OTW Fannews: Women’s place in fandoms

Banner by Robyn of OTW with female symbol and the post title

  • The Koalition discussed how sexism is hurting gaming. “Community is a very loaded word. While it lets us gamers come together under a shared passion, it also allows us to exclude those we do not feel meet our standards of membership…one group is conspicuously left out of the conversation: the female gamer. While a female gamer could be part of some or none of these schools of thought, they are both minimized and criticized when voicing opinions. Whatever a gamer may be, one thing most can agree on is that being a girl isn’t part of it.”
  • Comics writer Liz Argall suggests women should embrace being seen as a menace to fandom. “I don’t like it when incredible people I know are misrepresented, under represented, and sometimes you just have to celebrate your awesome-sauce. Cheryl Morgan was called a menace to fandom because she created the fanzine Emerald City (1995-2006), which existed in digital and well as print. How dare a science fiction fanzine use something as science fictional as the internet? It just wasn’t fair! Cheryl designed badge ribbons in emerald and gold that proudly proclaimed menace to fandom. Recent controversies have made quite a few of us want to wear a menace to fandom ribbon, given menace reflects people, issues and activism that make our communities of practice a better place to be.”
  • While celebrating fangirls at San Diego Comic Con, Fangirl the blog quoted a Grantland piece that recounted how patience could be short when it came to women’s voices. “I confirmed with several people sitting in the immediate vicinity that it was a young man shouting ‘Women who talk too much!’ after the loudspeaker asked attendees to voice their appreciation for the participants in the ‘Women Who Kick Ass’ panel. It’s an ugly moment, an unfortunate capper to a great session, to be followed by many of the guys sitting around me offering up tired lines like ‘I hope they feel empowered now!’ and several recitations of the Twilight mantra about ruining the Con. To be sure, most people in the room were respectful. But at a certain point, there needs to be an accounting for the fact that there is an ugliness that burbles beneath the surface of too many Comic-Con events.”
  • By comparison, Julia Errens at The Mary Sue talked about her experience at a Harry Potter con to discuss how cons can indeed be empowering. “This vocal questioning of societal norms was endemic for LeakyCon. All discussions I partook in or witnessed across the weekend eventually touched upon gender roles within the patriarchy. Clearly there was a keen need to talk. This slice of HP fandom seems to have created a safe space to not only get creatively involved and build media criticism skills, but also explore important facets of their own personhood. Anybody who finds that chucklesome needs to sort out their priorities.”

What stories about female fans and fandoms do you know of? 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 roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.