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Fansplaining

Author: Elizabeth Minkel & Flourish Klink

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Fansplaining is a podcast about by, for, and about fandom. It’s hosted by Flourish Klink and Elizabeth Minkel. New episodes come out every two weeks. If you want to call us and leave a message for us to read on air, our number is 1-401-526-FANS!
103 Episodes
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In Episode 128, “The K-pop Narratives,” Keidra Chaney returns to the podcast to discuss mainstream framings of K-pop fans and their online actions in support of Black Lives Matter. Topics covered include the flawed foundations of these narratives, the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of boosting hateful hashtags, and the continued anti-Blackness within K-pop fan spaces—and its connections to anti-Blackness within the industry itself.
A short statement about why there's no new episode today.
In Episode 127, “A Fan of Fandom,” Elizabeth and Flourish get (too?) meta answering a listener letter about the term “fan of fandom,” which Flourish had previously dismissed as “cute.” They discuss the ways different communities use the terms “fan” and “fandom,” the role of affect in their fannish lives, and whether approaching all media with a fannish lens might lead to more inclusive fan spaces—and more diverse media.
In Episode 126, “Social Media Fic,” Elizabeth and Flourish welcome Gavia Baker-Whitelaw, culture journalist and Elizabeth’s collaborator on “The Rec Center,” back to the podcast to talk about how fanfic has expanded across Twitter. Topics covered include the fuzzy lines between fiction and roleplay, changing norms around pseudonymity, and generational shifts around fanworks and ephemerality.
Episode 125: Con-solation

Episode 125: Con-solation

2020-04-2901:16:29

In Episode 125, Flourish and Elizabeth discuss the state of fan conventions in 2020, whether they’ve been canceled, moved online, or, in a few cases, are supposedly going forward (DragonCon, what are you doing???). What’s lost in the transition from IRL to remote—and what can fans potentially gain? They also answer a listener question about, uh, other listeners’ questions!
In Episode 124, “Ask Fansplaining Anything: Part 7,” Elizabeth and Flourish dig into a new pile of listener questions and comments. Topics covered include fan reactions when male versus female actors talk about shipping, whether spec scripts count as fanfiction, what to say to friends who disrespect fic, and how the podcast gets made.
In Episode 123, “Reread, Rewatch, Replay,” Elizabeth and Flourish think about that most ubiquitous of comfort activities—returning to old favorite books, shows, films, games, and fics. Topics covered include the specific pleasures of re-experiencing narratives, how repeat consumption is an inherent part of fan culture, the different things people seek out when rereading fic, and how moments of collective trauma influence art and culture.
In very self-isolated Episode 122, “Wash Your Hands and Read Some Fic,” Elizabeth and Flourish share the results of a mini-survey about people’s fiction habits in times of crisis—the personal, the global, and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Are people more interested in fluff or angst? Do they seek escapism or catharsis? Is this a good time—or the worst time—to watch Contagion? They also read a message from the co-chair of the AO3 Technical Support and Feedback Committee on some of the reasons the Archive doesn’t have a mobile app.
In Episode 121, Flourish and Elizabeth revisit the themes of an earlier episode about fanfiction and money in the wake of the recent brouhaha about apps like Fanfic Pocket Archive Library. They talk to fanfic author and copyright law professor Earlgreytea68 about “the AO3 App Wars,” digging into topics like the basics of U.S. copyright law, the AO3’s non-monetization policies, and the legal, moral, and ethical dimensions of who is (and who should be) permitted to make money from fanfic.
In Episode 120, Flourish and Elizabeth welcome back one of their earliest guests, Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, to talk about her book about race, fantasy, fandom (and more!), The Dark Fantastic. Topics covered include what Ebony’s work as a reading professor entails, the themes of the book, Barnes & Noble’s “diverse book cover” controversy, and what to do with the problematic canon of children’s literature. They also discuss a listener’s response to the last episode, about whether Oscar Isaac really can be said to “ship” Finnpoe.
In Episode 119, “Ask Fansplaining Anything: Part 6,” Flourish and Elizabeth tackle a new stack of listener questions and comments. Topics covered include actors’ shipping preferences, #OwnVoices in profic and in fanfic, what counts as “canon,” why we get stuck in fandoms we no longer like, and Flourish’s true feelings about fictional demons.
In Episode 118, “The Craft of Writing (Fanfiction),” Flourish and Elizabeth interview Betts, a fic writer and professional writing instructor, about how different writing practices can inform each other on a craft level. They discuss how fanfic utterly altered Betts’s career path, what role it plays in her classroom, the effects of changing norms around fic critique and feedback, and why many people in fandom spaces are reticent to engage with literary fiction (and why they should give it a try).
In Episode 117, “Fans and the Man,” Elizabeth and Flourish talk about whether fandom really has “gone corporate” in the last decade—and if so, what parts of fandom, and in what ways? Topics covered include whether fans have “sold out,” been exploited, or both; whether it’s a good thing for fandom to be intertwined with corporations; and whether “curatorial” and “transformative” are even still useful terms to define fan cultures as we enter the ’20s.
In Episode 116, Elizabeth and Flourish revive their end-of-year tradition and revisit big fandom trends in 2019. What changed, what got better, and what got worse? (According to Flourish, everything got worse.) Topics covered include the premature death knell for Tumblr, myths about the “monoculture,” truths and falsehoods about “fantitlement,” the messy rise of 8,000 streaming services, and, of course, “J. K. Rowling and the Infinite Pool of Bad Opinions.” And finally, since this decade is FINALLY over, they talk about what’s changed for fans over the past ten years. Spoiler alert: everything.
Episode 115: Power Plays

Episode 115: Power Plays

2019-12-1101:10:37

In Episode 115, “Power Plays,” Flourish and Elizabeth discuss three listener letters that deal with the use (or misuse) different kinds of power in and adjacent to fandom. How do we navigate a social media world where creators can find—and fuel a backlash towards—negative critique? How do the amorphous structures of the fanfic world give some readers and writers more power than others? And what can you do if the person making your life miserable in a closed fandom community is also in charge of that space?
In Episode 114, “Live From GeekGirlCon,” Elizabeth and Flourish take the show on the road and record their first-ever live episode—from the 9th annual GeekGirlCon in Seattle, Washington. They’re joined by Kristine Hassell, the con’s director of community engagement, to talk about diversity and inclusion at geek-oriented events, especially around disability, race, and gender. How can volunteer-run organizations with tight budgets make sure that everyone feels welcome and is able to participate?
In Episode 113, Flourish and Elizabeth look at brand social media accounts’ relationships with fandom, from direct appeals to adopting the persona of a fan. When a musical, a breakfast restaurant, or a streaming service tweets about a Star Wars ship, what exactly do the people managing these accounts hope to achieve? They also answer a listener question about private vs. public fannish spaces online—and unload their feelings about Tumblr’s new group chat feature.
Episode 112: Rainbow Rowell

Episode 112: Rainbow Rowell

2019-10-3001:26:12

In Episode 112, Flourish and Elizabeth talk to Rainbow Rowell, author of Fangirl, Carry On, Wayward Son, and many other novels, as well as the current run of Marvel’s Runaways comics. They dig into the fandom experiences that inspire Rainbow’s fiction, the differences (and similarities!) between fanfic and original writing, and Flourish feels the pain of being the only non-lurker in the conversation.
In Episode 111, “Canon, What Canon?” Flourish and Elizabeth discuss listener questions about the relationship between fans and the source material—including what happens when fans are more interested in fanon than canon. Topics discussed include headcanon orthodoxy, fanworks about fanworks, characterization, “death of the text,” and whether Agent Dana Scully would prefer Herbal Essences or Pantene shampoo (and none of it strawberry-scented, damnit!).
In Episode 110, “Ask Fansplaining Anything: Part 5,” Elizabeth and Flourish answer a new collection of listener letters and voicemails. Topics covered include ageism, “valorizing” bad behavior in fic, multishipping, and further thoughts about the phrase “OOC,” in real life and in fiction.
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