Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Media Studies


Dr. Susan Knabe


This project is a close examination of the representation of female participatory fandom, including scholarly work on fandom from the 1980s to the present, recent news media coverage of fan fiction, and a case study of fan responses to their own representation on the television series Supernatural. I will argue that outsider representations treat fans as a convenient Other, in order to normalize ‘mainstream’ relationships to media texts. This function is gendered, drawing on historical, philosophical and medical discourses which associate femininity with the body and emotion, and masculinity with the mind and reason. I close with a case study of television series Supernatural, which features recurring fan characters based on the program’s real fandom. Through a survey questionnaire, fans were given the chance to respond to these representations. A much more complex picture of female fan identity emerges from these accounts.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.