Monster High’s recent ad campaign claims, “We are monsters. We are proud.” Race, ethnicity, and disability are coded into the dolls as selling points. The allure of Monster High is, in part, that political identity and the celebration of difference become consumable. The female body, the racialized body, and the disabled body have long been coded as monstrous. Monster High reclaims this label, queering it.
Valuing queer identity in Monster High doll fandom | Sara Mariel Austin | Transformative Works and Cultures ift.tt/2fX1mrx
(S)he not only recasts popular fandoms with diverse characters, but also constructs a new historical and social narrative within her fan art. Her fan castings not only include a token person of color, but also often say something important about that character’s newly ethnicized background, and how it changes the familiar story now that this background has been included.
Racebending fandoms and digital futurism | Elizabeth Gilliland | Transformative Works and Cultures ift.tt/2fPPnOl
Great list of syllabi on a wide range of fandom-related topics. Check them out, and add your own if you’re a teacher.
The kind of literature that fan fiction is did not spring fully formed into being in the 1960s and 70s, though some journalists still seem to think so. Throughout this book I have been stressing the link, in literary terms, between fan fiction and any other fiction based on a shared canon […]. It is clear from the comments of fan fiction writers like Ika and Belatrix Carter that one major attraction of this genre for writers is the sense of a complicit audience who already share much information with the writer and can be relied on to pick up ironies or allusions without having them spelled out. Writing based on the canons of myth and folklore can do this too, though as Belatrix Carter pointed out in chapter 7, these canons have been so extensively used for so long it is becoming harder to do anything with them that feels original.
But there is another point, implied in Ika’s remark in chapter 2 – ‘What I like about fan fiction is that you can still get that very highly trained audience that can understand very, very complex and allusive things.’ The use of ‘still’ alludes to the undoubted fact that for the traditional canons of myth, Bible, history, and folklore, this “very highly trained” audience is not as reliable as it once was, because the canon information is not as widely shared as it used to be. […] a writer can no longer allude to Lazarus, Circe or Alexander and be reasonably sure that most of his readers have in their heads the thoughts, stories or images for which he was aiming. The human need for heroes and archetypes does not go away, but their faces change with time, and one avatar takes the place of another. Ika’s point is a shrewd one: in an age of fragmented rather than shared cultures the fan fiction audience is unusual in having as thorough a knowledge of its particularly shared canon as a Bible-reading or classically educated audience once did.
Sheenagh Pugh, The Democratic Genre: Fan Fiction in a Literary Context, p. 219 (via nihilistelektra) ift.tt/2e8XhTk
A goodwill approach to fan scholarship should take the time to consider and negotiate fans’ privacy concerns and make research findings fully available to fans. Furthermore, goodwill requires what bell hooks would call a “loving critique”: taking the time to analyze, engage with, and question fan texts just as fans do with popular culture texts.
Toward a goodwill ethics of online research methods | Brittany Kelley | Transformative Works and Cultures ift.tt/2eViJdy
The mainstreaming of fandom into millennial culture is a chosen stance of fans to represent their modes of engagement as more than only niche and subcultural. Fans choose to post about their fan engagement in the public spaces of Tumblr rather than the locked communities and friends-only journals of the late 1990s and early 2000s. They may perceive these fan spaces as intimate publics, as I’ve written about elsewhere, yet they choose to allow for the possibility of visibility, for a default public culture, albeit one with intimate semi-private pockets. Indeed, the social activism of, for example, what some refer to as Tumblr feminism is part of—or at least deeply connected to—this fan performance of fandom as an expansive mode of engagement with something important to share and spread.
Who Are Millennial Fans?: An Interview with Louisa Stein (Part One)
See also @millennialfandom ift.tt/2dL1h99
Understanding that comic book fandom has historically been organized around the physical, tangible objects of comic books in paper pamphlet form is critical to examining the way technological innovations affect the industry’s future prospects and the relationship between reader and text and any potential shifts in the role comic book stores play in those relationships. Are comic book readers not fans if they collect digital files instead of physical texts, or has this historic boundary shifted as a result of textual digitization? Can one “own” a digital comic book text and, if so, how does this ownership alter the historic boundaries between comic book readers and comic book fans? And how does the locus of fan community shift if texts are no longer primarily distributed through comic book stores?
(Re)examining the attitudes of comic book store patrons | Stevens | Transformative Works and Cultures ift.tt/2dKj0R2
Less a form of antisocial (or subsocial) behavior, fandom is shown as a way for individuals to creatively manage, at both the personal and the interpersonal levels, the “rules of play” imposed upon them by a variety of social institutions (economics, education, family, etc.). At least, this is what the episode itself suggests has happened for the protagonists Dean and Sam, who are depicted leaving the fan convention with a new appreciation not only for Supernatural fans, but also (…) for each other.
Review of Playing fans: Negotiating fandom and media in the digital age, by Paul Booth | Gregory Steirer | Transformative Works and Cultures ift.tt/2eSabXq
Corporations no longer need to sue fanfiction communities; rather than being litigated into submission, authors now give up their rights willingly.
Drew Emanuel Berkowitz, Framing the Future of Fanfiction: How The New York Times’ Portrayal of a Youth Media Subculture Influences Beliefs about Media Literacy Education, p205 ift.tt/2e6dGYd
The importance of having an online space to explore identity is perhaps not as clearly defined as seeing, say, a blockbuster superhero film helmed by a black actor, or a post-apocalyptic society populated by more than one or two token people of color; however, these spaces still allow unparalleled explorations of self, as well as how that self is defined, in ways that we perhaps do not yet fully understand.
Racebending fandoms and digital futurism | Elizabeth Gilliland | Transformative Works and Cultures ift.tt/2d2ONsS
Wikipedia is perhaps the only platform available on which fans can effectively and efficiently broadcast facts about their media objects of interest and receive built-in approval, encouraging them to continue.
Wikipedia and participatory culture: Why fans edit | Paul Thomas | Transformative Works and Cultures ift.tt/2d2pbSb
In Sweden, older siblings are generally the ones who introduce younger siblings to various fandoms, such as digital games and fan fiction sites, thus further conflating online and real-life relationships (Swedish Media Council 2013a, 2013b; Olin-Scheller 2011).
Technological advancement, English proficiency, and fandom activities are all closely interrelated. However, being connected to the Internet and being heavily involved in digital fan activities do not necessarily imply that one’s main focus is international. Instead, digital activities are associated with closeness, both in terms of relationships (friends sitting on the same couch when going online) and geographical locations (attending local cosplay or gaming conventions). This way of being and acting as a fan is likely not limited to Sweden or Swedish fan communities; it is probably also the case in other areas with ubiquitous Internet access and English-language proficiency.
A connected country: Sweden—Fertile ground for digital fandoms | Christina Olin-Scheller and Pia Sundqvist | Transformative Works and Cultures ift.tt/2cBHqK4
What is crucial in both ‘Morangate’ and ‘Theory of fic gate’ is that none of the fans were asked permission for their involvement, and none of the instigators considered the effects on the fans. In other words, the fans were acted upon rather than able to determine quoting an author without seeking their permission first. In the social sciences, though, the person is put first. It’s why we have ethics boards in universities and why we have to consider humanities, of course. My work falls squarely under the humanities banner, as done much fan studies, but we are asking permission of fans and seeking out ethical approval from institutions for our research. But privilege is still an issue which needs to be understood more fully in academia and we have to recognise the ways in which we, as well as the press, engage with fans.
‘The Ethical Hearse’: Privacy, Identity and Fandom Online | Bethan Jones ift.tt/2bTw82o
I’ve been trying to think through this kind of canon versus fanon kind of thing, and for the longest time I was a “who needs canon” kind of person. We have our archetypes, we have our narratives, and we’ll run with it. And those are the stories I want, and I don’t care whether they are the same stories I’ve read a hundred times, those are the stories I want. But as those stories themselves, as those characters have changed, I’ve realized that it’s not that simple. That I can go and find versions of queerness, but those versions of queerness in fandom will mostly be white queerness. They’re not going to be brown queerness, they’re not going to be black queerness. And that’s something that I’m going to have to rely on canon to center those characters to the point that they cannot be ignored. And that is very very rare.
We’ve now kind of come to the tipping point where how much primacy can a character of color get and still be marginalized in fandom? And you know, it seems like we’ve come to the end of that rope! I don’t think you could have—this is a question I think that a lot of people have kind of been thinking about at the back of their minds. Surely some text will come along where there’s no other option. And we’ve seen that fandom will make the option and it still won’t be black or brown queerness.
Rukmini Pande, Episode 29 of @fansplaining, “Shipping and Activism.” There are so many things I want to quote from this episode, but this segment in particular was extraordinary in helping me frame my thinking about conflict between fanon, canon, queerness, and race.
(via elizabethminkel) ift.tt/2bJp0eI
Football slash fan fiction is both a result of and reaction to mediated football fandom. It exists because of the understanding of football as a narrative, but also because of what mainstream football fandom leaves out of its world. It is a way to play with the boundaries between real and fictional while also exploring the hidden potential of the football narrative and experiencing it in a welcoming environment.
It is also a result of changes in fan fiction practice. Contemporary slash fan fiction writers see nearly any media narrative as transformable, and this potential increases when the narrative is seen as slashy. Changes in the way that fan fiction is distributed and consumed meant that the older proscriptions about what was “fic-able” and what wasn’t became less powerful. Once they learn the form, slash fan fiction writers become trained to see slash and fan fiction potential in the media they encounter. Professional football’s heavily homosocial environment makes it ideal for a slash interpretation, with the visual material to stimulate the imagination and a variety of potential relationship dynamics and character types to write and read about. Additionally, its similarity to cult narratives means that fan fiction writers recognize where they can fill in the narrative spaces of football to suit their needs. This is not necessarily in contrast to being a more traditional sports fan, but rather in tandem with it, a way to work through the emotions of being a football fan and to explore parts of it in a way not seen in more mainstream football fan spaces.
The creation of football slash fan fiction | Abby Waysdorf | Transformative Works and Cultures ift.tt/2bml2Cy
The significance of manga and anime in German fan fiction remains recognizable today. 29 percent of all pieces of fan fiction uploaded to FanFiktion.de and 49.5 percent of the 148,220 fan writings on Animexx are categorized as manga/anime (the latter unsurprising considering that the Web site caters to anime and manga fans), whereas the international FanFiction.net archive lists only 25.3 percent of its 41,183,979 texts in these categories and Archive of Our Own (ift.tt/1ffprbE) not even 12 percent (Table 1).
A brief history of fan fiction in Germany | Vera Cuntz-Leng | Transformative Works and Cultures ift.tt/2bMqZdK
As part of my geography project, I am looking at factors of change in a community. I’m looking at the effect of Internet on the fandom, but I’m not old enough to know any fandom pre-Internet.
I’m hoping for some information on how fandom has been shaped and is being shaped by the Internet, whether it be higher visibility, easier access, different forms of fanworks gaining prominence, archives and more gathered communities etc.
I have looked at Fanlore, but since for this project I need primary as well as secondary sources, I was hoping to fulfil that requirement here.
Thank you so much.
Hi Aileen, do you mean you’re looking to hear from fans about their own experiences?
By the way, there are also a lot of other good secondary sources on this topic besides Fanlore, for instance academic work. Are you looking for that sort of thing as well?
(My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic) is feminized for adhering to (feminine) tropes, and for doing so with bright pastel colors and chipper voices talking about friendship, but it was deliberately created to be both girly and good.
Bronies’ praise, however, frequently separates FiM from its association with its feminist possibility and young, gendered target audience. They contend that the series “has a higher quality writing style than other children’s shows, with varied themes, and the plot and characters develop over the seasons” (Angel 2012). Bronies discuss how they were not expecting to like and watch such a program. One recounts, “First we can’t believe this show is so good. Then we can’t believe we’ve become fans for life” (Watercutter 2011). Another notes, “If you asked me three years ago if I would be running pony stuff and watching My Little Pony, I would be like ‘What? No, that’s girl stuff’” (Peters 2013). The aspects of the show lauded by bronies, including its animation style and clever references to geek and pop culture, are associated with masculine genre and aesthetics, and their praise thus reframes it as something more suited to an adult male viewership.
What we talk about when we talk about bronies | Anne Gilbert | Transformative Works and Cultures ift.tt/2b1VNZd
As this media mix has had several more decades to evolve in Japan than in the United States and Europe, the Japanese understanding of convergence culture is significantly more progressive concerning the user-generated portion of the mix (note 6). Specifically, Japanese publishers, producers, and entertainment corporations create media properties in such a way as to encourage audience participation through transformative works, the production of which is taken for granted and directly incorporated into their business strategies and marketing models (Steinberg 2012).
Instead of discouraging fan works such as fan fiction, fan art, and fan comics, Japanese media producers depend on them to ensure a healthy and stable economic ecosystem for their franchise properties. After all, many highly successful content creators were once fans themselves (note 7). Therefore, in Japan, fans do not exist outside of transmediality and corporate convergence cultures but instead are integral to the success of the media mix.
Since the Japanese media mix model may serve as an indicator of the future evolution of overseas media cultures, which are increasingly pursuing mutually beneficial relationships with fan cultures (note 8), a better understanding of Japanese fan works and their relationship to mainstream media is useful for understanding the transnational fandom response to titles such as Sherlock (note 9).
Queering the media mix: The female gaze in Japanese fan comics | Kathryn Hemmann | Transformative Works and Cultures ift.tt/2aXwCH7
Digital consumers overall read more comic texts and spend more money on comic books than those who exclusively collect and read physical formats. When the two outliers who purchase no physical material are excluded, it appears the publisher gets more revenue from the digital format consumers than the physical format consumers. Much like the iTunes model, consumers who are offered accessible, legal means of consuming digitally are often willing to pay for their wares; piracy is a matter of convenience, not necessarily a matter of maliciousness.
(Re)examining the attitudes of comic book store patrons | Stevens | Transformative Works and Cultures ift.tt/2aI6Rvr