Gatekeeping

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Related terms: Elitism in Fandom
See also: Trufan, Fake Geek Girl
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Gatekeeping in fandom is the act of trying to control fan activities, limit access to certain information or define who is, or isn't, a "real" fan of a certain thing.

While fandom elitism may seem accidental or as a consequence of one group of fans having more power/resources than another (such as fans of a lower income feeling that fans with higher incomes are elitist because they can afford higher-end cosplay material, or afford to travel to conventions), gatekeeping in fandom is often purposefully designed to exclude certain groups or beliefs. This can be expressed through a number of means, however a common tactic of fandom gatekeeping is stating that one group of fans aren't "true fans," such as furry lifestylers to more general furries, or dedicated fans to casual fans. Gatekeeping can also be more literal, with fans purposefully excluding other fans for things such as amateur art styles or usage of free vs. paid software (in YouTube Multi Animator Project communities), their tastes in characters or ships ("problematic" vs. more accepted characters/ships), or the social media websites they prefer (such as Twitter and Tumblr, which are sometimes at odds).

Gatekeeping can sometimes be seen positively by those doing it, as they may believe by gatekeeping they are curating their community into a better one. For example, do not interact lists, which are designed to keep certain groups of fans away from a person, are often seen as a means to making one's online experience more tailored to their preferences, despite the negative connotations of the word gatekeeping. However, for other forms of gatekeeping, such as the long and tumultuous relationships among shippers and what they ship, or arguments about how the age of a fan might or might not affect how they interact with fandom (see Ageism in Fandom), the supposed benefits or damages may be much more contentious and complicated.

History

See feral fans and the role of gatekeepers in early (pre-internet) fandom.

Examples

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

Gatekeeping in Wider Fandom

  • Gatekeeping of geek culture and sports culture by male fans

Gatekeeping Within Transformative Fandom

Resources

Academic Articles

References