OTW Fannews: Fannish divisions

  • As greater recognition of the diversity of fandoms appears in the media, author Brad R. Torgersen decided to trace 21st century English-speaking fandom’s path. “I agree absolutely with Toni that some of these fault lines can be traced directly to the social and political fault lines in the wider English-speaking culture; out of which a good deal of fandom springs. But I also think that much can be explained by examining where people come to fandom from–and through which doors they walk when they enter.” Torgersen discusses, among other things, the importance of super-cons in allowing people to experience fandom together.
  • One of the most significant super-cons, however, has demonstrated yet another division: the one between geeky and mainstream audiences. Laurie Penny addressed this at New Statesman while various others have weighed in with additional concerns. “Why is it that this early history of Science Fiction fandom is presented as ‘idyllic’ when we know for a fact that large groups of people stood outside looking in? Isn’t that history being rewritten in front of our very eyes?…It is obvious to me that this idyllic period of Science Fiction ‘history’ is told largely from an American, white, male perspective. It might be an important part of a historical narrative, but it is not the whole narrative.”
  • Fangirl the Blog pointed out more in-house divisions within fandoms by gender. “The Star Wars fandom as a whole often has gendered reactions to different types of fan participation in expressing love for the franchise.” She listed examples in RPGs, fanart, cosplay, fan films and fanfic, concluding “Ultimately, if Topher Grace and Kyle Newman can be praised, even given official support and visibility, for their fan creativity – for their fanfiction – then female fans deserve equal respect for all the ways they produce fanworks, too. Including their prose fanfiction.”
  • The OC Weekly turned a spotlight on Disney social clubs and the mixed reaction they have received. “These social clubs are a new generation of hardcore Disney fans, powered by Instagram and Facebook and made up of grandparents in their 60s, as well as teens and toddlers plodding along beside their parents…Like the Goths of the 1990s or the hippies of the 1960s, they trek the park like a second home, occasionally mistaken for troublemakers and ne’er-do-wells. But unlike other groups, they’re not at the parks to scare or intimidate. They’re there for fun, for friendship—and to uphold Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom ideal.”

What fandom divisions have you come experienced? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

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