Links roundup for 6 June 2012

Here's a roundup of fan identity stories that might be of interest to fans:

  • The Daily Dot featured an interview with Flourish Klink about fangirl culture. "Klink said she thinks the way women tend to interact with media is not broadcasted as widely. 'I think that male fans maybe more frequently create spectacle—original fan films, for instance—but things that require less monetary investment are usually made by women,' she said. She went on to talk about how sites like LiveJournal offer more privacy for posting, a greater concern for women. She also felt the word fangirl needs to move away from its negative connotations. 'I feel like usually when people use the word ‘fangirl’ in a dismissive way, it's usually a really gendered insult—it's about how ladies are inappropriately overemotional, yeah?' she asked. 'So I kind of want to reclaim it. Personally.'"
  • Of course, the word "fans" has not yet escaped negative connotations as this piece in The Brisbane Times makes evident. Focusing on a tattoo contest for Game of Thrones fans, it asks when fandom goes too far, interviewing music and comic store owners and con organizer Daniel Zachariou. "'If you have passions and you have hobbies what on earth is wrong with that?' he asked. 'We are all acting out different roles in daily life, in our work we might put on a persona that is very different to our home persona. If there are cosplayers that already have psychological conditions, well that is a different story.'" Dr Larry Neale, an expert in consumer and sports fanaticism, adds “'Now that these fanatics have pledged their allegiance to Game of Thrones through tattoos, they will be more loyal in terms of watching the show and there is the chance for advertisers to get the spill on effects of that...as these fans remain loyal to HBO.'"
  • As part of a fandom issue Parabasis contributor Anne Moore writes about "fandom, queerness, shame and the fan-creator relationship." Examining the feelings involved in performing fandom, she writes "Although writers and fans both express a great deal of affection for one another, that affection is always counterbalanced by hostility and resentment. Unsurprisingly, then, figures of fandom are rarely presented as characters with whom a reader might identify...It’s this dynamic of identification and disavowal that creates perhaps the greatest parallel between fans and queers—for every fan, there’s some final limit at which things transition from 'cool' to 'pathetic': trading cards, costumes, live-action-role-playing. Like the crush on a straight friend that marks so many people’s initial knowledge of their own queer leanings, the fan’s imaginary relationship with the star, text, or author is structurally impossible to fulfill, and humiliating when it’s exposed."
  • Media scholar Henry Jenkins hosted a multipart look at otaku culture "that is, the culture of a technologically literate segment of the population which is characterized by their impassioned engagement, skilled reworking, and intellectual mastery over elements borrowed from many aspects of popular culture, including not only anime and manga, but also games, popular music, digital culture, even history or trains. So far, relatively little of this work has been translated into English, which means that Fan Studies as practiced in the United States and Otaku Studies as it has developed in Japan have largely been autonomous fields. In practice, they have much to learn from each other, including forcing scholars to be more attentive to the cultural specificity of various fan practices, identities, aesthetics, and ideologies."

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