OTW Guest Post: Mel Stanfill

From time to time, the OTW will be hosting guest posts on our OTW News accounts. These guests will be providing an outside perspective on the OTW or aspects of fandom where our projects may have a presence. The posts express each author’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. We welcome suggestions from fans for future guest posts, which can be left as a comment here or by contacting us directly.

Mel Stanfill is an assistant professor at the University of Central Florida with appointments in Texts & Technology and Digital Media. Stanfill’s work examines the interaction of media industries and everyday people through the lenses of fandom, law, labor, heteronormativity, and whiteness. Today, Mel talks about a recent article in Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC), “Where the femslashers are: Media on the lesbian continuum” and an earlier guest edited issue of TWC, Fandom and/as Labor.

How did you first get into fandom and fanworks?

I want to say by Googling, but it was before Google so it was HotBot or AltaVista or something. I was 13 or so and really liked Xena: Warrior Princess and went looking for information about it, and at some point in that searching I found fanfic and became an avid reader.

Then, when I was in college, some of the scholarship I was reading (specifically, I was assigned Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer’s The Culture Industry; they—understandably, because they were refugees from Nazi Germany—thought that the media controlled people) was directly contradictory to my experiences in fandom, and that’s what got me interested in doing research about fans and fandom.

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This Week in Fandom, Volume 58

Welcome to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s roundup of things which are happening! Before we start, have you seen the new Dragon Ball Super chocolate that may reveal Goku’s new form? What do you think? Accidental leak, or just alternate colouration packaging?


OTW personnel have been in the spotlight recently! Or, well, in front of the microphone, at least. Betsy Rosenblatt, chair of the OTW Legal committee, was a guest on the Re:Create Coalition’s Copy This Podcast, talking about the legalities of fair use and how it pertains to fan conventions. “As OTW celebrates its 10th anniversary, Betsy discusses the vast range that fanworks can take, the profound impact the internet has had on fanworks, and why she works with OTW to fight back against Hollywood studios to advocate for fanworks as fair use.”

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This Week in Fandom, Volume 51

Welcome to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s roundup of things which are happening. Before we start, did you see the OTW’s panel at Whedoncon this past weekend? We’re turning 10 this year, and in celebration OTW personnel Claudia Rebaza (Communications) and Betsy Rosenblatt (Legal) held a discussion about the incredible ride we’ve all been on over the past decade.


Related to last week’s discussion of the Shimadacest fandom, The Mary Sue posted an article about fandom callout culture. The article is a good breakdown of the phenomenon for those who might be unfamiliar with it.

“What I find more insidious and worrisome is when the importance of identifying and pointing out systemic fractures within society becomes a stick with which one can beat on fandom participants, wielded by a few who have appointed themselves the moral voice of fandom at large. There’s the content policing which suggests that certain restrictions should be enforced on fic archiving sites, beyond the warning system and content tags which exist precisely to help people avoid triggering content. Then there’s the bullying which masks itself through the appropriation of social justice movements and a callout culture which affords no scope for learning from past mistakes.”

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