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Synonyms: unexamined privilege, institutionalized racism
See also: Fail better RaceFail '09, SurveyFail, Misogyny in Fandom, Homophobia in Fandom, Race and Fandom, Judaism and Fandom, Ableism in Fandom
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Fail is a suffix now in common use in online communities, many of them fandom communities to name particular imbroglios where people point out an individual's or institution's unexamined privilege as demonstrated by their attitude toward a dis-privileged group. It can also be used as a stand-alone term to characterize the actions of the individual or institution in question.

RaceFail '09 and SurveyFail are perhaps the most high-profile examples. Other common uses include the general term RaceFail and now analogous genderfail, transfail or anything-else-fail.

Fail is also used in fandom in a standalone way to refer to any act of perpetuating oppression without realising it. A fan might describe a fanwork with racist themes as faily or say that it brings the fail. (needs citation) The term fail encompasses the initiating comment or fanwork as well as the resulting defensiveness when it's pointed out.

In 2010 an anonmeme on livejournal called Fail Fandom Anon began to discuss fail in fandom[1]

The usage may be related to other common slang uses of fail as a noun. Epic Fail, FailBlog and the use of the term in video game culture all predate the usage in privilege discussions.[2]

The phrase Fail better, relies on an understanding of this usage of fail.


  1. ^ Go Go Fandom Fail, posted July 4, 2010, accessed July 27, 2010
  2. ^ Fail in the Urban Dictionary, accessed July 27, 2010