Welcome to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s roundup of things which are happening! Before we start, Star Wars!! Who else is excited? Alix Ayoub, the OTW volunteer who made this week’s banner, is definitely excited. Tell us your plans for seeing The Last Jedi in the comments.
Many fans are upset about a statement issued by J.K. Rowling on the casting of Johnny Depp as Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts film series. The statement is in support of Depp’s participation in the series despite being accused of abuse by his then-wife Amber Heard.
Many websites have posted articles about this. The Mary Sue questions Rowling’s implication that she knows information about the situation that is not available to the general public:
Depp’s actions are public, the images of Heard’s bruises are public, what private knowledge does J.K. Rowling have that makes her believe that her “understanding of the circumstances” gives Depp a pass and that we should all be okay with her genuine happiness to have “Johnny” play a character?
The Mercury News wrote about Heard’s response to this controversy, saying that “[Heard] suggested that Rowling, Yates and Warner Bros. had misrepresented the joint statement she and Depp released when they finally split.”
The Daily Beast wrote that, while Rowling is in a bit of a difficult spot personally, her statemment is cowardly:
At the end of the day, it’s difficult to denounce a friend or rethink an actor’s casting mid-production—it’s emotionally taxing and potentially costly. But it’s the right thing to do, and any attempts to defend an accused abuser will come across to many as cowardly, no matter how self-reflective or articulate the statement.
Mashable concluded an article on the topic with a warning to production companies working with accused abusers:
To Warner Bros. and other big studios, let this be a lesson: You can choose to turn a blind eye and commit to your egregious decisions, but gone are the days when the public would forgive, forget, and move on. There was a time when an abuser would helm a film franchise and after some angry tweets it would go away.
This is not that time.
In happier news, many fans are excited over a new development in Brooklyn Nine-Nine: The character Rosa Diaz has come out as bisexual and is dating a woman. According to Variety this reveal was inspired by actress Stephanie Beatriz and her recent decision to come out as bisexual.
Fans have been celebrating both Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Beatriz with gif sets and meta discussion, and many fans are especially happy that the fact that the show is a comedy means that Rosa Diaz won’t be killed off.
Pacific Standard has published an interesting article on fanfiction as a supplement to inadequate sex education and media representation in the US. The article focuses on the concept of “sexual subjectivity,” which is “a person’s experience of self as a sexual being who feels entitled to sexual pleasure and safety.”
According to the article, “Mainstream depictions of sex hardly seem to be created with the fantasies of anyone other than a cisgender man in mind… [while the] concept of sexual subjectivity is also ignored by mainstream sex education.” However, that’s “a view of the world that fan fiction writers have been subverting for decades.”
For those who find sexual subjectivity in fan fiction, a few similar themes tend to resonate: visibility and self-image, in terms of race, gender, and sexuality; consent and trauma; fan fiction as a means to control the narrative in order to heal from this trauma; and, most plainly, fan fiction as a safe and creative introduction to the sex that some of us would later be having.
This article pairs well with a comic published on Oh Joy Sex Toy called Fanfiction 101. (The comic and the page its’s on are SFW, but there are other things on that website that may be considered NSFW, so be careful when clicking.) It’s a cute and amusing comic on sexual self-discovery via fanfic that makes many of the same points as the Variety article. And it also includes a shoutout to AO3 and its tagging system!
Lastly, it’s almost the end of December, and that means lots of looks back on fandom in 2017. If you’re a Tumblr kind of fan, check out the Top 30 lists by Tumblr Fandometrics for the most blogged-about books, movies, anime, and more. The New York Times even wrote an article on their list of ships. (Spoiler alert: 2017 was apparently all about the Klance.)
And now I say goodbye. (Hi, I’m Janita, btw.) I’m sad to report that this is my last week as the primary writer for TWIF. For two years, I’ve helped shape this series from a half-baked idea into what it is now, which is at least three-quarters baked. But with other responsibilities, I simply can’t keep up. So starting next week, you’ll have the wonderful Stephanie Godden bringing you the highlights from fandom. Be sure to give her a warm welcome. Thanks for the memories.
We want your suggestions! If you have a story you think we should include, please contact us! Suggestions are welcome in all languages. Submitting a story doesn’t guarantee that it will be included in a TWIF post, and inclusion of a story doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.