And if you don’t do the things they demand of you (for some reason… but you do not know these people and they do not know you or anything about you), they will then never listen to you about what you’re actually saying… because you are bad and wrong for not listening to them about this thing.
So they won’t listen to you talk about racism in fandom. They won’t listen to you when you say that no one should be harassed in or because of fandom. They won’t accept that you can think that and also want people to understand that bigotry doesn’t belong in fandom.
Near the end of June, I made the mistake of commenting on Star Wars fandom stuff when I saw screenshots of some members of that subfandomgloating about John Boyega briefly losing his blue check/verified status on Twitter as well as kind of assuming the worst about his exit from Rebel Ridge – especially once people started kind of claiming that he was “difficult“. (Like fully going “perhaps he will have his MeToo moment and people will know that he’s truly garbage… like we have all along” in some tweets I glimpsed.)
It was such a delight to host the Q&A for this event and I loved speaking with Fern, IR, and Lilah about their amazing pilot for Heart to Heart and what the future for the shorts will (hopefully) bring.
Heart to Heart is genuinely one of the funniest things I’ve seen in my entire life and it’s made with love from people who truly get what it means to want to be seen. It’s incredibly charming, super witty, and has probably my favorite trope outside of Accidental Baby Acquisition.
I also, aside from one brief (and hopefully edited out moment) where I forgot my mic was muted, leveled up as a person who hosts things! Which is exciting! Let me host more things and interview more cool people please!
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!
This episode obviously has spoilers for the first episode of Marvel and Disney+’s Loki. We also speculate about the future of the show and its arcs/plots in a way that may prove to become spoilers if we’re as accurate as we want to be. Additionally, we talk candidly and cheerfully about villains, what they do, and why we connect with them (in the specific and general sense). While we don’t talk about anything in specifics – I feel – we do brush over cannibalism, The Authority’s fascism, and all the dreadful things in the plot of the 1999 film Titus. We also talk about our experiences in fandom over the years. Use your own best judgment, babes.
Fandom is incredibly queer. Its origins as a space for LGBTQ+ people are well-documented, and we see that today, too. Fandom is often an online-offline queer community, supporting fans who may or may not see themselves in actual source material, but who can gather together and feel seen by each other.
This month, we’re celebrating Pride by talking about queer histories and communities within different, largely English-language, fandoms and how these spaces have allowed us to be ourselves on main in a major way.
The first of June’s two Fan Service columns is a celebration of queer fandom. If you have somehow missed it before: I am queer.
What that means is always complex to explain because queerness is hard to define and I love being indefinable. But I’ve been here and queer for a hot minute and fandom is one of the things that helped me understand and express what I was experiencing. (It’s also where I got my first girlfriend about a decade ago! Shout out to M, who deserves The World Forever, and who first liked my Batman fic and then really liked me!)
I wanted to write this piece to celebrate one of the best things about online fandoms: that this is a great space for queer fans to figure out who we are and to build communities/relationship. Even if you don’t actually use that label for yourself – I do, obviously, but you can mentally replace it with something else that works better for you – you’re still part of something amazing and I wanted you all to know that you are loved. We’removing along the path paved by an incredible legacy of older queer fans that I am proud to claim and be a part of. I’m truly happy that I can be in these fandom spaces with y’all.
When I began the research for Last Night at the Telegraph Club in earnest, I knew that I needed to know more about those lesbians of color. More specifically, I needed to know what it was like to be a Chinese American lesbian in San Francisco in the 1950s, but they were nearly invisible in the historical record. The few times I came across references to Asian American lesbians, they were mentioned in passing or relegated to the footnotes.
It was enough to make one think that queer Asian Americans didn’t exist back then, but I knew that wasn’t true. What has happened is that our experiences have been erased or marginalized, deemed less important than the experiences of white LGBTQ people.
If you’re like me and you like learning more about queer histories of color, please check out this piece and get hyped for some awesome histories that you probably didn’t know before!
In the first part of this essay, I explored the portrayal of Black women in Doctor Who, using the example of Alison Cheney. She appears in Scream of the Shalka, a 2003 web animation. Preceding the 2005 TV reboot by two years, she is the first broadcast non-white companion.
I wrote about Alison’s role as the Doctor’s beloved, a status unusual for Black characters, and how she could have challenged the New Who’s portrayal of Black women as largely disposable victims. At the same time, SotS’ refusal to give Alison the lived experience specific to a Black London woman in an all-white small town reduces her revolutionary potential.
Alison’s ability to change the Whoniverse is also limited by SotS’ — and Alison’s — unpopularity. In this part of my essay, I dig into fan characterizations of Alison, using the AO3 corpus as a representative sample. An examination of SotS fan content on AO3 reveals that Alison may be the Doctor’s beloved in SotS, but she’s largely unloved in fandom.
I found my own Trinidadian upbringing confusing. On one hand, I was made to believe that race mattered very little, echoing sentiments of postraciality that surfaced after President Barack Obama was elected. My schoolbooks emphasized that Trinidad and Tobago was a rainbow utopia, evident by the shoehorning of as many creeds and races as could possibly fit into small, grayscale pictorial representations. I’d look at my face in the mirror—my light but definitely brown skin, my broad nose—clocking my features against the fact that my last name was confusingly Chinese (my great-grandfather on my dad’s side came from there) and wondering what the hell I was.
In the Caribbean, there are so many complex relationships with our Blackness, what Blackness could look like and who got to be Black in the first dang place. In islands like Trinidad where you have a more visible history of non-Black people of color (primarily Indian and Chinese) marrying and loving Black people, Blackness is complicated. And so is your understanding of where white supremacy fits in to the conversation. Because the people in power in Trinidad, in the Virgin Islands, in Jamaica… aren’t actually or typically white people. And yet, white supremacy thrives in these places to the point of harming people of color who live there.
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!
I’m in Polygon for the first – but hopefully not the last – time!
Building off of how many of Taylor Swift’s fans leapt onto Ginny & Georgia star Antonia Thomas to defend Swift from a joke made on the show at her expense, I look at how Stan Twitter encourages aggression as a form of defense and love. I even touch on “report accounts”, a phenomenon I find fascinating for how often the fans running and working with them… turn on other fans who aren’t doing anything wrong.
I live on Stan Twitter and so at times have had to pull back from the urge the spaces instill to support my celebrity favorites however I can. (And believe me, that means having to go “no, I do not need to dunk on a younger adult with a bad opinion about “my” group” and walking away from my computer or at least taking the whining into the nearest group chat.)
The behaviors that these fandoms urge as part of the parasocial relationship (which I find positive a lot of the time actually) can be great. We can get incredible amounts of social justice charity work, widening understandings of the world around us, and communities that help us be ourselves, but better.
But we can also wind up whipped into a maenad-esque frenzy in the name of our beloved celebrity and that’s not great. So let’s talk about that!
Since I’m still locked on main because the harassment won’t stop until I cease to exist, please feel free to share the Polygon link with anyone you think may be interested!
In my latest Fan Service column for Teen Vogue, I got downright celebratory! We’re talking about seeing yourself in fandom and how fans have made fandom a place where they can see themselves – give or take a few issues of representation that do crop up.
Please feel free to share the link with interested folks as I can’t hype it up on Twitter the way I usually would since I’m still locked on main because of harassment over the last column (and my general existence, they really don’t like that)!
Anyway: I’m looking forward to continuing to bring y’all quality commentary on media and fandom in March’s installments of Fan Service!
I’ve never seen folks in fandom cut up aspects of a white hero to then give those characteristics to another white character. No one’s writing stories where Bucky was always Captain America and he went on to link up with the Avengers as a fandom norm. No one’s rewriting the Skywalker saga so that Luke is actually the (totally unrelated) rogue who falls in love with Leia while Han is shot into the icy vacuum of space.
White heroes are never stripped of their backstories, motivations, and the like to boost a minor white character or villain up to heroic status. The things that make heroes like Captain America, Luke Skywalker, or even Batman relatable are never stripped from them and handed to some other white hero. (And yes, that’s two superhero franchises and Star Wars, but I get to do that.)
What I have seen are plenty of instances where a hero of color has the things that make them unique in in their media not just stripped away, but then given to white characters in their show, film or comic franchise.
Fan Service is a column by pop culture and fandom writer Stitch that looks at the highs and lows of fandom, and unpacks how what we do online, and for fun, connects back to the way we think about the offline world.
This first installment looks at how while fandom was a source of escapism for many people from the endless horrors of 2020, there was one glaring way that escapism fell short or excluded people… racism. How can fans of color expect to escape racism in fandom when racists… are here too?
Head on over to Teen Vogue (TEEN VOGUE!) to learn more about how fandom dropped the ball and how we can be better together in these spaces!
And if you liked what you read there and want more, every other week, we’ll do a deep dive into something critical OR celebratory of fandom, highlighting high and low points that even people in fandom tend to miss when they’re not looking for it.
I have a lunchbox I bought from Gamestop, stickers, a bunch of tees from various nerd stores, and essentially okay, I was that person who bought Kylo merch back in the early days of the sequel trilogy.
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