[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: 2009-06-08 05:38 pm (UTC)
nike: Hole in the wall, hole in the next turret over, hole in the mountain behind that... (GG Holes)
From: [personal profile] nike
I think you're on to something. I mean, just look at this post and it's responses. How many groups are willing to have an intelligent conversation while simultaneously referring to themselves as the Pretty Princess Monsters Blargh and the other group as the Scary Ponies Oh No?

(I missed where we did the naming, but I suspect it was a very fun conversation.)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-06-08 11:43 pm (UTC)
vehemently: (Default)
From: [personal profile] vehemently
It was in [personal profile] oliviacirce's comments (like, the second one, in fact), and actually I would call THAT a fairly big element of Princess culture: we develop and adopt new vocab very quickly, mostly by usage in context. It was hilarious to watch, all the people who came after that comment immediately picking up the arbitrary names and using them in all seriousness, because, what the hell, they worked in the situation.

signed,
fannish drift can give you whiplash

via metafandom

Date: 2009-06-09 07:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] countess-baltar.livejournal.com
I've been taught to use the terms the "discourse community" is using. It's easier for this Scary Pony Oh No than trying to start from scratch.

As for the basic assumptions, I would guess generally Scary Ponies Oh No are fans of their preferred "text" first and socialization in fandom comes afterward in contrast to Pretty Princess Monsters Blargh who are attracted to the social organization of fandom first and then choose their preferred fannish "text".

Re: via metafandom

Date: 2009-06-10 08:53 am (UTC)
bibliofile: Fan & papers in a stack (from my own photo) (Default)
From: [personal profile] bibliofile
Or would you say, instead, that the PPMB tend to put the community first and the text second? Because I'm thinking that the SPON may put the text (with "text" to include fannish culture/history) ahead of the community itself: Knowledge of the text is key to being a part of the community. PPMB see the community itself as primary.

Hmmm. [goes off to think some more & post in own journal]

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