Fandom Tattoo Pitch – Part 2

When conducting research projects, it is essential to think ethically and how your research could affect those you choose to include. Whether that be through interviews, surveys, photography or validity and reliability of research, there are standards that a researcher will have to adhere to. The MEAA Journalism Code of Ethics showcases various ways to remain ethical when publishing research and especially respecting those that choose to be an interviewee or involved in the research process.

Some codes that stand out for my project, in particular, are (MEAA, 2019):

  1. Report and interpret honestly, striving for accuracy, fairness and disclosure of all essential facts. Do not suppress relevant available facts, or give distorting emphasis. Do your utmost to give a fair opportunity for reply
  2. Do not allow personal interest, or any belief, commitment, payment, gift or benefit, to undermine your accuracy, fairness or independence.
  3. Use fair, responsible and honest means to obtain material. Identify yourself and your employer before obtaining any interview for publication or broadcast. Never exploit a person’s vulnerability or ignorance of media practice
  4. Present pictures and sound which are true and accurate. Any manipulation likely to mislead should be disclosed.

tenor.gifAs I plan to include various photographs of fan tattoos and interview them on their purpose, where their ideas came from, and whether or not they shared their tattoo on social media. Potential interviewees may have some sensitive material on the background of their tattoo, which will need to be dealt with utmost care.

When I decided to get my tattoo that correlates with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it was a spur of the moment; however, the show itself had a significant impact on my life as a teen that helped shape the woman I am today. This is the primary reason I decided on the tattoo that now resides on my left shoulder blade. Though I didn’t share my own tattoo online, it is how I came across the idea when I searched for ‘Buffy tattoos’ on Pinterest.

tattooThe fact that I have a deep personal connection to the tattoo, it’s meaning and my experience with interacting with other fans in the online platform, I am fascinated to see the process other fans go through when deciding to get a fan tattoo. Furthermore, this is why I will be using a mix of autoethnography and online observation and interviews to gauge the trends that seem to appear with fandom tattoos.

Coming across a blog by Susan Kresnicka (2016) really solidified the motivation behind this research project. The quote states “You don’t get that tattoo because you are a fan of something in the book, you get that tattoo because that book is a fan of something in you.” from a close friend of Kelly Sue DeConnick regarding the plethora of tattoos, related to her works, she was being emailed. Tattoos are memories, artwork, commemorations and full of meaning. By dedicating research into media fandoms and how they create and share accordingly online will allow the space to navigate its real implications.


Kresnicka, S 2016, ‘Why Understanding Fans is the New Superpower’, Variety, weblog post, 2 April, viewed 12 October 2019, <;

MEAA 2019, MEAA Journalist Code of Ethics. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 Oct. 2019].


Fandom Tattoo Pitch – Part 1

IMG_2229When thinking about a topic I wanted to conduct my Ethnographic research on, I automatically was drawn to the lecture on fandoms. I myself are a part of many and have become increasingly fascinated with the idea of fans and participatory culture. Studies of fans, their participatory culture, the way they behave online and various other notable areas have flooded the research forum and produced an influx of knowledge in that particular field. However, areas such as taking fandom culture to the absolute extreme are lacking. For example, fans exceedingly dedicated to their fandom, whether it be Harry Potter, Supernatural or a band/artist, some will opt to ink their bodies in commemoration or love for whichever fandom they choose. Examples of fan tattoos can be found all over social media networks, especially Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr. By exploring fan behaviours and thoughts in sharing their tattoos on online platforms, we may be able to gage why they engage in this form of participatory fan culture. 

Though there is little academic literature on fan tattoos and their motivations behind getting them, there are many media articles regarding the extremes fans go to participate in their fandoms. In an article from The Week, Kelli Marshall examines what tattoos can inform us about modern fandoms. Marshal articulates, “while fans apply tattoos for various reasons, the tattoos virtually always represent something significant in their lives.”(Marshall, 2014). In the article, a woman is interviewed about her Gene Kelley tattoo, and she furthers the notion that these tattoos represent not only something they love but something that has shaped them by saying, “tattoos are expressions of things you love and how you’d like others to see you.” (Marshall, 2014).  

One book in particular carefully studies the use of Pinterest as a platform of ideating, sharing and connecting fans with each other, especially tattoos. The book, Television, Social Media and fan culture looks at a case study from which Buzzfeed shares ’50 fantastic ‘Doctor Who’ Tattoos’ that are all found on Pinterest (eds Slade et al. 2015, p.309). A significant idea that Slade et al. (eds, 2015, p.309) mentioned was that sharing tattoos online had become a trend, so much so that there was enough evidence to compile a long list of fandom tattoo, in their case, Doctor Who. As a pattern has been identified, it would be interesting to research and understand why people, a) share their fan tattoos online and b) the determination behind getting a fan tattoo.

Die-cut vinyl sticker_ Mutant Works LogoFrom the End of Buffy the Vampire SlayerFrom my own personal experiences with obtaining a fan tattoo (a little character from the end credit scene of my favourite show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), I already have some insight on why someone may choose to showcase their fan tattoos online and to participate in that form of extreme fan culture. From what I have begun to read, there is some decent background information that I can use to start my focus on the online platforms fans use the most when sharing tattoo ideas and their own completed works.

Stay tuned for part two that goes into ethical considerations, methods and report format!


Marshall, K 2014, What tattoos can teach us about modern fandom. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 Oct. 2019]. 

Slade, A, Narro, A, Givens-Carroll, D (eds) 2015, Television, Social Media and Fan Culture, Lexington Books, New York. 


The Digital World

Many would agree that most of our lives in the 21st century is online. If you disagree, then maybe you are still living in the 20th century. All around us, we are surrounded by digital devices and social media, projecting an image of what we want people to see. In Wilcox and Stephens journal article, it describes that people lean towards presenting a socially desirable, positive self-view to others when they are online or on social media such as Facebook and Instagram.” (2013). In my own experience, this is precisely true, and from unashamedly stalking others Facebook and Instagram pages, I cannot fault this idea.

profile gifI myself only post the most glamorous moments of my life online to show the people I am ‘friends’ with how good my life is, or at least how good I want them to THINK it is. It’s not difficult to comprehend why we don’t showcase the bad stuff that goes on in our lives. The difficult things we individually go through aren’t things that we like to publicise to everyone we know, sometimes to even our closest friends. However, even with this in mind, Facebook profiles have been shown to reflect actual characteristics as opposed to idealised characteristics that do not represent one’s actual personality (Wilcox & Stephens, 2013)

Scrolling through Facebook, it is easy to dive down into a deep hole of profile clicking and content consumption. It might seem quite harmless, clicking onto a person’s profile, maybe its a friend, a friend of a friend, or someone you don’t even know, but in any case, you click on it and start a visual scan of their lives. Glancing at their profile picture, or the past five, seeing mutual friends, what they like, what they share, it all informs your idea of who they are.

Postill and Pink in an article about Social Media and the Digital Researcher describe that “the rapid growth of social media platforms, applications, practices and activity are threefold. They create new sites for ethnographic fieldwork, foster new types of ethnographic practice and invite critical perspectives on the theoretical frames that dominate internet studies…” (2012). Whether it is conscious or not, we are continually learning new things about people through their social media pages. If we take it one step further, we can evaluate the patterns of peoples lives regarding their culture, age bracket, and so on. 

On my own profile above, you can see just a few things about me, what I find important enough to share and a few posts that I have been tagged in. At first glance, this is all just pointless information that is processed and immediately forgotten. But looking at it, trying to decipher who I am, what can you learn? To give you a blatant detail that you can without a doubt see, I am a Parramatta Eels fan. What else can you find out?


Ritualistic Television

Throughout my almost 20 years of being alive on this earth, I can easily say my connection with television has changed over the years. I have some very prominent memories of watching TV as a child, and now, all significant parts of my daily ritual.

One of the first memories that come to mind is rushing home from school of an afternoon into my Nan’s house to switch on ABC kids to watch the afternoon away until Mum came back from work. There were many shows kids born in the late 90s – the early 2000s remember all too well. A few of the well-known favourites I remember quite clearly including Angelina Ballerina, Franny’s Feet, Postman Pat, Bottletop Bill and Round the Twist. These are a few of the most memorable of shows from my primary school days along with two, all be it very different, shows that still have me traumatised today.

Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids being one, already tells you from the name that it was terrifying for a little girl who much preferred shows about girls putting on a new pair of shoes and travelling the world (Franny’s Feet). Watching back on it now, it wasn’t half as bad as I had initially thought, but I can say it wasn’t a pleasant experience. However, there was one show in particular that I knew, as soon as it came on, the TV was off. It was the show Soupe Opera. It was weird in every way, and I can easily say that it is a show that didn’t especially make me like the idea of vegetables or fruits like I think it was supposed to. After first watching it, I thought never again, and that’s when I switched the TV off to try to do some homework. Emphasis on try.

In a Penn State Article by the Applied Social Psychology faculty, they detail that many childhood memories are closely related to watching Saturday Morning cartoons (2014). This is a memory I can closely relate to myself, watching them with my Dad every Saturday before getting on with the day, playing board games, or going to the park. They further suggest that there was a time slot for cartoons reserved for Saturday mornings that is now part of a daily routine (2014). My Saturday ritual vanished throughout the years as the cartoons became everyday viewing and those laughs on a Saturday not forgotten but appreciated. 

Nowadays, I find watching television more as comfort while I do other things such as cook, study or write a blog. Yes, I may have Netflix on in the background now as I write this. I find the TV is more or less, for me, used to fill the silence while I do other things in my busy life. Yet this is a new ritual I undertake as a part of my daily life.

Watching TV socially or as a solo experience, as Saxbe et al. establish in their article, that television is an essential part of a persons life whether it be with family, friends or by yourself (2011). Spending time with family while watching TV is the most common form of bonding and becomes a natural part of the lives of many. Ritualistic television watching is a significant component of the lives of many, with the many, not realising it is a ritual at all. With this in mind, do you have a ritualistic relationship with TV?



The Screens Around Us

When looking around us, screens are a largpart of our society that we generally overlook. But, when we start paying attention, you begin to realise their role in society. After our lecture on Media use and Public Spaces, I began to take a step back and look at how people interacted with their screens in various settings.

Screen Shot 2019-08-21 at 7.36.22 pm

One of my first observations was how people interacted with their phones on the bus. I catch a bus too and from university so on my way home, I looked up and down the bus, and I noticed that the majority had their heads stuck into their phone screens watching or looking at something much more entertaining. A large portion used earphones to drown out the hum of the bus and the few conversations that were to be had with friends they happened to have along for the ride. I must admit, I am usually one of the majority when it comes to reaching into my pocket for my phone to escape the possible interaction with people I am unfamiliar with, and it made me wonder, what people are actually using their screens for?

Are people so scared of talking to someone new that they will bury their eyes into their phone instead of enjoying, not only the view but, people around them? Well, I guess from my own experience and conversations with others, that this could be in fact, true.

It is very unlike the meet-cute situations you see in stereotypical rom-coms where you bump into someone on the street or on the bus and a whole romance starts. In a realistic society, fitting today’s way of life, it is more likely you would bump into someone due to either party or both being engaged in the screens around them instead of the world. So what is the purpose of screens, social media, smartphones, etc.?

Screen Shot 2019-08-21 at 7.36.09 pmIn an article written by Jursland and Denstadli, they describe the uses of smartphones and tablets on public transport (2017). Many people use their phones to utilise their time on public transport and make it their own space. They note that many people that carry a form of screen with them on public transport such as a laptop, phone or tablet, often have a more positive outlook on their journey. However, an intriguing study Jursland and Denstadli reviewed as a part of their paper, described that mobile technology created a sense of isolation and that having a connection with another on the bus or train, left them in a more positive mood (2017).

Screens are around us everywhere. TV, smart fridges, on University campus, wherever you look, it won’t be hard to find a screen. Yet, with screens becoming a part of our daily lives, many are still against them and worry about their potential dangers. Moral panics surrounding new technology is not uncommon, (see article here for one of many perspectives on the matter) but there is a battle for both sides of the argument. Where do you stand?

Cinematic Experience

There is nothing better than going to the cinema to see a movie you have been so hyped about seeing on the big screen for more than a year. It was safe to say that Avengers: Endgame was that movie for me (enough so I decided seeing it more than once was necessary). After the traumatising end of Avengers: Infinity War, I was ready for a resolution and my heart to be unbroken; however, the encounter was one of the worst I have had in a cinema ever.

First Viewing

The first mistake was going to the Greater Union Cinema in Wollongong. If anyone knows anything about this cinema, you know it is cramped, old and decked with some of the most uncomfortable seats you could imagine. The cinema was packed, and after a rushed attempt to get to the movie on time, a friend and I were able to grab two seats in the middle section of the cinema. The disaster began there, as our seats were placed right in front of some very inquisitive kids that didn’t quite comprehend the ability not to ask questions every two seconds before the movie even began. We became frustrated very quickly and within minutes of the film officially starting, we managed to manoeuvre our way to another two seats a few rows ahead to the left, leaving the noise behind us. A moment of bliss was all I had before realising, the before mentions awful seats, were even worse as mine was no longer screwed in correctly and would shift every time I moved. Worst of all, due to the rush to get to the cinema, the rite of passage of enjoying a box of popcorn and overly watered-down soft drink was stolen from me. Overall the experience wasn’t good regardless of how incredible the film was.

Second Viewing

Due to the low standard of the first experience, I was eager to rectify it by seeing the movie again. This time I was able to see the film at Hoyts Warrawong on a date, and as a preface, there wasn’t another. It is essential to notice that although the seating considerably improved with the recliner seats, the company and the position of the seats made the experience, again, not one I would choose to relive. Being in the first row of the cinema is not a place you want to be, craning your neck to watch a movie that is three hours long is undeniably not comfortable. Not only being physically uncomfortable but being uncomfortable with the company is no better. Although this watch through was much better, again I was let down and left with a feeling of unmet expectations.

Third Viewing

I was, however, given the chance to give the cinematic experience another shot to get it right. Third times a charm, right? Right, it was. Seeing the movie in Reading Cinemas Rouse Hill in gold class, things were already looking up. I had my Mum by my side, good bougie gold class food, popcorn, drink, recliner seats (in a good position near the back), and an indisputably fantastic film. It was familiar, and it was perfect in every way affording me the opportunity to genuinely enjoy the overall experience.