Fannews and mirrored windows

OTW Fannews: Mirrors and Windows

    • At Tor.com, Liz Bourke discussed how fanworks taught her about herself. “I didn’t really understand that I wasn’t asexual, until I started reading fanfic in earnest, in the last couple of years. That I did—that I could, that I was allowed—to feel attraction and desire. That those feelings mightn’t look the way that the society I’d grown up in held as a normal default, but that didn’t mean they didn’t exist. That I didn’t have to be afraid of being attracted to all kinds of people, include other women…And as long as mainstream narratives still uphold a default sort of protagonist, and a default sort of experience, fanfiction is going to stay important.”

  • At Dazed Digital, Stevie Mackenzie-Smith talked about the effect David Bowie had on generations. “He taught us about the magic of difference and of embracing change and tolerance. Through Bowie, we learned that we could walk down an aisle at the supermarket wearing something to make OAPs blush, and revel in it. We could kiss a girl or a boy, neither, or both, and feel like we didn’t have to answer to anybody. Most importantly, he taught us an undying appreciation of art for arts sake; the power of music to console, lift us up and tear us apart with its beauty. We learned to never stop demanding that art. ‘You’re not alone!’ he howled at us in ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide’, ‘Give me your hands, ‘cause you’re wonderful.’ Listening to Bowie in dark moments, we can always feel connected to something.”
  • In Scannain, Sarah Maria Griffin wrote about her long history of not seeing herself in film. “I’d learned to set my standards low for blockbusters – a feminist education and worldview means I can’t just take off my Equality Goggles and Enjoy The Film Even If It’s Three Hours Of White Men Talking. The feminist gaze isn’t just a lens: it’s a conversation that continues, that we can have with every item of media we encounter. It’s rare that I can just choose to stop having that conversation with a film. If the film refuses to speak to me, then I walk away feeling emptied. Feeling tiny. During the trailers that led up to that iconic black screen with the small blue lettering that invited us to a galaxy far, far away, I steeled myself further. Here we go.”
  • In New Statesman, Laurie Penny talked about what increasing diversity means. “What does it mean to be a white cis boy reading these books and watching these new shows? The same thing it has meant for everyone else to watch every other show that’s ever been made. It means identifying with people who don’t look like you, talk like you or fuck like you. It’s a challenge, and it’s as radical and useful for white cis boys as it is for the rest of us – because stories are mirrors, but they are also windows. They let you see yourself transfigured, but they also let you live lives you haven’t had the chance to imagine, as many other lives as there are stories yet to be told, without once leaving your chair.”

When did you first find yourself in a fanwork? Write about 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 Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

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