OTW Fannews: Cultural Triggers

  • While in some places fanfic writers are getting arrested, in others the concern is instead about how fans could be ruining pop culture. “Mr. Rushfield laments that fan culture is set in its ways and does not want to be challenged. I think this is an oversimplification…Yes of course, some fans will never be happy. Some fans say and do things I find shocking and disrespectful, but I think that this is a very small minority…To think that this subset of fans is the driving force behind any artistic decisions, is not giving enough credit to writers and producers in entertainment.”
  • Fandom activities can also lead to a new vision of culture. As a post on Amazing Stories pointed out, fannish activism may also serve wider social causes. “I often see proponents of greater diversity in the media tarred with a certain brush—it’s the brush that paints them as self-absorbed, hysterical, wannabe victims who cannot take a moment to step outside their bubble and understand the cold, hard truth of how the world works. Those who employ this brush see themselves as realists…Female protagonists can’t possibly sell in great enough numbers, they say. There isn’t enough of a market to make the character gay, they say. I understand you’re upset, they say, but you have to look beyond your (petty, juvenile) concerns and deal with the fact that the characters are going to be white.”
  • On the flip side, fans also need to take a look at their own creations when it comes to social impact. Blogger Luz Delfondo takes fanfiction to task on its contributions to rape culture. “What’s really exciting about fandom from a feminist point of view is that it is predominantly female. The people who are talking back to fictional media with their own takes on their favorite stories are women. This is a great opportunity to transform patriarchal, sex-negative stories told using the male gaze (which is the majority of media, sadly) into stories that represent our points of view…However, all too often, the same biases that come up over and over again in fictional media are also replicated in fandom.”

What cultural effects do you see fans having? 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 roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.