fan culture

Episode 55: Happy Anniversary #2. Flourish and Elizabeth once again welcome back the guests from the past year to talk about what’s changed in fandom, on a global level, a personal level, or both. Global topics included the recent crop of Hugo winners, Marvel’s Secret Empire storyline, and the intersections between fandom and U.S. politics. The more personal included the intersections of fannish and professional identities and the experience of aging in fandom. To round things out, Flourish and Elizabeth share their own perspectives, discussing whether fandom ever really changes—or whether it simply repeats the same patterns over and over again. (show notes coming soon | transcript coming soon)

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I really love self insert culture… I love the “tag urself I’m…” trend, I love the “look at my bf/gf/bff/..” trend when reblogging pics of your faves and saying stuff like “this is a picture of our first date…” etc etc,

I love that self- or reader-insert fics and fanart exist and that people make all these reactions/imagines and whatever else, because it means you’re recognizing yourself and you’re deeming yourself worthy of inserting yourself in the universes you love so much and let yourself interact with the people you look up to and it makes me smile when I see ppl talking about themselves

 so idgaf if others call any of that cringey because i think it’s a nice tool for us to get closer to ourselves and to put ourselves out there and even if  it’s in a sarcastic or slightly negative way you’re still talking about yourself and your feelings and that’s a Good Thing imo

Social Contract Theory and Fandom Libertarianism

An essay in which I finally get to put my political science degree to work

So I was out walking my dog this morning and ruminating over why I have such a hard time with the conversations in fandom that seem to assume that the only two options when it comes to content are “all fan works must be pure vanilla innocence” and “all criticism is policing and evil.” To be clear, I think both extremes are, well, extreme and lacking nuance. But since I don’t actually see a whole lot of “no one can write characters doing anything wrong” in my corner of fandom (although I’m aware that plenty of it exists other places), I was much more interested in trying to figure out what bugs me so much about the “policing is the greatest evil in fandom” side of things.

Here’s the epiphany I had — people on that extreme end of things bother me because they sound so much like libertarians, much like a lot of us see echoes of fundamentalist purity culture on the other end. And then I got excited because once upon a time I was a political science major and now I get to take my epiphany and my degree and talk about social contract theory like the giant nerd I am :)

Strap in, folks; this got crazy long.

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Who’s to say that young girls who like pop music – short for popular, right? – have worse musical taste than a 30-year-old hipster guy? That’s not up to you to say. Music is something that’s always changing. There’s no goal posts.

Young girls like the Beatles. You gonna tell me they’re not serious? How can you say young girls don’t get it? They’re our future. Our future doctors, lawyers, mothers, presidents, they kind of keep the world going.

Teenage-girl fans – they don’t lie. If they like you, they’re there. They don’t act ‘too cool.’ They like you, and they tell you. Which is sick.

—  Musician Harry Styles, formerly of One Direction, from this Rolling Stone interview (Apr. 2017)

When you finish reading a 100,000+ word fan fiction, only to realize it isn’t even close to being completed, and hasn’t been updated in YEARS.

Okay so this is really a first world problem but I’m fed up and someone else out there shares my problem. I cannot tell my friends I read fanfiction. Why? Because everyone laughs at it. Like “oh you read fanfiction? Ha! That’s so weird. Do you cry at Hallmark commercials too?” First of all, shut the fuck up. It isn’t your place to tell me what I can and can’t read. Second of all, I write this shit too. Third of all, when’s the last time you read anything aside from a calorie count? (no disrespect to people who do this. And yes, I’m aware that I’m generalizing) Fourth of all, the people who write fanfiction are genuine authors. They work hard to put out good content because they actually cared about someone else’s work and were inspired to create their own plot line. Why do you disrespect that? Fanfiction is such a cheesy title for some actually brilliant material. I mean I’ve read fanfictions that are so much better than some “actual novels” that I’ve read. Stop shaming me for reading something I enjoy reading and other people enjoy writing

dear person in the korrasami tag and everyone who’s being unreasonably obtuse about this, look -

we’re not serious. we know our ship isn’t going to be canon ever because yay for widespread homophobia in society that makes it so that actual queer relationships are never allowed to be that front and center in a cartoon because it’s aimed at kids and ‘kids can’t handle it’ bullshit is the adhered to norm.

when we say it’s canon it’s because that’s what we want, that’s what we ship, we want to read their friendship like that. it’s a way for us to feel like we actually have some queer representation in our favorite show, with our favorite characters. that’s our right to choose to read it that way and talk about it that way on our own blogs.

fandom is really important as a safe space for those of us who are underrepresented in mainstream media to gather and explore our sexuality, etc in fun and peace. please respect that and let us have that.

thank you

It’s impossible to read the Sherlock Holmes stories without thinking about the inconsistencies that make these tales unique in literature. Realizing that others wrote about these issues with the same passion that we felt was all the incentive it took to start us on a lifetime of research and publishing. There are many stories of crime and detection by other authors, with interesting plots and colorful characters. But none of them constitutes a chronicle spanning 40 years of one man’s life, and none has spawned as vast a literature as that surrounding the Holmes canon. When it comes to Sherlock Holmes, being a fan and being a writer are almost inseparable.
—  Solberg, Andrew L., and Robert S. Katz. 2017. “Fandom, Publishing, and Playing the Grand Game.” In “Sherlock Holmes Fandom, Sherlockiana, and the Great Game,” edited by Betsy Rosenblatt and Roberta Pearson, special issue, Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 23.
What makes merch magical?

For our next episode, we’re gonna be talking merch - but not just merch, also all the physical, non-narrative things that we do fannishly. Stealth cosplay. Cooking food from your favorite series. Research? Learning to play an instrument? What actions and items, what physical things, make you feel most fannish? Why?

Are there some kinds of fannish objects that don’t make you feel special? Do different things feel special in different ways? Do your funkos affect you the same way as your replica Lothlorien brooch?

Respond with your thoughts - and we’ll be talking about the different responses in the episode!


Embracing My Inner Fangirl

you know, I’m a writer, I absolutely and unequivocally believe that stories matter: that the way we criticise, construct and change our narratives has genuine impact on the world, and that having passionate, diverse, critical opinions about books and films and TV shows and comics and video games is not only wonderful, but necessary, such I will gladly fight and die on the hill of Fictional Feels And Fandom Culture Are Actually Really Important - 

- and then I see snarky fandom trashtalk about how Ship A is stupid while Ship B is perfect and people on all sides acting like fucking five-year-olds fighting over a cardboard box and crying and slapping each other and squabbling for control of various imagined high-horses while getting mortally offended by even polite disagreement and it’s like,

you’re fucking threatening strangers on the internet because you want a different set of pretendy people to kiss

look at your life

look at your choices


Is “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” fanfiction?

At @fansplaining​ we had a lot of opinions about this topic (like, over 3,000 words of opinions, go read them). So when we surveyed over 3,500 people about their definition of the word “fanfiction,” we also asked them if “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” counted. Here are the results:

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I really hate that aspect of fan culture,

that dictates that, just because you really like (for example) an actor, you must want to be with them sexually.

Like, I say I like Zach Quinto to a group of people, and at least one of them will point out that he’s gay and I have zero chance of getting with him while everyone else fervently nods in agreement with said person. 

Honestly, fuck everyone in that room. They are implying that someone who puts a lot of effort into what he or she does is only the sum of his or her appearance and sex appeal, and that I, as a fan of that person, could only like him or her for that physical attraction. 

I get it. In the case of Quinto, he’s a movie star, and an attractive movie star at that. But he doesn’t get parts just because he’s pretty. He gets them because he’s a good actor, and he’s worked hard for his roles. I find him inspiring, as a guy that worked hard for what he wanted and achieved it. He seems like a cool guy, and in most of his roles I find him fascinating.

Implying that I only like him because he’s attractive and I want to mother his children is insulting. It’s insulting to the creative works he’s been a part of, and it’s insulting to me as a human being who aspires to more than being in a relationship with a celebrity. Be aware of what you’re saying when you say it, and stop pointing out his sexuality every five seconds like you’re blowing the lid on a government scandal from 2006. 

I used Quinto as an example, but this should go for all celebrities.