Being Fictive and Fictionkin
Written by Swiftpaw - 3/5/2021
I am in a system where many of us identify as fictionkin sometimes as opposed to or more than as fictive, and this is something that others have been confused by, or has even been claimed to be harmful or offensive. I wanted to create an essay explaining our identity for those who might be scratching their heads at why a fictive would call themselves fictionkin. The headmate writing this is a Swiftpaw fictive/kin from the book series Warriors, and I do identify as both fictionkin and a fictive.
The first thing to explain is what the definitions of fictive and fictionkin are. Fictive has many personal additions added on but at its core it is someone in a system who is a fictional entity in some way. Fictionkin is much more specific, it's someone who identifies as something from fiction, is aware their body is physically human, and the identity is involuntary. There is enough overlap that someone in a system who is a fictional character and identifies as that fictional character could be considered both a fictive and fictionkin if they choose.
Though both identities are a personal preference, so not everyone who fits the definition of fictionkin identifies that way, and vice versa. The way that I and many others in my system identify as fictionkin is our personal preference and what I will be explaining. These reasons are specific identity, language, ease of being yourself without it being in relation to being in a system, and community.
Fictionkin is a specific identity much more so than fictive. As highlighted above, there are more criteria for what makes someone fictionkin as opposed to something such as fictionhearted or a fictionlink. Some of the fictives in our system find the specifics of being fictionkin a closer identity to what they are than only identifying as fictive.
And in this not every fictive in our system identifies as fictionkin, some of us do identify as fictionhearted because they don't identify as what they are a fictive of, but still feel closely connected and identify with. In this way alterhuman terms can be used to specify how someone is a fictive and allow us to be more specific with who we are. Something I'd like to add while not explicitly from being a fictive, some of us do have other identities such as otherlink which they emphasize more than fictive identities, and this can be another layer to the benefits of specifying our identites.
The next reason is language. There are many terms that exist in fictionkin and similar alterhuman communities that isn't mirrored in system communities, and differences between fictionhearted and fictionkin are included in this. While some terms have moved to fictive communities such as canon(mate), we still don't have a word like fictotype where instead for fictive it's just "what they are a fictive of ". There are also shifting terms which can be useful in some cases but aren't present in system terms.
There are also some issues with how many personal definitions there are for fictive. Some only consider fictional characters to be fictives, which can make it very difficult for fictional species and can feel like there is more of a force to consider yourself a character/OC for some of our noncanon species'. Fictionkin and otherkin doesn't always inherently imply being a preexisting character like how fictive might at times.
Then, for us identifying as fictionkin let's us explain our identity without needing explain it as being a part of a system. Fictionkin as an identity grants us a lot of (sometimes hard to come by) individual freedom and understanding. Being fictionkin and otherwise alterhuman allows us control of looking into our identity and express that with others who might be similar even if they're a singlet.
It's also proven valuable for us to be ourselves outside of our system. We don't always reveal we're in a system for something individual like social media or an online game where we have separate accounts, so calling ourselves fictionkin lets us still be a fictional entity without revealing we share a body. It can also be simpler to explain only fictionkin stuff in keeping plural status ambiguous than explaining fictive and system stuff.
Finally, there is the community. Our system personally had an awakening as otherkin before we found out we were plural and we identified as polykin for a few years before our plural awakening. Because of this, the 'kin and now alterhuman community has always felt more familiar to us from being our starting point to our beyond human journey, and we consistently find ourselves going back to it.
Even now being more in the 'kin community as a personal preference. Though this may be reflective of which groups we tend to join, we find it easier to discuss identity, how we relate to the world around us, and even express individuality in 'kin groups. The encouragement to think about your identity and hold discussions on it has been beneficial for many of us.
There are some issues of course with the fictionkin label as opposed to only using fictive. One experience is people tend to exclude us, there are many fictive blogs nowadays that exclude fictionkin, which can feel awkward when you are also fictionkin. We've also noticed a trend of fictives viewing themselves as having a higher identity than fictionkin. Some of us in our system will challenge this notion when we see it, but it is unfortunately a downside to being both.
There is also the redefining of the term 'kin by non-kin to include voluntary identities and identifying with. This is an entire topic on its own, but the short of it is that this is not what kin is and trying to frame it like such is harmful for not only fictionkin, but also fictionhearted and fictionlinkers. This can be frustrating and exhausting to deal with regularly. Though we have acknowledged among ourselves it would be easier to just drop the 'kin label and only identify as fictive or extranth, the personal understanding we get from identifying as 'kin is too important for us to let go, and so we are willing to take on the discourse of the label in alongside to the benefits.
Those are the reasons why most of our system prefers the fictionkin label to fictive. I hope that this encouraged some people to think about the way they view both terms, and understand why someone like us might be both. How we define ourselves as individuals can be important, and being in a system is no exception to thinking about who you are and how you want to express that.