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May 22, 2012

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R

Great interview; I particularly enjoyed your conversation about GRRM fans.

I have to say one thing, though: it bothers me whenever someone attributes the rise of "female fandom" to Potter or Twilight. Women's fandom is a very old thing. Women participated in the SF zine community, and the slash community goes back to the Sixties. In my fifteen years participating in fandoms on livejournal, Dreamwidth, and Archive of our Own, I think I've met two men. Both are my friends now. One turned out to be a woman in electronic drag.

It's also true that I've never been a highly committed fan, never very active, and I'm sure I've assumed that people are women who are not (though these were all slash-friendly communities, something not noted for its male participation). Still, it's been my experience that there is a universe of women's fandom which is still culturally invisible. And it's not swimming in respect when it's not invisible, so I think a lot of people would like to keep it that way. (Others, like the Organization for Transformative Works, wouldn't.)

I definitely think that Potter changed the game for women's fandom, dragging it miles closer to the light, and Twilight fans are bolder still. But the Twilight fans are just a new bloom of a hardy perennial.

And I realize that female fans, especially, are often very cagey and furtive and disinterested in being noticed by critics. A lot of them, after all, are slashers, and I can't think of many creators who encourage slash. There's no way to count these people and I have no idea whether my "universe" is as large as it looks or deceptively small.

Also, I don't think that either of you intend to do the thing I'm complaining about, or even fully are doing it. I mean, Laura Miller is talking about those ladynerd love-triangle debates with obvious familiarity. But the language sneaks in.

Fandom is vast. I barely recognize a lot of what you've spoken about in this fandom issue, and I've always thought I was pretty well-informed.

Jamie Wooten

I always admire people who are wide-readers. It only means one thing, they know a lot of things than to those who only read seldom.

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