Links roundup for 30 June 2012

Here’s a roundup of misogyny in fandom stories that might be of interest to fans:

  • Theater blog Parabasis had various posts discussing fandom politics and gender last month. The issue was raised by Salon critic Laura Miller in her interview when she noted that female interests such as those expressed in romance fandom tended to be the most reviled. She also contrasted some male fandom groups with female fandom groups such as Game of Thrones fans to Twilight readers. “The people who are Twilight fans…created a kind of female fandom that is profoundly different from the male forms of fandom, which are largely based on that mastery thing where you’re trying to assert control over this uncontrollable experience. The female fans just don’t have that issue. People who are really into Twilight will go onto forums and say, “Oh my God, I’m so into Twilight I haven’t done laundry in ages!” because they’re not battling to be the most, to outdo each other…Willingness to participate, be social, be friendly, interact, that’s what matters.”
  • The Parabasis posts were the subject of commentary on Metafilter, prompting editor Isaac Butler to single out the way female fandom keeps being “rediscovered” as a form of intentional blindness. However another comment on Metafilter focused on a different article in this issue. “I was not prepared for the article/interview to make an abrupt and alarming course-change into casual misogyny.” Citing a conversational exchange between two fans, the commenter notes “There’s the dismissal of the output of female fandom as “saccharine, emotional garbage”…there’s the explanation that it’s okay to disparage the work of “girls” because at least women aren’t so silly, which then implies that young men of course never contribute to silliness or obsessed-with-sexiness fan culture…And what makes me SUPER EXTRA SAD about the whole thing is that Jaime Green is a woman, and Tanner Ringerud is her boyfriend! Which hooks this whole conversation into the much larger pattern of women denigrating the fannish spaces that other women have created for themselves, in order to win points with the more acceptable and mainstream male nerd culture.”
  • A fanfic guide on Crushable also took exception with criticism of female fanworks and their focus on sexual content. “I first joined fanfiction forums around the age of twelve, so I joke that everything I learned about sex I learned from fic. I’ll say it now—I was that weird kid who tried to understand this intimate act by reading other writers’ adult stories and reworking those details into my own, like someone who turns an object around in her hand until she’s investigated every angle. I learned a lot about the clinical and emotional details of sex through these fics.”
  • Game reviewer Katie Williams had a rather direct experience with denigration at a game expo. “I would often be asked by the PR rep whether I wanted someone to play my “hands-on” demo for me. During booth tours, I would more often than not be guided towards the Facebook games. Following demonstrations, I was often offered fact sheets just in case I didn’t “understand”. People would regularly take note of the publications listed on my badge and say, “But you don’t really play, right?” I was assumed to be eye candy, the pretty face of a publication whose content was provided by people with actual talent. Every time I protested, the offender would say — as if it were a proven fact — “Well, girls aren’t usually into this stuff, you know.””

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