an introduction

Apart from the very short precis about me and my thesis, there is obviously more information to be had.

I’m currently preparing for my entry into the PhD program next year; I have been out of academia for ten years*so it gives me a nice lead in to get into the readings. And set up a home office. And work out a schedule since I’ll be combining the first year of my PhD with the first year of kindergarten for Petit Lapin and the first year back at work for Bzou (who has been the primary carer for two years).

My background is in humanities with a stint as a librarian. For devastatingly silly reasons I have a major in journalism, which took the place of the gender studies major. I also majored in literary studies because I am one of those people who actually enjoy dissecting their food, so to speak. Coming out of Honours** I did the ‘sensible’ thing and got an actual qualification and career as a librarian.

Sadly, my last job fairly hammered home the idea that I’d made a less than ideal choice and I began to consider a PhD (prompted somewhat by this) and seriously reconsider a career refocus. A few conversations with previous supervisors later and I had topic, then references, then supervisors and then, finally, an offer.

The thesis, as it stands in its formative state, was borne from over a decade in online feminism and fandom, and the meshing of the two. A trigger point was this (rule 63 Captain America); an absolutely amazing cosplay in direct contrast to most rule 63 versions but still aggressively feminine in presentation. When combined with the fandom’s gleeful girl!characters, yet overwhelmingly negative responses to Elementary and I was lost. Fandom, as a whole, cries out for and laments the dearth of female characters of substance yet in our own created works often reinforce mainstream ‘rules’ of femininity, or ignore female character of substance in favour of male characters. Yet, at the same time, fanworks can comment explicitly, and implicitly and unconsciously, on media and on society.

*A coursework Masters does not count. Particularly one as trade oriented as librarianship, for all the research skills I picked up.

** Barbara Kingsolver and women’s writing.


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