OTW Fannews: Knowing the Audience

OTW Fannews Knowing the Audience

  • Lydia Laurenson wrote for The Atlantic about online anonymity, spurred by the change in Google+’s policy on real names. “I was finding myself on the Internet, but I was also learning skills that would be useful both as a professional and a human offline. My ability to be an effective creator was hugely shaped by writing popular fan fiction and running side-project businesses in virtual worlds. Researchers have also found pseudonymous games to be great environments for training leadership skills…Nowadays, we’re often told that The Future lies in entrepreneurship. I believe that elastic selfhood is crucial for people’s personal development, but it’s important for broader innovation, too. We need space to experiment and risk-tolerant environments where people can learn.”
  • Many female fans have hidden their gender in online spaces for some of the reasons that Jen Mac Ramos describes as appearing in hockey fandom. “Plain and simple: being a hockey fan online isn’t a safe space for women. In fact, it’s downright frightening at times. It’s no secret that hockey is notoriously a white bro sport, white as the ice they play on. The boys’ club that watches and writes about it is what it is: a boys’ club. It’s men of all spades who get to dictate what the culture is like. While understandable on the ice (because, well, it is a boys’ club in the locker room), why should it extend to how fandom should be? Why should it be around to isolate women?”
  • The media does little to value women as an audience. While suggesting that public conversations on diversity can make a difference, and reporting on problems with representation, the Hollywood Reporter nonetheless wrote about the success of female driven films as a failure of men to go to the movies.
  • At Black Girl Nerds, Jamie Broadnax questioned terms and whether or not they can encompass an entire audience of fans. “A nerd can look like anyone. They look like you or me. However, for women and people of color, are we nerds or anti-nerds? I’m not suggesting we reject the term nerd because I like being called a nerd and I have no qualms about adopting all of what is considered to be a part of nerd culture. However, as a blerd, if I choose to embrace my blerdniess as opposed to generic nerdiness than what does that mean exactly? The blerd community is a place of solidarity for nerds of color. It’s a safe place where we are free to embrace and express our unique sense of self. There is a no-judgment zone within the blerd community and we welcome blerds to cosplay as non-Black characters and for women to have a prolific voice in our community.”

What parts of fandom have you been involved in? Write about them 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 Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.