OTW Fannews: Gatekeeping

  • One of the most discussed problems in fandom recently has been the “fake nerd girl” meme and it’s not just women who are getting fed up about it. In the past month a number of male columnists have taken to task fellow fans about their negative behavior, whether through outright condemnation, by teaching-through-sarcasm, or simply trying to change the options a woman has. In a recent post one columnist noted “My sister and I, despite both being very geeky, are very different in how we approach it. Both of us love Horror, Disney, and roleplaying. However she is not a comic book fan and I am not into fanfiction…Now a gatekeeper is going to say that she is wrong. She needs to appreciate the Avengers for its appeal to the comic fans and that legacy and enjoying stories about Tony and Steve adopting Peter Parker is wrong and should be shunned.” He closes with a particularly incisive reminder about how this behavior is fostered by the very industries people are fans of, by featuring a copy of a prominent ad in a Batman issue which depicted a female fan as one of the “Greatest Villains of Nerd Culture.”
  • At SB Nation Cliff Corcoran wrote about a different way in which being too close to the industry of one’s fandom can be a negative thing. “Along the way…[m]y Yankee fandom began to fade. The reasons for this were diverse…but they include [f]amiliarity breeds contempt…They say if you love something set it free. I went the opposite route and smothered it until it stopped breathing.” In addition, “Would I feel different if the move to the new stadium hadn’t cost me my bleacher ticket package? Would I feel different if I had been shown more respect by the team in my capacity as a blogger? Would I feel different if I hadn’t heard horror stories from peers who worked for the team in non-media capacities? It’s hard to say, but those things certainly helped to tip the balance.”
  • Gatekeeping behavior isn’t just performed by the industry or copied from it however. While politics can be the playground for some people’s fandom, in The Daily Dot, Aja Romano wrote about how “[t]he touchiest subject in fandom isn’t about creepy pairings, odd kinks, or terribly written erotica. It’s politics.” She cited several points of contention beginning with “a LiveJournal community called Wizards for Bush. The community, which is still active, had only a small number of supporters, but even so, some members of fandom, astonished to find members of their communities joining the group, unleashed anger and mockery upon those who did so. “For those Americans in fandom who follow a different political leaning than liberal-democratic,” wrote sidewinder in a post about the incident on Fanhistory, “Fandom can become a rather unfriendly place for the months leading up to the actual election, as the common assumption seems to become ‘you’re either with us politically, or you’re not one of us at all.’”

If you have stories about gatekeeping in fandom, why not share them on 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.

News of Note
  1. Koe commented:

    Gosh. Talk about timing. I have ranted about this at length to a fellow fan today, after encountering this thread (I want to provide an URL, but the spamfilter won’t let me):

    The42Geek posted:
    “”The Ring of Soshern” (fanfiction)
    Please tell me one of you have a download link or a copy you can email me. I need to read this story. It’s one of the first slashes, and the first fanfictions, ever written. It features Spock going into Pon Farr on an alien planet with only Kirk around. It’s slash, so you can guess what happens. I NEED to read this. I’m looking all over the internet, and I figure one of you geeks has to have it. XD Please!”

    Admiral_Young answered:
    “Re: “The Ring of Soshern” (fanfiction)
    Troll? If so Tits!!!”

    The42Geek answered back:
    “Re: “The Ring of Soshern” (fanfiction)
    I am not a troll. I figured someone at this STAR TREK fansite might have this STAR TREK fanfiction. Is that really too much to ask?”

    (…) (bickering)

    Stuff like this (both gatekeeping and harassment in this case) is what makes me ashamed of being a trekker, a geek and a fan( but NOT a fanfic lover!).

    Thank you very much for bringing the topic up here. It really deserves more attention.

    Much love,

    PS: And that fic should really have been made available to the public. It’s slash history, as mentioned. :E

    • Claudia Rebaza commented:

      Sorry about the link problem (it’s strange given that we get link filled spam on a daily basis) but I can see how the post made you think of it. And yes, I’d be fascinated to read that fic as well!