Considering the “bad object”: fandom and/as social justice


Fellow fans and aca-friends, lend me your ears and send me your comments!

This weekend, I’m headed to Geek Girl Con to participate in a roundtable with Anita Sarkeesian and Alejandra Espino titled “Let’s Get Critical: Fans, Creators, and Social Justice.”  Here’s the official description:

As fans and creators interested in gender equality and social justice, there are times when our political views seem to interfere with media engagement and media creation. Actions like acknowledging one’s privilege or discovering the systemic misogynist/racist/ableist structures prevalent in our favorite shows, movies, comic books, and video games can be a source of tension. This panel will address the complexities of engaging with media through the lens of social justice, both as fans and as creators.

 As I’ve been thinking through this topic as an acafan, and considering my personal “bad objects”…of which, I’m quickly realizing, there are many…

Smart is the new sexy…unless you’re a woman. Then you should rub your boobs on a chalkboard.

A couple of questions popped immediately to mind, and I’d love to crowdsource some feedback on any of these issues before heading into the roundtable:
  • What is your personal “bad object,” or text (maybe one you abandoned and one you still consider yourself a fan of despite finding it problematic)?
  • Where do we “draw the line,” and how we draw them (e.g. do we just stop watching/playing/financially supporting?  Do we avoid future work from those creators?  Do we create/disseminate critical commentary and/or advocate for others to “draw the line,” etc.).
  • Transformative fan texts are powerful devices to express one’s own personal politics, and speak back to problematic media representations, but how might we accomplish a broader transformative shifts within media industries?  What are the most effective channels/platforms/tactics for raising these issues and encouraging systemic change?
Even better, if you attend this panel, I’d love to hear from you!

One Response

  1. suzannescott says:

    Some “bad object” texts mentioned by my twitter followers:
    – America’s Next Top Model
    – Gone with the Wind
    – 70s/80s slasher films
    – Supernatural
    – The Dark Knight Returns
    – Early Ice Cube records

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