OTW Fannews: Gendered fandom friction

Banner by Erin of characters from My Little Pony facing off against one another.

  • At Antenna, Myles McNutt argued for the need to focus on male fandom. “Blue Mountain State has connected with young audiences outside of the metrics and discourses most easily visible and counted within the television industry.” By this, McNutt means that “the vast majority of the Kickstarter contributors—over 3,200 as of April 16th—are male. This matches the series’ demographic appeals…but diverges from how we typically imagine fan engagement…we rarely consider those audiences as the type of fans who would go so far as to pay to see a series resurrected. That kind of organized fandom has more commonly been associated with women, as part of a broader feminization of fan culture—over half of the Veronica Mars kickstarter backers were women, for instance, despite the fact that Kickstarter’s membership is predominantly male.”
  • While the advantages of gender-balanced fandoms are obvious to some marketers, researcher CarrieLynn D. Reinhard discusses fractured fandoms. “This project explores the tensions in the fan discourse surrounding the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic movie Equestria Girls. Producer Hasbro operates an official Facebook page for My Little Pony that was used to market the movie. With each post, fans’ comments demonstrate the tensions within the fandom and to this film. These tensions demonstrate the range of subsets of the fandom due to its cross-gendered and cross-generational nature. The discourse and resulting fractured fandom highlights the issue of ‘appropriateness’ in reception of children’s programming.”
  • Megan Farnel wrote about gendered disputes in Sherlock fandom. “[I]t’s not like the argument that Moffat is more than a tad sexist is a new one, or anything, but I find the form it takes here particularly compelling. Does he truly think he’s fooling anyone by saying that an episode involving a scene that so clearly mocks slash-fiction writers, calling them ‘out of their mind’ and arguing they are not ‘serious’ enough, comes to us from the ACD canon?” Instead “I think a lot of it comes down to labour and gender. This move on Moffat’s part at once allows him to use the canon of the show to respond to the fans he deems not ‘serious’ enough, while also deeming their engagements with the show as any meaningful form of labour worth forming a dialogue with.”
  • Of course, sometimes gendered friction can be quite local when, as Toronto Life published, discovering your spouse’s explicit fanfiction. “What to do depends largely on where you found it. If the pages were tucked away in a drawer, buy her some sexy lingerie, then rise to the occasion, but don’t mention your discovery. If she left the story open on the kitchen table, take it as an invitation to discuss her rather specific sexual pinings. Be open, accepting and prepared to spice things up in the bedroom (or bathroom or kitchen).”

What examples of gendered fandom friction have you seen? Write about it 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. Betty commented:

    Headsup that that Toronto Life link doesn’t work, and instead sends you directly to an article about cheese. (I don’t even know.) Try: http://www.torontolife.com/informer/columns/2014/04/17/

    • Claudia Rebaza commented:

      Thanks for the catch. For some reason newspapers in particular seem to switch their links around and this apparently changed since it was drafted. Fixed now!