Monday, November 14, 2005

Fandom & Male Privilege

From Cereta:

Media fandom as most of us know it is often largely a female space. By that I mean, many of the circles we run in are made up mostly of women. Women write stories for other women, make vids for other women, talk with other women, go to cons with other women, and while few of us actively want to exclude men, we're not really invested in drawing them in, either. Fandom is one of the few places where you'll actually hear, "Wait, so-and-so's a guy?" And you know, we're kind of used to that.

Except lately, these fairly small spaces have been expanding, and intersecting with spaces where there are more men. And often, everything is fine and dandy. It's just that sometimes, it's not.

Let's take this post for example. Allowing for the moment that the guy was being obnoxious as all shit in his phrasing, there was still a rather disturbing amount of agreement to what was, in essence, a classic example of male privilege.

It is not enough, you see, not to exclude men. We have to actively get them involved. I'm not sure what's more insidious, there: the notion that we must find it not only desirable that men get involved in fandom but also some kind of imperative, or the notion that it is our, women's, responsibility to get them involved in fandom. That we are the ones who must act, in other words. That even though we carved these spaces out for ourselves (didn't nobody create those lists and cons and archives and communities for us, darlin'), we must take the further step to get men involved in them. And if you are going to argue that these couple of guys are in no way representative of male privilege at work in fandom, you might want to talk to the vidders who've been told that vidding can't be an "art" because no men are involved. Instead, it can only be a "hobby."

And further, as implied in this response, we must do so by actively suppressing our own interests. It is not enough to make things more appealing to men; we must stop the things that appeal to us. And that, really, is where things can get ugly. Because men can stand longingly at the window waiting for us to coax them in all they want, and ultimately, it doesn't affect us. What does affect us is the attempt to reshape the spaces we have set up for ourselves to better reflect their interests.

Read the rest

3 comments so far. What are your thoughts?

patrick said...

He sorta lost me at "use-big-words-women". If you want to be part of a conversation you're not a part of, then you either need to be either smart enough to prove that you deserve an invitation to the table or thick-skinned enough that you can shove your way to the table whether or not you're being invited and earn their respect by sticking out the new-person-at-table time with grit and grace.

Sitting outside on the steps whining about how everyone is so elitest and won't invite you in is, well, not going to convince anyone. (Okay, looking at the comments, maybe it will. But it shouldn't.) 

Posted by Patrick

ScottM said...

Cereta's article is great... and would have confused me endlessly just a few years ago. I'm glad that she (and her community) have decided to rally, rather than cede the space to the invaders. 

Posted by ScottM

That Girl said...

Great article, even though I had to just guess at what fandom, etc. is in the first place. It holds true for so many areas of life. 

Posted by That Girl