Sunday, June 17, 2007


I feel like a tourist when I search for WFA links. I mean there's a section of the blogosphere that feels likes its become my home territory (to the point that the message board I used to frequent feel like a foreign country), and I am totally in my element at the shop and most conventions, but there's places where even when I read the exact same comics and have been to the place often enough to know the lingo, I'm still just taking snapshots home to show my little community. Fandom on the whole is naturally splintered and clannish, so I can easily get this total outsider feeling from some corners.

During one of my excursions in the writing community, I ran across this post about gender and the type of fanfiction people write. I don't really care to engage his points generalizing gender and its not "topical" for WFA, but I was really struck by just one section of a sentence:
"fandom"--that is, the term that a predominantly female subculture of fanfic writers have appropriated to describe themselves
I'm coming from the non-writing side, the convention-going, message-board fighting, theory and review blogging analytical side and I'd call that a huge part of Fandom. In fact, I usually refer to it was Greater Comics Fandom because the superhero fans there are so big there in comparison to the superhero fans int he writing community.

What's weird and disappointing about that post is he's a fanfic writer and seems to also figure all of fandom is the fiction writing section (he's just into a different type of fanfiction writing) when we are stuffed to the brim with story theorists, newshounds, gossips convention-goers, podcasters, satirists, webcomickers, autograph hounds, commission hunters, toy collectors, creator worshippers, aspiring creators, music video-makers, and fan artists who have never sat down to write out their own story and using "Fandom" to just describe the fanfiction writers is really dismissive of the rest of us. Like we're not "real fans."

Not that none of the rest of fandom isn't ever dismissive and stupid when it comes to fanfiction writers, but its a little (but disturbingly consistent) piece of snobbery that really grates on my nerves when I surf around the writing portions.

Anyway, back to compiling links. I just had to take a break and vent a bit.


  1. It's very strange, especially as I know of this person, and have been on the same mailing lists for over a decade, and he has certainly participated in lots of discussions not directly pertaining to fic.

  2. Stephanie -- I know some fanfic writers who can talk for horus without mentioning their stories, but in the end turn out to define fandom as fanfiction-driven.

    However, I'm probably misjudging him in particular. Its just that the post seemed to pertain directly to fanfiction, and seemed to feel that he was angry about the term being used to refer to a certain sort of fiction rather than fanfic in general, so I found it a bit disappointing.

  3. I think this general trend stems from the fact that outside of those who are active in fanfic circles, 95% of fandom doesn't care what they do. It is a defensive mechanism and I have seen similar things in comic fandom, SciFi, Fantasy and almost any other definable group. People who are very active in fanfic tend to define the fandom by what they do because there is often not a lot of crossover (or interest) between them and those who are not equaly interested.

  4. I think that "fandom" is a slippery term in this case because a lot of fandom seems to pertain to Media Fandom (of TV shows and movies, in particular), which, AFAIK, does not really have its own cons and IRL events.

    There's also the fact that "fandom" as referred to on eljay is generally (IME) used to refer specifically to fandom as found on eljay; the Real Life aspect isn't considered.

    In my own fannish experience, the vast majority of "fandoms" consist almost solely of fic writing (slashfics in particular), and it's difficult to find people who are interested in the more meta aspects of fandomry, so it's not necessarily dismissive (though it well could be) so much as the fact that for many people fanfic fandom is all they ever see.

  5. I think that "fandom" is a slippery term in this case because a lot of fandom seems to pertain to Media Fandom (of TV shows and movies, in particular), which, AFAIK, does not really have its own cons and IRL events.

    Yeah it does. Media*West is a media fanfic con that's been yearly since... ah, I forget, late seventies, early eighties. There's another fan-sponsored fanfic con in the Rocky Mountain area that goes at least a decade back, and a fan-sponsored media convention in Denver that's been going on since the mid-seventies (the yearly one - some years they've had two or more but I haven't lived there for over a decade myself and don't know if that's still the case).

    Creation Cons killed a lot of fan-sponsored media stuff, but not all of it.