Stitch Talks Ish: Season 3/Episode 1 – The Rules of Fandom Go Round and Round

When you have rules (for yourself/for others) in fandom… what happens to the rulebreakers? 

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What Fandom Racism Looks Like: (Not) Talking About Race

It’s a truth universally (but accidentally) acknowledged across a ton of books about being a fan of stuff, that fandom does not like talking about race. 

Regardless of how which side of a binary fandom is split into between curative fandom (they primarily collect things related to their fandom) and transformative (they primarily create things related to their fandom), one truth exists: it is easier (and better) not to talk about race at all than to talk about race and racism in fandom. 

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Quick Coverage: Romancelandia Takes the ‘Girlboss, Gaslight, Gatekeep’ Meme A Little Too Literally on Twitter

I’m always here to be a thorn in the ass of annoying people online and right now… that’s a lot of people who view themselves as (gate) keepers of Romancelandia’s Sacred Sexy Flame. 

Let’s begin with a bit of backstory:

January 25th at 7PM YouTuber Jack Edwards – whose whole thing is being a guy who reads books and then talks about them for his subscribers – tweeted the following joke using a popular meme format:


romance books: this man is so big. he is just so huge. he towers over me. all i can think about is how big he is. his arms are big. but i have to contain this feeling. we work together! yet my mind is imagining a life with mr big in all his enormousness. he is so… big.

This is “normal”. Most people writing traditional M/F romances engage in a really dramatic size difference between their hero and heroine.

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Stitch @ Teen Vogue: On Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling’s Transmisogyny, and What We Owe Each Other

This isn’t a new conversation, but Return to Hogwarts and responses from fans past and present on social media invite us to revisit the question: Is it possible to separate the art from the artist?

The answer, of course, is complicated and nuanced. Except for the moments when it’s pretty straightforward. The idea that we can separate the art from the artist hinges on a form of privilege and a misunderstanding of how creators can put themselves and their beliefs into their work. French philosopher Roland Barthes’ essay “Death of the Author” is used as a way to explain that it’s “just art” and can be consumed without any input from the creator, making the creator someone whose shouting doesn’t impact the narrative or your understanding of it. Unfortunately, when it comes to bigotry, that’s not necessarily an approach that works.

On Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling’s Transmisogyny, and What We Owe Each Other

In grad school, there were a lot of books I read for my degree that were by people I would disagree with deeply or who were open and avowed bigots. The Marquis de Sade, who featured heavily in my class on transgressive literature, was a sex pest and pervert (negative). Philosopher Heidegger, who we had to learn about in literary theory because he… is apparently influential to it and influenced so many others – he did the whole “notion of ‘being'” stuff, was a whole ass Nazi. Lovecraft was a racist weenie weirdo. Some of the comic writers I did my thesis work on… were really shitty.

Rowling is a TERF. She’s claimed that title. She acts like one. She breaks bread with many.

Awful people often make things that are so important to us as readers and fans. Harry Potter is one of the most important thing in many people’s lives. It got them through hell.

How do you break free from that? How do you leave that fandom behind you or try to make it better? What do we even owe each other as fans?

I try to answer those questions in the first Fan Service installment of 2022… It was TOUGH

Stitch @ Teen Vogue: On “Dark Fic,” Morality, and Why Critical Thinking Is Vital

As Popova points out, what “dark fic” is ultimately depends on individual reader and creator interpretations of the trope or pairing. This, along with the intensity of the dark content and what it’s used for in the story, leads to people forming personal catalogs of dark content on main, works they enjoy and ones they very much don’t. Across fandoms and age groups within fandoms, two people may have vastly different understandings of what dark fic looks like and what kind of dark fic they’re okay with consuming and creating.

One person might view Real Person Fiction itself as “dark fic,” because it crosses established personal boundaries for the relationships we have with celebrities and ones they have with each other. Another one might only count RPF that uses extreme elements: for example, an alternate universe that places characters from an idol group in the universe of The Purge and has them enact horrific violence against each other. Even Omegaverse, my favorite trope/genre in fandom ever, can be considered dark fic by some people, because it often serves up gender/bio essentialist worldbuilding wrapped around some werewolf-y characters getting intimate.

On “Dark Fic,” Morality, and Why Critical Thinking Is Vital

First of all, major thanks to Dr. Milena Popova, author of  Dubcon: Fanfiction, Power, and Sexual Consent, and the brilliant Arsenic Jade for speaking with me for this piece and broadening my horizons.

I’ve wanted to talk about the concept of “dark fic” – which my expert fans agree is one of those unhelpfully broad fandom terms that says everything but means… less than you’d think – for a hot minute now. For starters, y’all know I don’t actually like fandom terms that are hard to define because at the end of the day we’re all sitting here like “okay but what actually are you trying to say here” and “dark fic” is no different.

Especially when it comes to not uh… making liking or hating it your personality. Both things are extremely embarrassing for me to see because I don’t think that they’re healthy approaches to content because the positioning alone (interested/hating) isn’t enough to give you a good grasp of a person especially when you consider that one person’s dark and upsetting content is… someone else’s Tuesday afternoon.

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What Fandom Racism Looks Like: “ACAB includes Fandom Police and Antis”

Content Notes: descriptions of police brutality and violence from law enforcement that includes sexual violence and violence against vulnerable people like children. Screenshots that mention harassment that include racism, threats, harassers urging people to self harm, and doxxing.

I also swear a lot and in a way that can be read as “at” the people who pull the nonsense I’m talking about.

Genuinely, I can hardly think of a clearer example of what fandom brain rot does to a person than the repeated insistence across multiple fandoms that ACAB – “All Cops Are Bastards” – somehow includes people on the internet who are critical of fandom at any level including just… being critical of racism in fandom and media in public.

The thing is that yes, ACAB as a term existed well before the horrific events of Summer 2020, the time period when lots of people on your social media feeds decided to put the acronym in their bios and display names for the first time… But it has never revolved around anything other than rejecting the violence that law enforcement/policing does as a system.

As Victoria Gagliardo-Silver wrote in her op-ed “What I mean when I say I want to abolish the police“:

Something is very, very wrong in American police culture. This is why the saying “ACAB” — or “All cops are b*ds” — has become a popular rallying cry. It doesn’t actually mean every single cop is a bad cop, just like saying Black Lives Matter doesn’t mean white lives don’t. “ACAB” means every single police officer is complicit in a system that actively devalues the lives of people of color. Bad cops are encouraged in their harm by the silence of the ones who see themselves as “good.”

Holding one police officer accountable every time a black person is killed by police is not enough. The issue isn’t “a few bad apples”; it’s a tree that is rotting from the inside out, spreading its poison.

ACAB serves as a punchy shorthand referring to the way that there can’t be such a thing as “good cops” in a field fueled by violence including fatal antiblackness, sexual violence, theft, bigotry beyond all of that, and just… an entitlement to other people’s lives in literal cases.

I understand that with this somewhat valid fear of random people harassing others over fandom – a thing that happens no matter what you’re into – it is tempting to not just accuse people of policing your fandom experience… but to compare them to the real police.

“Fandom police” as a term has been around for ages too… but it’s the way it’s being used now to refer to fans as actual cops that’s literally the problem.

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[Thread Collection] What Racist Fandom Discourse Accounts Are Doing (3/15/2021)

Originally posted here.

Guess what racist fandom discourse accounts (and of course, their tokens of color) do to conversations about racism in fandom~

(literally it’s the same thing. they even use the same language – like woke as a pejorative, panic about censorship, Black people as villains – wow)

I know folks won’t “get” it but there are several points from 2017 to now where people across “transformative” fandom have tilted the needle HARD towards alt right ideology and language in the name of defending fandom specifically from BIPOC and folks just write it off as drama

But it’s not drama.

It’s racists manipulating marginalized white people’s fear of being harmed/silenced for their marginalization (which HAS happened) in order to turn them against BIPOC in fandom who are anti-racism to the point of inspiring long-term harassment campaigns.

Over A Year After the OTW/AO3’s Statement of Solidarity: Where Are We With That Anti Racism?

It’s been over a year (this piece was originally supposed to go up in June 2021) since the Organization of Transformative Works’ Board of Directors, Chairs, and Leads released a statement of some solidarity with fans of color – particularly Black fans – in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the worldwide protests against antiblackness, police brutality, and white supremacy that shifted the world on its axis back in 2020.

The OTW – and its “child”, the Archive of Our Own – has yet to make any meaningful inroads into making their segment of fandom accessible, welcoming, and safe for fans of color. In fact, racism done in the name of the Archive of Our Own specifically has increased to some extent with fans of color being subject to increased attacks including shunning, slander, and direct attacks on their fandom and offline reputations for going “perhaps this space could be… less racist”.

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[Stitch Talks Ish] Season 2/Episode BONUS: Stitch Talks Ish About The BITE Model in Fandom

In this “Bonus” Episode, I talk about… how Steven Hassan’s BITE model of fandom can be applied in multiple fandom contexts because fandom is a space that’s kinda… rife for cults of personality, manipulation, etc at EVERY level. But also that there’s a difference between “culty” and “a cult” and people do need to get that too.

Unfortunately I still can’t AFFORD to get transcripts done but one day… ONE DAY.


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!

What Fandom Racism Looks Like: Revisiting “POC Coded” White Villains/Anti-Heroes

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.

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[Thread Collection] Revisionist Fandom History 2021

Still locked on main because being random racists’ hyperfocus remains distressing as hell, but if you’re already who already follows that Twitter account here’s the link to the thread. I also suggest reading these pieces on revisionist fandom history and the insistence that we as a unit be grateful to our beige fandom foremothers for… something.

Revisionist fandom history is so annoying because:

– it’s always people in their 20s and/or who’ve been in fandom for like nowhere near as long as EYE have lecturing people about how shitty the youth these days are (like being awful in fandom is new or exclusive to The Youth)

– it’s always very white fandom history UNLESS it’s someone tagging in like Japanese creators and/or appropriating the term fujoshi for their own ends (my feeling on the term is simply that if you’re not Japanese, you probably can’t ACTUALLY reclaim it. The end.)

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Stitch @ Teen Vogue: How Do We Define Fandom? Moving Beyond the Transformative vs. Curatorial Binary

When I think of fandom, I think of printing out and passing around fan fiction in middle school because we didn’t have reliable internet access at home. I think of gifting online friends with stories where our superheroes actually get a break for once. I think of screaming the lyrics to A.C.E. songs along with dozens of other Choice in those pre-pandemic times where concerts were a thing. For me, fandom has always been a complicated but largely joy-filled space where I’ve found some of my dearest friends over a shared love of something wonderful. Your definition of fandom may differ.

In the latest installment of Fan Service, we’re dipping our toes into defining fandom. This is both an educational attempt and a clarifying one that shows different types/definitions of fandom and points out fandoms that don’t fall fully within the transformative/curatorial binary as well as what Fan Service specifically will cover across its run.

Fan Service is really supposed to be a starting point that helps readers and fans incorporate new ways of thinking into their fandom spaces and communities. I’m looking forward to seeing how people incorporate the understandings they’ve gained from this and the other installments in the column into their fandom-ing.

Please share the link with interested folks on social media! I’m still locked on main (because of course, the people on my ass and harassing me aren’t going to stop anytime soon) so I can’t rely on shares through that account. You can also share the tweet below from the site account!

I appreciate your support and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the column!

Stitch @ Teen Vogue: Meghan Markle’s Critics Are Using Internet Troll Tactics to Perpetuate Misogynoir

However, nothing about this is new or shocking to Black women anywhere, especially in Britain where misogynoir is a major problem. This behavior — escalating harassment, people accusing us of being bullies when we’re firm, lies that blame us for harm done against other people — is part of the online troll ecosystem’s historical approach to Black women with even a single ounce of power or visibility. What’s happening to Meghan Markle is targeted racist harassment and trolling that uses misogynoir to try and shape public perception of Black women.

I’ve been a Meghan Markle fan from the Suits days and she’s the only reason I even remotely cared about Prince Harry.

Watching the British press, public, and the royal family go after her from the moment that she and Harry announced their relationship has been horrible. It is also unsurprising because this is the reality for Black women (and queer femmes who don’t ID as women). We get slandered, harassed, mistreated, lied on, and blamed for genuinely awful things that we didn’t actually do.

It’s racist harassment, but it’s also trolling. The people doing this don’t see themselves as racists, villains, or even bullies. They’re having fun harming Meghan and they have fun harming other Black people. But because none of them lay hands on the people they’re harming – and some of them have convinced themselves that they’re doing a necessary duty by harassing Black people for years.

No idea what tonight’s interview will bring Meghan and Harry or the viewing audience, but I hope it’s juicy.

Fan Service #2 @ Teen Vogue: On Fanfiction, Fandom, and Why Criticism Is Healthy

Head on over to Teen Vogue to read my latest Fan Service installment “On Fanfiction, Fandom, and Why Criticism Is Healthy” where I look at the ways that fandom’s instinctive pushback against criticism affects fans in fandom – not just external critics who maybe don’t “get” nuances of fandom cultures.

It’s not censorship or bullying to point out that there are issues in different fandom spaces that require some updated approaches. For example: “Don’t Like, Don’t Read” and “Your Kink Is Not My Kink” are phrases used in fandom to let people know that they should take care of themselves by not reading content they find objectionable based on a matter of different taste. But neither of those phrases are good responses when fans come up against bigotry in fanworks. Telling someone to “just ignore” transmisogyny, ableism, or open antiblackness in fanfiction isn’t just unhelpful; it’s unkind.

I love critique as a mode of expression and meta fandom works are among my favorite outside of well… literally anything to do with Omegaverse. February’s first column was born out of a deep desire to get people thinking critically about why fandom isn’t down with criticism even from people inside of it. Not every critique of fandom is in bad faith or an attempt at censorship/controlling the average fan and assuming they all are – especially when marginalized people are talking about things in fandom that harm us on purpose or accidentally – isn’t a good way to go about things.

Anyway, please go check out the latest installment of Fan Service and feel free to share the piece with interested friends and fans!

On Fanfiction, Fandom, and Why Criticism Is Healthy