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09 May 2012 @ 08:50 am
PBS OFF BOOK fails at fan art  
Honestly, I wish mainstream media (even Public Broadcasting Mainstream Media) would just try NOT to analyze/talk about fan culture. At all. They just inevitably mess it up and make me cringe, like they did in their recent "webisode" of a series called OFF BOOK.

OFF BOOK: Fan Art proposes to look at the creative world of fan artists, where "Limited only by the imagination of the artist, the fan art world is full of surprises and brilliance."

Only according to PBS, it seems that the world of fan artistry is limited to men.

How could they not include a single solitary woman fan artist in this nearly 10-minute program? Particularly when they even include some brief mentions of slash-themed art, an area that is basically, um, completely dominated by female fan artists? When I think back on my many years of attending media conventions, I'd say at least 90% of the most well-known and beloved fan artists in my circles were/are women: TACS, Suzan Lovett, Karen Rivers, Leah Rosenthal, Lorraine Brevig...there are countless more.

Could it be that many female fan artists - unlike the male "fans" presented by OFF BOOK - are not graphic design students/hopeful-professionals looking to build and promote a portfolio? Most female fan artists I know do it out of pure love for their fandom sources, as complete amateur artists (even if they are extremely gifted, talented, and trained in art techniques.) They aren't looking to "break in" to a graphic design job. They just want to share with others, and what little money they might make off art sales is just to pay their way to attend fannish conventions and other gatherings.

The whole program struck a really sour note in me - not just from the "outsiders" perspective on the subject that felt off, but this disturbing erasure of women's importance in fan art and general fannish history. If it bothers you as well, I encourage you to leave a comment on the PBS Arts website about it, or tweet @pbsoffbook where they might actually bother to take a look.
Current Mood: aggravatedaggravated