When it comes to primetime television’s most homoerotic buddy cop series, it would be hard to find a more obsessed fan than Maria. Black, queer and a lifelong geek with a love for slash fanfiction, Maria’s deepest passion is the show Bay City and the work of a mysterious fic writer who seems to understand what it’s like to feel like an outsider. But in real life, Maria finds little empathy from her best friend Anna. In her opinion, all Bay City represents is another case of network queerbaiting and a distraction that holds back Maria from pursuing relationships outside of her laptop. Maria hopes a trip to the coffee shop that inspired her favorite writer’s newest fic might help her bring Anna into the fold.
The characters of If This Is Wrong are the women you find every day in fandom communities. They come from different walks of life and different points of view. They come to fandom and the numerous communities within fandoms for a host of personal reasons. They talk about the variety of issues that stem not only from the subject of their admiration but also from how one another are treated. And for too long has that perspective been absent from the larger narrative. This is a story about fandom from a fangirl’s point of view.
By taking on the world of slash fanfiction, this film explores how people connect and explore themselves and their world through fictional characters and their trials and tribulations. For many women, fanfiction is an opportunity to reshape these fictional worlds for themselves, using these characters as fuel to not only create new art but also fascinating explorations into intimacy. This is a story by fangirls about what fanfiction means to them.
Even though we’ve begun to see TV embrace more diverse casts, fandom trends – and discourse around these trends – have been resistant to change. Fangirls of color have always been a part of the fandom community yet their presence is seemingly invisible. And when they speak up, they are often met with resistance from other fans. For all of us involved we see this film as a great opportunity to show a queer black woman who fully embraces herself and her love of slash and to showcase the fact that women of color are fangirls too. This is a story about the reality of being a fangirl: we come from all backgrounds.
In mainstream media, the word “fangirl” still brings to mind sexist stereotypes without thought to what it is that connects women to this world. Slash fanworks have faced especially sharp criticism, often begging the question of sexual fetishization. Portrayals of women that enjoy slash content are cast then as a subculture ultimately driven by cis white men. But as sales of comics and movie tickets continue to surge thanks in large part to female audiences, both fandoms and the media continue to pretend that women are not interested or that their interests are tainted. It is time for our narrative to be told in our own voice.
We invite you to help support a project that celebrates the passion, creativity and complex emotional lives of women. Whether you love fandom, slash or women of color letting their freak flags fly, join us it making a film that tells our story by donating, sharing our Kickstarter campaign and getting involved.
If this is wrong, well frankly we don’t wanna be right!
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