Conference Paper: Wearing our fandom on our sleeves – tattoos in fandom

By questioning what the significance of specific tattoo designs is, my paper considers the presence of tattooing within fan communities, with a view towards its currency inside and outside of fandoms.

Supernatural (SPN) fan communities and their use of tattooing to symbolise belonging will be considered, with specific attention paid to the “protection” symbol design, which I suggest speaks to the sub-culture of the “SPN Family.”

Twilight fandom acts as a comparison. Reception of the Twilight community, particularly by the public, involves a great deal more criticism than that of SPN. This in turn influences how Twilight inspired tattoos are discussed in public and private forums. Twilight tattoos then, act as an opportunity to both own fandom while also rebelling against societal judgements of it.


My research will be drawn from fan sites, specifically those which detail specific motivations for tattooing and the symbolism of specific designs.

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