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Feminist Open Access and Internet Publishing
March 12, 2020; 5:00 – 8:00 PM 

Francesca Coppa, co-founder Organization for Transformative Works
Kristina Busse and Karen Hellekson, co-founders Transformative Works & Cultures
Respondents: Katherine Morrissey and Melanie Kohnen

Due to precautions around public events and COVID-19, this event has been moved to an online presentation format. Everyone is invited to log-in and join the event via Zoom. See event page for more information.

About the Event:

Discover how the Organization for Transformative Works built a Hugo award-winning model for for non-corporate, user-driven, online participatory cultures.

The OTW was founded as a wholly fan organized and fan run media organization, specifically to provide a safe space for women and queer users. In working towards their mission of building a future in which all fannish works are recognized as legal and transformative, and accepted as legitimate creative activity, the OTW developed and now manages Archive of Our Own (recently nominated for a Hugo Award), the world’s fastest growing fan works online archive, which is completely open access and free from advertising and corporate ownership. They also support Transformative Works and Cultures, which is an open access journal, freely available at Transformative Works and Cultures is a subsidiary project of the OTW and shares their mission to be a home for feminist, anti-racist, and pro-LGBTQIA scholarship on cultural adaptations and appropriations and fan cultures and fan productions.

The OTW offers valuable lessons in advancing radical infrastructures for feminist, open-access publishing.

Image showing four actors from Crazy Rich Asians accepting an award

Has The Rom-Com Been ‘Reborn’ Or Has It Never Gone Away?

After the success of the movie “Crazy Rich Asians,” some people have said the romantic comedy is having a comeback. We talk to a film scholar who says the rom-com never really went away, but it has been changing a lot since the 1980s and ’90s.

Listen to my conversation with Rob Ferret on WPR’s Central Time about romantic comedy films.

If nudity is here to stay, and at least on “Game of Thrones,” that seems likely, there is no legitimate reason to limit access to that pleasure to men.

And the thing worth noticing here is that it actually takes a huge amount of work to limit that pleasure to men. If we reflect on how the show specifically and slavishly caters to penises and their blood flow—if we think of that as a positive choice rather than a lazy but innocent default—it becomes a truly pernicious choice. (Try taking a picture of a naked couple and exclude the penis. It’s work!) We like to think of men as perpetual horndogs, which is hopelessly unfair to men when you think about how hard HBO is trying to turn them on. It’s weird how much effort goes into tantalizing penises with unnecessary naked women, and it’s weird how much effort goes into not showing any male parts in turn. None of that is natural, or realistic, or even slightly sane; it is not The Way Things Are. Producing those specific effects and no others takes extraordinary effort. The show is revolutionary in the painstaking care it takes to push the boundaries on (female) nudity and to provoke (male) arousal.

Lili Loofbourow, (“‘Game of Thrones’ fails the female gaze: Why does prestige TV refuse to cater erotically to women?” Salon, 6/2014)

I’m far from the first person to say we need more manparts on “Game of Thrones.” But this isn’t just about penises vs. breasts—seeing Tywin on the john in the finale had certain charms, but not the kind I mean. It’s about situation and camera angle. It’s about who has the right to be turned on. It’s about whose genitals are worth catering to.

Lili Loofbourow, (“‘Game of Thrones’ fails the female gaze: Why does prestige TV refuse to cater erotically to women?” Salon, 6/2014)

Romance fiction is porn, but it’s a particular type of women-oriented feminist porn with a telos, or narrative goal. Romance fiction is teleological, building and driving toward this climax of the narrative. This narrative goal, I argue, is the happily-ever-after moment best encapsulated in the hero’s declaration of love. In other words, the moment where one most sees romantic fiction as pornography is, paradoxically, not in the sex scenes themselves… Instead, one sees romantic fiction as porn in the happily-ever-after ending, especially in that key moment of climax when the hero declares his love.

Catherine M. Roach (Happily Ever After, pg 101)