This Week In Fandom, Volume 141

Welcome to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s roundup of things which are happening! First, a small format change to TWIF for now, since the broader entertainment world is on hiatus: we’re going to be featuring more recommendations and events from around the internet as we all spend more time at home. There may be only so much Netflix you can watch, but fandom is full of things to create and participate in. Feel free to tell us about cool fandom things that are happening in the comments!

First up, a handy primer for all the apps, services, and ways people are hanging out over the internet: Aja Romano’s Vox article From Netflix Party to Zoom: The internet apps getting us through quarantine, which is full of links and ideas. Eventbrite is growing in popularity, with its landing page now full of virtual events you can attend online, from yoga classes to concerts to art classes. Your blogger has always wanted to learn to draw well enough to make fanart – if you’ve always been in awe of the talented vidders, podficcers, writers, fanartists and other creatives in our community, now could be the time to give it a try! Read More

This Week In Fandom

This Week In Fandom, Volume 136

Hello and welcome to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s roundup of things that are happening. Have you ever written heartfelt love letters to your crushes, and kept them secret? That’s the plot of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, which took the internet by storm in 2018, and this week its sequel To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You was released on Valentine’s Day. Did you watch it? Are you going to? Feel free to gush and squee in the comments!

Another new item on Valentine’s Day was the publication of an article by the BBC dealing with the backlash around the Sonic the Hedgehog character design and other fan movements, asking whether “fans are too entitled”. The article tackles issues of resistance and incorporation paradigms, what fans want and what fans need, as well as deconstructing the current social climate within fandoms. For example, it compares fan campaigns such as the one to rewrite the end of the Game of Thrones TV series to other more political and discriminatory movements like the abuse directed at Kelly Marie Tran during The Last Jedi, which ended in Tran leaving social media to shield herself from harassment. Academic Suzanne Scott explains that:

“In my view, the relationship between these incidents and our current political moment is completely symbiotic: in retrospect, these incidents seem like a subcultural sign of things to come, but our culture war isn’t a product of fandom. If anything, this moment in fan culture is evidence of how long these culture wars have been waged, and how deeply they permeate our interactions with society, culture, and each other.”

While many fan campaigns seem justified or understandable, with for example Sonic The Hedgehog smashing the box office with a record-breaking $57 million in its opening weekend after fan backlash prompted a redesign, other sub-movements are rooted in prejudice and it’s clear that fandom isn’t a united community. While most of us were excited to see the all-female Ghostbusters reboot or having a black character, Finn, as a major character in the latest Star Wars franchise, a minority of fans felt entitled to voice their discontent at such diversity — and that’s the kind of fan entitlement we don’t like to see. Read More

OTW Guest Post

OTW Guest Post: Brianna Dym

From time to time, the OTW will be hosting guest posts on our OTW News accounts. These guests will be providing an outside perspective on the OTW or aspects of fandom where our projects may have a presence. The posts express each author’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. We welcome suggestions from fans for future guest posts, which can be left as a comment here or by contacting us directly.

Brianna Dym is an information science PhD student at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where she works in the Internet Rules Lab (IRL) with Dr. Casey Fiesler. She investigates norms in online communities and ways in which different minority groups carve out spaces for themselves online, in addition to researching how vulnerable users might empower themselves through existing technology platforms. Today, Brianna talks about her recent article in Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC) that was co-authored with Casey Fiesler.

How did you first find out about fandom and fanworks?

When I was a young teenager, a friend mentioned the website and I got curious enough to go check it out for myself. I spent a lot of time reading, since I was quiet and shy, and I could never find books that had the kinds of characters I wanted to read about, such as queer women like myself. Read More