Links Roundup for 11 May 2012

Here’s a roundup of stories about gendered aspects of fandom that might be of interest to fans:

  • Conversations on various fan sites continue to revolve around creator reluctance to feature female characters in their work. One gamer discusses how “the fact that you have to play as a man puts [his significant other] off just enough that she’d just rather play another game”, and notes that “As a white man, I can only really imagine this position of disassociation. There are few games which force you to play as a woman.”
  • Of course, it isn’t just a lack of representation but also the way that women are treated as gamers that affects their enjoyment, something which escapes the attention of many male players. The creator of online comic The Oatmeal discovered this after he received angry responses to a panel he drew about female gamers having advantages simply for being female. “Citing surprise and ignorance about the violence female gamers face, he withdrew his argument,” and made a $1,000 donation to the Women Against Abuse Foundation, explaining, “A lot of people are talking of rape threats, sexism, harassment, and a lot of other awful things. I’m a guy and I barely talk into my mic, so I’ll concede that my view of things is probably very skewed.” Unfortunately, these problems exist in most fandoms in different forms, as a post by hockey blogger Karen M pointed out. “What I realized is that in the world of hockey fandom women are like [Russian hockey players]. We are a minority group that are battling everyday against the weight of oppressive and offensive stereotypes. A Canadian coasts on a few shifts and he’s ‘having an off night’. A Russian coasts and he’s ‘lazy and not living up to his potential.’ In hockey fandom misogynist insults are common and women are dumb puck bunnies until proven otherwise.”
  • Alyssa Rosenberg at Think Progress suggests that women “even outside the core fan community, will be interested in fantasy and science fiction if work in those genres have anything to say to them.”Snow White and the Huntsman is being explicitly sold not just as a story with two female leads…but as a story about the connection between beauty and power, about competition between women, and about styles of rule and command. From the outside, the women in the movie don’t look like women acting like men. They appear to be women acting like women but with the force of armies and heroes available to play out the issues that they’re grappling with personally.”
  • The Mary Sue notes that good stories appeal to all sexes, citing the success of The Legend of Korra, which has a female lead. “Some Nickelodeon executives were worried, says [Korra co-creator Bryan] Konietzko, about backing an animated action show with a female lead character. Conventional TV wisdom has it that girls will watch shows about boys, but boys won’t watch shows about girls,” writes NPR’s Neda Ulaby. “During test screenings, though, boys said they didn’t care that Korra was a girl. They just said she was awesome.”

If you want to share your experiences in the The Legend of Korra or Avatar: The Last Airbender fandoms, or have something to say about misogny in fandom, why not write about them on Fanlore? Additions are welcome from all fans.

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