Posts Tagged ‘fandom first’

Fandom First: Demographics

While in grad school I had the chance to study quantitate methods of study and was tasked with running a small  survey. I ran a survey through social media to take a look at the demographics of Fandom. I was a bit overwhelmed when over 500 people responded to the survey.  While the survey is not perfect (hey I was in school learning about surveys at the time) I found the responses very interesting and wanted to share the results.

What is your gender?

This one matches most conceptions of fandom as a female dominated space. Many of the creators of fanwork are women and the community skews female. This survey is also influenced by the reach of social media and the demographics on use on those sites.

What is your age?

This presents a different idea of fandom than many people have preconceived. Fandom is frequently viewed as the space of teenagers. However, the results show that the community is primarily between 18-34 not primarily under 18.

Where are you located results?This is heavily influenced by the location the survey was posted on social media sites and by my own network that the survey was exposed to which is heavily USA based.

What role does fandom play in your life? results

For most people fandom is a large part of their entertainment, expression and community. However, in all categories fandom was view as most important even if by a slim margin.

I believe fandom... results

The theme of community and expression continue in this question. Many people admitted to finding and making friends based on a shared fandom. In the open answer portion of this question, it also represented a safe space for many people to explore and question topics ranging from sexuality to morality.

Fandom is very important to me results

The majority of those who responded viewed fandom as very important part.

How do you interact within the fandom community

Again the distribution of the fandom survey via social media skewed the results and the majority of respondents said social media was a means of interaction. (Also I’m so sorry I neglected to include cosplay as an option! I spaced out on that. )

Is fandom an important part of your identity?

Overwhelming the majority of people viewed fandom as an important part of their identity and that labeling themselves as fans/nerds/geeks was an important part of who they were.

How involved in fandom do you consider yourself? The majority viewed themselves as moderately involved.

You can view the full presentation about these results, including many of the extra comments included: here

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Fandom First: I ship it!

When people talk about fandom, one of the first things that pop into their heads is about fanfiction, and fanart. While some of these works are more general adventure stories a large amount of fan work is based on a ship or a romantic pairing of characters. (Ship is shortened from relationship).

Shipping first reached documented ‘mainstream’ with Kirk and Spock in the 1960s though the term shipping was first used by fans of the X-files wanting Mulder and Scully to finally get together. The advent and rise of the internet spread shipping as now fans were able to better find others to talk about their pairings, and a better space to share their works with wider audiences.

Many ships come up with their own name, usually a portmanteau of the two characters name, such as Drarry (Draco and Harry from Harry Potter), Korrasami (Korra and Asami from Legend of Korra), and Sherlolly (Sherlock and Molly from the BBC’s Sherlock). This also happens with celebrity couples in Hollywood gossip magazines like Bennifer (Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck) and Kimye (Kim Kardashian and Kanye West) are just a few examples.

However, some ship names aren’t quite so obvious like frostiron (Loki and Tony Stark from the Marvel Cinematic Universe) where it’s the combination of Iron Man and Loki being a frost giant; JavaJunkie (Luke and Lorelai from Gilmore Girls) which is based on their mutual coffee obsessions and coffee shop meet ups. These names come from idiosyncrasies within the shows that fans know. This naming can make many ship names appear to be nonsensical to non-fans. These names help fans organize, tag, and find new work. Many of these tags become their own community of fans who share fanworks, thoughts, and personal information.

Many pairings use multiple names and there can be discord within the community of shippers about which name is the correct name. To avoid confusion, some also label fanwork “Character A X Character B” to let others know exactly who the pairing is without relaying on a ship name.

The terms, OTP, BrOTP, OT3, and OT4 (and probably onwards to infinity) come up frequently in ships. OTP is a ‘One True Pairing’ while a BrOTP is a portmanteau of ‘Bromance’ (a friendship between two people) and OTP to mean a best friendship while OT3 and OT4 are for three or four characters involved with one another.

So why do people ship?

The reasons range widely from person to person. For some, it’s a safe way to explore relationships and sexuality, for others it’s wish fulfillment, for others it’s a way to bring lgbtqia representation to their media. For some it’s a social activity and a way to complete creative works and have a built in audience.

Regardless of the whys behind shipping, it’s clear that relationships are here to stay as an important and vibrant part of the fandom community.