Gender

Fiction With a Telescope: The Harry Potter Universe Before the Statute of Secrecy

June 9, 2017 // 4 Comments

A beautiful witch holds a cup of wine in the dark woods
In the film adaptation of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, there’s some subtle yet telling character placement. Seraphina Picquery, the President of the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA), and Tina Goldstein, the disgraced but competent Auror, are women. So what? Big deal. As contemporary European or North American audiences, it’s easy to have a casual reaction to women in positions of power. It’s not so simple though when you put it into historical context. //

‘Rogue One’ Has a Women Problem

December 29, 2016 // 4 Comments

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. If you haven’t seen it yet, encase yourself in frozen carbonite and come back when you’ve recovered from hibernation sickness. In a 1978 interview on The Tonight Show, Johnny Carson asked astronomer Carl Sagan about the scientific accuracy of the Star Wars films. Sagan responded with disappointment about the one-dimensionality of the series’ creatures: “They’re all white. The skin of all the humans in Star //

Women in Anime: Empowered or Undermined?

July 29, 2016 // 4 Comments

Anime has risen over the last decade from a relatively obscure niche to a staple of pop culture. If you want to watch the latest series from Japan, you no longer have to go to your local VHS shop and hope that they have it in stock. Now, you can find any show you want, watch anything you want, whenever you want. In fact, anime is now so popular that people have written entire books filled with essays on the subject. I remember reading one, a long time ago, and one essay in particular. It //

Stop Killing Lesbians: Convince Creators to Produce the Content You Love

July 25, 2016 // 4 Comments

You might have noticed that the majority of current media consists of boring or outdated plots or that there is a severe lack of representation for marginalized groups, despite the many changes to society in the last few years. We still see movies with the nagging wife/useless husband dynamic or sitcom jokes about how girls don’t visit comic book stores. If you have noticed this, you’re not the only one. With sales dropping and more consumers losing interest, why is the media industry still //

Why You Should Be Aware of Queerbaiting Tactics

April 8, 2016 // 5 Comments

“Queerbaiting” is the practice of some television shows and movies to attract queer fans by hinting at potential queer relationships or actually promising them (but not delivering). There is some debate even amongst fans about whether queerbaiting is actually a thing. Outside of fandom, many believe queer fans are reading too much into on-screen interactions. However, writers, producers, and executives nowadays do recognize the existence of a queer fan base, and they want to appeal //

Fan Activism: Trans Interventions in Fandom and Beyond

March 10, 2016 // 1 Comment

Fanfiction is political, subversive, radical. Writing Harry Potter as a girl, Hermione as black, or Ron as transgender exposes people to narratives written from the perspective of marginalized communities. But is writing fanfiction a type of activism? Fan activism refers to how participation in fandom develops into involvement in fan-led political activities. In a 2012 article entitled “‘Cultural Acupuncture:’ Fan Activism and the Harry Potter Alliance,” scholar Henry Jenkins defines //

Transfic: A History

February 23, 2016 // 0 Comments

Transfic, an emerging genre of fanfiction, refers to stories about transgender characters who do not usually identify as trans in canon. Unlike its precursor (genderswap) or parent (genderfuck) genres, which often gloss over sex and gender issues through the use of problematic tropes, transfic foregrounds the materialities of sex and gender transitions and strives to account for a full-range of transgender experiences. Looking at the archival history of this genre can help contextualize its //

The Trouble With Genderswap

January 31, 2016 // 3 Comments

Genderswap stories proliferate in fandom: from Harriet Potter to Jeanne Picard to Shirley Holmes. The genre gained a foothold during the early 1990s, when queer fanfiction surged in popularity due to its transition from print-based zines to online. One of the most influential genderswap fics is My Fair Jeanne (Ruth Gifford, 1995), a Star Trek: The Next Generation fic in which Captain Picard is transformed into a woman by the alien trickster known as Q. By definition, genderswap fanfiction //

A Superhuman Disaster, A.K.A. Jessica Jones: Exploring Gender in Superhero Media

October 27, 2015 // 2 Comments

Marvel fans, particularly fans of Netflix’s Daredevil, are getting excited about Netflix’s next contribution to the MCU: Jessica Jones, the first season of which will be released in its entirety on November 20. Something of a companion show to Daredevil (The comics see Matt Murdock sweeping in as Jessica’s lawyer when she’s in a pinch—maybe there will be something similar in the show?), Jessica Jones follows the adventures of its eponymous protagonist, a former superhero //