Links Roundup for 14 December 2011

Here’s a roundup of stories on use of the term “fanboy” that might be of interest to fans:

  • A number of negative stories on fanboys have cropped up recently, some placing this point of view in their title, by creating a list of offensive groups, or making an attempt to parse the difference between fan and fanboy, which has led some to wonder when this term became an epithet. While the term has never had favorable connotations, to some it has been a term that expresses general fannishness if not, as in the case of fangirls, simply a gender orientation.
  • While the hostility toward fanboys is nothing to envy, a more widespread use of this gendered term seems to be increasing the erasure of women as fans. An example is press reaction to the recent Samsung ad that mocked Apple users. There were numerous news stories surrounding it, beginning around November 23 and continuing for several days, extending to a variety of publications. The common factor was that all used the term “fanboy” in the title. Yet the ad itself features various women in speaking roles, using both Apple and the Samsung product, which is to be expected given that half of Apple users are women (whereas it is actually Android users that are overwhelmingly male). Even though most of the articles embedded the video in their coverage, none mentioned women’s use of the product.
  • When it comes to continued negative cultural stereotypes, neither sex comes out ahead, as this review of the new TV series Geek Love at The Mary Sue points out. “Geek Love, produced by Authentic Entertainment, the lovely folks who subjected us to Toddlers & Tiaras, is planned as two, half-hour specials which if successful, could warrant an entire series.” This doesn’t seem promising given the examples cited. Pantozzi of The Mary Sue concludes, “I understand how television works but I also know it doesn’t have to be made for the lowest common denominator. Awkward geeks are what people expect to see. Instead of making a spectacle out of them, how about changing the way people view geeks?” Certainly some media outlets put a more positive spin on geek romance.

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