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This Week in Fandom, Volume 85

Welcome to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s roundup of things which are happening! Before we start, a note for those concerned about European Union copyright legislation: OTW Legal will be issuing an official post about this soon, so keep an eye out to learn how this might affect your fannish activities.


This week we’re calling all Check, Please! fans to send us their questions! Why? Because creator Ngozi Ukazu will be doing a Guest Post with the OTW. As with our other guest posts, this post will be distributed throughout our OTW News sites. We’d like to know what you’d like us to ask her!

You have until June 22nd to use our contact form (put “Ngozi Ukazu Guest Post” in the subject line) for your questions. As we have limits to the number of questions we can ask her we can’t promise that everyone will get their questions used in the final post, but it will give us an idea of what you’d like to know, and we can combine similar questions to send to her.

Whether or not you have any questions for Ngozi, do check out the fandom’s page on Fanlore. Share your knowledge and help keep the fandom’s information up to date!


In other news, destinationtoast has recently completed a large-scale toastystats project on gender in movies vs gender in movie fanworks. The entire work is available in image format on AO3 or slide format on Google Docs for those who prefer actual text.

The project examines gender representation in movies and how/if that relates to gender representation in fanworks for those movies, as a contribution to the ongoing discussion about whether fandom as a gender bias (often suggested as being preferential of men while ignoring women). The topic is obviously a very complicated one, and the project admits its limitations, but here are a couple general conclusions about fanworks on AO3:

I didn’t find any conclusive evidence of gender bias in fandom, beyond reflecting what’s already there in canon. However, that doesn’t mean none exists. Despite AO3 fan creators being mostly female, we presumably still have implicit gender bias (given the society we live in), but we haven’t seen cases yet where it clearly shows up. For instance, AO3 movie fans have strong genre preferences, and it’s possible that unconscious bias is part of why fans focus so much on genres like SF/F and action — but it’s also possible that those are just the most-viewed genres.

Nor is there strong evidence that fans are combatting canon bias by focusing disproportionately on women in canon — but there are some possible signs. It looks like maybe SF/F and action movie fans focus more on canon female characters than the movies do. It also looks possible that femslash focuses more on women than predicted by canon. In both cases, more data is needed.

What do you think? Does this reflect your personal experiences in fandom? Let us know in the comments!


We have two acafandom-related requests this week! Firstly, remember Donna Barth, the graduate student who was studying the effects of fanfiction on young adults’ knowledge of sex? Now that the survey portion of her researched has concluded (and thanks to everyone who participated!), she’s putting a call out for people willing to be interviewed one-on-one about the topic. Participants must be between the ages of 18 and 24. For more information, please contact Donna at dbarth@mail.usf.edu or her advisor, Dr. Nancy Romero-Daza, at daza@usf.edu.

The other acafandom request is from Transformative Works and Cultures, the OTW’s fan studies journal. TWC needs more Symposium essays for three special issues to be published in 2019:

  • Romance/Fans: Sexual Fantasy, Love, and Genre in Fandom
  • Fans of Color, Fandoms of Color
  • Fan Fiction and Ancient Tribal Scripture

Symposium essays are editorially reviewed, but academic credentials aren’t required to submit them. Basically, they’re a more formal version of fannish meta that any fan can write. So if you’re interested in that kind of thing, and you have something to say about the topics listed above, please contact TWC for more information. You can also help signal boost this by reblogging this post from TWC’s Tumblr account.


Lastly, Slate has started a new fandom podcast called Decoder Ring, which focuses on “cracking cultural mysteries.” A partial transcript of the podcast’s second episode has been uploaded, and it focuses on The JohnLock Conspiracy (aka TJLC) from the BBC series Sherlock. It’s a bit of a blast from the past, given that series 4 of the show aired almost a year and a half ago and there’s no sign that more will be produced anytime soon, but it’s a tidy little summary of how the whole phenomenon got started for those who might not know.


We want your suggestions! If you have a story you think we should include, please contact us! Suggestions are welcome in all languages. Submitting a story doesn’t guarantee that it will be included in a TWIF post, and inclusion of a story doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.