Can Fandom Change Society?

The PBS production OffBook has created a new video about the spectrum of fannish behavior and motivations, and it features discussion from board members Francesca Coppa and Naomi Novik. The 7:20 minute video explores the diversity of fandom, the way its fanworks may challenge dominant views expressed in mass media, and fair use and its meaning for fans. The segment concludes with “Fandom lets many more people have a voice, and it lets many people tell stories that would otherwise not get heard.” (No transcript available)

This video was released within days of two other discussions about fandom and society:

  • Brett White writes in Comic Book Resources about women represented in comics and the vital role of women in fandom: “Women engage in fandom to levels that men do not. When women get behind something, their sheer numbers and passion force it into the mainstream.” To that end he believes that “I want other people to be inspired. I’m a white male…I had my heroes who ‘looked like me’ and that I could identify with or aspire to be. I want girls to have that chance too. And as much as I want boys to see women as equals, I want girls to know that they don’t have to identify with Disney Princesses or Really Cool Disney Channel Starlet if they don’t want to. They can identify with Wasp and Invisible Woman or Kitty Pryde. They can be Stephanie Brown or Batwoman or Black Canary. They have as many awesome superheroes as their brothers do. Everyone needs female heroes as much as male ones.”
  • Richard Just wrote in The Daily Beast that as American culture becomes increasingly politicized and polarized that sports fandom may be a neutral meeting ground, and thus a vitally important space for discussion and common cause.

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