Misogyny in Fandom
Misogyny in Fandom is an observed phenomenon and topic of discussion in many fannish spaces, whether those spaces are majority-female or majority-male. Many observers have noted widespread blatant misogynistic comments at online social media sites, harassment at fan conventions and other offline spaces, as well as the lack of female representation--female characters, female canon creators, and even female fans (whom both fanboys and mainstream media outlets pretend don't exist). Subtler forms of sexism have been noted and commented on in relation to which fandoms attract the most fans and what fan creators create themselves. Misogyny occurs in science fiction fandom, comics fandom, transformational fandom, affirmational fandom, anime fandom, slash fandom, yaoi fandom, gaming fandom, music fandom, sports fandom, and elsewhere.
Some see misogyny in certain types of fannish interactions:
- when female fans are mistreated, sexually harassed, or simply disparaged or treated as mere "booth babes" or otherwise of lesser importance.
- when fanboys doubt the sincerity of fangirls' interest
- when media coverage focuses on male fans and excludes or downplays the participation of women -- except for those in sexualized or ditzy outfits
- when media coverage focuses on female fans to make fun of them, or makes fun of fandoms identified with women, such as Twilight or One Direction
- when fans do the same
- when female fans blogging about misogyny in fandom get harrassed
- when works by female fantasy and SF writers are not mentioned, or mentioned only in passing, in general discussions on the genre; when they are omitted from 'best of' lists and other types of media exposure, mainstream or otherwise;
- when women fans themselves don't take fandom seriously, because it's "a girl thing", especially associated with young women in their teens and twenties
- when we accuse other fans of not being able to argue logically because they're women
In Media Fandom
Media fandom, and especially Slash fandom, are predominantly female spaces, so it may seem odd that misogyny in fandom has been a topic of discussion for years. In addition to discussions about pan-fandom issues, debates about misogyny in media fandom in particular center on the way fans interact with the source text:
- when fans disparage female characters, especially women cast as romantic objects for our favorite male characters or those we want to imagine in relationships with other men. Such characters are dismissed so frequently and with such fervor that fans are beginning to seriously discuss it in terms of internalized sexism.;
- when fans (even heterosexual ones) disparage heterosexual romance in fiction on the grounds that it's "gross" (see Het Is Ew on TVTropes)
- when fans write about the male characters in a fandom and ignore or even kill off the female characters (see The Cartwright Syndrome, Women in Refrigerators and Mysterious Wife Plague)
- when fans write hate mail to writers and producers for including a female lead or a female romantic interest for one of the heroes -- or even send death threats to the actress in question;
- the rarity of "f/f", girl slash, or female-character-focused general stories, compared to the abundance of "m/m", boy slash and male-character-focused gen stories.
- when competent female characters are accused of being Mary Sue or cliches, while similar male characters are beloved (see Female Character Flowchart)
- when flawed female characters are judged harshly and condemned, while similarly flawed male characters are excused, justified and defended
- when important female characters with leading roles are ignored in favor of minor male characters with minimal characterization and/or screentime (see Two White Guys)
Studio higher-ups often manipulate film and television shows with fannish appeal -- including fantasy, science fiction, action-adventure and "buddy cop" -- in order to maintain a focus on males and sideline women characters. This meddling contributes to viewer perception of women as being extraneous baggage, or at least as less important. As canon creators have become aware of slash fandom, they may insert content that pertains to perceived relationships between male characters. Even if this is done in a humorous, teasing manner as a way of "talking back" to the fans, it nonetheless serves as an excuse to further diminish female characters.
When women are portrayed in a canon source as action heroes, they are often hypersexualized for the benefit of men in the audience. This preserves the illusion of a "feminist" theme or story while attracting the more desirable male demographic. Lara Croft of Tomb Raider, the adventurer-archaeologist with improbably huge breasts, is an infamous example. An attempt to make her more realistic in the second Tomb Raider adventure apparently involved making her a fragile and vulnerable "girl" rather than the tough, confident and vigorous hero of the first installment.
Of course, these are really symptoms of a much larger problem concerning sex and gender conflicts in everyday life. But the focus of this article is on fandom. This means we must also look at business, such as the entertainment industry and the tech sector, especially game design, that have a lot of influence on fandom and may employ men and women who are fans.
Disliking female characters in canon
Fannish dislike for female characters seems to happen much more often than random chance or general patterns of character bashing could adequately account for. Almost every fandom has at least one female character whom fans profess to "hate". She is just as likely to be an ally as an adversary. One of the most famous examples among anime fans is Relena Darlian-Peacecraft in Gundam Wing; "kill Relena" discussions abounded in the heyday of the show.
It is not uncommon to find epithet-laden screeds about virtually any woman with screen-time on any film or show with fannish appeal (fantasy, science fiction or action-adventure, anime). Female characters in RPG video games such as Final Fantasy come in for their share as well. The level of anti-female character venom among some fans is bizarrely high, especially given the general fannish love for adversarial characters such as Darth Vader -- not to mention the fact that most fans are women.
Occasionally, communities will be formed with names like "kill [female character]". Members post stories where the character dies in a humiliating way. This type of community is only rarely found for male characters.
In the 2010s, this antipathy towards female characters has spread to the actresses who play them. Sherlock fans reacted with dismay at the news that Amanda Abbington was going to play John Watson's (canonical!) wife Mary. Abbington, who is the common-law wife of Watson's actor Martin Freeman, reported having received death threats from devotees who support the idea of a romance between the two male leads. Many of these fans actually believe that with enough pressure, producer Stephen Moffat would allow Holmes and Watson to become lovers on the show. See Sherlock/John for more detail. Mary died in a later episode. Although (and because) this is true to the canon, Mary's death presents its own set of implications and questions: Sherlock takes place in modern times, but its female characters are still being used to portray what media critic Sophie Gilbert rightly calls "stale gendered archetypes".
Death threats were also received by Anna Gunn, who plays Skyler White on Breaking Bad. Here, it is not a question of a woman interfering with a fantasied slash ship, but simply the fact that the show celebrates the ruthless, often criminal behavior of ex-schoolteacher Walter White, and his wife Skyler is portrayed as constantly calling him on his evil deeds. Anna believes her character's willingness to speak up and have the courage of her convictions violates the image most people have of how a woman should behave.
- On narrow genre tastes, female characters, and a wider variety of books (2007)
- "You know I wouldn't want it any other way..." (2007)
Sidelining or killing canon female characters
Another fannish trend often attributed to misogyny is fan-written stories or fanfics that do not give the romantic history of their canon love-interest appropriate weight. For instance, this was a common complaint in Highlander fandom. According to established canon, Tessa Noël was one of the main loves -- if not the love -- of Duncan MacLeod's centuries-long life. But discussions and stories by fans -- even those that were nonsexual -- tended to make much more of his loss of his friend and mentor Darius than his loss of Tessa. It may not be anti-female, but it reflects a tendency in fandom to value women less.
Slash writers often kill off canon female partners to get them out of the way of the desired male/male pairing. (See Mysterious wife plague, The Cartwright Curse or Women in refrigerators, or Die For Our Ship on TVTropes.) Some of the hatred toward Mary Sues and those who write them may be an offshoot of this phenomenon.  Again, most fan writers are women.
Here is my theory. People enjoy sex. They love to imagine making out with the guys. . . but writing about S & H falling for beautiful and intelligent women makes everyone else jealous. Besides that, it breaks up the wonderful, loyal, male-male bonding friendship. . . So, we get S & H making out with each other, described in detail or not. Sex is sex and the reader can get as much vicarious enjoyment out of it as the forbidden Mary Sue stories while keeping the characters loyal to each other.
Vilifying the female love-interest to justify breaking them up to make room for the m/m pairing is another time-honored technique in slash fiction writing.
Television producers contribute to this attitude with their treatment of women. Often, it is not the writers' decision but that of the studio or network in charge. Women in general are portrayed on television as disposable, often for the purpose of showing how evil an adversarial character is. Even canon female characters, especially those that are in power positions, are often killed off in series.  This is what happened to Capt. Tryla Scott in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Conspiracy".
These creator decisions reflect a larger problem within the media industry as a whole. Statistics compiled by various media, journalism and women's studies projects illustrate that women make up only a small percentage of media voices, to the point that legal experts have called for investigations into violations of the civil rights of women media professionals. Films with female lead characters are dismissed as "chick flicks", presumably appealing only to women viewers unless they "deliver" (include nudity or explicit sex scenes).
In most other genres, women characters are routinely downplayed or kept to traditional supporting roles (wives, mothers), creating subtle associations for adult and child viewers. In her blog Reel Girl, feminist blogger Margot McGowan analyzes the fact that groups of imaginary characters in commercials, movies and TV usually feature several males and one female. She believes this amounts to cultural conditioning that leads girls to see themselves as a minority. In the real world, females are 51% of the population. 
Until the 1960s, most science fiction and fantasy focused on male characters, partly out of a perception that space exploration would be a tough, dangerous and thus "manly" business -- similar to the mythologized western United States in the media fandom of its day, consisting of dime Western novels and pulp magazines. Again, the lack of identifiable-with female characters led female readers, and female authors, to identify with the men and exclude women in their own work. Sime~Gen's Jacqueline Lichtenberg explains:
I grew up on SF with all-male characters end learned to identify with males for lack of any good female leads. I guess times are changing. But as yet, I find it unnecessary to write about females.
Additionally, there is a long-established tradition in film and TV production that women must be conventionally attractive and sexualized; this demand is overtly expressed at the level of character breakdown, the one- or two-line summary of a character used by casting directors to look for the right actors.
The oversexualization of women in media sources has been cited by fans as making them unable to identify with female characters, contributing to their detraction of their own body image, and as a rationale for writing slash:
I can’t normally read het romances, a little dabbled into a greater plot is fine, but a pure romance is a hell no. I can’t watch rom-coms or romantic movies that way and for the same reason:
I will never have what those women have. I cannot be that woman. Comparatively, I will always be lesser, have been told I will always be lesser, and these things make me acutely aware that I don’t measure up. So it hurts. It hurts to be reminded of all my failings and the fact that no one will ever see me as a romantic lead or even potential romance in someone’s life.
With slash, I don’t have to worry about it. I can enjoy the romance, the relationship, the banter, the squabbles, the LIFE, without putting myself in a position to constantly compare myself to the leads and finding myself coming up short every time. I’m not a man. I have no desire to be one (though if you do, go for it and I’ll support you every step of the way). I literally cannot be that character, so it’s free of that burden and I can simply enjoy two people finding each other and finding something I never will.
For me, I don’t really think it’s internalized misogyny, but more being told and taught to hate everything about me. For years, I didn’t even feel female as I did everything wrong in society’s eyes. Took me a long time to just be me and learn my gender was secondary.At least with slash, I can enjoy the idea of love even if it’s something I gave up on finding long ago.
Ignoring female characters in fanworks
One of the oldest arguments about the treatment of female characters in fanfiction pertains to the comparative enthusiasm for male characters over female characters in fanfic. This is not only a problem in male/male sex stories or "slash"; female characters are underrepresented in non-explicit, general audience writing as well, although, obviously, less so in heterosexual romantic stories.
Fans who do not consider this an issue point out that they don't have a lot to work with. It's reasonably accepted that Hollywood, at least, is actively opposed to female leads and even female strong characters. The stars of shows with fan appeal (live-action or anime fantasy, science fiction, comic book adaptations or action-adventure series) tend to be male; bigger parts, better writing. When women are the first or second lead of a fannish type show, they're still usually written by male script writers and still tend not to be well written. It is, of course, difficult to write fanfiction about characters who are consistently minimized and given mediocre characterization within canon. (See Star Trek Dance Floor)
At this point, the first group of fans usually point out that extremely minor male characters are often fleshed out and given popular pairings in sex stories, while minor female characters generally don't get these opportunities.
In some fandoms, even the way that sexual pairings are described can be revealing. Heterosexual pairings are often written with the male's surname and female's first name, e.g. "Smith/Mary", rather than both characters' first or last names. Homosexual or "slash" pairings are usually described with either both last name, or both first name: John/Fred, Smith/Jones.  For example, Hypatia Kosh's 2000 review of Star Trek: The New Voyages mentions the Claire Gabriel novel Simple Gifts (online here), and describes it as "Spock/f", as if the female lead -- Dr. Sarah Halstead, who is the POV character for much of the novel -- is so inconsequential that her name isn't worth mentioning.
Rarity of female/female sex or romance stories in fandom
- See also Prevalence of Femslash.
- Even now, there aren't a lot of shows with two strong female characters (especially where one or both of them aren't pining after male characters on the show), and they were even rarer in the '80s and '90s.
- Straight women aren't as turned on by the mechanics of f/f, so there is no audience. (This argument carries its own baggage by assuming that slashers are overwhelmingly straight women, which is not necessarily the case.)
- We are used to seeing women having intimate emotional relationships, so it isn't necessary to create fictional versions, or easy to differentiate the friendship from a sexual relationship in them.
- We aren't used to seeing women have intimate emotional relationships in fiction (as the Bechdel Test indicates), and so we have nothing to go on.
- Female authors might conceivably write from personal experience or insights, but may shy away from it because they've been told it leads to self-inserts or Mary Sue.
Women are also sidelined in amateur fiction simply by the dearth of heterosexual stories in which they might appear as female love interests, even if the hero is depicted in canon as attracted to women. Female "guest stars" often appeared in early Star Trek fan fiction, as they did on the show, but became less numerous as fans moved beyond the structure of television episodes for their short stories, and particularly after the Mary Sue flak post-1973.
Why are women so scarce in SF -- the literature, among the fans, and most of all, among the writers? - Ursula K. LeGuin, speaking at WorldCon 1975 in Melbourne.
Women have been a presence in fantasy and science fiction from the earliest days.  However, the history of science fiction and fantasy literature beginning in the 1940s reveals a preponderance of male names and a longstanding presumption that most fans and most professional authors were men. Of course, this is untrue. Female fans have always existed, along with female authors who might write using their initials male pseudonyms or a sexually ambiguous name.In his book Partners in Wonder, Eric Leif Davin reveals that women authors also concealed their names to protect their everyday jobs, as science fiction was considered less than respectable. Also, owing to job scarcity in the post-WWII era, it was common practice to fire employees who were revealed to have a second source of income. Women's place in the post-war workplace was precarious enough, with the U.S. government directing media and medicine to shame women into homemaker roles. In the 1950s, women became more visible. Feminism and gay liberation rose to prominence in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and science fiction became a more respected genre, allowing more women to openly join the ranks of authors and fans.
Notable Misogyny discussions
- discussions relating to Harlan Ellison's groping professional science fiction author Connie Willis onstage during the Hugo Awards ceremony at Worldcon (2006)
- discussions relating to the Open Source Boob Project (2008)
- the debate over whether Supernatural's Season 3 was noticeably more sexist than previous seasons, resulting in the Bitch Watch project in which a fan using the handle Apocalypsos counted the number of times per season the words "bitch", "slut", "skank", and "whore" were spoken by the leads on the show. 
- the debate over the Sherlock Holmes re-imagining Elementary which has an Asian-American woman playing Watson: Robert Doherty came up with this idea as a way of trying to address Sherlock's canon misogyny.
- the unconscionable behavior of panel moderator Theodore Krulik and high-profile BNF Rene Walling towards professional author Genevieve Valentine at the 2011 Readercon. Valentine was patronized by the former during a panel discussion on Frankenstein, and stalked and sexually harassed throughout the convention by the latter. Readercon's standard rules require that behavior like Walling's merits a ban for life, but the committee only suspended him for two years. After professional author Veronica Schanoes circulated a petition, signed by both men and women, protesting this move, Readercon's committee resigned en masse and the new committee banned Walling for life.   
- As a response to the 2011 Readercon incident, Veronica Schanoes disclosed that she had been sexually harassed and threatened at Readercon in 2008 by Aaron Agassi, a mentally ill fan who had already been banned for life from several other conventions for similar behavior.  Valentine had written about Agassi's behavior in her 2008 ReaderCon review, sans names.
- In January 2013, the publishers of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America bulletin were criticized for using sexist language. Their less than mature responses sparked huge amounts of criticism from both men and women online.
- In 2014, controversy arose over Ubisoft's lack of a female playable character option in Assassin's Creed: Unity. The sarcastic hashtag #WomenAreTooHardToAnimate emerged based on many developer comments such as "A female character means that you have to redo a lot of animation, a lot of costumes," "It was really a lot of extra production work," and similar.
- discussions relating to Was Fanfic Any Different in the Olden Days? (2015 Tumblr discussion thread) (2015)
Pro-female and pro-female character fan activity
Responses to the lack of fanworks about female characters have often come in the form of fests or ficathons. The Femgenficathon, founded and run by gehayi, was one such response. Originally designed in 2005 to combat the lack of female-character gen stories in Harry Potter fandom, it became panfandom the next year due to overwhelming demand.
Galpalficathon, subtitled I Will Not Be Afraid Of Women (a line from the Dar Williams)) song As Cool As I Am) was a prompt-based ficathon from 2008, specifically for exploring nonsexual female relationships (instead of female characters in isolation or femslash.)
Halfamoon, started in 2008, is an annual fourteenday challenge celebrating female characters.
The in-depth Mary Sue discussion, begun on Metafandom in early 2010 with an essay by Dreamwidth member boosette, Why Mary Sue Shaming Is Bully Culture and carried over various Dreamwidth and Livejournal blogs, led to the discussion groups So Sue Me, She's Awesome and Hooked On Heroines among other online communities.
The Rarewomen LiveJournal community was founded in November 2011 as a winter fic exchange for stories about female characters who are rarely written about.
Femslash February was started in 2014 on Tumblr to promote female/female relationships in fanworks. The challenge has spread to multiple platforms and has spawned related challenges, such as Femslash February Celebrates Black Women.
This has all happened before, and it will happen again
In 2008, Sandy Herrold related a story that not only illustrates how long fans have been discussing responses to female characters, but points out the networks' complicity in sidelining or eliminating females. As she was reading through old forum posts, she found that she had said:
- "It was interesting talking at to fans who at least claim to have some level of inside knowledge, talking about the "I hate grrls" club on the set (not just the two leads, but everybody up to the producers); not so much because she is a female, but because the network has insisted they have one.
- "According to more than one fan, it was borderline intentional; i.e., play all of the scenes with her completely flat, and they'll have to admit that her character doesn't fit."
Sandy assumed this was part of a discussion on female characters in the 2008 show Supernatural before realizing that the post was ten years old and had to do with Cassie, a female character in The Sentinel.
Susan Faludi writes about deliberately negative portrayals of females as either incompetent or predatory:
The popular cable television series Rescue Me, about fictional New York City firefighters after 9-11, revolved around an all-male firehouse brimming with buff studs in which women figured as bitchy ex-girlfriends, harridan wives, or, most frequently, 'booty call' nymphets in spandex whose character development generally followed an arc from brain-dead sex machine to Fatal Attraction psychotic. Toward the end of the show's first season, a lone firewoman [played by Laura Miles] was introduced to the house: "The bean counters lower their standards so they can make their bitch quotas", the chief gripes to his men. She isn't up to the job, can't win the acceptance of the "brothers", initiates an affair with one of the firemen in the house -- and is eliminated from the script by the end of the second season.
Curiously enough, this never seemed to be a problem in the very earliest Star Trek fandom, although Gene Roddenberry was an avowed sexist, who stated that women were mere "set dressing" and once suggested that a planet's culture was peaceful because the women put out.  Leonard Nimoy said that Roddenberry spoke in production meetings about how "all women were cunts" who should not be allowed into any position of real power.  His obsession with certain physical types led Bob Justman and others who worked on the show to speak about "a Roddenberry woman" -- everyone knew what was meant. His original conception for Deanna Troi was that she should be a "four-breasted, oversexed hermaphrodite". In "Wolf in the Fold", Spock (!) commented that women are "more easily frightened" than men. In Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath's Shatner: Where No Man, Leonard Nimoy had this to say about "Turnabout Intruder": "What [Roddenberry] set out to prove was that this lady, given command of the ship, would blow it." Marshak adds that the episode "loads the dice" by making the woman mentally unstable instead of showing a rational female in command.
Much of the sexism in Star Trek is covered in Tom Lalli's excellent essay "Same Sexism, Different Generation".  Lalli is quoted in essays on the Christian fan blog Potluck deconstructing the Left Behind series in terms of its portrayal of women.
Still, Roddenberry's "females as set dressing" meant that women were visible on the show week after week. Viewers saw women in a variety of roles and engagements, with a black woman at back center stage -- right behind the Captain's chair, so you couldn't miss her -- in nearly every episode. This was especially important to children, as these women provided inspiring examples.
And while acknowledging that Captain Kirk seemed to have an "alien babe of the week", especially in the third season, fan writings of the period did not disparage Elaan, Deela, Miramanee etc. Poems were written about Leila Kalomi and Shahna. The zine Beyond Antares was focused entirely on Uhura. In the pre-Mary Sue era, many stories included women "guest stars" in roles similar to those on the show.
Resources & Further Reading
- Eschergirls, "a blog to archive and showcase the prevalence of certain ways women are depicted in illustrated pop media, specifically how women are posed, drawn, distorted, and sexualized out of context, often in ridiculous, impossible or disturbing ways that sacrifice storytelling."
- Women in Speculative Fiction at Wikipedia.
- Joanna Russ, How to Suppress Women's Writing. Univ. of Texas, 1983.
- Mick Doherty, Manifesto for an Empath. Examination of Deanna Troi's character in the context of feminism and assumed traits of Generation X (1993)
- Slash as Flashpoint; archive link (2005)
- makes you like the female characters you do?, Archived version (2005)
- Eric Leif Davin, Partners in Wonder: Women And the Birth of Science Fiction, 1926-1965. Oxford, England: Lexington, 2006.
- Susan Faludi, Backlash, the Undeclared War Against American Women. 15th anniversary edition, Broadway 2006. The chapter entitled "Teen models and unwed witches: the backlash on TV" illustrates many examples of misogyny in the media, especially the downplaying of strong, self-willed and independent women characters.
- Fannish Misogyny Bingo Card, by Esorlehcar (with help from several other fans.) Posted on September 01, 2008. See also Cheryl Morgan, Female Invisibility Bingo, posted 2011-05-31.
- Robin Reid, Women in Science Fiction and Fantasy, volumes 1 and 2. Greenwood, 2008.
- Mary Beard, The Public Voice of Women. London Review of Books, March 20, 2014, entire text online. Discusses the origins of Western culture's assumption that women's voices are of no consequence, going back to ancient Greece where it was a sign of maturity for a man to order a woman -- even his own mother -- to shut up. "One of the questions at the back of my mind is the connection between publicly speaking out in support of a female logo on a banknote, Twitter threats of rape and decapitation, and Telemachus' put-down of Penelope."
- Charlotte Frost, The Male-Female Thing, posted April 9, 2013 --"Slash fandoms had a hard time finding a middle ground between "Mary Sue" and "misogynist". As a writer, your best bet was simply not to have any female characters. But then readers start wondering why everybody is male."; WebCite
- David Barnett, The incredible shrinking presence of women SF writers. In the Guardian, 2011-05-31.
- An Open Letter to the Doctor Who Fandom, posted July 2013, discussing the possibility that Doctor Who, traditionally played in successive "regenerations" by male actors, could regenerate as a female. "If you don’t see why regenerating into a woman would be only be “credible” or valuable to the narrative if it was the symptom of a plague that needs to be “cured” is offensive as all get out to female viewers and female-allies, you are currently demonstrating what the root of this problem is with this discussion currently: There is nothing wrong with being a woman, and a woman is not a terrible, inferior being." 
- Greg Sandoval, The End of Kindness: Weev and the Cult of the Angry Young Man. In The Verge, 2013-09-12. General article about the prevalence of sexual degradation and harassment of women online, including the Kathy Sierra story and the harassment of Caroline Criado-Perez for campaigning (successfully) to get Jane Austen's picture on British money. See also The Trolls Among Us by Mattathias Schwartz, New York Times 2008-08-03.
- Kathy Sierra, Why the Trolls Will Always Win, October 2014. "I now believe the most dangerous time for a woman with online visibility is the point at which others are seen to be listening, 'following', 'liking', 'favoriting', retweeting. ... From the hater's POV, you do not 'deserve' that attention."
- Kameron Hurley, The Culture Wars Come to Sci-Fi Atlantic Monthly, 2015-04-09. Discusses the Sad Puppies movement and their apparent hijacking of the 2015 Hugo Awards, supposedly to restore science fiction to the "good old stuff" of former times and claiming past nominees were overwhelmingly preachy screeds by "left-wing control freaks who have subjected science fiction to ideological control for two decades and are now attempting to do the same thing in the game industry"... yada yada yada. See also George R.R. Martin's dissection of all this in Where's The Beef?
- "The misogyny towards fanfiction", 2015 article by by Nandhini Narayanan in the Duke University Chronicle.
- A Plea to Fandoms - Stop Erasing the Women!, Archived version (2016)
- Gamergate controversy entry at Wikipedia.
- Foz Meadows, Rape Culture in Gaming. June 11, 2012. Defines rape culture and discusses the Anita Sarkeesian scandal.
- Elisa Meléndez, What it's like for a girl gamer: harassment in the gaming world. In Slate, 2012-08-13.
- Amy O'Leary, Sexual harassment in online gaming stirs anger. In the New York Times, 2012-08-02.
- Tasneem Raja, Why It Sucks to Be a Woman in the Video Game Industry. Mother Jones, Nov. 27, 2012. Thousands of women working in the video game industry are coming forward with stories of vicious sexism they've faced on the job.
- Aja Romano, How female gamers and comic fans fight real-life sexism online. Daily Dot, July 28, 2012. Discusses the Readercon scandal and quotes from high-profile female fans, with many links.
- Anita Sarkeesian's Feminist Frequency Blog. Ms. Sarkeesian is working on the "Tropes vs. Women in Video Games" project (first episode here -- don't watch the videos on the sidebar that aren't by FeministFrequency... the others are all by people making fun of her and trolling her.). When she put up a page asking for contributions to fund the project, she asked for $6000 and received over $60,000. She also received (and continues to receive) numerous death threats, rape threats, and her Wikipedia page was repeatedly vandalized with racial slurs and images of graphic pornography... all before she even started the project. In August 2014, Ms. Sarkeesian notified police and moved out of her home after a series of harassing twitters indicated that the sender knew her address.  She was featured in the January 15, 2015 edition of ABC's Nightline.
- As an example of the way women are treated in the gaming industry itself, the DOS attack on gaming platform company SendGrid after developer Adria Richards called a couple of co-workers out on Twitter for some blue remarks. Richards was subsequently fired. See also feminist blogger Amanda Blum's take in How We All Lost.
- About Feminism (published in May 2014) is an open letter detailing routine bullying and harassment toward women in the tech industry in general.
- "Women Are Being Driven Offline": Feminist Anita Sarkeesian Terrorized for Critique of Video Games. Democracy Now!, October 20, 2014. Discusses misogyny in gaming and the origins of Gamergate in the Zoe Quinn "scandal". WebCite
- "The only Worldcon I attended, I was sexually harassed in the hotel hallways; ignored by dealers who thought I couldn't possibly be interested in buying their manly sciency books, because my hair would get caught in the binding; and my art show sales check arrived weeks late...then bounced." Dreamwidth comment by phosfate, in response to an untitled set of links on sexism in sf/f, by feminist fan/blogger coffeeandink, dated 2011-06-21.
- Jim C. Hines, Don't Look Away: Fighting Sexual Harassment in the Scifi/Fantasy Community. Gizmodo, August 29, 2016.
- Natalie Wilson, Women attend ComicCon, but don't run the show. Ms. magazine, July 18, 2012.
- Spike.com, The Booth Babes of Comic Con 2011
- The Costumed Women of Comic Con in Entertainment Weekly, July 15, 2012.
- The Women of Comic Con in Los Angeles Times, July 13, 2012.
- For examples in the gaming community, see the Vox summary of Gamer Gate, September 7, 2014; Gamergate and the New Misogyny, Medium.com, November 14, 2014; and How 4chan Manufactured the #GamerGate controversy, Wired UK, 2014-09-10. See also The All-Too-Familiar Harassment Against Feminist Frequency, and What The Gaming Community Can Do About It at The Mary Sue, June 12, 2012.
- "Now that it’s evident girls really like guys who like guys, no matter how misguided it may be, we have come to a unique time in television writing: queer-baiting. The idea of queer-baiting is specifically putting gay/homoerotic subtext in relationships in order to keep girls interested in the show. However, the writers/cast keep just enough out to keep the men interested." Alison "Boom" Baumgartner, The Downside of Slash Fangirling. In her blog Loving the Alien, August 28, 2013. (One assumes "the men" refers to the straight men.)
- Louisa Peacock, I don't need reminding that Lara Croft is a woman. Telegraph, 2013-02-26.
- Suzanne Lazarus, Jessica Chastain: movie studios over-sexualise kickass women. In Radio Times, September 28, 2015. Chastain gives Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) in Alien, Sarah (Linda Hamilton) in Terminator 2 and Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) in The Hunger Games as more realistic examples.
- Cindi May, The Problem with Female Superheroes. Scientific American, June 23, 2015.
- Soraya Chemaly, In tech world, women ignored. CNN Opinion, 2013-10-15.
- e.g. Kill Sam Carter community on LJ or LISA BRAEDEN MUST DIE on tumblr
- e.g. "alt.tv.startrek.wesley.crusher.die.die.die, or Die Ron Die community on Livejournal -- for Ron Weasley from Harry Potter
- 'Sherlock' fans lash out over sunken 'Johnlock' ship. Daily Dot, April 26, 2013.
- Sophie Gilbert, The Troublesome Women of Sherlock. The Atlantic, January 5, 2017.
- Breaking Bad's Anna Gunn Gets Death Threats From Skyler Haters -- Why? Wet Paint, August 24, 2013.
- e.g. Female characters, again, fabu. Accessed 20 November 2008.
- For an interesting, in-depth look at slash as a reflection of internalized misogyny, read defenestration-and-more's response to 'Why do Fangirls Always Make Them Gay', July 7, 2014.
- "Apparently the worst thing a woman can commit in m/m fiction is to love one of the main characters and have any claims over him." Aleksandr Voinov, Letters from the Front blog entry "'Kill the bitch' - a couple thoughts on women in m/m fiction"
- "Anonymous Lane, State of Anonymous", letter to S & H 16, December 1980.
- Dead Girls, Killer Ratings at Salon, 2015-04-14.
- "I just hope, given CBS’s history of killing off female characters in power positions, they’re smart enough to realize how central Linda Hunt’s acting ability is to the success of this show and will do anything they can to keep her onboard." Comment by arial2 in an entry on TVLine talking about the 2012 season finale to NCIS Los Angeles; rumors abounded that veteran actress Linda Hunt's character would be killed. (She wasn't, but Senior Agent Lauren Hunter (Claire Forlani) was.)
- "My historic strong female captain is Tryla Scott. She appeared on screen long before Janeway, was highly respected by her peers; was in fact the youngest officer to gain the post of Captain in quite a while. And ends up possessed, controlled, shot and never heard from again." From Open Letter to Elizabeth Bear, on the blog Seeking Avalon, 2009-01-13.
- Soraya Chemaly, 'Too Much Estrogen': The Golden Globes, Chris Christie and Men Who Don't Want to Share Culture Huffington Post, January 13, 2014.
- ACLU, Citing Bias Against Women, Wants Inquiry Into Hollywood’s Hiring Practices. New York Times, May 12, 2015.
- Case in point.
- Margot McGowan, Females 51% of the population, but a minority in imaginary characters and real-life power positions. Reel Girl, March 14, 2012.
- Jacqueline Lichtenberg, creator of Sime~Gen and many other professional novels, along with the Kraith fan fiction series, speaking in 1979. From a letter exchange in A Companion in Zeor #4.
- "Across the board, audiences today are subjected daily to female characters who are not, for lack of a better word, ordinary. They are almost always gorgeous, fit, sexy and dating or married to someone not nearly as attractive as they are. Men can be all shapes and sizes on film; women must be hot.... Here are a few of the descriptors I encountered for female characters: Smoking hot, beautiful, cool, personable, attractive, fit, stylish, siren, curvaceous, sexy, alluring and flawless (did I mention sexy? It shows up a lot). For male ones: filthy rich, confident, wealthy, businessman, authoritative, debonair, corporate giant, brash, corn-fed, pudgy, adorable, serial killer, funny, smart, famous, passionate and handsome. As you can see, breakdowns for women put much more emphasis on looks." Hollywood's Hidden Sexism, Salon, January 25, 2014.
- lokeanrampant's tumblr post dated July 9, 2014.
- just a typical prototype (that's all that you'll let me be), musesfool. Accessed 20 November 2008.
- "Why film schools teach screenwriters not to pass the Bechdel test", Hathor Legacy blog. Accessed 19 November 2008
- Warner's Jeff Robinoff declares "We are no longer doing movies with women in the lead". Page found 2011-04-25.
- A-G-E-N-C-Y, jonquil. Accessed 19 November 2008.
- As of summer 2017, we shall see if this changes with the new Wonder Woman picture starring Gal Gadot and Connie Nielsen.
- Meta/Rant: thetimebeing's LJ: Pairing Names and the Diminution of Teyla and Ronon and Female Characters in General. This article also talks about the way this happens with stories featuring alien/human couples. This may be connected to the fact that in general aliens are racially coded other, another contentious discussion in fandom.
- "Claire Gabriel, who wrote 'Ni Var,' is now online, and her novel, 'Simple Gifts' is as well. The story is Spock/f, although slash fans may also enjoy it." From Pro Book Reviews, by Hypatica Kosh, 2000.
- According to Susan Faludi in her book Backlash, Cagney & Lacey barely made it to television at all. The studio insisted that Sharon Gless be cast in favor of the "too masculine" Meg Foster, and repeatedly demanded that both women be made softer, more "feminine", and be given clothing and backstories to indicate that they were "ladies" off duty. Their rationale was that female viewers might be "intimidated" by realistic women police. Storylines were altered to cut out references to abortion rights, and a cameo by Gloria Steinem was vetoed by the network's Standards and Practices bureau. Even after the changes, Cagney and Lacey were perceived by CBS executives as "inordinately abrasive, loud, lacking warmth" and spending "more time fighting the system than doing police work. We perceived them as dykes." When the show was cancelled in 1986, tens of thousands of letters came streaming in from loyal viewers. They had to put it back on.
- poll: ficwriting and sexuality, wisdomeagle. Accessed 20 November 2008.
- Public Post: M/M vs. F/F, tehilis. Accessed 20 November 2008.
- come home before midnight, copracat. Accessed 19 November 2008.
- In What I don't understand about the fear of Mary Sue (2003-01-26), fan writer/analyst Carmarthen said: "I have seen m/m slash writers say that one of the reasons they write what they write is because they are afraid that if they write about female characters, they will use their own female perspective in the writing, which leads to Mary Sues."
- The first science fiction novel, Frankenstein, was written by Mary Shelley. Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Marjorie Bowen, Ellen Glasgow, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps and Dion Fortune are some other early fantasy/SF/weird fiction authors.
- Among them were L. Taylor Hansen, C.L. (Catherine) Moore, Leigh Brackett, Andre Norton and James Tiptree, Jr. (Dr. Alice Sheldon). Ursula K. LeGuin had a story published in Playboy under "U.K. LeGuin" and says "I have felt a little bent, a little bit U-shaped, ever since." The first woman SF author to use her full name was Zenna Henderson, whose "The People" stories first appeared in 1952. Other female F&SF authors of that period include Kit Reed, Carol Emshwiller, Miriam Allen deFord, Mary-Alice Schnirring, and Mildred Clingerman.
- Eric Leif Davin, Partners in Wonder: Women And the Birth of Science Fiction, 1926-1965. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books 2006.
- Viewers of classic 1950s-60s television may notice references to "moonlighting" as a controversial, quasi-illegal practice. This is why.
- "'He's head man again,' the magazine House Beautiful reminded its female readers. 'Your part . . . is to fit his home to him, understanding why he wants it this way, forgetting your own preferences.'" Yeesh. Stephanie Coontz, A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s (New York: Basic Books, 2011), chapter 3.
- See also Courtney Catt, Trapped in the Kitchen: How Advertising Defined Women's Roles in 1950s America. Thesis submitted to Baylor University, Waco, Texas, May 2014. WebCite
- The Harlan Ellison Incident at shrub.com, 2006-08-30.
- Jen Volant, GropeGate. Livejournal entry dated 2006-09-03.
- Bitch Watch : Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. "Season one -- Dean or Sam refer to a woman by a pejorative three times in twenty-two episodes. Season two -- Dean or Sam refer to a woman by a pejorative three times in twenty-two episodes. Season three -- Dean or Sam refer to a woman by a pejorative eighteen times in sixteen episodes."
- Veronica Schanoes, Letter/petition to the Board of Readercon, dated 7/29/12.
- Genevieve Valentine, The Bad and the Ugly, dated 7/16/12.
- Genevieve Valentine, Readercon: The Verdict, dated 7/27/12.
- Genevieve Valentine, Updates on the Readercon Response, dated 7/28/12.
- Genevieve Valentine, Readercon: Updates, Responses, McMuffins, dated 7/31/12.
- Genevieve Valentine, Readercon: The Outcome, dated 8/5/12.
- Veronica Schanoes, Why Not Come Forward?, dated 7/20/12.
- Fan blogger teamvalkyrieftw, Zero-Tolerance Except if Sowwies, aka That Noise Happening with ReaderCon, dated 7/30/12.
- Fan blogger the_archfiend, Readercon: the Late Unpleasantness, and then some dated 9/11/12.
- Genevieve Valentine, Readercon 2008, dated 7/21/08.
- A Timeline of the 2013 SFWA Controversies by S.L. Huang.
- Post in Sandy's blog, dated November 19, 2008.
- Susan Faludi, The Terror Dream: Fear and Fantasy in Post-911 America (New York: Holt, 2007).
- "Let’s establish that the nature of this place keeps women eternally young, beautiful, and remarkably busty. Perhaps hormones work better here. At any rate, let’s cast and clothe in that direction with a vengeance. This place is remarkably peaceful because the women are beautiful and they screw a lot. Isn’t that logical? Or, if we can’t be logical, let’s at least be provocative." Memo by Roddenberry, quoted in Joel Engel's Gene Roddenberry, the Myth and the Man Behind Star Trek and in Herbert Solow & Robert Justman's Inside Star Trek: The Real Story. John D.F. Black told Engel that remarks like this were a near constant with Roddenberry.
- Fred Freiberger, who came aboard as the third season producer, was no slouch on the misogyny front. According to several sources, including screenwriter Margaret Armen, he was well known for summarizing Star Trek as "tits in space".
- See Clay Geerdes' essay on Clay Geerdes Essays "Star Trek: The Expose", a review of Joel Engel's book. The complete review is near the bottom of the page; you'll have to do a control-F search as he doesn't have the individual essays linked. All of Geerdes' essays are worth reading for his frank observations of the objectification of women and children in American society.
- Herbert F. Solow and Robert H. Justman, Inside Star Trek, The Real Story. Pocket, June 1996.
- Joel Engel, Gene Roddenberry, the Myth and the Man Behind Star Trek. Hyperion, June 1995.
- This memo must have leaked out behind the scenes. Fans of Frasier may recall Noel Shempsky's petition to the producers of Star Trek to create a new character, "the all-powerful space vixen Rozalinda, the four-breasted queen of the planet Rozniak.'
- In Walter Irwin and GB Love (Eds), Best of Trek 15. Roc, June 1990.
- Ryanagi, Sexism and the Star Trek Universe, 2011-07-24.
- A Side Trek into the “real” Beam-me-up realm (gender roles redux), Still Trekkin' and Trek's End, written by 'The Old Maid' in October 2005.
- Not to mention Twitter admins' refusal to do anything about said threats.
- reference link for An Open Letter to the Doctor Who Fandom
- 'The word "troll" feels too childish. This is abuse'. Interview with Sarkeesian in The Guardian, 2015-08-29.
- Juju Chang & Katie Yu, ABC News, When Jumping Into Gamergate Turns Into Fearing for Your Life.