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Consider contributing to the Femslash Research Project Survey by [livejournal.com profile] sparksmoran 

My Own Answers for the Femslash Research Project
3. What impact has mainstream media had on your notions of ‘What being a lesbian means?’ If you can, be specific. Who was the first out lesbian character you remember? Did you like her?
As someone who grew up in Southeast Asia, I think that the mainstream media has had some impact on what my notions of what being a lesbian meant; this sort of identity simply wasn't discussed when and where I was growing up. Consuming LGBT content through mainstream media (whether by chance or by choice) was literally the only way I was exposed to those concepts. I ought to add that it has definitely helped that my initial thoughts on the issue was shaped by positive or neutral non-heteronormative characters (eg: Brigitte Lin who played Invincible East in “Swordsmen II”).

As for the first out lesbian character that I remember, it was definitely Sailor Uranus (Haruka Tenoh) and her girlfriend, Michiru Kaioh. This was in the manga version (which was surprisingly uncensored), and I think I was about 12. I loved Haruka (still do); she was so cool! :D

4. What characters (lesbian or otherwise) did you identify most strongly with as a child? As an adolescent?
Asterix of Asterix and Obelix as a child. Lol And as an adolescent, I'd say it's a toss-up between Hime in Hime 100%, or Pai in 3x3 Eyes. I was a strange kid. :)

5. How did you first discover fanfiction? What was the first fandom/pairing that you read, and why did it appeal to you? What was the first fandom/pairing that you wrote, and why did you decide to write it?
My brother was actually the one introduced my first piece of fanfic to me; prior to that I was voraciously reading young adult books from the school library. It was Brett Handy's self insert in the Oh! My Goddess fandom. It appealed to me because it was a good read, and it seemed that Brett was a pretty cool dude. The first fandom/pairing that I actually wrote was a fanfic of his work (which I got permission to write) and I wrote it because I felt like I could add to the universe.

6. What types of stories do you tend to like, and why? Have your tastes changed over time? Do you change fandoms often or do you consider yourself loyal to one or two?
I tend to like gender-benders, because I've liked how people play with those preconceived notions about appropriate behavior for certain genders. I liked stories with strong female characters or characterization, because it meant that I could more strongly relate to it as a cis female. For AU stories, I liked it when it expands on the universe; that the characters feel vaguely familiar, but that there is a specific purpose as to why the AU makes sense.

As for tastes changing, definitely. I used to only read 80-90% gender-bending stories when I first started out, just because of the fandom I was into (Ranma ½ is gender-bending by definition); nowadays it's more like 20% of the time, and only if it makes sense to have it. With femslash, for example, I used to read every piece of femslash I could get my hands on, because it was just that rare animal that when you find it, you're amazed that it exists; nowadays, not so much, because I don't have the free time to do it that way. Nowadays I tend to see if someone else has recommended or bookmarked it first, just to see if it's worth my time. I used to also read to the end of the first part of a longer fanfic to see whether it was worth continuing; nowadays it only takes me a few paragraphs to close the tab.

I've been reading fanfics since around 1994 so I would say that I change fandoms infrequently but with purpose. For the fandoms I've been in, I usually lose interest in it when the AUs overwhelmingly take over the genre. I very rarely follow authors into a different fandom. I usually find a great fic within a fandom that I know; find other fics written by the author, and then get pulled into a fandom through that method instead. I've also been pulled into a fandom just by a single recommendation by someone I know and think we have similar tastes in recs.

7. What impact has fanfiction had on your life? 
Internally - do you feel fanfiction has had an impact on your self-identity? In what way or why not?
Externally - has fanfiction changed the way you interact with those around you? In what way or why not?

I think of it as a hobby that I've nurtured for quite a long time, so I think it shapes that way that I see and consume media. I wouldn't say that it's impacted my self-identity—I'm who I am without it.

Externally—sure, I've made a few close friends reading fanfics. I treasure those relationships because we relate to each other more.

8. Do you socialize with other members of the femslash community outside of reading/responding to specific stories? Have you met any others in "real life?" If so, how has that gone? If not, would you be willing to do so?
As a reader and rec'er I've met a few other readers in real life, but not really any writers—they've generally gone well because I kind of know them from my interactions online with them. I know of the International Day of Femslash convention as a possible way to meet other femslashers "in RL" but the timezones for those activities always seem to suck for where I am. Outside of that, I'm wary of meeting other people without knowing them firsthand because personalities can clash and it can be super awkward.


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February 2016

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