I’ll grant you, anon, that diversity isn’t enough to save a show from poor writing. However, let’s talk about a few other things, shall we?
Let’s talk about how shows with all white male protagonists can churn out straight-up racist episodes still be utterly beloved by its fanbase and the Emmys. Let’s talk about how shows with all white male protagonists can kill off every female character it’s ever had for ten years and still have a massive popular following heralding it as progressive for gay representation. Let’s talk about how movies with with all white male leading men (most of them named Chris), with POCs and women only in supporting roles, is hailed as progressive.
No? Don’t want to talk about that?
Then let’s talk about how before Elementary started, before a single episode script had been seen by the public, Sherlock fans and its creators derided the show for daring to make Watson a woman, and called its leading lady ‘a dog’ on televised interviews. Let’s talk about how the Sherlock fandom hurled racist, sexist, and painfully country-centric abuse at Elementary before the show even premiered.
Let’s talk about how a certain show’s fandom is so bad there’s an entire Tumblr dedicated to documenting misogyny in the fandom (hey, sherlockfandomhateswomen!)
Let’s talk about how a number of people who responded to my comment about Tumblr fans admitted that they never gave Elementary a chance because the fandom reaction had been so virulent before a single scene of writing was made public.
Let’s talk about how there are literally fans who defend their dislike of Elementary because “Watson has to be a man” or “how dare they make Moriarty a woman.”
Don’t want to talk about that either?
So, here’s a thought:
The types of fandom that are most often considered traditional and acceptable, and which are often either male-dominated or coded as masculine, tend to be acquisitive, whether in terms of knowledge (obscure trivia) or merchandise (collectibles). Whereas, by contrast, the types of fandom most often considered insincere, non-serious or “unreal”, and which are often either female-dominated or coded as feminine , tend to be creative, such as making costumes, writing fanfic and drawing fanart.
Which is arguably an interesting expression of gender dynamics within fandom, in the sense of being a direct response to gender representation within the canon of particular franchises: namely, that because men, and particularly straight white cismen, are so ubiquitous within popular narrative(s), they have less need to create personal fan interpretations in order to see themselves represented, or to correct/ameliorate stereotypical portrayals; whereas women - and, indeed, members of any other group likely to suffer from poor representation - do.
Which isn’t to say that it’s impossible to be both an acquisitive and a creative fan - not by any stretch of the imagination. Nor am I trying to say that the only reason someone might be an acquisitive fan is because they’re complacent about issues of bias and representation, or that the only reason someone might be a creative fan is because they want to address an issue in the canon. Some people like to collect, some like to make, and some like both, or neither. It’s fine! But I do think that, when it comes to conversations about Fake Geek Girls and what being a “real fan” means - conversations which tend to be strongly gendered - the split between acquisition/creation tends to follow gender lines, too: that guys who know All The Facts and buy All The Merch are the REAL fans, whereas girls who just dress up and tell silly headcanon stories aren’t, and that maybe, there’s an interesting reason for why this might be.
Here’s that post I couldn’t find! Thanks to killerzebras for finding it for me!