Fangirls: fan perspectives of women in fandoms
(2016) Fangirls: fan perspectives of women in fandoms, no. 48.
This study seeks to find out how fans perceive and think about women in fandoms. It is investigating TV fandoms, a field marred with academic disagreement and focuses on women in fandom; an area many academics agree is overlooked in current studies. By looking at previous literature this research addresses underdeveloped factions of fan studies, identifying modern issues and experiences that exist for women in fandoms. Taking inspiration from academics like Jenkins (1992) and Stanfill (2013) this dissertation approaches women in fandom from the most appropriate and fruitful position; the fan perspective. While the literature review presents current academic progress; through asking fans what they think, it provides an insider position on fandom while giving fresh, relatable and more relevant responses. The dissertation presents how fans discuss female fandom, the obstacles women in fandoms face, issues surrounding fan identities alongside how female fans or 'fangirls' are portrayed on television. Research was done through a case study of TV's Supernatural (2005- ) with male and female Supernatural fans discussing the character of 'fangirl' Becky Rosen. This case study makes use of a popular and active fan base with a variety of experiences allowing an in-depth perspective that audience studies has previously lacked. This research displays that society and the media judge female fandoms, rejecting certain female fan experiences and behaviours and making female fandoms become self-policing communities. Furthermore, it highlights a modern landscape that uses unrealistic or misinformed stereotypes about female fans to justify certain fans while condemning others. This dissertation shows how the media has promoted fear and confusion over female fan identity and has led to an environment of widespread hostility and misrepresentation of women in fandom.