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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Organization for Transformative works: Part Four Transformative Works and Cultures

Today is the final installment on my series about Organzation for Transformative Works. I have had fun talking about a couple of their projects, and saved my favorite of them for last. My academic heart goes aflutter every time I think about Transformative Works and Cultures. Anyone in academics can tell you the pain of having to find articles and the perfect one is behind the barrier of subscribers only journals. Even more so, those interested in fandom culture or pop/media culture in an academic light, find peer reviewed work scarce. Transformative Works and Cultures decided they do not want to be like other journals and made their peer reviewed work available for free to anyone. All you have to do is visit their website.

TWC is a bi-annual journal, that accepts work on different aspects of fan culture, media studies, and related topics. They keep the costs down by making the journal only available online. Having it online also helps to make the information covered within the journal easily available to any who want to read it. Being Gold Open Access means that anyone who goes on to the site are allowed to read and print the work, sharing it with others.

Earlier this week the TWC came out with their March issue, a special edition on Performance and Performantivity. The issue covered topics like "self representation in literary fandom," Doctor Who themed weddings, and football fandom.

Even if you aren't into fandom academics, you should check out the journal just for the different views on various aspect of fandom. It is all very interesting and would intrigue anyone who wants to keep their finger on the pulse of fan culture.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Eddie Redmayne and Trans* Actors in Hollywood

I  had some thoughts about the recent wank about Eddie Redmayne and The Danish Girl and thought to put it down. To at least attempt to keep the amount of wank down, I’m going to put this all under the cut. If you don’t want to see it, then don’t click.

All right kids, so I have see a lot on my dash lately about Eddie Redmayne playing Einar Wegener/Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl. At first, I too was upset that a cis man was playing the role of a trans woman. Then I had a discussion with my mother about the topic and how we need more representation of people on the queer spectrum and of races in the screen (this was not just about Eddie but also Scar Jo playing Motoko in Ghost in Shell). 

She was of the opinion that because there aren’t many trans* actors, it makes sense that a cis male would get the role. I heartily disagree with this sentiment. I think there are so few trans* actors in Hollywood because they are not getting hired, not because they don’t want to act. What struck me though is when listing the two examples of trans* characters played by trans* actresses, I remembered something. 

Laverne Cox’s character Sophie in Orange is the New Black had scenes that were pre- and post-op. The thing is, Laverne couldn’t play both parts. They hired her twin brother to play the part of pre-op Sophie. Not every actress is as lucky as Sophie to have a twin that can play the male version of her character. 

My point being that in order for someone trans* to play a trans* role that requires the character to be pre- and post-op needs to have someone that looks enough like them to play the other role. If that is not the case, then it is easier to get an actor that is of the same original gender. Especially in the case of a movie like there where a large portion of it seems to be on Einar pre-op.

Plus, this saves the film money, instead of having to pay two actors, they only have to pay one. I’m not saying money is a good reason for this to happen, but as someone on the fringes of film industry, I know films never have enough money in their budget. That’s why scenes constantly get cut. From the outsider’s point of view, the millions of dollars they have may seem like enough, but it never is. That’s an entirely different discussion though.

The point is, there may very well be good reason behind the hiring of a cis male for a trans*woman role. None of this is to say I agree with the decision, just that I could possibly understand where they are coming from. Even more so I would love to see trans* actors in both trans* and cis roles. If a cis actor can play a trans* role, why can't a trans* actors play cis roles?

Friday, March 6, 2015

Organization for Transformative Works: Part Three Fanlore

Fanlore was launched in 2008 and left the beta stage in 2010. Since then, it has been running strong. With a current count of over 30,000 articles, it is understandable why Fanlore has become a go to place to find out almost anything you want to know about fandom.

The site prides itself on being a place fans can "read about fan activites, fannish vocabulary, and the histories of fan communities--and add your own voice, memories, and experiences to [their] collective story." Fanlore also offers a chatroom, news page, and social networking communities for users to connect with each other.

Because anyone can edit, Fanlore offers tutorials on proper editing. And if you are totally new to their wiki, there is a New Visitor Portal to explain how Fanlore works.

Like other projects the Organization for Transformative Works is involved with, Fanlore has an intuitive and easy to use search engine. As an example, I searched for the first fannish thing that popped in my head: I'll be in my bunk. Typing that into the search engine at the top right hand corner of the screen, a page devoted to the phrase came up. The page explained the phrase's meaning and origin, plus gave sources for the information. I can admit, I spent several minutes searching things in order to stump the site, to no avail. I actually ended up learning more about the things I thought I already understood.

Fanlore is the perfect place for a fan, or someone even remotely curious, to learn more about fandom history and the things surrounding fandom.