OTW Fannews: Fangirls in the Wild

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  • San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) season means it’s time for the media to once again declare that fangirls exist. The New York Times thought this was the year for fangirls. “A bunch of oddballs — nerds and fanboys, toy collectors and cosplayers, gamers and fantasists — invaded the mainstream and planted themselves at the vital center of the entertainment industry…Lately, though, something else has been happening, too — a shift in the ecosystem of fandom symbolized not only by Sadness but also by another new addition to the Comic-Con costume repertory: Imperator Furiosa, the crew-cut, one-armed avenger played by Charlize Theron in ‘Mad Max: Fury Road.’ Furiosa’s presence amid the Disney princesses and Manga pixies is an especially potent sign of the feminism that is a big part of this event.”
  • A more thoughtful article at Refinery29 points out that SDCC is hardly a bastion of feminism yet. “What we’re calling fangirls here covers an admittedly wide and amorphous group of women. They’re cosplayers, comic book collectors, sci-fi nerds, steampunk enthusiasts, booth babes, Lolitas, and more….And they are vocal: When the proportion of female writers and artists for DC Comics plunged from 12 percent to 1 percent in 2011, female fans started a petition for DC to hire more women. DC Comics responded by promising to try. Female fans from a group called the Carol Corps. were also instrumental last year in pushing Marvel to announce plans for a movie about Captain Marvel, a super-powered woman. In other words, fangirls are engaged and numerous, making up a significant portion of the audience that shells out hard-earned dollars to support their pop culture passions. And yet, despite that, this group remains the third estate of the comics / fantasy world.”
  • The Chicago Tribune focused more on numbers. “‘But when you start to break it down according to how fans identify themselves, we find that no individual fandom is that even,’ continues Salkowitz, who will discuss his findings Sunday afternoon at Comic-Con. ‘Comics, videogaming, hobby gaming and toy collecting are majority male, usually in the 55- to 60-percent range. Manga/anime, science fiction/fantasy and media fandom are 60- to 65-percent female. Because today’s big conventions appeal to fans of everything, audiences coming to shows are pretty much gender-balanced. However, it’s still the case that, say, ‘comics’ fandom tends more toward older guys, whereas manga appeals more to younger women.'”
  • As Neon Tommy pointed out, having female creators representing female fans in the media is a needed step forward. “As for today’s devoted fangirls — who have often been excluded from the full participatory side of media — Jarett says the ‘Fan Girl’ film’s message is one of female empowerment. ‘Telulah is a filmmaker,’ he says. ‘And being a fan of something can also be someone’s art — it’s a form of creative expression.'”

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