Welcome to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s roundup of things which are happening! Before we start, have you heard about DC Universe, the new streaming service by DC Entertainment launching this fall? The Lincoln Journal Star recently revealed that the service will include exclusive content, original series, a DC encyclopedia, and more. Let us know in the comments what you think!
People are talking about KCON, the K-pop convention that just took place in New York. The Chosunilbo reports that a record 53,000 fans attended the con, beating last year’s ticket sales by 20 percent. South China Morning Post points to the popularity of BTS as one explanation for the popularity of K-pop and KCON, while Kotaku cites “the shared joy that came from finally getting an outlet to share their passions with like-minded people”.
Meanwhile, another Kotaku article hones in on KCON’s panel about the relationship between K-pop and the LGBTQ+ community. Panelists cite male K-pop band members’ freedom of touching one another and androgynous or feminine expressions of beauty as some of the ways that K-pop creates a home for LGBTQ+ fans.
Also in LGBTQ+ news, a new piece in Slate explores the idea of butch lesbians finding representation on TV in the form of straight male characters. Arguing that there is a dearth of butch characters to be found in the media, the author suggests that some self-identified butch lesbians have instead imagined that characters who are straight men are in fact butch lesbians who are “secretly marginalized—they’re just passing so well that their marginalized identities never become a part of their narratives.”
The idea that butch lesbians are actually men because they relate to male characters is, to put it lightly, insulting. “I am not hurting anyone by relating to characters the way I do, and do not ‘stop’ myself from liking female characters. It is just a numbers game at this point,” Brooke asserts. And though the projection can be fun, it also carries some depressing implications. As Brooke says, “The truly unfeminist/anti-lesbian part of all of this is the lack of relatable butch lesbians in media.”
While the article is framed through the narrative of the previously popular, now-defunct blog passingbutchcharacteroftheday, it also makes mention of blogs like transcharacteroftheday and lesbiancharacteroftheday, all of which are collectively reminiscent of the popular practice in fanfiction and fanart of the genderswap, or swapping the gender of one or more character(s) from the original source medium. What are your thoughts about genderswapping and its relation to LGBTQ+ representation in media? Share them with us in the comments!
Finally, a student at The Daily Utah Chronicle has written a charming defense of fanfiction, calling it an “underappreciated art” that is both difficult to write and transformative in its effect on literature. Plus, the author gives the Archive Of Our Own a shoutout, too!
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