Gender and Sexuality

  • OTW Fannews: Fandom spinoffs

    By Claudia Rebaza on Domenica, 11 August 2013 - 6:28pm
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    Handcuffs, ribbon, and a key by caitie~

    • Emma Di Bernardo wrote a post for the online zine Wom*news asking Twilight Fanfiction: Can It Turn Sexism Into Feminism? "The most popular, successful and fastest growing genre in Twilight fanfiction is Alternate Universe, or AU. These fics take away what many presume to be the most enticing elements of the Twilight series...That Bella loves Edward unconditionally and forgives him for any mistakes or sexist, misogynistic, or manipulative behaviour and...Bella is super submissive and basically the character equivalent of a doormat with no personality...Fans are given the chance to rewrite parts that they didn’t like about the books, or take the essential physical traits of the characters and use the already established familial and romantic relationships to shoulder an original plot."
    • Posting at The Writer's Block blog, Lyda Morehouse also cites fixing canon as one of her three reasons for writing fanfic. "Fandom used to be a word that encompassed the entire community of fans, no matter what their individual fandoms...I find it’s a whole different kind of writing than what most professional writers are used to because there is a serious amount of instant gratification...It’s not like sending a book off to a publisher and never hearing boo from your readers. I get feedback chapter by chapter for my fics, and sometimes a dialogue happens between the reader and the writer—someone will say, 'Oooh, I wonder if x will happen?' and the author writes back and says, 'I never thought of that! I might use that!” and suddenly a community is writing a story.'"
    • Speaking of Twilight fanfic and fandom communities, Examiner.com wrote about the continued interaction between author and fandom. "Fifty Shades of Grey fans got a heartfelt thank you from E L James on July 7. The author made an impromptu call into Seattle WAVE radio which was devoting 3 hours of airtime to the 'greysessed' fan community. Planning to discuss fan fiction, fan art and all things 'Fifty Shades,' host Lori Ness was excited when E L James called to give a 'huge thank you' to all her loyal fans. James went on to tell prospective writers to 'write for yourself.'"

    What fanwork spinoffs have you seen in your fandoms? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Jumping to conclusions

    By Claudia Rebaza on Mercoledì, 7 August 2013 - 4:14pm
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    Tardis in space with three actor photos

    • Longtime fans are fairly familiar with the variety of judgments they're subject to for their hobbies, but these don't only come from outside their fandoms. A recent post on Hypable discussed congoing and how it seems a step too far for some. "All this time, I thought the people who went to Harry Potter conventions were weirdos or nerds who didn’t have much else to occupy themselves with. After the trip to the TVD Con in Chicago though, I’m almost in mourning that I missed out on all the early HP conventions. I’ve learned that at these events, you can be a giant nerd if you want to...I’m jealous that I missed the opportunity to go to some of the first conventions, or that I didn’t go to the midnight book release parties, even if I would have been the oldest person there."
    • Unleash the Fanboy hosted a post criticizing anger at casting choices. "Predictably, even the hint of casting against type has lead to the repetition of a depressingly familiar conversation, the conversation that happens any time there is a chance of changing a character’s race or gender or sexual orientation or whatever...The more I hear people make this criticism, the more difficult it becomes for me to pretend as if there is anything to it besides an open sewer of raw bigotry." This is because the "characters we love are not solid objects: they are constellations of ideas."
    • Of course sometimes assumptions do come from outside fandoms. The UK's Daily Mail discussed another study on gamer demographics which came to the unsurprising conclusion that women spend as much time on games as men, and that gamers are generally older, married, have children, and are socially engaged with others when they game. "A spokesman for Pixwoo.com added: 'This snapshot into the lives of ordinary gamers disputes many myths about the pastime, showing how integrated gaming is into our daily routine.'"
    • Writing for Den of Geek Laura Akers examines an episode of Castle to highlight the media's changing approach to geeky pastimes. "Ironically, it is the actors, those who have traditionally profited from but sometimes cruelly patronized geek fans, who are portrayed [in the episode] as dysfunctional (and morally ugly)." She concludes that the Castle writers recognize that "geeks are no longer a marginal group who can be used and then mocked or dismissed. While Fillion is a bonafide geek, he and those like him are simply smart. They recognize that we are now legion—there are enough of us to build a substantial career on."

    What points of dispute have you come across in fandom? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Cultural objects

    By Cynthia on Domenica, 23 June 2013 - 6:32pm
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    • The Barnard Center for Research on Women's blog proposed feminist remixes as the next step to combating negative media representations. "Through our studies, work, and activism, many of us have learned to be critical of these images, to deconstruct them in order to understand the assumptions and messages behind them." Remixes can then create something new out of the deconstructed work. Emeritus OTW Board member Francesca Coppa teamed with Elisa Kreisenger to present at this year’s Utopia conference. "Kreisinger encouraged Utopia attendees to try their own hand at remixing as a way to take back their identities from corporate commoditization and depict women in ways that do not revolve around heteronormative relationships and procreation. Her mantra and advice to fellow feminists: 'Don’t blame the media, become the media.'"
    • The U.S. Department of Defense site Armed With Science wrote about how fandom objects are also historical markers. "From the swirls and statues of the ancient world, to the banners of the mid-evil armies, to the crests of colleges and sports teams, to iconic superhero emblems, to even the branding of large companies, humanity is filled with identifiable signs that mark the trail through our history." Discussing the impact of Star Trek in culture, the post cites how its creations "are often seen as agents of scientific and social change."
    • While some fandoms like Bronies don't lack for people willing to step forward and declare their allegiance, many in furry fandom reacted poorly to media presence at Furlandia. "Attendees started to wonder what was going on when production teams and cameras began to show up. It didn’t take long for someone to announce that MTV had arrived. According to the PR director, an announcement had been made at opening ceremonies; no written notification had been given." In comments to the post, one reader pointed out "From a television producer's point of view, furries really are a nightmare scenario" because "you have a producer who's expected to get exciting footage trying to get said exciting footage from a group of hard-to-find, reluctant, camera-shy people who may only agree under very specific and limiting conditions (which almost ensure that nothing crazy will happen), all the while letting you know that they will be scrutinizing your every movement and most likely hate anything you say about them." The poster concluded that "if a good documentary about furries is going to come from somewhere, it's going to come from within the fandom, and it's probably going to be targeted toward furries (it just won't have the appeal or the resources to make it to the mass public)."

    What fandom objects do you think will have an impact on general culture? Write about it in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Separate by intention?

    By Claudia Rebaza on Martedì, 14 May 2013 - 4:55pm
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    • Given media representations apparently a lot of people continue to think that female fandom projects are rare, although this may have to do with how gender segregated fandom projects often are. In a feature on the "Hello Sweetie" podcast, its founder discusses why it came into being. "She and others were listening...to 'Geek Show Podcast,' the popular online show started by X96’s 'Radio From Hell' host Kerry Jackson, local movie critics Jeff Vice and Jimmy Martin, and Tribune TV critic Scott D. Pierce. "'They never have any female panelists, rarely had female guests, and a lot of people were complaining about that,'"...On one episode of 'Geek Show Podcast,' one of the hosts said, 'If you [women] want to have a podcast, you should start one.'"
    • One reason for the separation may have to do with how female characters in fandoms are frequently depicted. One of the latest fans to address that issue uses cosplaying girls to create artwork depicting superheroes as they might really be. "It's not only combatting the myth that girls don't read or care about comics, but it’s showing that girls, too, can play the male superheroes that so often overshadow their female counterparts. And it's also proving just how easy it is to upend the sexist conventions that keep the women of comics in scantily clad, unrealistic uniforms for the purpose of sexually objectifying them."
    • The site Machinima.com pitches itself as equivalent with the fanwork in the tagline "a programming movement that captures the hard-to-reach 18 to 34-year-old male demographic." They have decided to try crowdsourcing video production on its Happy Hour Tales series. “Fans are invited to submit ideas for what happens in the second part of Trial of the Songbird…I wonder if there’s some branded intentions here; after all, inviting viewers to write about a brand new video game is a good way to get them to play that game. Happy Hour Tales is the overarching name of the series, which suggests that we will get crowdsourced stories set in other video game worlds before long.” Since fans have little need for an invitation to create new fannish content, the plan seems more in line with further commercializing fannish creativity rather than encouraging its independent development.
    • Another fannish site that's looking for fannish contributions has a long history of female participation, though Aja Romano wonders if the creative team is taking that into account. For one thing the fandom already has major fandom wiki projects, although they don't "emphasize fan creations and fanworks the way that Roddenberry's Trek Initiative does." But "it seems odd that Roddenberry has gone the traditional route of archives, wikis, and fan forums, rather than the more web 2.0 route emphasizing social media, media sharing, and interactive media. It's possible he hasn't registered just how big Star Trek is on Tumblr, where the new reboot reigns supreme among millions of fans, mostly women."

    Do the fandom sites you visit seem to target one gender over another? Write about it in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Fandom ignited

    By Claudia Rebaza on Sabato, 13 April 2013 - 6:06pm
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    • The Japan Times talked about the anime industry catching up to the online revolution. "Today the despised former pirates at Crunchyroll.com — a now-legal multilingual Web portal for non-Japanese anime fans — are leading an industry revolution in content delivery and distribution, and Japanese producers are following their lead. Heavyweight veterans such as Toei, Bandai, Sunrise and others are scrambling to preview and offer their titles internationally via streaming sites like YouTube, Hulu, Niconico and Netflix. A new producer-collaborative streaming anime site, Daisuki, sponsored in part by one of the world’s largest advertising agencies, Dentsu, goes live in April. And a Japan-based site for videos about Japanese pop culture called Waoryu debuted last month."
    • Stephanie Mlot claimed in PC Magazine that 2013 Is the Best Time To Be a Fangirl. Discussing the record breaking fundraising success for a Veronica Mars movie, Mlot discussed statistics. "This month's SXSW boasted 31 Kickstarter-backed movies, and Kickstarter co-founder Yancey Strickler said this week that 10 percent of the films that debuted at Sundance raised money on the site...The letter-writing campaigns of yore have given way to Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, and Kickstarter movements, taking 'power to the people' to a more sophisticated, and often more effective level. Still, it's unlikely that crowd-funded entertainment will become the new normal. Hollywood can't, and won't, subside on scraps from even the wealthiest of adoring fans," in part because the costs for the typical film or television series are so high.
    • Her Universe, a creator of fannish women's apparel, has begun a Year of the Fangirl promotion, featuring women telling their fannish stories after being nominated by other fans. One of them, Tricia Barr, advised fans to find their voices. "I always believed women would come into our own in fandom. Powered by a surge of female fans coming to the fore, a female-led action movie ruled at the box office and the range of stories with strong female characters is becoming almost limitless in books, comics, movies, and television. Doors are opening for women specifically because they are fangirls...Voice your opinions, hopes, or desires about the stories that you feel passionate about. Respect that every other fan – including the ones creating those stories – brings their own unique perspective."

    If you have your own fannish history to share, write about it on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Fandom in the world

    By Claudia Rebaza on Martedì, 5 March 2013 - 10:06pm
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    • Media studies professor Henry Jenkins posted a three part discussion of Chinese fan culture at his blog. He interviews Xiqing Zheng, a PhD candidate studying the topic, asking such questions as: "You suggest that Chinese fans often see themselves as belonging to an elite group. In some other parts of the world, fans are considered anything but because of the low cultural status of the materials they embrace. In what ways have Chinese Otaku sought to legitimate their interests and activities through appeals to elite cultural status?"
    • NPR suggested that Netflix will change TV viewing because releasing a full season all at once will change "[t]he way we talk about what we watch, the way we share, the way reviewers critique shows, and even the ad model -- everything will have to change." The discussion focused largely on the commercial interests of ad sellers and critics. Left out of the discussion is how many fans around the world have binge watched seasons since the days of sharing shows through videotape, often cross-nationally when shows were not available in their viewing areas, and how this helped create wider communities around the shows.
    • Writing at AfterEllen, Dana Piccoli discussed femslash ships in European shows. "One thing I’ve learned during my travels as a gay lady is that if there is lesbian content somewhere, lesbians will find it. If there were a show with a lesbian character being broadcast solely from the North Pole, there would be an Olivia cruise ship full of lesbians on its way there right now."
    • AlJazeera's show The Stream aired an episode asking "Can online fandom make the world a better place?" Former board member Francesca Coppa was among the guests who discussed fan activism and online mobilization. Although no transcript is available, the episode has a Storify page.

    What stories can you tell about fandom around the world? Post them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Keeping up with the times

    By Claudia Rebaza on Domenica, 3 March 2013 - 7:44pm
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    • The experience of BioWare and EA, developer and publisher of multiplayer online role-playing game Star Wars: The Old Republic suggests that addressing problems of representation should probably not be done after the fact. While many were happy to hear the company would be introducing same-sex romance options to the game, the announcement received both the usual homophobic backlash as well as disappointment from same-sex romance supporters of how slowly and how poorly the gamers were accommodated. "These characters will only be available via Rise of the Hutt Cartel, an expansion pack to be released in Spring 2012 [sic], meaning that players will have to pay to be gay in the game. SGR will also only be limited to Makeb, a planet that has been dubbed as a "gay ghetto" by multiple media outlets."
    • The Daily Dot also wrote about two fans' live-action remake of Toy Story and included Pixar employee tweets stating "Remember when being a big fan of a movie only meant you could quote all the dialogue?"
    • Deirdre Macken of The Australian would likely prefer those fans of old. Lamenting "the extinction of literature's audience", she wrote "Instead of readers, a writer today will have fans who pay homage to the author by plagiarising their style in fan fiction. Instead of readers, a writer will have followers, for whom a retweet is as good as a read, user reviews (especially if mum knows her way around Amazon), festival audiences, theatre audiences and even corporate audiences, but few solitary sessions with a reader. The writer is downloaded into the library of good intentions but never read." She also later adds "LOL, imagine linking SMS to literature" apparently unaware that writers have indeed published novels through tweets and texts since at least 2007.
    • Macken doesn't seem to be the only one failing to keep up with cultural developments. Scott Sterling at Digital Trends thinks much the same of the TBS show King of the Nerds. "We all knew someone like the contestants described above, but somewhere along the line, we became them. Comic-book movies dominate theaters and fan-fic tops best-seller lists. Coding is widely practiced. Almost every person uses a computer on a daily basis, and half of us carry one in our pocket. The fact that mainstream culture has adopted nerds and their activities as their own is no revelation. The point is not that nerds are cool, as any commentary of The Big Bang Theory seems to end with, but rather that King of the Nerds makes it painfully obvious that we’re all nerds, at least in the traditional sense of the word that anyone of a certain generation grew up with."

    What fandom changes have you seen during your time in it? Write about your experiences in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Do it yourself edition

    By Claudia Rebaza on Domenica, 24 February 2013 - 7:26pm
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    • TechDirt discussed the new site DMCAInjury.com, which was set up to keep track of bogus DMCA takedown requests. Those who file such claims could face punishment for those actions under section 512(f) of the DMCAbut so far it's happened rarely and with difficulty. Keeping track of accidental or malicious takedown requests might spur more cases against those filing them, or "at the very least, perhaps it will create a useful dataset to explore the nature and frequency of bogus DMCA takedowns."
    • The Daily Dot discussed the controversy over racist, homophobic, and sexist commentary found at GitHub, an open source code-sharing site used by many projects (including the AO3). "GitHub is a platform geeks and techies love because it not only lets you manage projects but allows you to share your code and your projects with the outside world." However, the sharing mentality doesn't mean all users are welcome. "GitHub sits in the center of an Open Source community that has been dealing with heated ongoing controversy over its lack of diversity. In November, BritRuby, a Manchester conference of Ruby on Rails coders, was canceled after outrage broke out online at its all-male lineup of panelists."
    • A post at TeleRead offered fans tips on formatting downloaded fanfic from Fanfiction.net and the AO3, noting that MOBI downloads from AO3 can create wide margins and non-functional tables of content. Flavorwire tips readers off to the availability of Giphy, a search engine for animated GIFs. "Even in the age of relatively mainstream blogs like What Should We Call Me, though, a glance at Giphy’s front page reveals that the site caters to the kind of dedicated fandoms that popularized the .GIF in the first place."
    • Lastly, former Board member Francesca Coppa will be speaking at the Midwest Archives Conference on April 18 about the OTW's work on the Fan Culture Preservation Project and the AO3. Her talk will discuss how fan works are "an alternative, subterranean literature and arts culture, and describe the many ways fans have worked over the years to distribute and preserve that culture through zine libraries, hand-coded on-line archives,[and] songtape circles."

    What tools do you think help keep fandom running? Tell us about it in Fanlore. Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Examining fan activities

    By Claudia Rebaza on Venerdì, 22 February 2013 - 8:42pm
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    • A post on The MarySue took a more psychological look at the "Fake Geek Girl" syndrome. "The theory of microaggressions was developed back in the 70′s to denote racial stereotyping, but was expanded by psychologist Derald Wing Sue, Ph.D. in 2007 to encompass a wide variety and classifications of these subtle and seemingly harmless expressions that communicate 'hostile, derogatory, or negative slights and insults' toward people who aren’t members of the ingroup. These outgroup members might include women, racial/ethnic minorities, LBGT members, and others historically marginalized in our community." Author Dr. Andrea Letamendi explained the anger such behavior can engender. "The feelings of being threatened, invalidated, and overlooked can happen to any one of us in this community–some psychologists argue that when the threats are ambiguous or subtle (like microaggressions), they can be more damaging because there is no certainty and the assault is denied or ignored."
    • More complaints about sexism arose in response to a documentary on Bronie fandom. "What do you get when fans decide to make a documentary about their own fandom? In the case of the Bronies—fans of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic—the answer seems to be erasure and exclusion. So say some fandom critics of the recently released documentary Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony. Not everyone in the Brony fandom is happy about the newly launched documentary. Female fans are already planning their own documentary in response, to give a more inclusive portrayal of fans—particularly the female sector of the Brony population, which many fans claim was virtually ignored."
    • Another fan documentary fundraising on Kickstarter will be focusing on the makers of fan films. In a chat with OTW staff, co-producer Joey Rassool discussed the project's focus. "We hope to show several things: 1) Why fan films tend to be more accurate to the source material than their hollywood equivalents, 2) Why even greatly funded fan films still end up with problems, 3) What these creators, especially the ones working out of their own pockets, have to sacrifice to bring their art to life, and 4) What kind of person is willing and capable of making those sacrifices." Asked how he thought a view of fan film makers might map onto the work that other fans do in other mediums, he replied "I find that film is a shockingly tricky art form for fan made content because of the amount of time, energy, people, and finances that have to go into it to generate a final product. But I hope that our film can show everyone that creates fan based content that any amount of effort is worth it for the final result." They also plan to focus on how fans "manage the aspects of filmmaking. Most fan films are made by crews and directors with little to no big budget experience, and the introduction of crowd funding can put a lot of money into some fairly unseasoned hands. This means that things can go wrong at almost any turn."

    What examinations of My Little Pony, fangirls or fandoms have caught your attention? Tell us about it in Fanlore. Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Digging Into Fandom

    By Claudia Rebaza on Martedì, 11 December 2012 - 7:02pm
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    • Hollywood.com recently decided to look more deeply at the different strains of Twilight fandom and identified people who were fans of the books, fans of the movies, fans of the genre, and fans of the fandom. "Speaking with fans, it’s clear that their interest in this franchise is not always as reductive as oiled young abs and sinful enjoyment of B-cinema. Their passionate, earnest reasons for counting themselves a part of this fanbase may not sway you to either Team Edward or Team Jacob, but at least the fandom no longer seems as frighteningly foreign."
    • A similar look at the competing strains of a fandom appeared in a much more indirect way at Criminal Element, with Lyndsay Faye writing about the Clear Distinction Between Fandom and the Baker Street Irregulars. "I trust that this article clears up any remaining confusion regarding the word fandom, and its woeful inexactitude when characterizing the Baker Street Irregulars. I likewise hope I have assured the reader the BSI cannot be both a respected literary society and a fandom, any more than Australia can be both a continent and an island. One earnestly hopes that this will settle the matter for good and all, and we can move on to other, better topics."
    • The Learned Fangirl looked at a movie about K-pop fandom because "there aren’t nearly enough pop culture examples that are from the perspective of fangirls. Fortunately, there is Answer Me 1997 (2012), a Korean drama, half-set in 1997, the starting point for K-pop’s unending hallyu wave of manufactured groups. This is a show for present or former fangirls of music — from Beatlemaniacs through the Metallica/Megadeth fan battles to those with Bieber fever."
    • Meanwhile in China, a look at the fandom of textbook characters is to see a new generation at play. "Such a large scale of nostalgia probably can only happen in China – if the post-80s generation was not the first only-child generation, if they haven’t lived through China’s sea changes in the past 20 years, if they are perfectly happy with their adult life now...Like the lyrics in song “Li Lei and Han Meimei” go, “The happiness and sorrows in textbooks, the right and wrongs outside of textbooks…like Li Lei and Han Meimei, we all live in a future that we would never have thought of before.”"

    If you have stories exploring fans and fandom, why not share them on Fanlore? Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

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