Did you know you can even find recs in scholarship? Well, maybe not exactly, but they do mention examples of the practices they are talking about and when that practice is “dealing with race in a way the source material didn’t bother to”, I find those examples worth checking out. If what academia inspire is new hits, kudos and more interesting and informed comments on these fics, then I would consider that a great engagement. The art and studies part of the fandom exists in a continuous conversation, so the concept of fic recs is not such an alien concept here. What we should be careful about here is that these mentions are not endorsements or judgements, it only shows that the fic had a certain kind of content or displays a certain kind of pattern that the researcher was interested in. That interest might intercept with readerly interests and then, the community might want to amplify those patterns, but that’s not the direct aim of scholarship. So I only mean to show a certain way of engagement, not endorse specific fics, because of no part of academia (and no matter how rogue scholars we are, this blog is still too scholarly to not consider the implications) should have that kind of relationship with fan creators.
It becomes evident from the aforementioned debates that for sections of the Swan Queen fandom—one that fights regular, often-virulent battles with canon shippers of heterosexual ships on its reading of queer subtext in Emma Swan and Regina Mills’s relationship—emphasizing of Regina Mills’s Latinidad holds enormous value, one that is no less significant than their queering of the heteronormative maintext of Once Upon a Time. In some readings of this reclamation of their favorite character’s Latinidad, fans flesh out elements of her backstory as a sympathetic villain to read the story of the Evil Queen’s rise as a narrative seeped in white privilege and racial oppression. Once Upon a Time represents the fabled enmity between Snow White and her Evil Stepmother as one wherein the cruel machinations of Regina’s mother and the master manipulator Rumpelstiltskin (played by Robert Carlyle), led to her marriage to Snow White’s much-older father, King Leopold, against her will. Tumblr user deemnfic, another fan identifying herself as a fan of color, addresses this backstory, arguing, “Regina’s forced marriage to Leopold can be likened to the position of a house slave or Mammy,” and further, that it was a clear instance of “buying” an “older girl of color—to raise the lily-white child” (deemn 2013).
Although Swan Queen fan fic engages with these readings of Regina’s story (in multiple ways, we will limit our discussion to two stories, both well-received in the fandom: Cops&Robbers by deemn (deemn 2014), which is an unfinished canon divergence story that sends the Swan–Mills family to New York and uses the fake marriage trope to advance Emma and Regina’s relationship, and Send Up a Signal (that everything’s fine) by coalitiongirl (coalitiongirl 2015), an AU that has Regina and Emma star in a television fantasy drama called Happily Ever After, which is in fact a reimagining of Once Upon a Time. Our choice of these two stories, apart from their reception within fandom, is to underline this complex wrangling of Regina’s queer Latinidad as a constitutive element of fannish subversive practices.Pande, Rukmini and Swati Moitra. 2017. “Racial dynamics of online femslash fandoms.” In “Queer Female Fandom,” edited by Julie Levin Russo and Eve Ng, special issue, Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 24. http://dx.doi.org/10.3983/twc.2017.908.