[personal profile] dysprositos
The conversation over in [personal profile] oliviacirce's posts about the differences between the Scary Ponies Oh No (commonly referred to as "book fandom", "SF fandom", "con-going fandom", and "those fanboys over there") and the Pretty Princess Monsters Blargh (a.k.a. "media fandom", "LJ fandom", "us fangirls", and "LJ-centered Western media fandom which reads Metafandom") is spawning all sorts of interesting discussion.

There have been all sorts of distinctions made, among them:

  • Demographics: mostly white men versus women with a more-proportional white:nonwhite ratio;

  • Fanacs: LARPing, collecting, trivia, filk versus fanfic, meta, fanart, fanvids

  • Primary location: conventions versus Internet

  • Thinking style: linear versus hypertext

  • Relationship with the PTB: worshipful with a side of "I'll be one someday" leading to a tendency to side with them, friendly, officially-sanctioned versus neutral or adversarial, resistive to attempts at commercialization, and little interest in becoming a PTB

  • Attitude towards fanacs: commercially viable and potentially career-launching versus fun and non-commercial amateur hobby

  • Attitude towards canon: love or hate, but don't criticize, only fixable by fanwank, only one canon versus love and hate, criticize even your favorite shows if they deserve to be, fixable by fanfic, multiple canons

(Note that this is about the overall culture, not individuals by any means. There's far too much overlap for this to be at all a useful metric on the individual level.)

These differences lead to larger differences like the Scary Ponies Oh No dismissing activities, like fanfiction, associated with the Pretty Princess Monsters Blargh, often either because it's not being used as a launching point for a career (because the path from consumer to creator is so much a part of Scary Ponies Oh No expectations, if you stop midway, you're not an amateur, you're a failure); because it's perceived as trying to "fix" or, worse, redo canon and is thus an insult to the PTB; because it's a girl thing; or some combination of the preceding.

(Or, just thought of this, the tendency of Scary Ponies Oh No to bring their "squee, not critique" attitude to bear on themselves, so there are a lot of celebrations of fannishness but not so much introspection of what it means to be a Scary Pony Oh No or what needs to be improved or fixed. There tends to be a lot of "what do we do about the graying of fandom" hand-wringing, but also a marked resistance to any kind of change within fandom, without which young people are less likely to be interested. [Have you seen the SFWA website?] And not many discussions of things like sexism, homophobia, racism, and so on within fandom--whenever people do try to bring it up, the reaction of "we're not like that!" or "if we are, it doesn't matter!" or "we are like that and it matters, but there's nothing we can do about it but wait for the Old Guard to die off" is strong. Whereas one of the defining features of the Pretty Princess Monsters Blargh is a tendency toward introspection and self-critique; that's what Metafandom is for, after all: discussions of fandom, like this one.)

One of the points I made was

I think it is also worth noting that (it seems to me that, standard disclaimers apply) Scary Ponies Oh No expect a greater degree of homogeneity of interests outside the obviously fannish. I.e.: cats, computers, chocolate, RenFaire and/or D&D (or GURPS or whatever), a passing familiarity at least with Morris dancing, anti-Microsoft, &c. I'm not really sure what the equivalents for Pretty Princess Monsters Blargh would be; it's my perception that we're (much?) more likely to be liberal or leftist in some way, while Scary Ponies Oh No have a higher degree of libertarianism, and certainly if nothing else Pretty Princess Monsters Blargh fandom as a whole seems to expect anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-homophobic, &c. sentiment.


to which [personal profile] aamcnamara replied

I think that the Pretty Princess Monsters Blargh also (to a certain degree) are anti-Microsoft--there are definitely expectations, just different ones. Like you, though, I am not certain exactly what those are.


So, lest this question get lost in the larger discussion: what expectations do we (Western media fandom as found on LJ and other journaling services, and united with such communities as Metafandom, Fandom_Wank, Fandom_Secrets, and so on) have of each other that are not related to fandom but that are not expectations we would have for humanity at large?

I'll start, adding to my comment above: I think that we have a tendency to expect each other to have some familiarity (even if only in passing, through reading each other's meta and reaction posts and out-of-fandom fic) with particular source texts that have or had large fandoms, e.g., Xena: Warrior Princess, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel: the Series, Firefly, the Sentinel, the Man From UNCLE, Stargate: Atlantis and Stargate: SG-1, Harry Potter, Doctor Who and Torchwood, Sarah Connor Chronicles, Star Trek, Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, and more recently Merlin, Supernatural, and Dollhouse. Not necessarily be fannish about, not necessarily have seen the canon for, but at least have heard of it and maybe have some knowledge of what it's about, main character names, &c.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-06-07 08:25 pm (UTC)
jlh: chibi of ryan and simon hugging (Ryan and Simon Chibi)
From: [personal profile] jlh
Yes, I think what I was reacting to was the inclusion of Fandom_Secrets as the same kind of multifandom space that Metafandom is, when it really isn't, and I think the biggest reason it isn't is because Fandom_secrets came out of anime fandom. Fandom_Wank, in my experience which admittedly is only moderate, is based in the same spaces as Metafandom, that is, it may cover wanks all over the place, but the people who are frequenting it are mostly the SF-F types. So for values of "multifandom" that are Metafandom, I completely agree with you, and think you have a pretty good list going there.

And I agree with the value of working out your small space model and then moving forward. As [personal profile] dachelle says, non-SF-F fandom just doesn't spend as much time thinking and talking about what it's doing. Part of that might be that anime and rockfic people tend to be younger, but that's an initial assumption. But there is self-awareness around certain tropes in those fandoms, like whether or not non-famous people in famous people's lives are okay to write about, that sort of thing. And I have been noticing more and more rpf meta on Metafandom.

Rockfic is music rpf. When certain "mediafandom" slashers got interested in the Fall Out Boy cluster of bands there was discussion that because they were the ones writing the rpf it was different than all other musician rpf, and should be called something different, mostly bandom. The old school rockfic chicks, the ones who've been writing Who and Beatles and Stones slash since the 70s, were like, "um?" And the mediafandom slashers seemed strangely surprised that there was slash in the world that didn't have its roots in K/S, but did operate through the same technologies of zines and usenet and websites and all that.

hopefully defining the boundaries and borders and common expectations and culture of our (relatively small) corner of fandom will help with recognizing that, no, this experience is not the default, these assumptions don't hold outside this area, you can't fit the "insanely large, sprawling reality" of fandom as a whole into the "small model" that you (and by "you" I mean "I") build to understand interactions here.

I am really digging that you said that! I admit, I've been sort of roughed up in the past by those assumptions—and I don't think you were making them here, at all. Hopefully one of the things that can happen because of enormously multifandom spaces like F_S is that the awareness can continue to be raised about the ways in which other spaces in fandom operate and that yes, they are absolutely still fandom. I think that was begun with the conversations surrounding the whole rockfic terminology business, continued with HP and Avatar fandom's ongoing overlaps with anime fandom, and now I think is being furthered by folks being fannish about shows like sitcoms and soaps. It's exciting that Femslash Today reaches out to those spaces, and that Yuletide represents them as well.

I'm also loving your tl;dr. Too often it isn't just, get irritated when other people aren't behaving properly, but rather, define them out of the model, whether the model is "slashers" or "fandom" or whathaveyou. When you have cold data, you can dismiss an outlyer; when you're talking about real people who are inhabiting the same spaces as you, you kinda can't.

Oh, and to further your Idol RPS knowledge: this icon is a chibi my pal [personal profile] ali_wildgoose made of Ryan Seacrest and Simon Cowell. I write Ryan/Simon, when I'm not writing HP, and Rymon is sort of the perennial "old faithful" ship of the fandom, and I ♥ them.

Thanks!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-06-09 08:06 pm (UTC)
jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (Clio Chibi)
From: [personal profile] jlh
BRIAN EPSTEIN DISAPPROVES.

That needs to be an icon, like, yesterday.

Another thing I'd add, because I always need to remind myself of it, is "your friendlist/readinglist is not a random sampling, and therefore not representative of any larger group." I need to put that on a pillow in my office, seriously.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-06-18 02:55 pm (UTC)
jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (Clio Chibi)
From: [personal profile] jlh
I like the flashing text! I also found this picture:

http://smages.com/i/10/40/1040172bd2076454607771f9ec0f7d18.jpg

which might be more disapproving. Though I love his grimace in the one you found!


Also, gosh, that was you in nellorat's highly problematic post, wasn't it? Thanks for going in and trying to point out where she was being problematic. I looked at it and was like, "oh dear, I have not the energy," I admit.

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