Feminism, Fangirls and the Fandom

feminism fangirls fandom

I am a really big advocate of all things fandom. I love to be a fan, and I love to talk to other fans, and I love fanfic. In short: I love being excited about things! I didn’t always know what fandom was – for me now, being active in the fandom is not just liking something, but liking something and connecting with other people about it. (Probably over the internet, but not necessarily.)

Fandom has not just been about discovering the community. It’s more than the actual fandoms themselves: although I’m pretty new to everything, it’s essentially been my doorway into learning more about feminism and diversity and current issues. It’s really interesting to look at the demographics of the fandom in comparison to that of the characters in fanworks.

Personally, I feel as though the fandom – through the way I experience it – is largely women. But I often see articles saying talking about being a girl geek as though we’re in a minority? Maybe this used to be more true; I’m not sure. (And sadly I don’t have a TARDIS.) Is a fangirl different to a fan or a geek or a nerd? I don’t feel like it should be, but in my mind it’s more closely linked with someone…kind of like Cath Avery. And also maybe like me. I thought this was just my brain, but it seems like it’s true that the creators of fanworks (I’m kind of using this to talk about fanfic, art, edits, podfic, all that kind of thing) are mostly female.

The gender disparity is really, really wide when it comes to fanwork creation. It’s quite unusual for me to see a fanartist, writer, or blogger who isn’t female. I mean, It’s difficult for me to talk about fandom as an entire entity because at it is essentially ‘I like something and I participate on the internet about it’, and I am definitely not capable of collecting statistics for the entire internet. But as someone young and new in the fandom, the concept of ‘fan’ as a male role bemuses me because coming into the fandom in recent years I’ve never experienced it that way.

Do I think we shouldn’t call ourselves fangirls? For a while, I thought that it was kind of a negative term, but it can better to change those views than the actual word itself. Although some fans might get on your nerves, that’s not everyone! I find that in most part people who call fangirls stupid etc. don’t tend to be part of the fandom. I’m happy to call myself a fangirl. However, even within the fandom I think there’s negativity towards people who are quite fierce in their shipping. (Also: I keep trying to find a place to put this stat, but I haven’t found it yet. Apparently most slash shippers are LGBTQ+, which admittedly was not something I had thought. It feels like there’s an idea they’re mostly straight?)

Even as I say that the creators of the fandom are predominantly women, the subjects of their works are usually men. It’s a really strange relationship. Probably because it’s strange how mainstream media is populated by white men… I mean, fic is even more overwhelmingly male than actual published fiction. Fic is still remixing something already there, and what’s already there tends to be men.

I have a lot of strong feelings about fanfiction. I would happily give a fully PowerPoint-ed presentation explaining why it is an excellent thing. There’s this idea that it’s all terrible and terribly written, and whilst there are some maybe less good examples, they’re not the only fics out there. There are also trashy books, in case you hadn’t noticed. (I like some fics more than books. I admit it.) And one of the things that I enjoy the most about fic is the diversity, because I kind of end up wanting everyone to be queer and that can definitely happen in fic.

The spectrum of diversity and representation in fandom is really varied. In canon queer elements tend to stay in subtext a lot; even though there’s starting to be more representation of LGBTQ+ characters and same-sex relationships in mainstream media, it’s still not…that much. Whereas most fanfiction on AO3 features a non-straight couple.

RETURNING TO MY POINT. I love fanfiction because people write pieces that are both diverse and well-written. You can find awesome fics about queer characters that both a) don’t erase their queerness or struggles and b) have excellent plots and writing. can we have this in books as well pls Or you can even write it yourself! But, I mean, whilst fic can have a really diverse cast in relation to sexualities, there are less fics with characters who are any gender other than male. If you go into the Archive of Our Own tags and plug the numbers into a calculator, the ratio of f/f to m/m is about 2:15. Which is a lot. There was a great conversation on Twitter about LGBTQ+ characters in YA fiction and the media — about the fetishization of m/n/, and the lack of f/f — which is also very true for fanfiction. And here is another post about queer girls as a cautionary tale in literature, including some stuff about the fandom. Fic isn’t without its problems.

I love the fandom. I am ever-grateful to it. It would be nice if fanfiction and books could help each other out over a nice cup of tea — the only way to do it, darling — and then I can find even more things to be excited about than before.

Story Mash-Up: Chapter I

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i. premonition

The dissent grew quietly, lodging itself between the laughter and the crackling fires and the gentle hum of work. Indira might even have missed it – hell, she would have, because she was too stupidly focused on Quidditch and trying to avoid any remnants of last year. Even consciously thinking about anything before the summer sharpened the dull ache sharpen.

It didn’t matter. She could get by well enough on chatter with the people in her lessons, even if they didn’t really have anything in common besides a surname towards the middle of the alphabet. In some ways it was a blessing, anyway; it wasn’t like she didn’t have training to do. And there was no way in hell Ravenclaw were winning the Quidditch cup again this year.

Two weeks into term, the amount of people turning up to Quidditch training was still suspiciously small. They’d gone through the whole fiasco of try-outs – they’d gained a second year Beater, and there were a few others who could be decent with practice – but several of the players from last year hadn’t yet turned up. Although Indira knew that not everyone would get up in the mornings for extra training like she would, the team was close-knit; she had at least felt like they were friends. (Well. You had to be. After all those hours.)

Indira entered the common room and dumped her broom by the door, rubbing her hands together and trying to get at least something that resembled feeling into her fingers. Apart from the other players filing in from practice behind her, the common room was unusually quiet; the candles meant it was pretty difficult to do homework here anyway, although some people still tried it.

Emily was across the room, sitting on one of those melodramatic throne-like chairs that dwarfed anyone who sat in them. A textbook sat limply in her hands. Her eyes were unfocused.

Indira strode towards her. “Oh my god, please don’t tell me you quit the team to focus on studying,” she said. She had barely seen Emily at all…now that she both was a fifth year and no longer playing Quidditch as it seemed, Indira only spotted her in snatches at the dinner table.

The clouds only lifted from Emily’s eyes in part. Indira drummed her hands across the carpeted arm of the seat. “If you don’t play, we’ll have to recruit some awful first-year to play Seeker.  You don’t want to embarrass us like that, right?” She cracked a smile.

“I can’t play,” Emily said flatly.

Indira’s fingers stopped moving. “What?”

“You won’t be able to train soon, anyway.”

“What?” Apparently Indira wasn’t capable of doing anything but echoing the same word. Multiplying it. She stared. A bubble of quiet had fallen across the surrounding areas. (As soon as Indira turned around, they’d be reading again, but she had done this often enough herself to know what a listening sort of silence felt like.)

Emily’s hands tightened around her book. Indira look down; it was Ancient Runes. The same page had been open for their entire conversation. A black wire curled out from under the pages and into the back of the seat.

Her gut clenched. “Oh,” she said tightly, and started to turn away to retrieve her broomstick. “I get it. You’re too busy playing with you Muggle toys. Don’t blame us when we lose all our matches.”

***

As soon as she got up to the girl’s dormitory, the tension in her body released like an elastic band. God. It nagged at her that Emily had quit the team for, of all things, her weird obsession with trying to get her Muggle electronics. (God knew what had happened to the rest of the team.) But she shouldn’t have said that. People would talk. The House divides weren’t nearly as strong as they used to be – but despite that, Slytherin still had somewhat of a reputation. And some words stuck, you know?

She dropped her broom beside the bed and dug inside the bottom of the drawer to find her lunar calendar. Maybe it was a full moon. She could have lost count… The run-up to school had been so rushed. It was possible.

She flicked past September three times before she found it. There was still another ten days to go in the cycle.

It would have been a lot easier if she could blame this on the wolf, wouldn’t it? That’s what normally caused this distinct feeling of wrongness. Because that’s what it was: there was something in walls of the castle that wasn’t right. That didn’t fit in with everything else. And Indira didn’t understand any of it.


 

*cackles* I’m evil. I’m an evil person who is really invested in Christmas and Harry Potter right now. I’m actually about to break up, yay! I still have two essays due in tomorrow, though… Ahem. I’d better get on with those. 😉

This post is the first chapter in the Story Mash-Up, hosted by Joan @ Fiddler Blue. She’ll also be the next to write, so keep an eye out on her blog! I also need to write a disclaimer: Harry Potter is the property of JK Rowling, but all the characters and text from this project belong to their respective authors. 🙂

April Favourites!

April was a month of many bookish flailings, and also of the internet coercing me into joining various fandoms. We’re almost getting into summer, too – hurrah!

april favourites

1. Reading Fanfiction (mostly of the Les Miserables variety) By far my favourite thing about AO3 is the download function. It means that I can read fic on my Kindle without going square-eyed, and is also a great sneaky way of reading. Example: if you’re reading when the teacher comes into the room, they just think that you’re being studious and then you put it away without a fuss. If you’re reading fic on your phone, the chances are they’ll confiscate it. Also good for long trips.

But yes, I don’t know what made me think joining the Les Mis fandom was a good idea. (Please don’t scream at me when I say I’ve only seen the movie. I just have a really big talent for joining fandoms based on their fics.) We’re studying the French Revolution in history at the moment, ad I get that it’s a different time period but it’s very hard not to think of the Amis when discussing revolutions and people getting angry over injustices. It’s also very hard to restrain myself when people burst into songs from the musical, because really all I want to do is go over and say ‘I love these characters to death can we talk about them all day please.’

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2. Camp Nanowrimo
I SURVIVED. I’M NOT DEAD. I can’t believe it. I made my goal – it was 15k – but most importantly I discovered a lot about my novel. I’ve given the plot and timeline a revamp and I now have a bit more direction

3. The Secret History by Donna Tartt Something else I read based on Tumblr. I’ve got to admit that I still haven’t finished it, but I am rather enjoying it – especially since it isn’t my usual cup of tea.

4. Barcelona As represented by my postcard of La Pedrera. THIS IS THE MOST AMAZING CITY HAVE YOU SEEN THE ARCHITECTURE asdfjkl Salvador Dali was one cool architect. I might have to do a post on the amazing mathsiness of La Sagrada Familia one time. Spanish and Catalan bookshops were really fun to browse as well. There’s a book called After which I believe is a Wattpad One Direction fanfic, and that was rather popular…? Someone called Laura Gallego, too. I think she wrote fantasy.

5. Supernatural Of all the stupid things Tumblr has coerced me into, this ranks pretty high. I have such mixed feelings on deciding to finally watch this show: half of me says ‘This is super trashy and literally represents no one’ and the other half is like ‘Hmm this is kind of good OH COOL no WHAT’. But I’m only on the second season, so we’ll see.

6. Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor This isn’t often the case for me, but I actually found that I enjoyed this…more than the second one? I’m not sure why. But it was a fittingly beautiful end to a stunning series.

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7. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness This was effectively #VeryRealisticYA in a full length novel. There was lots of humour about a girl named Satchel and her equally ridiculously-named friends at the beginning of each chapter. The characters were awesome. I liked it a lot.

Stuff from around the internet:

Bookish things that have happened:

  • In case you missed my intense fangirl feels, the cover for ‘s Carry On was revealed.
  • Alice Oseman (possibly the coolest author ever) announced the title of her second book to be Radio Silence.
  • The publishing date for Maggie Stiefvater‘s The Raven King unfortunately had to be pushed back. I’m kind of sad, but also a little happy because I DON’T WANT IT TO END OKAY
  • We got some info on the TMI TV show casting with Dominic Sherwood as Jace, Alberto Rosende as Simon and Emeraude Toubia as Isabelle.

In other news, the royal baby has been born (she’s a girl) and there’s a General Election on Thursday. But obviously fangirling over the release of new books takes priority. (No. Just kidding. VOTING IS IMPORTANT, KIDS even though I’m probably like the same age or younger than you??)

Also, just to let you know: I’ve got exams coming up at the start of June so I’m probably not going to be as active as usual. 😦 I’ll still try to keep up with you all, though!

How has your April been? Are you looking forward to anything in the coming month? 🙂

7 Reasons Carry On is Going to Be Awesome

carry on awesome

In case you missed the numerous incidents of fangirling, I’m a really big fan of Rainbow Rowell’s meta-series Simon Snow. It was absolutely CRAZY when she announced that she was writing a real book based on Simon and Baz and all the inhabitants of Watford. Now that the cover and (slightly ominous subtitle) have been announced, I thought it was time to tell you guys all the reasons that Carry On is set up to be the awesomest thing in the universe.

1. Simon and Baz are going to be in love. Obviously, this is a pleasing thing. Who doesn’t want their ship to be canon? 😛 But I’m also really pleased that it wasn’t passed up and relegated to subtext or snippets of Cath’s fanfiction. (See, I speak the truth!) I don’t know, I just feel like some things (coughSherlockcough, however much I love the show) string shippers along a bit.

2. There’s going to be some actual content to write fanfic from. Hurrah! The amount of Simon Snow canon is frankly miserable. Many details have had to be made up by the members of the fandom. Naturally, we’re going to need some fic to sustain us beyond October, and with luck Carry On will boost that a little. (I’m also not too sure if Pegatha is going to be a thing in Carry On, so I need that too.)

3. It shows that genre-hopping is 100% okay. I really have to rack my brain to think of an author who has made such a radical jump as the one from contemporary to fantasy. Rainbow’s said that whilst she reads and watched a lot of fantasy, she’s never written it – it’s a wonderful thing that an established author has the courage to do this!

4. And also that JK Rowling has not patented the ‘magic school’ trope. It’s hard to deny that there are Simon Snow/Harry Potter parallels. They exist. Rainbow ships Drarry. But if you want to take a look at this great post, hopefully you can see that they are different. Rainbow’s said that she just considers it to be straight-up fiction.

5. Plus that authors can do whatever the cheesecake they want with their writing. Carry On is, like, a book from a book within a book. THIS GENRE-SMASHING IS EPIC, GUYS.

6. It’s still a story with it’s roots in the fandom. Whilst Rainbow has said that she’d just like it considered as straight-up fiction, it’s also true that it has some connections with fanfic. After all, that was a big part of Fangirl. Fanfic can sometimes be shunned by people (go read this for why it’s awesome!) and it’s just nice to see a mainstream novel not doing that. Rainbow is a really cool fannish author and….BLEURGH. Simon Snow is a cool fandom to be in.

7. For once, the crazy hopes of the fandom are actually coming true! There was rumour-mongering. There were small hopes. Many people thought it was a little bit doomed. But no! This time, the crazy rumours are actually coming true. Authors, take note. 😉

What, were you doubting my ability to write an entire post on a book not yet published? O YE OF LITTLE FAITH. 😛 Hopefully you are now all sufficiently persuaded to buy and read the wonderful Fangirl, if you haven’t already. And also to pre-order Carry On, because it’s never to early.

Do I spot any fellow Simon Snow fans out there? If so, do feel free to discuss/flail with me. Otherwise: WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? 😉

February Favourites!

Some lovely alliteration in the title there. Maybe to make up for the short month.

february favourites

1. Fanfiction (And yes, in case you’re wondering: that is the AO3 symbol.) It’s ridiculous how much fanfiction I’ve read this month: counting only the longer fics, I’ve read around 650k of words. Hell, I could have read the entire LOTR trilogy in that time. I liked seeing how basically people changed the entire world and kept only certain personality traits, relationships and names (they were basically how books but with those recurring themes?) but I’m trying to cut down a little this month.

2. Big Hero Six I went to see this in the cinema with my friend (I know, I know, it only just came out in the UK) and I actually enjoyed it a lot. I thought it got a bit superheroes v villains like an action movie at the end, but Baymax was the best and I’m glad Disney have finally got some more diversity into their films. It was based off a superhero comic, though, so I guess I can’t be too picky. (That end though!)

3. Book events The Love Hurts book launch was amazing (read more about my adventures here) and I’ve already bought tickets for another two events. (Including Sarah J Maas! *screams*)

4. Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor It had been a pretty long time since I’d read the first book, but I started to get into it around half way through. The writing was beautiful, as ever, though the pacing was maybe a little slow. I’m going to be looking out for more stuff from Laini Taylor.

5. The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black I adore her Curse Workers, but couldn’t really get into the Modern Faerie Tales. This was awesome, though! The love triangle was just superb ❤ ❤ SEVERIN THOUGH ❤

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6. Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini I’m not going to lie, I saw Rowan Whitehorn in my head the entire time I was reading this. But it was still GREAT. Parallel worlds are one of the favourite things. The writing style reminded me a little of Throne of Glass? (Or maybe it was just the font and the Rowan-ness. I’m not too sure.)

Stuff from around the internet:

Bookish things that have happened:

  • You’ve probably all heard it by now, but the publication of Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee was announced. There’s some controversy about it, though – Topaz Winters @ Six Impossible things wrote a post about it if you’re interested.
  • Patrick Ness revealed the cover of his new book, The Rest of Us Live Here
  • Veronica Roth announced her new duology, untitled as of yet. The first book is due out 2017.
  • Sarah J Maas announced her UK ACOTAR tour dates and I BOUGHT TICKETS *screams* *flails* My friends and I will just be the ones quietly fangirling in the back, okay?
  • Rainbow Rowell talked about writing, fanfiction and Carry On in an interview. She also speculated a prom scene. (Do we even have prom in the UK? I actually don’t know, but I want a scene regardless.)

That’s it for this monthly favourites! I’m very excited for March – not only am I attending another book event, but Studio Ghibli’s new film The Tale of Princess Kaguya is released and today it’s World Book Day! (I do have some sad news re Nimona, though, if you read my My Hero Monday Post. Part of the webcomic has now been taken down in preparation for the book release, so you can’t actually read it from start to finish anymore :-(.)

What’s Up With Me and NaNo? part 2

Okay, this isn’t so much of a ‘what’s up with me and NaNo’ as a ‘what’s up with me, NaNo, books, school and pretty much everything in between’. Let the ramble commence!

What’s Up With Me and NaNo
In your absence, I have become a master thief, stealing a variety of different things including:

– a large amount of plot from the roleplay I started like 2 years ago
– and also one and a half characters from said roleplay
– all the best jokes I overhear, because I’m terrible at humour
– the name of my cousin’s friend whom I have never met, but doesn’t sound awfully nice
– my own backstory, slightly changed to become my MC’s backstory

And probably some other things too.

But seriously, guys, I’ve only just remembered how good roleplays are for writing. I was a pretty active RPer around a year and a half or so ago, but not so much anymore. If you join a ‘literate’ RP, you can meet up with some excellent writers, as well as getting the chance to practice character creation and play around, like writing as an utterly evil and selfish character. Hehehehe, that was fun. I was only aiming for 15k, but I’m more than on track since I’ve now got up to the point where I can write up to 500 words in 10 minutes. (Although only in short bursts, sadly.) I’m hoping to continue my novel/novella throughout December and the following months. 🙂

What’s Up With Me and Books
WELL I WENT TO SEE MOCKINGJAY OKAY AND IT WAS SO…SO…intense.

Yeah. I hopped along to the cinema on Friday night with my wonderful friend Anna, mockingjay pin in hand, and basically spent the entire time either a) fangirling or b) clapping my hand to my mouth in horror. Despite its darker nature, I thought it was as good, maybe better, than the other films. (Although the book wasn’t as good as THG or CF, so I had lower expectations.)

I took a visit to the library this afternoon, and came back with around 12 books, including the entire Raven Boys series. (‘Cause, you know, why not?)

Library Books

What’s Up With Me and School
I’m being flooded by homework, and once I’ve finished this up I’ll be going to revise the final draft of my English essay. *sighs* However, I’m participating in my school debate which I am pretty excited for, because the movement my friend and I are arguing is:

This house would make the Cruciatus curse Forgivable.

I thought it was very lucky on my part, because everyone else got the usual things such as ‘This house would ban zoos,’ and ‘This house would only go on holiday in the UK,’ and such. Those ones are still perfectly respectable, but they’re not from Harry Potter.

What’s Up With Me and Everything in Between
1. I keep stumbling across fanfiction for Supernatural, which I haven’t even watched. Can I do that? Anyway, now I kind of want to watch it, despite the *coughs* large episode number.
2. I’ve been sucked into the Snowverse again, and I spent an hour in bed on Thursday night mentally writing my Simon Snow fanfiction.
3. I keep getting the urge to call people ‘honey’. Where is this coming from?
4. I went to see the sixth form production of Anything Goes, and it was excellent, although slightly different in tone to last year (‘Anna Karenina’).

What’s up with you?