ESCAPE NUMBER FIVE FAN STUDIES

As a grown up scene kid I think being a music fan is partly in my DNA. 

This week in BCM110 we worked through Fan Studies. Fan Studies, what is it? It is the scholarly study of fans and the surrounding culture. Fans are created from pretty much everything, from books, movies, shows etc. Do you know anyone who is really, really into sports? Yeah, well, that’s a fan. These groups of fans are then referred to as ‘Fandoms’, a lot of which give themselves or are given to them a name. Fandoms require a special knowledge of texts and inner references and they’re a place where we find identity, belonging and personal connections we seek out in life, especially as teens. 

Henry Jenkins wrote a study of fans in his ‘Textual Poachers, television fans & participatory culture” which brought up the ideology of Participatory and Consumer culture. He goes on to suggest the idea that we are ‘Poaching’ the forms of media that fans are consumers of. This kind of thing is often linked to negative feelings and thoughts, the concept that fans aren’t only consumers but producers. Fanfiction for example has a large negative stigma and usually these kinds of creators will hide the fact they embark within it. I think it’s sad, that generations of creativity have been hidden and buried because of the fear from society.      

Early models of fandoms rely on these stigmas around them, an example that the fans of Soap Operas are lonely housewives. Fans were perceived as gullible and easily influenced. Within the last decade I have seen the stigma slowly release itself, society is progressive. Many fans have let go, changed, and grown from them. With the aid of social media we can be exposed to all kinds of ‘Poaching’, for example fanart.

My ‘fan’ artwork of Machine Gun Kelly
My ‘fan’ artwork of Awsten Knight, from Waterparks
My ‘fan’ work in progress of Yungblud

Fandoms hold emotional importance to many, including myself, which is why the study of them and the connotations to them is extremely useful. The desire to belong is human nature. I have been a part of the Waterparks fan base since before their first album release in 2016. That year was hard, for many reasons, but stepping into this fandom was like a break free from some personal struggles, their music came to me at the point of my life that I needed it. This is why fandoms are important, it is so much more than just being ‘a fan’. They’re positive escapes, where you can connect. 

Chris from Motionless In White said it nicely, after the passing of Chester Bennington. “Please do not make the same decision….go to your favourite bands social pages and reach out to some of the fans of the same bands you love…there are a lot of people just as much as a fan of another band as you are that are willing to reach out and help you… And I need every one of you to be there for each one, each other, every single time that hand extends.”     

Me being a ‘fan’, meeting Amity Affliction
Me being a ‘fan’, meeting Sleeping With Sirens
Me being a ‘fan’, meeting Josh, from The Faim
Me being a ‘fan’ at a Motionless In White concert

REFERENCES 

Jenkins, H. (2012). Textual Poachers : Television Fans and Participatory Culture. [online] http://www.taylorfrancis.com. Routledge. Available at: https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/9780203114339 [Accessed 23 Apr. 2020]

obo. (n.d.). Fan Studies. [online] Available at: https://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199791286/obo-9780199791286-0027.xml [Accessed 23 Apr. 2020]

Grinnell.edu. (2009). Fandom and Participatory Culture – Subcultures and Sociology. [online] Available at: https://haenfler.sites.grinnell.edu/subcultural-theory-and-theorists/fandom-and-participatory-culture/. [Accessed 23 Apr. 2020]

Motionless In White – One Step Closer (Linkin Park Cover Chester Bennington Tribute) LIVE 7/21/17. (2017). YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vp0USXUDa3k&feature=youtu.be [Accessed 23 Apr. 2020]

Lecture slides – week 6 

ESCAPE NUMBER TWO REPRESENTATION AND INTERPRETATION

What do you see in these images? Do you understand them, what they’re trying to convey? How do these images make you feel? Do they offend or do they inspire you, and do you see them the way I do?

This week, the discussion within BCM110, was the concept of representation and interpretation, and Semiotics.

Semiotics, is a system of codes which are set for connecting a sign and it’s meaning or, alternatively, meanings. It’s the idea that more than one individual can decode symbols the same way and thus perceive and connect the meaning to the same sign. Think of traffic lights and the connotation of the colours: red equals stop. Think of how this overlaps with other social signs. For example, a Stop sign.

Semiotics is what the media relies on for the majority of its content. However, with this comes the issue of misinterpretation. How can you assume or know that everyone exposed to your media message will understand? The thing is really you can’t. 

The two images above are promo advertisements for SAVAGE X FENTY 2019 Spring Collection. The denotation that can be drawn from these ads are simple, body expressive, body positivity and self love. What does this mean to you? To me these images drip with confidence and expression, the color range not only from skin but to the clothing suggests the inclusivity of the collection, that IT IS made for everyone. It’s empowering.

Yet, personally I’m having a love/hate relationship. Now, don’t get me wrong, we need inclusivity in the world and the ever growing presence of that in the media is great. However, have you ever sat back back and felt bad? My body type is represented, and as a currently overweight girl I love to see it. Yet, here I am wondering why I can’t feel good about myself no matter what I do when it is clearly shown to me that I can be. She feels good wearing it then why don’t I? Sometimes these largely set me back negatively mentally. An article about The Negative Business of Body Positive Advertising, explores these thoughts. “All I see…another corporation profiting off of the body positive movement while still aiming to convince women that they need to buy a product in order to love themselves.”

Semiotics. That is the problem with it. You can never guarantee that the receiver will have the same connotation. In comparison, that is why the media will never be a place full of positivity, because your positivity might not be another’s. It’s an ongoing loop. 

Nevertheless, there is nothing wrong with body campaigns, in fact they are a small pocket of good in the media of recent years. It just goes to show how personal connections really are and how, really, you can never be sure that the decoding will be the same over the broad spectrum. Whether the media makes a difference of good or bad ultimately depends on us, the audience.

References 

Tremr. (2015). The Negative Business of Body Positive Advertising. [online] Available at: https://www.tremr.com/talia/the-negative-business-of-body-positive-advertising [Accessed 21 Apr. 2020].

Beasley, R. and Danesi, M. (2010). Persuasive Signs: The Semiotics of Advertising. [online] Google Books. Walter de Gruyter. Available at: https://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&lr=&id=KsdJ4T_ltF4C&oi=fnd&pg=PR5&dq=semiotics+in+advertising&ots=ij6lq__Ept&sig=0mrQK-zZkPiIpWgLg5zWvp63YbI&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=semiotics&f=false [Accessed 21 Apr. 2020].

Leeuwen, T.V. and Jewitt, C. (2000). The Handbook of Visual Analysis. [online] Google Books. SAGE. Available at: https://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&lr=&id=9ySh2-NtKXUC&oi=fnd&pg=PA134&dq=who+invented+semiotics&ots=JgvhpOWser&sig=ojbRNLw7PzfPSpIuU_gIobbGTGw&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=who%20invented%20semiotics&f=false  [Accessed 21 Apr. 2020].

Savagex.com. (2019). SAVAGE X FENTY |  Lingerie by Rihanna. [online] Available at: https://www.savagex.com/ 

ESCAPE NUMBER ONE MEDIA AUDIENCES

~ motionless in white ~

When attending a concert you tend to feel transported, the atmosphere fresh and bubbly. When you attend a concert it has usually been in preparation for months, a countdown to a few hours of ecstasy. Personally, I have attended many in my time, I find myself chasing the high, the rush that I did at the last. 

Specifically, a gig at the Metro Theatre to see Motionless in White. It was everything you want in a show; the crowd, the ambience, the banding together nature of it all in such a short time frame. The collective identity of the surrounding people, all different but vastly the same. I have never felt so connected to society and to others than I did at that concert. Though I have been to many gigs since it is embedded in my memory. 

Nonetheless, there have been a few occasions where this is not the case. My experience at certain gigs – Sleeping with Sirens and You & Me at Six as two examples, that explore the negatives. As a frequent attendee there are signs, aspects of a concert that and its contents that I find myself looking for. For one when the atmosphere feels off than it usually will be, the people surrounding you are important to your personal enjoyment as a concert is very much built on collective experiences not individually like you would be with your spotify.

My negative experience at these two gigs rely solely on others rather than myself. For instance pushy crowds, now I know what you’re thinking listening to the music I do and I find an issue with this? The truth is, in most cases I do not. However, hurting others because of your own fangirl attributes and physically fighting people around you for a spot at the barricade and shouting threats shouldn’t have to be on a ‘WHAT NOT TO DO’ article. “If a concert is general admission, the people in front earned their spots.” writes the rolling stone in their article on annoying concert behaviors. “The people all the way in front might have even spent all day camped out by the doors, so when the lights go off and you shove your way to the front, you’re being a huge asshole. Don’t do that. If you show up late and there’s only room in the back, you’ve just gotta deal with it.”

The rolling stone explores the concepts of ‘unspoken’ rules in a shared audience, a discussion relating to my BCM10 lecture, though in this case clearly need to be continuously brought up which really brings on the thought of why are they unspoken and are we really expected to already know them?

From my own experience at the two stated above gigs I would say that it should not have to be said that physically hurting others for your own gain shouldn’t have to be a spoken rule in any collective experience.

Andy Greene, The 10 Most Annoying Concert Behaviors, Jannuary 14th, 2013, 8.33PM ET, [online] The Rolling stone https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/the-10-most-annoying-concert-behaviors-199696/