PCA/ACA

Black Women, Hated: Layers of Misogynoir in Fandom Spaces

Presenters: 
Presenters
Zina Hutton

Independent Scholar

Abstract: 

As fandom spaces become even more active in asking for and creating positive representation about underrepresented identities (i.e., disabled people and queer people), one notable weak spot in fandom representation politics revolves around the reception towards and portrayal of Black women in fandom. Black female characters, performers and fans have been subject to years of racist treatment across fandom – including in the arguably more progressive spaces of transformative fandom – that falls under the umbrella of anti-black misogyny or misogynoir (Bailey 2010). This includes erasing Black women from fan works and fandom spaces, assigning negative labels to Black female fans, and a whole host of other toxic practices ranging from relatively minor microaggressions to openly racist behavior and rhetoric.

Building on recent work on black women fans and fandom misogynoir (Johnson 2015; Arcy & Johnson 2018; Warner 2018), , this paper will consider misogynoir in fandom spaces as a pervasive problem that has infected multiple fandom spaces and thrives, unchecked, even in parts of fandom that are traditionally assumed to espouse more progressive politics than male-dominated, white “geek” spaces.  Some examples of this misogynoir can be seen in the way that Black female characters are cut out of canon and killed off in fanworks, how non-Black fans actively make excuses for the harassment Black female performers get, and how Black women in fandom are labeled as troublemakers or “antis” for expressing their thoughts about Black characters in fandom. These are all mild examples of what misogynoir in fandom looks like. Additionally, beyond exploring what fandom misogynoir looks like in 2019, a significant goal of this paper is to provide solutions for changing how fandom talks about and to Black women.

 

2019 National Conference
Presentation type: 
Paper