Writing Outside the Margins: Racebending in Fanfiction

Fanfiction allows people from various communities to celebrate their favorite fandoms, characters, and relationships together. Over the past decade, fanfiction has developed into a center for activism through the racebending movement in online communities like Tumblr. The following research focuses on how racebending in fanfiction provides women of color with a space where they can have creative power and a voice for their unique narratives by recasting white female characters with women of color instead. There is primarily a focus on women of color due to how studies show women having lower self-esteem with increased media exposure as opposed to men, and how stereotyped representations of female minorities on screen have a profound effect on girls of color. The research shows why racebending is of importance for women of color by highlighting the lack of central characters played by them in movies and television, as well as the lack of these women in creatives roles such as writers and directors. The deficiency of women of color both onscreen and off screen directly leads to the homogenous nature of mainstream media and the occurrence of whitewashing, which is detrimental because as Dr. Lori Kido Lopez presents in "Fan-Activists and the Politics of Race in The Last Airbender" it supports the idea that whiteness can stand in for all racial difference. Fanfiction counters this idea through racebending, where women of color can see positive representations of themselves by being producers of their own media instead of simply consumers of it.