[W]hy do people who are heavily invested in low prestige taste communities, WHICH I ALSO AM, so often feel a thing I used to feel and no longer feel… Maybe I’m crap if my taste is crap, how can I make a recommendation? What’s wrong with me that I love this low prestige work so much?…
“It’s not just fanfic and it’s not just boyband fan communities that have this. The sentimental novel had this. The novel itself in the early 18th century, just prose fiction about realistic people in general, had this. Several different kinds of music communities had this. I suspect that certain kinds of artmaking right now where the art is not in English, where it’s connected to an immigrant community, have this, although I don’t know because almost all my art consumption is Anglophone. And writing that we would now call porn, from the 60s and 70s, Samuel Delany’s good about this and he wrote some of this, had this a lot.
“The common thread here is that these were genres and kinds of writing or kinds of music that were sexually explicit, or addressed to a subordinated social group and that social group’s concern, or both. So identifying yourself and trying to make public your taste in any of these things including early 18th century novels or gay porn in the early 70s was saying, “I’m a member of this out-group and its concerns are my concerns and that’s why I care about this genre,” or it was saying “I really wanna talk about sexy things in public.” And so if explaining your taste and describing your aesthetic criteria requires you to do either of those things, then you’re gonna say “maybe I shouldn’t do this, maybe it reflects badly on me if I do this.”
“… the answer to that is if you really love something and it means a lot to you and you have the kind of personal security where you’re not gonna be fired or kicked off your insurance or kicked out of your house for explaining, or damage people you’re close to, by explaining why you like it, fucking go for it!
“… it’s important that someone do this. Because it’s important that works of art that people have labored over, that have given so much pleasure and emotional support to people, it’s important that those works of art be acknowledged as works of art and it’s important that somebody fucking do this.
EVERYONE SHOULD GO LISTEN TO FANSPLAINING, and especially this episode, which is part one of their interview with Harvard poetry professor and comics fangirl Stephanie Burt. This is an abridged part of the last section that literally made me cry on my walk because it was the best explanation for why I have fandom/fic shame that I’ve ever heard. @fansplaining, thank you so much for for all you guys do. (And thanks to Stephanie Burt for her amazing words!)