Fandom and Visibility

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Fandom: Panfandom
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A History of Visibility

Fannish Activities More Visible to Other Fans

In November 1995, Sandy Herrold recounted a conversation she'd had with some other fans about fanworks and the "web":

Well, of course, our conversation (8 fans in a room, late the last day of a con) wasn't definitive, by any means. And in fact, I think 'outcome' might be overstating things anyway. But to summarize:

The 'pro' people said: having zines available on a web site would be a) cool--i.e., the first zine out there would get additional fannish interest, b) it would go along with the 'personalizing your web site' idea: if slash is one of the most important things in your life, your web site should reflect that, and c) it would bring new people to slash

The 'antis' mostly said the same things that are said any time we discuss 'slash' being mentioned in the mundane world: a) could endanger us by making the copyright holders more aware of what we're doing, and b) growth for its own sake is not good: bigger community =! stronger community.

Most of the people there agreed that a flyer *for* *your* *own* zine including a PO box (rather than a home address) could be cool, but we broke down again trying to decide whether you'd link the flyer to a 'zines 101' page, or just let it be self-selecting: people who know what zines are order your zine, people who don't go away confused, and don't cause us trouble (we hope).


I think this would be great. I would love to see certain things available on a web page or ftp site: reviews, con flyers, zine flyers...

I think there would be (some) less paranoia about slash available on line, if the specific things were less attractive: reviews instead of zines, for example. And if the flyers were carefully written not to have 'hot' words in them...


As more than one person has pointed out--for those who do not rip their employers off for their a) net access and b) laser-quality printouts, net versions of zines are probably as or more expensive than usual zines. And high color art on the net is only available to people with PPP/SLIP accounts that most of us do not have yet, and even fewer of us have the facilities to print out that art even if we could see it. [1]

Fannish Activities More Visible to Mainstream Culture

[1996]: Don't want to be a doomsayer, but I see the proliferation of fanfic on the Net as the eventual end of fanfic as we know it. Eventually, the copyright holders will -have- to crack down, and they'll come after us (meaning zine readers and producers) as well as the Net folks. We've been safe for a long time, because we don't rub their collective noses in it. Posting fiction on the Web and on Usenet is doing just that -- and when you add in slash art, you've got a thermonuclear timebomb on your hands. [2]


I don't like the mainstreaming of fandom, but it's not because of embarrassment. I've always been kind of an elitist nerd, if you know what I mean. I used to hate hearing people at school discussing Harry Potter, like "this bunch of newbs shouldn't be talking about something they don't understand". I'm a lot more tolerant and less haughty now, but I still get that feeling when I see how common knowledge fandom is becoming. I don't want the average Joe knowing what fanfiction is. I don't want dumbasses on facebook using memes and talking about shipping. I don't like this stupid trend of portmanteau-ing every pairing like it's not a fucking ship if you don't call it by a ridiculous smush name. To be honest, at the end of the day, being in fandom makes me feel like part of something special and cool and I want it to stay that way.

However, I don't think fandom is "becoming younger". Young people have always been in fandom, it's just that it used to be the norm that we would pretend to be older and not flaunt our underageness around on the internet. I started reading fic and RPing and stuff like that when I only had one digit of age. But I always pretended I was over 18, and so did everyone else. These days the difference is people go around talking about being in school, about their lives and real names and shit, all on the open, and that does annoy me because I hate this trend in the last few years of internet and Real Life coming together. It's the fault of the social networks. Now we have a bunch of fuckers going on the internet, using their real names and shit, and it's become unavoidable, at least in my country. You can't not have a facebook. It pisses me off and that's not the direction I wanted the internet to take, but what can I do, other than sneer and generally be unpleasant about it? Not much.

Subject: Re: I like fandom/fanfic/shipping better as an underground movement: Yes, that's also pretty much my reasoning as to why the mainstreaming of fandom makes me feel uncomfortable. I'd like to be able to say I'm just embarrassed or that I'd like all these young'uns to get offa ma lawn *shakes cane* but in truth I've always viewed fandom as being kind of an exclusive thing that only certain people will ever be able to interact with. Quite possibly I just have a severe case of ~*special snowflake*~ syndrome about the whole topic, but there you go. [3]

Fannish Activities More Visible to Journalists

The Rise of Acafandom

Visibility and Different Platforms: Journaling Communities

  • Newsletters...How Public Are Public Posts? is a September 2005 LiveJournal post by cathexys. It was picked up by Metafandom and excerpted on their roundup of links with this excerpt:
    So one of the fundamental problems is whether it's OK to link to other things online, whom to share this information with, and how public or private LJ entries really are. Because here's the thing: LJ is on this bizarre verge of being both, neither totally one nor totally the other. Some folks don't have robot and spider block so that you can google their public entries; some flock part of their stuff, others most or all. Some change settings continually, keeping posts public for a few days or going through fits of changing filters [...] // And how we regard our own journal, how much info we share in public and private posts, how open we think of our posts will obviously affect how we view other journals. [4]

  • "Some recent fandom kerfluffles revolve around the public/private divide, specifically in reference to livejournal. The very useful stargate_weekly newsletter has (quite sadly) ended in anticipation of avoiding future arguments over the role that linking to personal livejournals plays in the public/private divide." [5]

TPTB: Fandom's Increased Visibility as a Force to Contend With/Harness/Make Money From

More Open Conversation About Sexualities

"...the fact that the actors/directors/authors/etc. seem to be aware of the existence of slash fandom, and in some cases are fairly benevolent towards it, goes a long way in making slash more mainstream, through making it more acceptable, even hip. ;)" [6]

Meta/Further Reading


  1. ^ comments on Virgule-L, quoted with permission (November 1, 1995)
  2. ^ from a fan on Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (November 1996)
  3. ^ comments by two fans at Failfandomanon (July 13, 1912)
  4. ^ Metafandom
  5. ^ If you can't say anything nice, don't say it on the internet., Archived version by splash the cat (Julie) (September 13, 2005)
  6. ^ comment at British Newspaper on Hobbit Slash, at Fanthropology, Feb. 2nd, 2005