Fifty shades of ghey: Snark fandom and the figure of the anti-fan

Publication year

Here's the abstract:

Early work in fan studies examined fan activities as forms of resistance, enabling fans to reclaim ownership of popular culture. Jonathan Gray (2003) and Cornel Sandvoss (2005), however, argue that to fully understand what it means to interact with texts we must also examine anti-fans. This article builds on Gray and Sandvoss’s work by expanding on Francesca Haig’s (2013) discussion of ‘snark’ fandom. We suggest that the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy (2012) has generated an ironic, even guilty fandom, in which readers and viewers bemoan the series’ flaws, while enjoying (sometimes furtively) the texts. We structure this as an analysis of the anti-fandom’s denigration of Fifty Shades as ‘bad literature’ and ‘bad eroticism’ to be consumed by an imagined female reader. We argue that this cultural disavowal of Fifty Shades is based upon cultural distinctions of taste (Bourdieu, 1984) and suggest that the BDSM community’s rejection of the books’ sexual politics is founded upon its own distinction of taste.