Fandom has changed a lot since I was a kid. As a tween, I had no hope of getting in touch with celebrities I adored like Britney Spears and Whitney Houston. Now, I’ve not only spoken with some of my celebrity favorites on social media, but I’ve even fought with a few.
The technology of fandom is changing, too. Parasocial relationships — a largely one-sided relationship between a fan and a public figure they feel close to due to social media — are everywhere online. And the companies behind some of the biggest acts in K-pop are pioneering a new way to monetize them. They’ve developed online platforms to help K-pop fans feel as though they have direct access to their idol favorites. That access helps shape the way these fans interact with the idol as a form of friendship and how they engage with other fans
I’m always online. Obviously. I spend a lot of time – too much time? – on Twitter, but I also do a lot of fandoming across different apps for Korean idols. Hell, at one point I actually lowkey lived on streaming app V Live because the phone I had at the time had notifications that worked so when one of “my” favorites would go online, so would I. I was awake so dang early back then. These days, I may sleep through my notifications, but I stay active on the different apps for my faves. I don’t use LYSN or bubble but I have been on Universe for Monsta X and Brave Girls (especially my bias Minyoung).
And of course, I’m on Weverse. Most of my favorites (and one former favorite… Gfriend) are on the Weverse app and I use the app to communicate with other fans and moon over idols. It’s more “personal” and private than just trying to communicate with an idol or other fans on Twitter and so, for the most part, it feels safe to engage.
I loved talking with Areum Jeong and Nicole Santero (who runs the @ResearchBTS Twitter account) because they’ve got insight for days! I also am grateful to Maxim and Leigh, two fans who graciously provided their thoughts about the apps they use to engage with their faves. So many wonderful fans provided their insight and I only wish I could’ve used it all in the final piece!
One day I’ll put a page up with all of my appearances on different podcasts and on different articles, but in the meanwhile, please go check out these because I always have so much fun on the JBCH podcast chatting about our favorite bond media!
I’m always pleased when they have me on to shout!!
I had to change some things because of the YouTube copyright crap – so there’s no music in this version and so I can’t include the edits, challenge, or song I included when presenting this live. But aside from the things that had to be changed to avoid a copyright strike and messing up my video, this is the presentation I gave for PCA 2021.
Thank you all to everyone who filled out my survey or did video or text interviews a few months ago (okay so like… in May) and who supported me as I tried to put this together. Being in fandom has been super hard and very upsetting at times, but actually one way I was able to cope with what I’ve been going through from other fandoms… has been to engage deeply with ARMY (BTS is my primary fannish interest) and fandoms for other Korean artists.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to talk about a fandom space I’m in and to share insights about the communities I’m in and that other people like me are in!
I will NOT be going anywhere with this presentation beyond this post (like in terms of a long-form write up). Any future writing about Black k-pop fan experiences will get a new survey, no interviews outside of experts in these spaces, and a closer look at my direct experiences in these fandom spaces. I just wanted to do celebratory fandom piece for once – one that didn’t ignore that there are VERY valid criticisms to be had on the way there.
Below the cut is the abstract I used when applying for the conference! Thanks again for participating and watching and supporting me! And thanks A TON for your patience with me actually remembering to post this publicly!
In returning to Twilight — or starting the series for the first time — fans are coming across things they didn’t know about the vampires in the series. A major example? Jasper Cullen’s pre-vampire past as… a Confederate major in the Civil War. As young adult author Camryn Garrett pointed out during her own rewatch of the series, the fact that Jasper fought on the wrong side of the Civil War is never addressed again outside of the lone mention in Eclipse.
I love vampires. Oh my god do I love vampires. (Slightly less than I love werewolves, but that is absolutely a personal problem.) Getting to stretch my muscles as a literature MA – this is absolutely what I did in college right down to talking about Twilight in the context of Fifty Shades of Gray and fic as something we use to take over Text – was pretty darn neat. And of course, I got to watch a lot of vampire-oriented media this week! It was great because I was cuddled up to Meems, my littlest niece, the entire time. The only thing I didn’t subject her to was True Blood because that is OBVIOUSLY not appropriate for her age.
I had a wonderful time researching and writing this column and I’m looking forward to writing more cool things in August! 😀
Please go share the tweet below or the link to the article itself on your own social media profiles and pages!
You literally do not know me or anything I’ve been up to in the Teen Wolf fandom – because if you did know as much about me as you claim, you’d know that my actual OTP in the show was Sterek (followed by Scott/Danny and Allison/Scott/Isaac, to be clear) and you wouldn’t all keep insisting I was somehow jealous of my own favorite ship’s popularity.
If you have something you think I need to see/know because you think I don’t have an informed opinion about it in any of these situations, there are better ways to get that information to me than leaving an essay-length comment insulting me, making up things I’ve said or engagement I’ve had over a decade, and aggressively insulting Tyler Posey or Scott McCall.
If you’re marginalized in some way – queer, a person of color, not a cis dude – you can expect to be subject to months or even years of online harassment from people who insist that you deserved it. Mind you, you will deserve this unending harassment solely because your presence on social media, in a given fandom, writing for any platform at all, or your appearance in a show they like angers them so much that they need to punish you for it.
People will doctor screenshots, lie about their online behavior and yours, forge evidence, and just… make shit up to punish us for being in “their” spaces or in “their” way.
In September, Teen Wolf will have been off the air for four years. In December, it will have been two years since the premiere of The Rise of Skywalker. The first episode of The Flash aired in 2014. May of this year marked three years since I left Tumblr for good and three months since I permanently locked my main Twitter account after the latest escalations from a multi-fandom disinfo and harassment campaign.
Tyler Posey, John Boyega, Candice Patton, and myself.
Years of harassment.
All for being inconvenient, for being in the way (of a ship), not playing ball, and speaking out about racism and other firms of harassment in the spaces they’re in.
Recently, Shafira Jordan’s sharp and insightful article “How White Fandom is Colonizing “Character-Coding”” has been making the rounds around fanwork creating & consuming social media. It’s a piece that speaks to something that I also have talked about (a few years ago): the way that white fandom will code white male characters as POC while also hating the hell out of characters of color in the source media/dismissing them entirely.
This ranges from deciding that a character oppressed racially in-universe like Loki being Jotun was directly paralleling an experience/existence of color to claiming they are “actually” of a marginalized identity like Kylo being Space Jewish because the actors playing Han and Leia are.
0:00:01.8 : Welcome to a bonus episode of stitch talks ish… A manga episode! I treated myself to a largely SuBLime manga haul the other day and I’d like to share the fruits of all of that reading. Every so often, you just have to take a break from the “real world” and spend time doing and reading something you love greatly. For me, that’s largely Boys Love. I don’t actually get to read as much BL as I used to, but I cut my teeth on Love Mode back in the day and I do keep up with what’s being published these days even if I don’t have the time to read it all. I had a rough week a little while ago and, in response, decided to treat myself to some books I’d heard good things about.
So this is a little bonus episode of Stitch Talks Ish where I do a quick sip manga review for the five titles I bought! Please note that I’ll be talking about series with sexually explicit content and violence and definite issues of consent [at best]. Also spoilers… There will be spoilers.
A good villain or anti-hero can make a fandom. Often flawed and fearless, they speak to our inner struggles and successes in a way that heroes alone might not be able to tap into, and as a result, they spark many modern-day fandom experiences. We want to be them, smooch them, fight them — and sometimes all three at once, depending on how attractive and/or infuriating they are.
I mean… I get that it’s because it’s easier to make stuff up about me than to like… try to learn anything about me that wasn’t spoonfed to them by one of my rabid anti-fans. But it’s weird because my beef has really never been with villains or anti-heroes themselves, but with how their loudest fans are not… always great and choose to minimize the things that make their faves good (but bad) in the quest to claim and maintain the moral high ground. (Except for the Joker. I do hate him and dislike his fandom. But that’s partially connected to the Jason Todd thing.)
I love villains and antiheroes. Their aggressive fandoms who think these characters can’t do anything wrong and haven’t been bad once- especially the ones who insist on crawling up my butt to make their beef personal when mine isn’t? Those can launch themselves into the nearest lake and swim until they chill out. But villains and anti-heroes are cool to me for all the best possible reasons. I love the menace they bring to the table, the way that many are allowed to be more complex than the heroes are, and how much fun they get to have.
Like I wound up watching Castlevania for Hector and Isaac, those two messy necromancers. I own… so many Thrawn things because he’s hot and horrible. I actually liked Kylo Ren before his fandom and The Last Jedi ruined him for me. I am also a Harley Quinn apologist and while she has done MANY things wrong, I’m just glad she’s having fun and getting to kiss Poison Ivy sometimes.
Anyway, I’m really proud of this piece. If you can share it on your social media/with interested readers, or otherwise retweet it, please do:
Content notes: I talk about sexual assault and metaphysical and emotional manipulation leading to such.
We’re all here because I have ongoing issues with the Anitaverse but lack the common sense necessary to stop reading the series even though it has actually repeatedly set off some of my bad brain stuff. As for issues… well, they’re largely things like Nathaniel basically bullying Micah into changing his sexuality to suit him – and succeeding. Anita casually mentions it at the start of this chapter and it is… not great:
Laura, whose recent 23andme revealed that she is of Nordic, German, and British ancestry and nothing else, explained the tragic circumstances that landed her in the emergency room.
“A stranger, a literal stranger, called me white within my earshot,” said Laura, who is Caucasian. “My heart started beating so fast, I broke out into a cold sweat, my face drained of all color. I knew I had to call 911. She said to her friend, and I quote, ‘that white woman walked right into me.” And yeah, maybe I did, but does that give her the right to use a slur against me?”
“People don’t realize that their hateful, racist actions can have consequences for their victims’ health,” Laura added, with a lack of self-awareness that only a woman this white could achieve.
This is so fandom, for me. Do you know how many comments, messages, subtweets, etc that exist solely because calling white women (and queer people and AFABs who aren’t women) “white” or calling white characters white sets people off? Like they fully go into “h-how dare you mention whiteness as a factor in what characters are loved and what people are harassed… this is worse than racism” fits. Oh and this is while they trot out the 23andme test results to prove they’re actually not even “Really White” but are Vaguely Brown and may actually have a Black and/or Native ancestor they can’t prove but sure will use against me.
It remains wild that some of the loudest voices of people harassing me and hating on me/my work have publicly said that I must hate them because they’re white or that I… don’t believe white people have a culture (I… did not even imply that but this defense of a nebulous white culture is a very loud racist dogwhistle) or that I am actually racist against them (white women/AFABs) because I pointed out that aside from PickMe POC being shitty for clout, white women are the ones who have the most consistently racist reactions to me/my work.
They have these reactions publicly where they moan about disliking white women(‘s racism) being racist/hate speech, accuse me of reverse racism, and other incredibly racist nonsense… and people just… accept the tantrum at face value and uplift these people who aren’t just my anti fans but who are racist from the jump.
No one is more surprised than I am that I’ve been able to get to ten memes in this series. While I’m genuinely hilarious and my meme game is on point, there are only so many memes in the world that work with the concept of “hey fandom is super racist and more attached to that than anything else”. But hey, here’s one more.
I have talked on end about how absolutely irrational people are when faced with my work.
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