a case for more fanworks about black and brown women, or when Discourse isn’t enough

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Title: a case for more fanworks about black and brown women, or when Discourse isn’t enough
Creator: irresistible-revolution
Date(s): 2018
Medium: Posted to tumblr.
Fandom: Panfandom. Mentions Black Panther (2018), Merlin, The Vampire Diaries, and others.
Topic: Creating transformative works about female characters of color; fandom racism
External Links: On tumblr, Archived by the Wayback Machine
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a case for more fanworks about black and brown women, or when Discourse isn’t enough is a ~2,000 word meta essay by irresistible-revolution. As of March 2021, the essay has 211 notes on tumblr. The essay uses a quote by Ntozake Shange ("I write for young girls of color, for girls who don’t even exist yet, so that there is something there for them when they arrive."), as well as the general legacy of Black women's literary work to argue that there is untapped potential and value in creating fanworks about women of colour. irresistible-revolution also outlines some of the difficulties in doing so.

Some Topics Discussed

  • Fandom culture isn't entirely escapist for female fans of color due to racism.
  • The author's experience of the Merlin fandom as a place where black and brown women created transformative works about Gwen, a black woman.
  • Positives of discourse in pushing back against professional creators who sideline WOC in their works
  • Anti-shipper or purity culture as another obstacle to creating fanworks about WOC
  • Financial burdens and time constraints (which tend to impact WOC disproportionately in real life) impact who can make the most fanworks
  • Discourse takes fewer resources to produce than gifsets or fanart and tends to get more reception than fic
  • Controversy around shipping Shuri and Bucky Barnes

Excerpts

"I wish I could describe that particular moment in [the Merlin] fandom - there was so much excitement, love and creativity gathering around Guinevere’s character, so many stories and AU’s where a black woman, for once, was the center of a fantasy world instead of peripheral to it. I wrote and published fanfic for the first time in years! And there was such a supportive community of Gwen fans who reviewed and shared and encouraged me to write, and shared writing of their own."[1]
"[...] one thing I don’t see many folks discussing is how uneven distribution of fandom resources results in fewer fanworks about characters of color. Simply put, fandoms featuring black women/nonblack women of color have fewer gif makers, fewer artists and fewer writers than other fandoms."[1]
"Fandom today is perhaps more aware of issues of representation than ever before, and yet something feels absent, some vital spark feels like it’s missing. Namely, there’s more Discourse than there is fanworks about black female characters."[1]
"I don’t know how exactly we can begin to address this dearth other than simply to support each other. If you know how to use PS, share that knowledge; make gifsets featuring black and brown women. If you read fanfic, leave a review on stories that you enjoyed featuring women of color. Support writers and fanartists in whatever small way you can. And for those of you that are already doing this work, I know it’s hard and I know it sucks. It would be so much easier to be in a bigger, whiter fandom where there’s far less controversy and far more fanworks with which to shut the world out. But if we don’t do this work, literally no one else will. Yes fandom is a silly, drama-laden space that houses some of the most ridiculous antics known to man. But it’s also a space where stories about black and brown women exist that have no place in the mainstream."[1]

References

  1. ^ a b c d irresistible-revolution. a case for more fanworks about black and brown women, or when Discourse isn’t enough, 2018. Archived from the original on March 16, 2021.