OTW Fannews: Separate by intention?

  • Given media representations apparently a lot of people continue to think that female fandom projects are rare, although this may have to do with how gender segregated fandom projects often are. In a feature on the “Hello Sweetie” podcast, its founder discusses why it came into being. “She and others were listening…to ‘Geek Show Podcast,’ the popular online show started by X96’s ‘Radio From Hell’ host Kerry Jackson, local movie critics Jeff Vice and Jimmy Martin, and Tribune TV critic Scott D. Pierce. “‘They never have any female panelists, rarely had female guests, and a lot of people were complaining about that,'”…On one episode of ‘Geek Show Podcast,’ one of the hosts said, ‘If you [women] want to have a podcast, you should start one.'”
  • One reason for the separation may have to do with how female characters in fandoms are frequently depicted. One of the latest fans to address that issue uses cosplaying girls to create artwork depicting superheroes as they might really be. “It’s not only combatting the myth that girls don’t read or care about comics, but it’s showing that girls, too, can play the male superheroes that so often overshadow their female counterparts. And it’s also proving just how easy it is to upend the sexist conventions that keep the women of comics in scantily clad, unrealistic uniforms for the purpose of sexually objectifying them.”
  • The site Machinima.com pitches itself as equivalent with the fanwork in the tagline “a programming movement that captures the hard-to-reach 18 to 34-year-old male demographic.” They have decided to try crowdsourcing video production on its Happy Hour Tales series. “Fans are invited to submit ideas for what happens in the second part of Trial of the Songbird…I wonder if there’s some branded intentions here; after all, inviting viewers to write about a brand new video game is a good way to get them to play that game. Happy Hour Tales is the overarching name of the series, which suggests that we will get crowdsourced stories set in other video game worlds before long.” Since fans have little need for an invitation to create new fannish content, the plan seems more in line with further commercializing fannish creativity rather than encouraging its independent development.
  • Another fannish site that’s looking for fannish contributions has a long history of female participation, though Aja Romano wonders if the creative team is taking that into account. For one thing the fandom already has major fandom wiki projects, although they don’t “emphasize fan creations and fanworks the way that Roddenberry’s Trek Initiative does.” But “it seems odd that Roddenberry has gone the traditional route of archives, wikis, and fan forums, rather than the more web 2.0 route emphasizing social media, media sharing, and interactive media. It’s possible he hasn’t registered just how big Star Trek is on Tumblr, where the new reboot reigns supreme among millions of fans, mostly women.”

Do the fandom sites you visit seem to target one gender over another? 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 roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.