MAY THE 4TH BE FEMALE
The Power of Women’s Fandom
Fandoms have proven to be spaces that provide a sense of belonging and a sense of identity, which, as Cassandra uncovered in the I-Identify report, is indicative of Gen Z, who look for ways to blend all aspects of their identity into a more cohesive and nuanced sense of self - and that includes their fandoms. While recent TV shows such as Swarm have fueled the discourse around the very real dangers of stan culture, and screaming fangirl and groupie tropes have long been prevalent, fueling gender stereotypes, fangirls have had a bad rap. However, with social media changing how we interact with many subcultures, girls, and women have leveraged their passion into genuine social power. Today, we’re looking at three fandoms creating intentional space for females.
FANGIRLIFICATION OF FORMULA 1
Formula 1 is often viewed as an elitist sport, and the entities behind the sport are not always the most accepting of new enthusiasts. However, the sport has suddenly attracted a fervent young fandom. The most recent F1 season saw the largest demographic growth with Gen Z and women due to the massively popular docuseries Formula 1: Drive to Survive. Axing the sexist tradition of grid girls while relaxing previously implemented social-media restrictions also allowed drivers and their teams to spin Formula 1 into the fastest-growing, most engaged sport across digital platforms. On TikTok, countless videos spotlight individual drivers and women in F1. Podcasts like the Two Girls One Formula, where the self-described audience of “girls, gays, theys (and cool dudes)” ‘drive in’ to discuss the sport and, now even Tumblr has returned as a space for private, insular F1 fandom.
PORTRAIT OF A FANGIRL PODCAST
Speaking of podcasts, in what initially began as a web series created by the team at Temple of Geek, The “Portrait of a Fangirl Podcast'' is a new series that puts the onus on telling the stories of women who have found inspiration, growth, and power through fandom.Through each episode, historian and self-confessed lover of all things nerdy, host Jenna Wrenn sits down with women guests to discuss their inner fangirl.
— Alys, 22, MD (Cassandra Collective)
LOOKING FOR LEIA
With female influence growing in the Star Wars universe, especially with the recent news that Daisy Ridley will be returning as Rey in an upcoming movie, it would be remiss of us to write a CD on fandoms on this of all days, and not discuss one of the most enduring in modern culture. Back in 2019, and by acknowledging the influence of its female fans, the seven-part documentary, Looking For Leia focused on women and non-binary fans who found identity, connection, and purpose in their love of the galaxy far, far away. The series reaches far beyond the legacy of Leia to examine how stories of women’s fandom speak to experiences of gender resilience and resistance and is now being integrated into curriculum at high schools and universities.