Review of essay: The clothes make the fan


Using the definition of fandom culture as a ‘participatory culture’, this essay explores the way in which this particular event of the sale of Buffy the vampire slayer’s jeans has been used to elongate the popularity of the show. Indicating that the use of the internet allows a show to live beyond it’s air time, due to the dedication of the fans and the obsession displayed with the demand for the props sold when the Buffy series ended. Described as having a long standing emphasis on style, the sold items have multi faceted levels of desirability from use as a collectors item to a fetish object. The timing of the series with the increase of the internet to society but also crucially with the coinciding of the internet’s popularity amongst teens is intrinsic to Buffy’s popularity. This article also discusses the central dichotomy that runs throughout the characterisation of Buffy in that she is described to be a strong riot grlll esque example for teenage girls but yet is perfect in her aesthetic and highly image concious. This raises several issues within feminism of unattainability and an image of the perfect girl created in the male gaze. Also discussing the value vs. gained value via association debate, this explores the way in which items can be fetished in an attempt to live vicariously through the items. An interesting idea raised in this is that of the ostracisation of the fans due the items in the auction being priced at an unattainable amount for most fans. Thus highlighting that the auction ‘for the fans’ was actuly one for collectors and opportunists. The article ends on a really interesting point, suggesting that the greatest rebellion and sense of ownership the fans could have was their ability to not purchase any of the items in the auction. It allowed them still to participate and follow the event of the auction but put to the rest the series in the present day providing an opportunity to revel in nostalgia; exploring the fans obsession not purely with the show itself, but a period of time that symbolised a jovial youth and hope amongst them all.



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