. Write a Tom Sawyer story from Becky Thatcher's perspective. Cross Dracula over with Sherlock Holmes. How about "A Christmas Carol" from the POV of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come? That stuff was pop culture in its day, but it's "literature" now--play with it! But writing fic for stuff still under copyright and then whining about how it's keeping you poor is a fool's game.
I am not a victim. And I refuse to let people I don't even know classify me as one.
*goes back to staring at the WerewolfFic*