OTW Fannews: Voices of dissent

  • Journalists and bloggers who have come across only a few works about fandom have a tendency to make broad claims about those documents. Case in point, Irish Times writer Brian Boyd who says that the new fandom documentary Springsteen and I is “the first feature of its type to de-stigmatise fandom and celebrate it as a meaningful and healthy form of behaviour.” However, fandom studies are going on continuously, as Canada’s Metro notes in a recent feature on a graduate student who is researching female fans of Saskatchewan Roughriders. Not all examinations of fandom need to be a form of defense, either, since negative behavior can itself be informative to either fans or their culture at large.
  • For example, The Daily Dot put a spotlight on anti-fandom spaces: “The Tumblr Your Fave is Problematic (YFIP) has one purpose: making sure you have a list of all the uncool things—read: racist, homophobic, sexist, ableist, sizeist, transphobic—your favorite celebrity has allegedly done or said. Normally it flies under the fandom radar, serving its intended purpose as a resource for people looking for the other side of the endless waves of praise that fandom can bestow on its chosen heroes.” The purposes behind it are varied. “[I]n an increasingly diverse, increasingly mainstreamed fandom, the number of cultural and political clashes is increasing all the time” and “The distinction between fan and critic, advocate and antagonist is widening but blurring with every baited reblog. And as anti-fandoms continue to grow along with fandom itself, it seems to be a divide that won’t be shrinking any time soon.”
  • The Washington Post used sports fandom to discuss fans’ monetary tributes to their favorite fannish objects. “[P]rompted by a question from his own fiancee — he’s actually thought a lot about why he felt so compelled to buy the quarterback an inexpensive gift from his registry, even though he still hasn’t bought wedding gifts for some of his closest personal friends.” The fan replied that “’It’s no one else’s decision whether I buy a cake pan for a guy I’m never going to meet. And so what if he’s got 15 of them? I’m now a part of his cabinet. A little piece of me is part of that cake pan in his cabinet. It’s less about Robert than it is about the fans. We want to be a part of his life, just the same way he’s a part of ours.’”
  • On the other end of the scale Seoul Beats wrote about how some fans are deliberately disconnected from the sources of their fandom and points of fan congregation. “There does indeed seem to be a very large disconnect between the purported global aims of Hallyu, the Korean Wave, and the way that international K-pop fans are treated within K-pop fandoms. Specifically, despite the fact that K-pop companies are (and for the past few years, have been) essentially falling all over themselves to attract more interest from the farthest corners of the globe, when it comes to official K-pop fandom, international fans are, for the most part, just plain unwelcome and need not apply.” The article examines discrimination in fan club memberships which affect the experiences fans can have as well as how the visibility of non-Korean fans can be limited.

What interesting examinations of fandom have you come across? 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.