OTW Fannews: Diversity and Creativity

  • While blogger Maryann Johanson at Flick Philosopher asks about the relevance of using the term ‘fanboy’ as female fandom keeps getting more and more visible, over at The Learned Fangirl, Vivian Obarski and Keidra Chaney ask what can be done about fandom misogyny, and a Tumblr account for female academics tired of mansplaining quickly led to a spinoff dedicated to female sports fans tired of the same thing.
  • Yet even as female fans hope to get some support from content creators, whether by bringing more women to the professional table or simply wielding the banhammer for a good cause, media reports continue to emphasize gender stereotypes as if to explain the presence of women in what they always considered to be male events. A recent piece on Wizard World in Austin, Texas took care to separate fanboys and fangirls into different camps. “A fangirl can sometimes fanboy — get into the statistics, the completionism, the minutiae of continuity, while fanboys sometimes get their fan-girl on: obsessing about family dynamics in character development and wax poetic about the emotional and psychological implications of any and every plot development — but the discussions overheard from a fanboy booth versus a fangirl booth were pretty easy to tell apart.”
  • By comparison, people who attend those events have long noticed their diversity. In an interview with former Doctor Who actor, Peter Davison, he noted “I’ve always loved the fandom…You do seem to be an extraordinarily tolerant bunch of people, and I mean this in the nicest way, because it’s every kind of facet of the human condition that you see at every kind of convention.”
  • Meanwhile, other recent articles have instead focused on the importance of creativity and inspiration in fandom, whether at a convention or just in everyday life. “Fandom can just as often produce a creative response, or provide life-directing inspiration. Think about the first Puerto-Rican astronaut, who was originally inspired by her love of Star Trek…UCLA historian Eugen Weber relates an amusing anecdote about a 19th century French labor leader who was asked whether he was more inspired by Karl Marx or Georges Sorel, to which the labor leader replied, “Lord no, I don’t read this sort of chap — I read Alexandre Dumas, I read The Three Musketeers!” In short, being a “fan” means nothing more than that one has heroes.”

Have you attended fan cons? Do you have opinions about the terms fanboys and fangirls? Why not discuss 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.

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