Could you elaborate on what you meant about eviscerating original female characters?
Ok, the Original Female Character (or OFC) can still be found today in fanfiction archives, usually in fanfics with low hit counts and few comments. But there was a time when the OFC was popular.
OFCs, in their most pure form, are self inserts created by girls and women as wish fulfillment. They’re usually idealized versions of the authors. Because they serve as a fantasy version of the author, they’re often seen as Mary Sues, though that’s not entirely accurate. Many OFCs in reality are awkward or plus sized or disabled or nerdy, or represent culturally marginalized groups.
Despite the fact that most OFCs are personal wish fulfillment, they were enjoyed communally, and it wasn’t uncommon a decade ago to see fans on message boards with sig graphics featuring their OFC.
To be honest, I had issues with OFCs. They were sometimes idealized to the hilt, the male subjects were often out of character, and they frequently erased the male characters’ canon partner (of course, these exact issues also apply to slash).
But also, to be honest, the first fanfiction I ever wrote (without even knowing the word fanfiction) was a tag team self inserts story based on my and my bff’s favorite show. We’d each write a chapter centering on our self insert and pass it back and forth. It was just between us, never posted, but it was so much fun. We still talk about our characters years later.
I grew out of writing shameless self inserts, but I admit there’s still a place in my heart for totally self-indulgent OFC fic.
When OFCs reached their saturation point sometime in the ‘00s, there was backlash. Hard backlash. Slash writers tended to be older, more experienced writers who looked down on OFCs. Self insert became a dirty phrase, and slash was considered more legit fanfic writing. Girls who enjoyed writing themselves into their favorite universe were guilted for doing it. Slash was pushed as a kind of social activism with kinks. OFC was called homophobic, because they didn’t center on the popular slash ships.
Fandom convinced many girls that writing fics about two hot guys was superior in every way compared to OFC. Fandom is very much a bandwagon culture. If you wanted to be popular, if you wanted readers and favorites and comments, slash was the way to go. You could still self insert with slash, but it was a fandom approved kind of self insertion.
OFCs fell out of favor, and they still haven’t recovered. A lot of people would say good riddance to bad Mary Sues, but OFC allowed girls to write girls with abandon. It allowed them to create characters they related to. But that was not acceptable. When AO3 was born, it bacame primarily a slash platform. And everyone wanted to hang with the cool kids.
The demonization of the OFC is a loss, especially for fanfic writers who want to create representation for themselves in media where that representation doesn’t exist.