OTW Guest Post

Guest Post: Bridget Liang & Catherine Duchastel de Montrouge

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.

Bridget Liang is a mixed race, queer, transfeminine, neurodiverse, disabled, fat fangirl. They’re a PhD candidate in the Gender, Feminist, and Women’s Studies Program at York University, a community researcher, workshop and group facilitator, performance artist, and fiction writer. Catherine Duchastel de Montrouge is a PhD student in Science and Technology Studies at York University in Ontario, and a research assistant in the PiET (Practices in Enabling Technologies) lab in the Lassonde School of Engineering and Computer Science. Cath is interested in how technosocial practices influence disability discourses in fanfiction spaces. Today, Bridget & Cath talk about their work on disability and fanfiction research in the issue they edited of the Canadian Journal of Disability Studies.

How did you first find out about fandom and fanworks?

Bridget: I was 14 when I first discovered fan fiction. Some of the girls I knew at school were talking about it and I thought I’d check it out. And of course, the first thing I did was go to the R rated section of fanfiction.net. I still remember the first fanfic I ever read. It was about Yami Yuugi from YuGiOh being made pretty and feminine for a date with Seto Kaiba. I didn’t like the ship so I became a puzzleshipper (Yami Yuugi x Yuugi Mouto). And I also quickly jumped into the Beyblade, Pokemon, Digimon, Harry Potter, Fire Emblem, Golden Sun, and David Eddings fandoms. And funnily enough, I didn’t even fathom the possibility that I was even gay even though I read only m/m and the odd f/f pairing. I was actively disinterested in m/f pairings.

I lived in my own little bubble of shipping feels. It didn’t occur to me that there was anything wrong with my fic reading practices or how I thought that, “oh hey, this is interesting, these guys are hot and it’s hot when they are having sex with each other”. When I was 16 it suddenly hit me. “I want to engage in the romance and the sex with the guys around me, wah?” But instead of spiraling into internalized homophobia, I accepted myself as gay pretty quickly. I just was and that was the end of it. I believe this is partly because of fandom, and partly because I’m the kind of autistic that isn’t affected by social pressures or norms. I was also the weirdo freak that no one really paid attention to as well. But it was through growing into my sexuality that I was able to make friends. My first friends who were genuine friends with me were queer identified fans — some of whom I’m still friends with today.

Cath: My very first encounter with fandom was in the late 1990’s when I was working night shift in a call centre: one of my co-workers would write Star Trek fanfiction during our down time, but I’m not even sure she used the word fanfiction to describe it. I know she sent it to the writers of the shows, which would indicate a different type of fanwork from fanfiction.

I didn’t quite understand what made her do it then, and although I looked up Star Trek stories written by fans online, I somehow did not get into it then. It wasn’t until a few years later, during the summer of 2002, when I was coming out to myself as queer and found Chimera Bloom’s original fiction and femslash fanfiction, mostly Janeway/Seven of Nine (ST:Voyager) and Buffy/Willow (BTVS) AUs. I remember reading a Janeway/Seven of Nine lesbian smut fanfic and having my mind blown by it. Although Chimera Bloom disappeared shortly thereafter, I had found the Xena Warrior Princess fanfic archives, and just went from there. I read as much as I could on those archives! For the longest time I associated fanfic with femslash, and it’s only when I started reading fics on fanfiction.net that I realized slash was much more popular.

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OTW Guest Post

OTW Guest Post: Angie Fiedler Sutton

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.

Angie Fiedler Sutton is a writer, podcaster, and proud fangirl geek. She currently lives in the Los Angeles area with her wife and cat, and freelances when she can, covering theatre and geeky pop culture. Today, Angie talks about her podcast G33K Out.

How did you first find out about fandom and fanworks?

Well, I became a member of my first fan club around the age of 14, when I joined the St. Louis CIA (Celestial Intervention Agency), a Doctor Who fan club during the dark days before the reboot. However, it wasn’t until the early 2000s thanks to a Slate article that I found fan fiction — and specifically slash fiction.

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OTW Guest Post

OTW Guest Post: Naomi Jacobs

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.

Naomi Jacobs is an interdisciplinary Research Fellow, whose work looks at how technology and society interact. In addition to her purely academic writing, she has also co-written two books in the Black Archive series, which takes critical looks at individual episodes of Doctor Who. The second of these (on Kerblam!) is due to be released in November 2019. Today, Naomi talks about her article in Transformative Works and Cultures on fan conventions.

How did you first find out about fandom and fanworks?

My first experience of fandom was in 1995, when I was about 14, and came about because I noticed a sign in a local gift shop. It was advertising a painting demonstration by Clarecraft, a company that made figurines of the characters from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels. I’d had been reading these books avidly for a number of years, so of course went along.

The lovely lady I met that day was Isobel Pearson, who alongside her husband Bernard (known to Discworld fans as The Cunning Artificer) founded Clarecraft. She told me they were hosting a fan gathering in the summer at their headquarters in rural Suffolk, and encouraged me to come along. Attending that event was my introduction to Discworld fandom, and led to me attending (and eventually helping run) many conventions and events.

Around the same time, we got our first modem at home and I discovered the internet. I was also a big fan of The X-Files at the time, and found a forum where I made many friends, one of whom introduced me to the concept of fanfiction, and got me interested in the (at that time niche) fandom for Doctor Who. We’re still friends! Read More