Rosé, fanfiction, and Harry Styles
The food & beverage, fandom, feminist op-ed no one asked for, but I wrote anyway. (That’s the point of a newsletter, yeah?) But in all seriousness, this is one of the most emotional things I’ve written in a long while—I haven’t even tried to be this vulnerable publicly since I wrote my essay/speech “What Does Shame Taste Like?” back in 2018.
Some background: Between the ages of 12-15, I was very deep into the Harry Potter fandom. It wasn’t just that Harry, Ron, Hermione & co. felt like my real compatriots through the awkward phase that is adolescence. In fanart & fanfiction, I found an outlet to explore subjects that were too difficult or taboo to voice otherwise: sexuality & desire, mental illness & suicide ideation, body image issues, the list goes on. HP fandom was a foundational & fundamental part of shaping my identity.
However, I felt so deeply ashamed about this part in my past I have only ever told one friend about it. In fact, it wasn’t until maybe 6 months ago I mentioned this aspect of my life to my husband of 7 years. This shame didn’t sprout from nowhere: it’s part of a deeply-ingrained, well-orchestrated societal misogyny towards anything vaguely categorized as what girls & women enjoy.
This piece is about breaking free of those toxic ideas, by first identifying where they show up in our respective fandoms. And you better bet that food & beverage is its own fandom full of these exact dynamics. We work overtime to not just undermine women’s ideas, interests, or feelings as inferior or in bad taste, but to gaslight women into believing that their natural response to the world around them is fundamentally questionable—until verified by the opinions of men.
Admittedly, this is a straight-up op-ed and doesn’t translate neatly to Instagram carousels. I did my best to capture some of the main points of the piece in this slideshow, but to really understand how these 3 topics connect (especially Harry Styles & another Chinese celebrity I mention, Xiao Zhan) you’ll have to read through the piece. It’s a public, free post so head to my newsletter here: https://waytoocomplicated.substack.com/p/rose-fanfiction-and-harry-styles