I finally got round to listening to episode 1 of the Three Patch Podcast and there is something I cannot get out of my head…
"There’s a long history there of the ways which women engage in media and the ways in which we transform it and make it into something which satisfies us and satisfies needs that we have that we’re not seeing in the media."
Fandom participation, as far as we can reasonably deduce, is a world consisted mainly of women. But why? In the podcast the panel (all female, interestingly) make the answer seem obvious: many texts (be it TV, film, books) are written by men for men, so do women feel a need to adapt the stories into something they want? Is this a bizarre, dare I say, feminist, approach to a text?
Interestingly, this conversation about women in fandom arose from a discussion about the distinction between fans and enthusiasts. So, enthusiasts, historically male, feel comfortable with the text as it is; they are happy to engage in meta but for them fandom is about the text itself and feel no urge to adapt it. But fans, often women (and as the podcast suggest, anyone else who feels their needs have not been met) have this urge to extrapolate the text and make it their own. The podcast panel use the word “transgressive” for this moving away from canon.
Is the predominately female fandom participation, (write fic, make fanart, do cosplay), simply down to us trying to satisfy our needs for more women-orientated media?
I don’t think it’s that simple but I am fascinated. Has there been much research conducted about this? Can anyone link me?