I’ve been researching, and discovered something I didn’t expect. The TV series I’m writing for the course has a character who considers herself a “fangirl”, so I’ve put together a survey for fangirls and posted it in a variety of internet communities. The survey includes questions about your feelings towards being a fangirl, writing fan fiction, having a social life online, and so on. It also asks for age, country, occupation, family – stuff that’s all listed in their profiles anyway – simply because it’s especially interesting if a fangirl is 40 years old and living with her parents, or has a very respectable and serious career but writes Twilight stories on the side, and so on.
So far, fangirls have been enjoying the survey. I’ve encouraged them to go into depth and ramble, and they have, and it’s all extremely interesting. Only one thing has been stopping them – fanboys. They’re asking what it’s all about. Do I have approval to use human subjects in my research. Do my questions meet research ethics criteria. The fangirls seem to understand that it’s a casual, friendly survey, and none of it is going to be quoted or published, but the fanboys all seem to be qualified Research Methodists.
And this is in communities where they write stories about what Dumbledore would have been like as a woman, or run discussions on the density of Stephen Mangan’s chest hair, or draw pictures of Jon Stewart as a Lord of the Rings elf.
Obviously I'm going to write a fanboy character now.