Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Media, Film, and Journalism Studies

First Advisor

Erika Polson, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Derigan Silver

Third Advisor

Lynn Schofield-Clark

Fourth Advisor

Greg Ungar


Fan studies, New media, Participatory culture, Platform, Social network sites, Tumblr


This thesis involves examining the influence of feminism, platform and community on the fandom of Sarah J Maas (SJM) novels on the social network site Tumblr. The goals are to show how a shift to an open social network site has changed the practice of fandom and how various feminisms are applied to popular culture and learned through Tumblr. An ethnographic study and textual analysis on SJM fandom posts and interactions on Tumblr were utilized in order to reach these goals. The observations and analysis examines the data in three categories: the established characteristics of fandom on Tumblr, the characteristics of Tumblr, and the characteristics of the SJM fandom on Tumblr. The analysis suggests Tumblr fandom culture, of which popular feminism is a vital aspect, dictates how fans behave and interact. The fandom struggles to fill the gap created by a lack of clear authority figures, which leads to fans asserting their own authority through policing behaviors, shame and the validating of identity. Both the architectural structure of and the social roles on Tumblr lessen the boundaries of the fandom community, change interactions and build tension in fandom because it forces it to be public to endless potential audiences. The platform is as influential to the fans as the novels of Sarah J Maas are; the fandom is linked to the platform.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Sarah Leiser


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

111 p.