Dr. Nicola Welsh-Burke:

introducing the panel "The New Bedroom Cultures"

Elise Sandbach:

“The Growth of Fangirls and Fanfiction During the COVID-19 Lockdown” "A bit of an accidental autoethnographic activity"

Dissertation focused on Harley Quinn and her relationship with her fangirls. Argued that Harley moved from sexualized object of the male gaze to reclaimed character, and credits fanfiction with this move.

Interested in the transition of fans from producers to consumers.

Fell down a fanfiction rabbithole on TikTok.

Sociology theory about bedroom culture highlights bedroom as a sacred space for adolescent girls, originally considered bedroom as consumer space but more recent scholarship argues that bedroom culture includes production

The transition from consumer to producer was pressurized during lockdown, which led to a boom of fan engagement.

Léa Andolfi:

Discusses fannish bedroom cultures during the lockdown, fanfiction as a bedroom ritual. Presentation draws on interviews conducted during Master's.

Title of talk is “A Fandom of One’s Own: Fanfiction as a Bedroom Ritual During COVID-19”

Fanfiction is defined by intimacy, both in its topics and in the spaces it exists in.

Participants could personalize emotion via tags: hurt/comfort, enemies-to-loves, fluff...

"reception on a loop" You experience the original media, seek out fan-created media, engage in fan practices regularly, which drives you to seek out the next piece of new media.

Reading fanfiction is a personal ritual, "alone time"

Socialization in digital spaces allowed fans to maintain kinship and community.

Dr. Nicola Welsh-Burke:

notes that @andolfi_lea mentioned parasocial relationships which probably all of them have something to say about

Dr. Welsh-Burke's talk is “‘I Am on My KNEES’: TikTok as a New Site of Adolescent Sexual Desire”

looking at experience of female fans as producers and fans

Noticed enthusiastic display of sexual desire in caption of fan vid on TikTok, liked it and started to get more recs for things where people have "extreme affective responses"

This content on TikTok was a positive reclamation of the stereotype of fangirls as only interested in certain topics (e.g. sexy topics)

TikTok is an especially bedroom-y media space in terms of both creation and consumption.


presenting “Bedroom Cultures but Make It Enby Cottage Core: Reading Shakespeare as a Disabled Trans Fan”

warning: going to discuss bigotry, esp. transphobia, and safety

Discussing reading Shakespeare's "As You Like It" as a trans text. Rosalind & Celia live a queer-utopian cottagecore life in the Forest of Arden.

IRL when marginalized people meet each other it's not always self. There's bigotry related to different combos of marginalization.

In The Forest of Arden, it feels as if everyone is safe.

"If all those queer people running around in the forest are the monsters, then we have nothing to fear. Everyone is safe."

In the Forest of Arden, "everyone is always possibly polyamorous." It's bittersweet to contrast this with spaces in real life.

This contrast is more pronounced when the person doing the looking/reading is trans & disabled.

Anecdote about harassment at a coffee shop that ended with Dean feeling the owners of the shop would blame Dean for being a magnet for harassment if a similar incident happened again.

The "depressing, gray" bedroom experience is attractive because there aren't a lot of people that can harass you there.

There's an interesting relationship between trans' people's experience of being expected not to even exist outside and these fantasies of the cottagecore forest (and other safe spaces) inside.

Elise Sandbach:

In some fandoms, e.g. superhero and Star Wars, other people in fandoms perceive the source material as "serious" and were worried fangirls would "drag it down" because fangirls are interested in "silly things"

Dr. Kimberly Hirsh at #FSNNA22:

The discussion is getting really good but I'm struggling to keep up with tweets, sorry!

Dr. Nicola Welsh-Burke:

Saw Twitter thread about how there used to be no women in nerdy spaces and, of course, there were and many people argued against OP but sadly lots of people were also agreeing.


There's a similar phenomenon where people claim there weren't trans people in fan spaces in the past, which is patently untrue.

Dr. Nicola Welsh-Burke:

"It's interesting to think about the multiplicities of bedroom cultures that are getting made" - referring to a statement @DeanLeetal made about how different people need different forms of escape.

We need art of everyone in their own bedrooms engaging with their own bedroom cultures.

Creator of that original video on TikTok shut down their account. This leads to loss of a lot of born-digital stuff that it would be good to capture for methodology. (Come to our #FanLIS session and talk to us about born-digital preservation!)

Léa Andolfi:

As fans we have to do that work of archiving. ([@KimberlyHirsh](https://micro.blog/KimberlyHirsh): shout-out to @De_Kosnik's book Rogue Archives)

It's also an ethical question - if we've preserved something, do we keep studying it even after the creator has taken it down?

Elise Sandbach:

When fanfiction is brought up to creators/actors, it's often in a degrading way.

Dr. Nicola Welsh-Burke:

There's also an issue of consent with actors, who might not want to hear about what their characters get up to in fanfiction.

In chat, Erin Lee Mock points out "For many people, COVID lockdown was not an experience of isolation, but of greater carework obligations, etc. Is there space within discussion of "bedroom cultures" for these individuals, especially as relates to fan production?"

Léa Andolfi:

Talking about how even as teens, girls often have more caregiving responsibilities so in that sense bedroom cultures still works.


Points out that home is not always a safe space, especially for multiply marginalized people.

Dr. Nicola Welsh-Burke:

Luisa de Mesquita asks "I was wondering if there are any significant differences in engagement with fandom and fannish practices between those who were already 'established' fans and those who became fans during the pandemic?"

Elise Sandbach:

speculating that it will vary - some people will have come to fandom during the pandemic and stay in it for life, but others as they are less isolated will engage with fandom less

Kirsten Crowe asks "I wonder about the experience of college aged people returning to their childhood bedrooms and how that shaped fannish experiences in terms of bedroom culture during the pandemic"

Dr. Nicola Welsh-Burke:

Yes, thanks to pandemic I finished my MSc in my childhood bedroom, will finish my PhD in childhood bedroom, doing this from childhood bedroom 😄

Elise Sandbach:

That last tweet should've been from @SandbachElise.

Dr. Nicola Welsh-Burke:

It's really interesting to return to your childhood bedroom and engage with fandom on a new platform when you engaged with fandom there years ago.

Elise Sandbach:

It's interesting to note that we're in our bedrooms studying other people in their bedrooms.