Gender and Sexuality

  • OTW Fannews: Paying Tribute

    By Claudia Rebaza on mardi, 29 December 2015 - 5:14pm
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    Two hands holding a heart with 'OTW Fannews Paying Tribute'

    • Canada's National Post reported on the 141st birthday of Lucy Maud Montgomery by citing not only the various incarnations and tributes to Anne of Green Gables but also its fanfiction. "Anne fans are pretty prolific in the fan fiction department, filling up the corners of the Internet with stories devoted to Anne’s experiences with postpartum depression or Anne and Gilbert’s romance (some are not as...chaste as the originals)."
    • Tech Times reported on a Hannibal anthology of fanworks. "So, why focus on fan fiction surrounding Hannibal? 'It was a combination of both my interest in starting a fandom press in general and my love and admiration for the show,' Fleck said. 'After doing Brooklyn last year, I knew I wanted to eventually attempt another fanbook, but I had planned on waiting at least another year before doing it due to the time commitment. Watching Season 3 of Hannibal unfold changed that plan — the finale was the nail in the coffin, I knew Hannibal was something really special and I wanted to do a Hannibal book.'"
    • WhoSay wrote about the short film "Fan Friction” produced for RocketJump: The Show. "The opportunity to have a story about two female characters and their friendship was really important, particularly because in geek and nerd culture there's a lot of hostility towards women historically. So it was an important and deliberate choice to make it two female characters. The goal with the short was to make it a love letter to female fans of nerdy stuff. Ideally that will make them feel included into a world where they are often excluded from."
    • Deadline wrote about a planned documentary focusing on Phantom of the Paradise fandom. "Phantom of Winnipeg will tell the story of that fan community and how it’s still going strong today. Like a concentrated and highly idiosyncratic Rocky Horror Picture Show, the film found in Winnipeg a devoted audience of, weirdly, 9 to 13-year-olds, who bought hundreds of tickets. Phantom actually outsold Jaws in its initial release, and local sales of the soundtrack helped the album go gold in Canada. The film also spawned 'Phantompalooza,' a local festival held biannually since 2004."

    What fandoms and parts of fan culture do you think should be remembered? Write about them in 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.

  • OTW Fannews: The Year in Fandom

    By Claudia Rebaza on samedi, 26 December 2015 - 4:46pm
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    Package wrapped in raffia reading 'OTW Fannews The Year in Fandom'

    • Hypable kicked off the end of year list tradition with an article on fandom things to be thankful for. "I knew that I wanted characters that I could relate to, but I had no idea the sort of self-assurance and confidence that female characters like Peggy Carter, Kimmy Schmidt, Jessica Jones, and Trish Walker could inspire. Watching these ladies on screen made me feel like I wasn’t alone. That the things I feel and the way I see the world isn’t just an isolated view. Peggy Carter’s 'I know my value' line makes me burst into tears whenever I hear her say it because it feels like she’s talking to me. These complex women believe in themselves and give me the confidence to do the same. I’m so grateful that there’s finally a surge of women like them in media because I need them. We all do."
    • Contributors to Star Wars.com discussed why they were grateful for the franchise. "More than anything, I’m thankful for the catharsis and moral center Star Wars has provided me, and the friends it has given me over the years. Without Star Wars, I’m not sure where I’d be and I can’t even imagine what my life would be like. Just about every person in my life that’s stuck around and been there for me I met because of Star Wars. I really don’t know who I’d be without it. It’s gotten me through all the toughest times and I know it’ll be there to do more of that in the future, too."
    • MTV.com suggested that Hamilton was revolutionizing fandom and mentioned some aspects to be thankful for. "More importantly, the cast reflects what America looks like today, bringing both diversity and women into the forefront. (Werk.) The story is every bit Eliza Hamilton’s as it is Alexander’s — some would say even more so." They also noted that many in the fandom had been unable to see the show but that "doesn’t make them any less of a fan. Like most fandoms, the Hamildom has spawned a giddy plethora of fan fic, fan art — mostly using the likeness of the Broadway cast, not the historical figures themselves — and even more impressively, it’s pretty drama-free."
    • One poster at Geek & Sundry wrote about their love for a Dr. Who fanfic and what the future might bring. "Star Hopping, as well as other great Whovian sagas, could be the beginnings of the next great Doctor Who showrunners and creative minds behind the scenes. But, even if they don’t take over the Whoniverse, they are still adding another interesting layer to the massive fandom."

    What are the fandom events that made you thankful in 2015? Keep fandom history alive in 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.

  • OTW Fannews: Crossing Boundaries

    By Claudia Rebaza on mardi, 22 December 2015 - 3:52pm
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    Banner by Diane of the post title in a hazy mist

    • Hypable reported on how a The 100 fanfic went viral in non-fanfic communities. "It’s absolutely hilarious to see how non-fandom has responded to this fictional argument, and how people have even taken sides — but the fact that Clarke was immediately assumed to be a male does say a lot about our heteronormative society, doesn’t it?! Despite this somewhat depressing factor, The 100 fans are having a blast with this, and are fully embracing the ridiculousness of #ClarketheHusband. We’ve never been more in love with this fandom."
    • Hypable also reported on a less happy example of a fanwork crossover, the appearance of yet another practitioner of the fanworks ambush stunt. "The segment started out fine, with Corden showing off brilliant, iconic pieces of artwork. But then… well. They start mocking fan art from artists who might have had less practice, or are younger. And Corden, especially, finds it all hilarious. And, sure. It’s amusing. Until you realize that there are people out there who drew them — and that these works are reproduced without consent or warning. The context of these pieces is stripped back; the smug hosts reduce them to a mockery, the butt of a joke. And these creators could be watching this show, without expectation, only to be accosted by unwarranted abuse."
    • Of course, the print media is increasingly moving in on RPF fandoms' turf by creating their own fanfic, focusing on anyone from local figures to politicians to celebrities.
    • Huffington Post pointed out how fandom's use of social media had made their interaction with celebrity family members ever more likely. "But perhaps the best use of social media is the ability to know her son is safe wherever he might be in the world, thanks to the hundreds of thousands of fans almost 'stalking' their every move. 'If they’re flying, I’ll do a search for “5SOS airport” and I’ll see they’ve landed and I’ll know they are safe...I would do that when I was looking after them too on tour, if they’d gone out on a particular night and I wanted to know if they’d come home to the hotel -- it would be on Twitter -- it’s kind of like they’ve got lots of little mums out there checking up on them.'"

    What have been examples, for better or worse, that you've seen on fandom and fanworks crossing boundaries? Write about them in 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.

  • OTW Fannews: Loving the Fangirl

    By Claudia Rebaza on jeudi, 3 December 2015 - 4:41pm
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    Banner by Elena Who of a heart monitor line in a heart shape reading 'Loving the Fangirl'

    • Mashable highlighted the emergence of more female fans as superheroes. The latest is Faith “Zephyr” Herbert from Valiant Comics’ Harbinger series. The “sci-fi loving, Firefly-quoting fangirl” now has a series of her own. "Part of what’s gained Faith attention in the comic-book community is that she doesn’t fit the mold of overly skinny or sexualized female superheroes. 'I've heard some very moving comments from comic fans who had never seen a hero who looked like them on the cover of a comic before the Faith covers were unveiled...So there is very much a demand for a book like this.'"
    • iDiva cited 10 Reasons Why you Should Date a Fangirl, which included their loyalty, understanding another's passions, always being able to entertain themselves, enjoying simple pleasures, and not being judgy of others.
    • Bustle piggybacked on an article in The Economist about the success of slash literature in China to discuss slash in more detail. "According to many estimates, the vast majority of yaoi consumers are young women — for instance, attendees at the 2003 Yaoi-Con in San Francisco were reported to be 80 percent female. When it comes to the gender breakdown of the folks who read and create slash, the vision is a bit less clear, as many authors remain anonymous and obscure their gender. But the overall picture seems to be that young women are the dominant consumers and producers of fanfic focusing on romantic relationships between men, whether it's slash, original fiction, or visual media."
    • Black Girl Nerds posted about loving fanfiction, and by extension, its most prolific creators. "I read your work on the bus, in between classes, during lunch breaks, before bed. Your writing has gotten me through boring lectures, eternities spent in waiting rooms, long car rides, and just plain bad days where all I wanted to do was curl up in bed and forget how absolutely terrible the world can be. It was your words that I first discovered before many of the WOC-authored published works I’d come to love. It was you who first helped me learn that genre fiction didn’t have to represent yet another place where Black people didn’t belong, that there could be a place on any planet, any world, any reality, for girls like me."

    Are there fangirls you think should be known about and remembered? Write about their work in 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.

  • OTW Fannews: From Sacred to Commercial

    By Angela Nichols on lundi, 30 November 2015 - 5:40pm
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    “Fromsacredtocommerical"

    • Places like Refinery29 are noticing the importance of what fans do. "Urrata, who is studying English lit, film, and women's studies, sees femslash (the fan-art romantic pairing of presumed-straight female characters) as a way to do 'what fan artists do best: attempt to close the gap between the media we are given and the media we want.' Like racebent casting (fans adding actors of color to movies and TV shows that lack diversity), Disney femslash is a way of taking action rather than simply discussing frustration over the lack of representation."
    • Chicagoist reported on an event with Carrie Brownstein in which she discussed the importance of fandom in her new memoir. "'My story starts with me as a fan,' she writes, 'And to be a fan is to know that loving trumps being beloved.' Hopper asked her to talk further about what being a fan has meant for her, and Brownstein credited being a music fan with giving her both stability and community, calling fandom itself 'sacred' with 'a desire to connect' at its heart."
    • She Knows interviewed author Christopher Rice about a planned m/m romance novel and noted "Thanks, in part, to the world of fan fiction, man-on-man action has become pretty popular with the female population. Not only are women reading it, but they're writing it. Rice isn't surprised. He said, 'It's a stereotype that men want to see two women roll around in a bubble bath, but oh, women don't want to see two men. The real fact is women may not want to see it, but they do want to read it.'"
    • Various outlets wrote about the planned Star Trek series, noting that CBS is counting on fans to make its new service successful. "Is this the 'killer app' for CBS All Access? It’s certainly required to get your name on the map. If there’s a property that can get folks to buy into a service, it’s either this or Star Wars at this point." CBS itself stated "We’ve experienced terrific growth for CBS All Access...We now have an incredible opportunity to accelerate this growth with the iconic Star Trek, and its devoted and passionate fan base, as our first original series.”

    How have you noticed the importance of fan activities? Write about them in 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.

  • OTW Fannews: Shouting it Out Loud

    By Claudia Rebaza on mardi, 17 November 2015 - 5:34pm
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    Banner by doughtier of a young woman in black and white shouting yelling with arms spread with the title 'Shouting it Out Loud'

    • More people are discussing the long reach of fandom into their lives. The Huffington Post spoke to the OTW and others about fanfiction and sexuality. "The opportunity to displace these risky desires, not just into pseudonymous fictions, but onto fictional characters, makes fanfic a welcoming sexual space for girls and women, where they can safely spin their more illicit fantasies off into the minds and actions of distinctly separate alter-egos. 'It made me much more comfortable in myself. More comfortable in my sexuality and going out to find other erotica and pornography without having to feel ashamed,' recalled Amy, 23, who lives in Portland and got into fan fiction early in high school. 'These are characters, but they’re also people, they do normal people things and that includes sex and other sexual activities.'”
    • The Deseret News spoke with various fans about how fandom has changed their lives. “'I started to feed back into nerd culture and all those happy feelings, basically everything that fandom gives you — not just escapism, but the immediacy of enjoying something with someone else,' Smith said. “'I realized nerdiness isn’t being happy alone, it’s about being happy with other people. Nerdiness saved me from myself.'”
    • The Salt Lake City Weekly spoke to Anne Jamison about why studying fanfic is important. "It's crucial for people who study literature to pay attention to this way in which writing is now being produced and disseminated. It's crucial for us as literature professors, because so many of our students will have read and written this way, [and have] learned to critique and engage this way—even if they sometimes won't admit it. It has had and will have an effect on published books, but it is also where we first see how digital, networked texts are changing reading and writing habits and expectations—as well as the texts themselves."
    • Certainly more people than ever are giving shoutouts to their favorite fanworks including Rainbow Rowell who when asked asked about her favorite said "I have a few. My favorite fanfiction is a Harry/Draco fanfiction and it's called The Pure and Simple Truth."

    What's been the richest part of fandom in your life? Write about it in 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.

  • OTW Fannews: Fandom Fixing Fails

    By Pip Janssen on mardi, 27 October 2015 - 5:00pm
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    Black and white band aid with text saying fandom fixing fails

  • Black Girl Nerds hosted a discussion about race bending fanart, and its importance in increasing representation. "To behold an Aurora, with dark skin and a wide nose like mine, is an act of revolution. Her adornment of pigmented skin and black long locs is revolutionary. Her full lips signify the coveted trait possessed by numerous Black women like me. A brown Rapunzel, wrapped in a marigold sari is revolutionary. Her defiant brown skin distinctively pairs with a gold barrette in her long mane. These crucial depictions remind women and people of color of their beauty, existence and visibility."
  • The Toronto Star brought the Cosplay is not Consent discussion to a wider audience. "Similar signs have cropped up at conventions across North America, including New York Comic Con and Fan Expo Dallas. Organizers of Toronto’s expo, which wrapped up a four-day run at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on Sunday, say it’s a sign of the times, but not a political statement...Discussions about consent and victim-blaming are a movement outside the convention world, too. Ontario’s new sex-ed curriculum includes lessons on consent in the primary grades."
  • The Daily Dot profiled a new film about a male slash writer and discussed the negative reaction to it in many fanfic communities. "'[Y]our pitch looks like one more male indie auteur trying to make his name off of the backs of women,' wrote slasher and filmmaker Franzeska Dickson in response to the Kickstarter campaign...The cultural pattern of erasing women from their own stories and histories they created for themselves is a long one, and fandom is no exception: An infamous episode of Supernatural—one of the most female-dominated fandoms around—once portrayed a Supernatural fan convention within the show as almost entirely male-centric...Although slash writers focus primarily on male characters and many actively advocate for queer representation in media, queer men don't actually make up a large part of the slash community."
  • Metro's list of 21 things only fans would understand was lighthearted but didn't overlook problematic issues such as fandom battles and a lack of perspective. Also noticed was the lack of perspective from outside observers. "You do get judged for getting so into something. Football fans who cry over their team losing are ‘passionate’. Coronation Street fans who cry over their favourite character dying are ‘sad losers’. How does THAT work?"

What fails have you seen fandom fixing? Write about them in 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.

  • OTW Fannews: Generation Pride

    By Janita Burgess on dimanche, 18 October 2015 - 4:40pm
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    Banner by Rachel of a generic newspaper with the OTW logo and the words 'OTW Fannews'

    • The new generation of high school and college fangirls have taken note of the way their interests and activities are portrayed in the media, and by others around them. On the same day two articles went up in different college newspapers, by different writers, with the same title -- "In Defense of the Fangirl." At the College of William and Mary, Bri Little wrote "When we dismiss fangirls, we are telling them that it is unreasonable to expect emotional availability, love and acceptance from men. We are telling them that women are somehow undeserving of all these things. Of course it’s all an illusion, an image created to lure young women...But it’s often easier to fantasize about someone I’ll never have because I can imagine him treating me better than I’m treated by men I know in real life. We have to pay the price for wanting better for ourselves."
    • Meanwhile at the University of California, Berkeley, Jackie Roman wrote "The implications of the word 'fangirl' also create a divide among women at a very young age. To be a girl who is a fan of sports and screams alongside the guys during a game is to be a 'cool girl,' not a hysterical fangirl. The reason behind this is connected to our unequal respect for different genders. In this scenario, cool is code for what’s perceived as traditionally masculine. The girls expressing the same level of interest in football or other testosterone-dominated hobbies are seen as inherently different (read: better) than girls interested in traditionally feminine hobbies. And this is to no fault of the women who just want to watch sports without having their interest in it become some kind of sexual fantasy for a guy who glorifies the 'cool girl.' After all, they too are held to patriarchal expectations, only cool so long as they don’t become a tomboy and teeter across gender lines (oh, the binary!)."
    • Two days later at Duke University, Nandhini Narayana wrote about the misogyny towards fanfiction. "However, if people are to criticize fanfiction, then, they should be doing it for the right reasons, not because 'fat, illiterate, silly women who can't get a life' spend their time writing it. It is also true that a lot of online fanfiction is porn. Here’s a shocker: women enjoy porn. Women enjoy sex. Some people watch videos to masturbate, and some people read two thousand words of man on man action. Get over yourselves. Consider the term 'mommy porn.' The concept of a woman writing about BDSM and other women enjoying it apparently deserved a whole new category outside of regular porn. Why? To distinguish it from all the other 5 million pornographic resources on the internet that men enjoy and is, therefore, more serious?"
    • Lastly, at The Mary Sue Saundra Mitchell wrote about feminism and boybands. "What is feminist—what is spectacular— is that in this glossily packaged world of boybands, young women are creating a safe space for themselves. They’re not asking permission. They’re not apologizing. Their Kiss Me, Jong–hyun! and She’s my Louis Tomlinson t-shirts give no quarter. This is for them, and they don’t care if you like it. No wonder it drives men crazy. There’s no room for them here. And for the first time in their lives, they have no choice but to admit it."

    What fannish manifestos have you seen written? Start an entry for them in 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.

  • OTW Fannews: Unearthing Slash

    By Janita Burgess on dimanche, 4 October 2015 - 3:59pm
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    OTW Fannews banner by caitie~ with the text Unearthing Slash along with stylized images of the members of One Direction with slashes between them

    • Vice speculated on why adults read One Direction fanfic, and discussed the appeal of slash. "The appeal of One Direction homoeroticism also seems related to how physically comfortable and genuinely playful the boys are with each other... It seems related to the fact that they are boys who sing songs about feelings and look like they mean it. It seems, unfortunately, related to Louis's irreverent-shading-into-dickish personality, which fans... wish to understand and explain away. Perhaps most significantly, it seems related to taboo and tragedy: how impossible to fall in love with your best friend, while the whole world watches, and also how beautiful."
    • Certainly the ease of stumbling on fanfic has created awkward moments for the subjects of that fiction. NME quoted The Libertines discussing the unnerving combination of fact and fantasy. "A lot of effort has gone into it. There’ll be a poetic stream of consciousness and then suddenly, BANG! My cock will appear in Carl’s ear." The singer added that some of the descriptions were uncannily accurate: "I think it must be written by someone close to us, because apart from the actual sex side of things, which obviously isn’t true, some of it’s quite close to life."
    • The Daily Dot provided a bit of fandom history by discussing Man from U.N.C.L.E.'s slashy past. "As fandom academic Cynthia W. Walker put it, "if Trek was the Big Bang, (Man from U.N.C.L.E.) was the primer." The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was the patient zero for the kind of passionate fan community we see for shows like Sherlock today." It was notable in many ways. "At this point it's practically tradition for TV shows to misinterpret which of their male leads is the real heartthrob. From Spock to Teen Wolf's Stiles, female-driven fandoms tend to gravitate toward the characters who aren't portrayed as suave ladykillers. And back in the day, Illya Kuryakin was a bona fide teen crush magnet."
    • One bit of progress (?) in media coverage of slash is that the pairings are no longer the main surprise to people. Cracked's video gets a lot wrong, such as confusing characters and fandoms with genres, and discussing commercial bestiality erotica series as works of fanfiction. But the idea that pairings might consist of same sex doesn't itself get dubbed as 'weird'.

    Is slash history something you know about? Share your knowledge 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.

  • OTW Fannews: Finding Connections

    By Claudia Rebaza on vendredi, 25 September 2015 - 4:04pm
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    Banner by Swimmies of graph paper with a magnifying glass over a check mark next to the word 'Finding' and a pen circling the word 'Connections'

    • USC News put a spotlight on a seminar connecting scifi fandom to the gay rights movement. "Gender Studies 410 will ask students to conduct original research using materials from ONE Archives at USC Libraries, the largest LGBT archive in the world." Joseph Hawkins, who teaches the class and directs the archive, discussed how writers and publishers used experiences in one area to develop activism in others. "The stories and commentary in these journals served as incubators for ideas that would lead to political organizing decades later. Sci-fi allowed readers to safely engage with thoughts about alien races with mixed genders or finding love despite their differences."
    • Milwaukee Public Radio featured an art exhibit in Racine which "explores science fiction and fantasy-based themes of Doctor Who, Star Wars, superheroes, and steampunk." The curator explains that the purpose of the exhibit of textile art is to open a dialogue between artist and audience. "Sub-Culture Craft' features art inspired from various fandoms, which creates a lighter atmosphere with open conversations expressing enthusiasm from both artists and fans alike."
    • The Daily Dot featured the work of various fan artists to explore Disney princess remixes. "While these redesigns have become so massively popular that they've been turned into parodies, the fan culture that created them remains seriously dedicated to the practice. Part of the appeal is that the nature of these subversions invites us to think about the inherently heteronormative worlds in which Disney characters live and ultimately thrive. The worlds they inhabit often look very different from our own. And if you want more representation for other kinds of people and relationships, where better to find it than fanart?"
    • At ComicMix Emily S. Whitten expounds on what years of GISHWHES activity has brought us. "Other than all of the nifty things accomplished due to Gishwhes, I think the biggest thing I take away from it is the warm and positive attitude of the competition and everyone involved. It’s encouraging and inspiring to see all of the people who have chosen to celebrate and express their fandom in a fun and inclusive way; especially because, in the end, it is always our own personal choice as to how we want to move through the world; and how we choose to put ourselves out there can have bigger consequences for change than we can ever imagine."

    What connections have you found in fan activities? Write about them in 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.