[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 11:37 am (UTC)
jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (Default)
From: [personal profile] jlh
This is so interesting because I think that in particular, the expectations and assumptions of Metafandom and Fandom_Secrets are so different as to be almost divergent, because they originate in such different places, and while Metafandom frequently makes me feel that I am not "really" in fandom, Fandom_Secrets tends to reassure me that I definitely am.

In fact, I had a long conversation on F_S with someone who was surprised that shows that are nothing like the ones you have listed have at least moderately sized and very active fandoms. I'm thinking not only of shonen manga like Gundam Wing, but also of shojo manga like Ouran High School Host Club and Fruits Basket, female-targeted tv shows like Gossip Girl and Grey's Anatomy, and especially sitcoms like How I Met Your Mother and The Office, not to mention all the rpf written for American Idol. There's definitely an overlap between all of that and the core of SF/F fandom, partially thanks to HP, but many of those anime fans will not have a working familiarity with most of the shows you mention.

I find it interesting that in LJ multi-fannishness and the idea of being fannish as an action that so many are taking fannish activities and applying them to very mainstream canons as well as acknowledging that fandom has many mothers: not only classic SF/F fandom, but also rockfic fandom (whose roots are nearly as old, and entirely separate; see the bandom/rockfic debates) and anime fandom (which tends to be much younger, and often its fans are often not involved in SF/F to any real extent). Never mind comic book fandom, which of course has lots of ties to SF-F fandom but whose canons you have not mentioned. I'm not saying these fandoms are separate, and in fact, I don't even have to argue for their inclusion, as a cursory glance at Fandom_Secrets will show you that they are already a large part of fandom, as would a check at the fandoms that get posted regularly on Femslash Today). I would argue, rather, that the idea that SF/F fandom, in whatever medium, is the One True Fandom (see, arguments that HP was a feral fandom, or that there cannot, by definition, be a Gossip Girl fandom) is being eclipsed by the behavior of fans.

Therefore, I would say that I do not expect people in fandom to have a familiarity with the texts you bring up—I certainly wouldn't be that popular in Idol fandom if I did! And what's interesting about that is how much the conversation about fandom changes when you step outside of SF/F and into other genres. In particular, the whole "female characters we like" conversation becomes very, very different (see sistermagpie's recent post on the same) or the aforementioned Femslash Today listing that includes Guiding Light and Gossip Girl and GG rpf and 30 Rock and Grey's Anatomy. Race becomes different, too, when you're talking about anime (which has its own, but very different, problems) or sitcoms (which are incredibly segregated) or reality tv.

It's technically multi-fandom spaces like Metafandom that actually are not pan-fandom as much as they are multi-fannish about SF-F fandoms and then those tangential fandoms that female fans of SF-F tend to like, which then get retrofitted into being the same "kind" of show, in order to fit the model. It's the drive to fit the behavior of fans into some sort of small model, instead of its insanely large, sprawling reality, that leads so many into being frustrated with Metafandom and ultimately denigrating it. It's unfortunate because I think Metafandom can be a great resource, but as I have experienced it, it is somewhat blind to its own boundaries and prejudices.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-06-07 04:28 pm (UTC)
dachelle: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dachelle
I've long thought of [community profile] metafandom as less conversations about fandom, and more conversations about fandoms the people compiling the links happen to be involved in. I write in a RPS fandom about an indie band that I would not classify as being part of either bandom or rockfic, and I wold say that I'm probably the only person in my fandom who even knows what Metafandom is. I only know it exists because I have people on my LJ flist from back when I was in Buffy fandom who subscribe and have talked about it, although I was in a different end of Buffy fandom than the fic fandom. I agree that conversations in other fandoms can be very different. For instance, conversations about writing female characters are not the same in a fandom about a television show with female characters as in my RPS fandom about a band consisting of all men where the only female characters would be their girlfriends and family members. The more I read Metafandom, the more I realize that although I write fanfic, I probably don't identify as a fanficcer (I write and have only ever written fic for one fandom, and have no interest in ever writing fic for anything else), and although I'm in a fandom, I'm not sure I'm a part of fandom as a whole. I do find the larger social conversations that come up on [community profile] metafandom to be interesting, necessary, and often educational, but the ways in which Metafandom discussions claim to intersect with fandom as a whole don't always apply to my fandom, or to my experience of it.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-06-07 04:51 pm (UTC)
dachelle: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dachelle
Just an addendum - I was thinking about my comment about what gets on Metafandom and realizing that people would probably say, well, if your fandom isn't represented, then link to discussions going on in your fandom. And part of what I'm getting at is that there aren't discussions going on in my fandom. The whole concept of doing meta about fandom itself is, I think, probably much more characteristic of SF/F fandom and its offshoots. That isn't to say that the people in my fandom aren't thinkers. Some of the brightest, most interesting and politically and socially aware people I've ever met have been through Libertines fandom, and we do have discussions, but those discussions are about the boys and the music and not generally about our fandom and the way we express it.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-06-07 09:03 pm (UTC)
jlh: chibi of ryan and simon hugging (Ryan and Simon Chibi)
From: [personal profile] jlh
I think most of the meta in rpf really does come from, as you say, the conversation about treatment of wives/girlfriends and whether you should even write about them if they're not famous. And as you mention in your addendum, there really isn't a lot of meta. It's just not a particularly self-examining beast.

I would encourage you not to take the definition of fanficcer, or slasher, or any of that from the conversations on Metafandom. By their lights I wouldn't be, either, or certainly my Idol rpf wouldn't be, and you know, I am writing fanfic about boys kissing. That's fanfic. That's slash. So, seriously, whatever.

I think that more people are beginning to realize and understand that [community profile] metafandom does not apply to all fandom everywhere, which is fantastic. It's very distancing to be told that you're not doing a thing you thought you were doing, because you aren't doing it in the way that someone is telling you that you "should."

Does the Libertines stuff have more ties with, gosh, all that Mighty Boosh rpf stuff people write, or is that a non-connection I made up in my head? I can see where there aren't ties especially to that real tight cluster of bandom but I think rockfic is bigger than just all that classic rock stuff. I would hope it is, anyway. It seems like Idolfic shades off into something closer to rockfic than to reality-tv fic, particularly in its penchant for AUs and its discussions of what to do with the husbands/wives/girlfriends/boyfriends.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-06-07 09:31 pm (UTC)
dachelle: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dachelle
I would imagine there's probably some crossover between indie band RPS and Boosh RPS, because those people do hang out in the same circles (Anthony Rossomando, who filled in for Peter Doherty on the Libs' last tour and who was later in Carl Barat's post-Libertines band Dirty Pretty Things was actually in the first episode of the third season of The Mighty Boosh as Pete Neon), and I think most Libs fans are fans of the Boosh. Noel Fielding is actually an upcoming guest character in one of my fics. I think early on there was a lot of crossover with the Franz Ferdinand fandom if you're familiar with that, and in fact [profile] albion_fic was originally founded to include all indie bands, not just The Libertines.

I guess if I was making a fannish assumptions list for Libs fans, I would assume things like a general knowledge of Britpop, the Boosh, Nevermind the Buzzcocks...those things would be our shared fannish heritage. There are people who used to write Libertines fic who now write bandom, but I think that bandom overall has more in common with the larger media fic fandoms than Libertines fandom itself does. I was just talking a bit on my flist about differences brought up by a conversation with a friend who writes both, and Libs fic tends to be much more independent and less collaborative. Long, drawn-out WIPs are common, AUs are common, we're very OTP Peter/Carl, and things like fic fests/challenges/prompts just don't happen in our fandom. It's smallish and people go off and write their stories - in some cases for years, like me - and they post chapters as they're ready and people discuss them in the comments and that's it as far as the fic part of fandom goes. It's quite cozy and relaxed.

Funnily enough, I don't know that we've even ever had a discussion of what to do with the girls. There are a few fics that have involved Kate Moss or Lisa Moorish (Peter's son's mother) or Carl's ex-girlfriend, but as a community it's so focused on the Peter/Carl relationship that generally they don't much enter the picture, and no one's seemed bothered one way or the other. I have used them in some of my AUs, including two of the ones I'm writing right now.

Anyway, I've gone way off the original topic and into a more specific discussion of my fandom, but you did twig a bit as to why, although I've found Metafandom interesting, it's also always kind of bothered me. I don't really expect it to be all inclusive, particularly of fandoms where meta really isn't going on, but I hope people do realize that just because some fandoms aren't making a lot of noise, they do still exist.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-06-07 09:38 pm (UTC)
dachelle: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dachelle
One more note re: Libs fandom - I posited that a lot of Libs ficcers are music fans who happened to discover slash fiction, rather than slash fiction fans who happened to discover a band. It's not a perfect theory, but I think it is true for a lot of us and people who wrote/write fic about indie bands in general.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-06-09 11:46 pm (UTC)
dachelle: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dachelle
Hey, our fandom even made it into the Guardian! I got into Libs fandom just after that article was written - my first fic was written in September 2006. I think it's sort of funny that indie RPS fandom seems to have been forgotten about or viewed as "dead," because for a while I think it was the big music RPS fandom on LiveJournal. And now I wonder if part of the reason for that is that the people writing in it largely didn't fit the model of the Metafandom fan, and then when bandom came along it brought in a lot of Metafandom types.

Hee, I can't imagine in what situation you'd need to impersonate a Libs fan, although I think I'm on record at immigration in the U.K. as being a Pete Doherty fan, which may create its own set of issues when I fly there on Thursday. The band as such doesn't exist anymore (please visit Wikipedia for a condensed version of the sordid soap opera tale), although Peter and Carl and Gary played together recently and they've hinted at a reunion next year. Well, Carl's hinted. Peter's said flat-out that it's happening. Should it happen, I will be on the first plane over (Peter's not allowed in the U.S., sadly, so I must travel to see him, which I've done twice now).

After I commented here I was trying to think of what sort of things we all have in common in our fandom, and it's hard! Libs fans are a very diverse bunch. I mean, I came out of Buffy fandom, and my beta is a big Buffy fan, but I have another friend in the fandom who'd never seen the show. It is a fandom heavily populated by people from the U.K., so points of reference do tend to be U.K.-centric. I also find that for many of the older participants in the fandom it's their first fandom or at least the first in which they've been actively engaged in producing and reading fic, while the younger ones are more likely to have at least read fic for some fandom before. A brief survey on my journal reveals previous involvement in Harry Potter, X-Files, and bandom, and I also have a lot of friends in the fandom who I would say were heavily involved in band fandoms (Manic Street Preachers is a common one), including participating in online forums/messageboards, but not in any sort of fic fandoms for those bands. Also, I would say the older fandom members are more likely to be involved in writing in other ways. In fact, a group of Libs slash ladies is involved with putting together an online literary magazine, which I'm sure they won't mind me pimping here. It's really good. http://vagabondagepress.com/

Oh, and we're pretty much all lefty-liberal types. If anyone went to the Love Music Hate Racism Carnival in London last year, chances are you gave a donation to a volunteer who's involved in Libs fandom.

(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.


(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

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:


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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