Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet (book #75)

Interesting link to The Media Report to Women (see also blog).

From the statistics page:

During the 2007-2008 primetime television season:

On screen, females accounted for 43% of all characters last season, up one percentage point from the 2006-07 season. This figure represents a historical high. However, female characters continued to be significantly younger than their male counterparts. For example, 70% of all characters in their 50s and 61% of all characters in their 60s were male. Females 40 and older comprised 11% of all characters. In contrast, males 40 and older accounted for 21% of all characters.

This is also interesting:

Google Search Prompts: Perpetuating Sex Stereotyping?

What prompts complete your search when you google “How can I get my boyfriend to….?”

According to Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions (expanded edition, Harper, 2009), who typed those words in to see what options Google would present to the searcher, the results were mostly about emotional aspects of the relationship:

To propose
To love me again
To be more romantic
To be more affectionate
To stop drinking

When the question is, “How can I get my girlfriend to….?”, the prompts are less about emotion and more about sex and sexiness, i.e.,

To give me head
To sleep with me
To lose weight
To kiss me

With Google saying it organizes these suggested prompts by how often computer users actually ask these questions, we can see that men are still from Mars and women from Venus – and Google’s search engine, in its own arbitrary way, underscores differences in male and female attitudes toward their romantic relationships, and now exhibits those differences prominently as a search tool convenience.

Having searched for this myself just now, I didn’t see the pattern in the autocompletes that’s suggested here. Several of the “how can I get my boyfriend to … ” were about sex, and the “how can I get my girlfriend to … ” included “trust me,” “love me again,” “forgive me”. The ones for “how can I get my mom / dad to … ” are also interesting (mother – “shut up,” “love me,” “get me a dog,” “let me dye my hair”; father – “stop drinking,” “stop smoking”).

Interesting that one of the contributors includes Barker’s Regeneration as an “intimatopic” text – I’ve always thought it emotionally icky in the access it appears to give us into its characters’ minds, revealing too much even though they don’t exist. She also mentions Susan Hill, Poppy Brite and Lackey in this context.

I also followed a reference to “It’s a queer world after all”: Studying the Sims and Sexuality. Here’s the author’s comment on low-income Sims:

The situation raises interesting questions that parallel those raised by Barbara Ehrenreich in her book Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America. When you’re stuck at the bottom, it’s hard to rise up. My low-income Sims weren’t encumbered by illness, racism, sexism or homophobia, and it was still difficult for them to climb out of the hole. And even if they eventually could, the game’s (quiet) statement remains — that poverty or being poor will wear you down, that it is materially harder to be happy and get ahead when you have less money and fewer resources.

I was led to this good bit of Richardson’s letters, about women’s letter-writing:

And shall the modest lady have nothing but her silence to commend her ? Silence indeed to me is a commendation, when worthy subjects offer not, and nothing but goose-like gabble is going forward; for air and attention will shew meaning, beyond what words can, to the observing: but the pen will shew soul and meaning too.-. -Retired, the modest lady, happy in herself; happy in the choice she makes of the dear correspondent of her own sex (for ours are too generally designers), un-interupted, her closet her paradise, her company herself, and ideally the beloved Absent; there she can distinguish herself: by this means she can assert and vindicate her claim to sense and meaning.


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