OTW Fannews: Uncomfortable Topics

  • At Buzzfeed, Alison Vingiano wrote about the history of trigger warnings. “By the early 2000s, the term had found its way to LiveJournal, where it was used on fan fiction. Gaby Dunn, a writer and early adopter of Tumblr and LiveJournal, said when she was using LiveJournal around 2001, fan fiction communities warned one another of explicit content but seldom used the phrase that has been adopted today. ‘When we’d write fan fiction on LiveJournal, we might say, ‘This includes a rape storyline,’ or something, but that phrase [‘trigger warning’] was never used.'”
  • Australia’s Star Observer wrote about the Queermance festival “Despite the demographic of those attending, [organizer] Lang stressed Queermance was a queer festival, and most of the authors and industry professionals speaking on panels and delivering workshops came from the queer community. The strange dynamic this created, where queer industry professionals were addressing a mostly-straight audience, was a topic of conversation for festival attendees.” Speaking about the ethics of this difference, he argued “‘truthfulness’ [was] more important when it came to representations of marginalised groups…’I know some of them do feel it’s escapism and why can’t we write the fluffy, romantic stories where men are in touch with their feelings and all that… Can you idealise men? Yes. Can you idealise men to the point where it’s no longer realistic and attainable, and is that desirable? I don’t know.’”
  • A post at Gender Focus by Amy Imhoff discussed Gender, Power and Violence in Fandom. “[W]e wonder why some male geeks want women to be pliable creatures, affirming their life choices by agreeing with them at all times or existing for their visual, sexualized pleasure. If you dare to defy these stereotypes, you are automatically a total bitch who can’t take a joke, needs to lighten up, shouldn’t be upset because any male attention is good attention, or are being dramatic. Even Felicia Day mentioned in her blog post that as a result of her championing the #YesAllWomen hashtag, she knows she’ll get numerous unfollows and trolls bloating the comments by insisting that feminism = hating men.”
  • A post at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books also touched on#YesAllWomen and fan conventions. “It took me me a while to see how BayCon, Smart Bitches, and other places, real and virtual, where we share our passions and our stories, intersect with #yesallwomen. They are, in essence, the same thing – flawed, messy spaces in which people struggle to find community, hope, and liberation. They are places in which we gather for support. They are places in which we gather to have our stories heard, and they are places where we struggle to understand our history and create a vision of the future.”

What fandom debates have you heard about? Create some entries for them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn’t guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.