Published on March 15, 2014
IS IT “ABOUT TIME” OR A “FANTASY WORLD?” FANS, DISCOURSE,AND DECIDING IF “COMING OUT MATTERS” IN WOMEN’S SOCCER Not Whether But In What Ways Meghan Ferriter, Ph.D. Lavender Languages 21 15 February 2014
ABBY WAMBACH + SARAH HUFFMAN
+ The Fandom…
TIMELINE & RESPONSES • Late September and earlier - quiet rumblings about engagement - “discussed” in folksonomic tags or anons • Bachelor(ette) Party in Vegas - • Tweets by attendees heading to Hawaii • SoccerWire, TMZ, & HRC announces wedding with congratulations • Abby Wambach acknowledges congrats via Tweet • Abby Wambach gives interview that in part discusses marriage and identity
HRC Tweets (too soon?)
CRITICISM OF THE TIMING • Was she outed? Why silent? • Reading too much fanfic? Magazine retractions • Tweets: Social Media & Digital lives intersect • Also, not ENOUGH coverage - relegated to gossip not sports news
BUT, ABOUT TIME Recurring themes in comments & notes: •finally •it’s about time, ladies •THIS. / what it should be / just being •(i knew it) / no coming out needed •“this is brand new information” (sarcasm) •yay!/ Congrats Abby & Sarah! / so happy/ proud of her
NOT A CASE OF “I’M HOMOSEXUAL… HEAR ME ROAR” • Fandom divided on response to Wambach’s interview in which she described herself as not like that, private, levelheaded and comfortable with herself in a society that is “past that* now” - suggesting a post-homophobic society
FAN RESPONSE • Wambach described as: a hero, a role model, with incredible integrity, too adorable, an awesome human being, literally the best person in the world • Also as: bullshit comments, belittling, denying, talking about a fantasy world, not being aware of privilege, a load of shit dumped on a community that has supported her and her sport for years…
POST-HOMOPHOBIC SOCIETY BULLSHIT
A FANTASY WORLD • Pt1: Discussing & experiencing sexuality is as personal as decisions to come out • Pt 2:“She’s talking about the world the way we want it to be” - we can’t just live • Pt 3: “She’s OUT” - though Wambach actively resisted this event as “coming out”
LEARNING MOMENTS: POWER & SEXUALITY
#REPRESENTATION WILL ALWAYS MATTER Both perspectives acknowledge • the power and significance of being out (or at least to some) • that it’s a matter of timing and framing (over which they disagree) • that saying it and doing it are different: language - naming - articulation • that representation matters - as role models, as “strong women,” as USWNT, for the future
THANK YOU! Yes Pls #GETINTOUCH Meghan Ferriter firstname.lastname@example.org @MeghaninMotion http://meghaninmotion.com
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