in visual media, fatness is presented as a problem to be fixes. Fatness becomes the subject of the show rather than the people themselves, and anything deemed ‘fat’ cannot exist without its accompanying value judgement. In short, media represents bodies as either adequate, or in the process of becoming adequate– and there is very little in between.

Jocelyn L. Bailey (“The Body Police: Lena Dunham, Susan Bordo, and HBO’s Girls,” 2015, pg. 31)



Episode 49: Defining Fanfiction: The Results. Elizabeth and
Flourish discuss the results of the Fansplaining
Definitions Survey, in which more than 3,500 respondents offered a
variety of perspectives on what fanfiction is—and isn’t—to them. They
explore a variety of themes: is fanfiction derivative? Is it written by
and for fans? Must it include shipping and fannish tropes? And they talk
about other trends in the survey data, from different ways to use the
word “fandom” to fannish perceptions of fiction, nonfiction, and canon. (show notes | transcript)

Come for the analysis, stay for my extended description of the Romantic Ideal of a Writer, a bearded widower in a cardigan by the sea.

Katie Morrissey (@_katiedidnt [on twitter]) presented a paper called ‘Digital Romance: Crowdfunding & Multiplatform Love Stories’ on romance stories distributed online. These stories, known for their interaction and the specific media platforms they use – are an example of convergence culture – ‘where old and new media collide’ (to borrow a phrase from Henry Jenkins, whom Morrissey cites). Focusing on Check, Please! by Ngozi [Ukazu], a story about two male hockey players falling in love disseminated on Tumblr and Twitter, and Fresh Romance, a multi-author serial comic which has appeared online and in print.

Morrissey described Check, Please! as difficult to define and analyse. She noted that it is difficult to know what terms to use for these texts – are they romances? Fiction? Chick lit? These texts also self-define as not romance – they label themselves as more diverse, savvy and sex-positive, defining themselves against a monolithic idea of romance. Morrissey proposed that such romance could be labelled ‘born digital’ – a term she applies to romances that began online but have now moved to print (although she does wonder what might we ‘lose’ by calling something ‘born digital’?). She argued that, as scholars, we look at romance in very fixed contexts and that we need to expand out methods to include convergence items like these. She proposed three strategies for this and asked for feedback:
Focus on a single text and trace its development through different media forms
Conduct a macro/micro level genre analysis
Look at individual readers and patterns of how they read

Amy Burge, “#ConferenceReport: PCA 2017,” Pink Heart Society, May 3, 2017.

I would really love to hear what other people think regarding the concept of a “born digital” romance, as well as on these ideas for methods.

Also, I’m trying to collect more examples different of “born digital” romances. Do you have any you’d like to send my way?

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)