OTW Fannews: Changing the Dialogue

  • The media frenzy surrounding Star Wars: The Force Awakens continued to throw up a number of articles examining fannish behavior. Vox questioned typifying Rey as a Mary Sue. “Landis isn’t a stranger to the internet, so he anticipated the responses he might get to this critique. First, he insisted that ‘Mary Sue‘ isn’t an inherently sexist term, writing ‘WAKE. UP.’ next to a screenshot of the definition including ‘Gary Stu.’ Then, he acknowledged that some may like Rey because there are precious few good female action or fantasy stars, though Harry Potter’s Hermione and Mad Max: Fury Road’s Furiosa are ‘a good start.’ Finally, he went after the ‘straw men’ arguments sure to come his way: ‘Luke was a Mary Sue’; ‘action films have Mary Sue men all the time’; ‘you wouldn’t say that if she was a man.'”
  • New York Magazine used actor Oscar Isaac to discuss why women idealize certain stars. “It’s crucial that these actors are rarely in romantic movies — or at least, not known for their romantic roles. Instead of being presented to us with boyfriend narratives built in…they offer enough of a blank slate that users can write their own forms of romance onto them. J.J. Abrams is not dictating to us how to love Poe Dameron; we get to set the terms ourselves…Instead of noting how someone has failed to respect us or listen to us, shaking our heads, and tagging the incident #banmen, we’re holding up our internet boyfriends as a better way to be. If #banmen is a negative expression (what we don’t want), then the internet boyfriend is the positive version (what we do). They’re not necessarily realistic examples. Instead, they’re examples of our shared fantasies — fantasies that no rom-com is able to give us.”
  • The New Statesman commented on reporting changes about slash. “It’s notable because it was one of many: a media narrative brewing in the final days of 2015 that went something like, ‘People discover slash shipping via the biggest film of the year, and it is somehow news’. It was the capstone in a year that saw increasing mainstream attention for – and confusion over – slash shipping. A few months prior, when the Captain America: Civil War trailer was released, fan reaction generated a similar set of headlines, with a bit more hand-wringing about ‘making everything gay‘ or ‘making everything about emotions’. (I don’t know what trailer those guys saw, I watched a solid two minutes of a tortured angsty love triangle between three male characters with a couple of extraneous explosions tossed in.)”
  • Vanity Fair looked at how creators are increasingly embracing all of their audience. “Bucky and Steve are far from the first same-sex coupling to become a huge hit in pop culture fandoms. Recent fantasies about pairings like Tony Stark and Bruce Banner in The Avengers, Poe Dameron and Finn in Star Wars, and just about anyone in the long-running show Supernatural dominate the internet. In the past, creators have sometimes shot down these homoerotic fan theories, but lately there’s been a shift. Captain America co-director Joe Russo said during a recent interview in China, ‘People can interpret the relationship however they want to interpret it . . . People have interpreted that relationship all kinds of ways, and it’s great to see people argue about it what that relationship means to them. We will never define it as filmmakers, explicitly, but however people want to interpret it they can interpret it.’”

What is the fannish meta you’ve seen exploring slash ships old and new? Write about it in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

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