Links roundup for 9 January 2012

Here’s a roundup of stories on female fandom that might be of interest to fans:

  • While some news coverage celebrates womens’ achievements when it comes to their fan activities and occasionally even spotlights the presence of women in fandom, other news stories reflect how women and girls continue to be an afterthought when it comes to fannish activities and products. What’s worse, some coverage reflects sexist tendencies when women are the featured fans.
  • In a discussion of Korean pop fandom groups this piece reveals a paternalistic tone in approving of new fan practices that have a charitable bent. While spotlighting contributions of rice wreaths in lieu of flowers and community service work in the name of favorite artists, the reporter suggests that “the existence of fan clubs and fandom was not seen in a positive light. It was seen as a community problem, a phenomenon created by delinquent kids who ditch school.” The piece suggests that “Fandom slowly matured as adults began to join the communities, balancing out the passions of teenage fans” and the reporter concludes that “experts say fans must maintain this energy and not let it become competitive with rival fans and neglect the initial objectives of these philanthropic actions.”
  • By contrast, this piece in Gawker on Justin Bieber fans highlighted fans’ collective commercial action in promoting the singer through the use of organized CD buyouts. While the reporter was focused on the potential commercial exploitation of teenagers, he also noticed an ugly undercurrent from bystanders. “Grown men seemed particularly put off, shouting things they would never think of saying to a single 13-year-old girl. “Move, you fat bitch!” said one enormous middle aged man as he struggled upstream against the Lilliputian mob.” This sentiment was echoed in comments to the piece, such as “I never understood how girls obsess over “teen idols” past middle school age. Shouldn’t you just be getting it on with your real boyfriend by then?”
  • The suggestion that female fandom misplaces attention owed to nearby men is also reflected in this story about porn star James Deen. “When men do weigh in on Deen, “it’s always these really asshole-ish comments only coming from guys who are clearly super butthurt that girls actually like a porn star for once,” one Deen blogger writes about the negative feedback she’s received from men.” Along with feelings of competition there are feelings of territoriality. “When Dunn wrote about Deen on her blog, her male friends were unimpressed. “They thought it was blowing up their spot,” Dunn says. “It was shining a light on something that was supposed to be secret and just for them.”” While female interest in porn is hardly new, the Internet is certainly making it more difficult to overlook women’s participation in all spaces. “For his teenage fans, James Deen is a window to a world of sexual expression that had previously been no-girls-allowed. For many, it’s an aspect of their sexuality that they’re exploring exclusively on the internet.”

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