Whoosh! Issue 50 - November 2000

WHOOSH Contributors Ponder Fandom
Page 9

Confessions Of A Recovered Xenite by Melissa Meister
You've Come A Long Way, Baby by Elisa Deyneka
WHOOSH 50th Issue Contribution by Mark Allen
XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS' Impact On My Life by Hamutal Yellin

By Melissa Meister
50th Issue Project
Content copyright © 2000 held by author
Edition copyright © 2000 held by Whoosh!
975 words

A Surprise (01-04)


A Surprise

'25  long years and I still can't get rid of this d*mn hat.'

Joxer reminisced for 25 years.

[01] It had been so long since I had been involved with XENA fandom that the letter from Kym Taborn in my inbox announcing WHOOSH's 50th issue came as something of a shock. It brought to mind many memories of what seems like so long ago and I smiled, happy to reminisce. You see, once upon a time, I was known in XENA fandom circles as the "Xenameister". I ran a web page devoted to intellectual discussions of episodes and subtext known as "Xenameister's Xenaverse" (now defunct). I even wrote a few articles for WHOOSH on the importance of sapphic subtext and how to analyze Xena through different feminist perspectives. I attended a convention or two, and I ran into XENA fans almost everywhere I went. I once went to Minneapolis for an academic conference and ended up at a party one night with someone who was on the same XENA listserv as me! Clearly, I was a XENA nut. It is quite possible that I spent more time on XENA in college than I did on my homework. Why? Because it was so darn much fun.

[02] Almost every day, I would find dozens of e-mails in my inbox from my web page. People all over the world would e-mail me to share a story, give a compliment, or even sometimes, to tell me I was an evil dyke. Nevertheless, I reached people and that was important to me. XENA was important to all of us, not just as a show, but as a phenomenon. The XENA phenomenon used to be a culture that accepted many people cast off from society: gays and bisexuals, tomboys, men who liked very strong women, etc. There has not really ever been another time in my life when I felt as "affirmed" as I did when I was part of XENA culture, and I have no doubt that many others felt the same way. I made many friendships and had some of the most intellectual discussions of my life with people I met from XENA fandom through listeservs, conventions, and fan fiction. I even became buddy-buddy with Avicus (aka Robert Field, editor for XENA), although I think he only kept me around for the dirty jokes. When I was a part of XENA fandom, it was warm and accepting, something that is very rare to find in a large group of people and something that we should all be proud of for creating. It has left me many wonderful memories.

[03] You will notice my focus on the past tense in this piece. Time to shoot forward to the future. I am no longer any part of XENA fandom. I do not even watch the TV show anymore. And no, it is not just because I discovered a love life! I stopped watching shortly into the 4th season, when I decided that the characters on the show had become so laughable, it was not worth watching anymore. All good things must end, or at least be recreated, and those responsible for creating XENA simply recreated the show into something I wanted no part of. What was wonderful about XENA and about XENA fandom in general was that it was experimental. The people involved with XENA had no idea how it became such a hit, it simply grew into something we could all be proud of. Now, XENA is just formulaic with bad scripts and hardly any subtext. It used to be playful and fun, but any time I have caught a few minutes of it here and there in the past couple of seasons, it is just been forced and dull. The producers have rejected the audience that gave them their loudest support (subtext supporters), and not given any of the fans what they deserve, a show they can be proud of. We all used to be proud of claiming to be XENA fans and just shot those who would mock us a knowing smile that said, "I'll convert you yet". I do not know anyone anymore who would claim to be a XENA fan.

[04] I guess one could say that I have moved on in life. I found all of my XENA stuff in the closet the other day and decided to auction it off on eBay. It is time to pass that torch to someone else, or, since we live in a consumer, money-grubbing culture, sell it! I will never regret being a part of Xena fandom. I had a blast, and I met some of the greatest and most giving people I may ever know. Though I might now be ashamed to admit that I liked the television show XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS, I will never be ashamed to admit that I was a XENA fan.


Melissa Meister, "XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS Through the Lenses of Feminism" WHOOSH #10 (July 1997)

Melissa Meister, "Importance of Sapphic Subtext in XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS, The" WHOOSH #17 (February 1998)


Melissa Meister Melissa Meister
Melissa Meister is a former XENA fanatic who will be attending law school at the University of Arizona this fall. She hopes to focus on civil rights and cyberlaw. She wants to thank all the XENA fans she has encountered over the years that have enriched her life and encouraged her to fight the good fight. You can reach her at meister@email.arizona.edu - give a ring sometime, for old time's sake!
Favorite episode:Anything with Hudson Leick in it!
Favorite line:Minya: "We're thespians!" THE PLAY'S THE THING
First episode seen:THE QUEST
Least favorite episode:Anything from 4th season onward.

By Elisa Deyneka
50th Issue Project
Content copyright © 2000 held by author
Edition copyright © 2000 held by Whoosh!
734 words

And Then XENA Came Along(01-02)
Faltering Faith (03-06)


And Then XENA Came Along

Gabrielle's early attempts at meditative dancing were rather misjudged.

It is not a piece of cake being a fangirl.

[01] If someone had told me about ten years back that a show was about to come along that would profoundly change not only my viewing and buying habits, but my life as well, I would have laughed. Yes, I am a fangirl. I will be the first to admit that. However I always knew that a TV show was a TV show and while it was fun to occasionally attend conventions, read fan fiction, and tape the series, I knew where to draw the line. And then XENA came along.

[02] I could go on for pages about why the show appealed to me, but when it comes right down to it, the reason my love grew to obsession was that I truly believed in Xena. She was not Wonder Woman fetching coffee for her man after a long day of crime fighting in a push-up bustier and heels. She sure as h*ll was not any of Charlie's Angels. No, Xena was a big, tough, strong, butch woman, but not in that Hollywood-ized way. She never looked like she had just walked out of the nearest salon, she was not afraid to get dirty, and she was not afraid to be mean. She was a b*tch on wheels and did I ever respect her for it.

Faltering Faith

[03] Somewhere along the line, though, the show began to lose me, and not where you would think. "The Rift" did not do it. By that point I was already a shamelessly unapologetic Joxer fan so it did not hit me quite as hard as it did a lot of others. I had my boy Joxer to fall back on, so when the subtext faltered and Gabrielle turned to Eli and "The Way" I shrugged it off. I was losing fan friends left and right, but I hung on tenaciously, arguing that the show would be fine. For a while it was, then came the addition of the Christian dogma plot, and that was when my faith faltered.

[04] However, I am nothing if not stubborn and so I watched and I taped but it was becoming a chore each week. That was when I knew I had to get out and soon. Then TPTB (the powers that be) killed off Joxer, badly. Soon after that the Olympian gods followed, again, badly. Stubborn or not, enough was enough.

[05] Therefore, with the season finale I bid goodbye to the series that had played such a major role in my life. I did not do it bitterly, though I had every reason to feel that way. Instead, I left with a sincere sense of gratitude toward everyone involved with the series. I took away from it a true heroine, a world of magic and beauty, fantastic characters, and some darn fine stories. But more than that, Xena became something of a role model to me. She was strong and fearless. Two things I strive to be everyday. I do not always succeed, but I do know I would not have taken some chances in my life had I not had that example.

[06] I want to say "thank you" to cast, crew, and every other single person involved with XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS. I may not agree with the direction the series has gone in, but it was a wild, amazing ride.


Elisa Deyneka, "XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS and the Masochistic Ideal" WHOOSH #14 (November 1997)


Elisa Deyneka Elisa Deyneka
An unrepentant fangirl and Joxer fan, Ellie has recently moved cross-country to the beautiful Silicon Valley to pursue a career in computer marketing.
Favorite episode:A DAY IN THE LIFE (#39), THE PRICE (#44), and A COMEDY OF EROS (#46)
Favorite line:Xena to Hower: And you've got a snowball's chance in Tartarus with me...ya got that? A DAY IN THE LIFE (#39); Xena to Draco: Well ain't love a bitch?! A COMEDY OF EROS (#46); Joxer: Blech! Tastes like sweat...does yours? A COMEDY OF EROS (#46)
First episode seen:CHARIOTS OF WAR (#02)
Least favorite episode:THE TITANS (#07); THE EXECUTIONER (#41)

By Mark Allen
50th Issue Project
Content copyright © 2000 held by author
Edition copyright © 2000 held by Whoosh!
1036 words

In the Beginning (01-03)
Discovering On-line XENA Fandom (04-09)
Discovering Off-Line XENA Fandom (10-13)
Xena Forever! (14-16)


In the Beginning

Xena, you have put on weight...not ANOTHER pregnancy, a horse can only
carry so much!

Argo saved the day in THE GREATER GOOD.

[01] I began watching XENA from the first episode when it began in Australia in December 1996, but I did not bother to keep any of these episodes, until I saw episode 21, THE GREATER GOOD (21/121).

[02] As I watched THE GREATER GOOD, I was totally blown away with the dramatic storyline. Xena succumbed to the effects of a poisoned dart and Gabrielle changed from being the comedy sidekick to a more mature character. She tried her best to replace Xena and protect the villagers from the warlord Talmadeus.

[03] I was so impressed with this episode that I instantly became a white-hot fan of the show. I tried to find out more about the actors and the show in general. At about the same time, the college where I work was connecting all the various departments to the Internet and giving email addresses to the staff.

Discovering On-line XENA Fandom

[04] I soon found the WHOOSH site in my search for all things XENA and was overwhelmed with the many insightful and detailed articles on it. I knew there was no way that I would be able to contribute anything as in-depth as these articles were, mostly because Australia was so far behind the American episodes.

[05] Instead I decided to do a review of the movie DARKMAN 2 (Bradford May, 1994) that Renee O'Connor had made before her role on XENA. I had enjoyed the first DARKMAN movie when it came out in the cinemas several years previously and had not heard of any subsequent sequels. After watching this movie I realized why. The script was a bit of a mess to be polite. I wrote a rather critical review of this movie and sent it off to Kym Taborn, editor of WHOOSH, expecting it to be knocked back and getting a polite dismissal.

[06] To my surprise and delight, Kym Taborn accepted the review. Suitably encouraged, I tried to find one of Lucy Lawless' movies, THE SINKING OF THE RAINBOW WARRIOR (Michael Tuchner, 1992). This movie was not as easy to find as I expected.

[07] I rang over 40 video stores in Sydney to find it. I finally tracked it down to a suburb halfway across town. I went to this store and became a member just to hire one movie. Boy, did I get some weird looks from the counter staff. Such is the life of a white-hot XENA fan!

[08] After watching this movie, I realized that Lucy Lawless' appearances were so brief that trying to make a serious commentary on her performance would be pointless. So, instead I spent most of the review giving the history of the real events that the movie was based on.

[09] When the two movie reviews where finally published in WHOOSH editions No. 17 and 18 (February/March 1998), I received 3 emails from XENA fans from Northern America who had enjoyed reading them. I wrote back to them and I am still in regular contact with them today.

Discovering Off-Line XENA Fandom

[10] A few weeks later I joined the Down Under Xenites (DUX) mailing list run by the truly dedicated Mary Draganis, and went from getting 6 emails a week to 50 a day! It was overwhelming to suddenly find such a large number of happy XENA fans all getting together, regardless of distance, and enjoying talking about everything XENA.

[11] Another XENA fan, who is now a good friend, was hosting a XenaFest at her place just north of Sydney, so I decided to see what a XenaFest was like. In the 12 hours before the event, we all had to get some well-needed sleep on Saturday night. We saw 14 episodes of season 3 in one hit. Boy does THE BITTER SUITE (58/312) take some getting used to when you first see it at 2am in the morning!

[12] Since that time I have met a lot of XENA fans, enjoyed going to and now hosting XenaFests, gone out on several social events together, and made a lot of new friends. While I am not a white-hot XENA fan anymore, more a dull-red, I can still flare up when something new comes along, like tapes from America of new episodes or magazine articles like the recent US TV Guide with Renee O'Connor on the cover.

[13] For fans in Australia, having XENA being taken off the air because of poor ratings (amazingly in the 5 to 13 year age group), was a body blow that has diminished the level of XENA fandom in general. But there are still a dedicated bunch of fans around who enjoy getting together and having fun watching Xena, laughing and crying with our two favorite girls, as they walk together through the ancient world, battling to make it a safer place.

XENA Forever!

Those boots....those abs....the red leather....GABRIELLE!

As Meg ages, so ages Xena.

[14] I hope to be a fan of XENA long after the final episode, and I am certain that I will still be a friend to the many people I have met because of this show.

[15] In conclusion, I would like to thank Kym Taborn and Mary Draganis for all the effort they put into running their Internet sites. I can reassure them both that all their hard work is very much appreciated.

[16] PS Australian Xena fans finally got to see the 5th season of Xena in September this year, when Channel 10 ran episodes during the Olympic Games, when they (correctly) assumed no one would be watching their network . Because these episodes were being run at noon during a school holiday period, they were edited to make them safe for any 10 year olds watching, which resulted in some episodes running as much as 2 minutes short The final episodes were shown in the prime time slot of 4AM on a Saturday morning! Channel 10 has decided not to show season 6, because of poor ratings.


Mark Allen, "Darkman II: The Return of Durant" WHOOSH #17 (February 1998)

Mark Allen, "Rainbow Warrior, The" WHOOSH #18 (March 1998)

Mark Allen, "Topless Women Talk About Their Lives" WHOOSH #23 (August 1998)


Mark Allen Mark Allen
I am a 34-year-old electronics technician who lives in Sydney. I am also interested in other shows including, Dr. Who, Red Dwarf, Buffy, Angel and the X-Files.
Favorite episode:THE GREATER GOOD (21/121) THE DEBT I & II
Favorite line:"I have many skills". Many Episodes
First episode seen:SINS OF THE PAST (01/101)
Least favorite episode:GIANT KILLER (27/203)

By Hamutal Yellin
50th Issue Project
Content copyright © 2000 held by author
Edition copyright © 2000 held by Whoosh!
975 words

It Has Happened to Me (01-02)
Lessons of the Show (03-10)
A Gift from the Show (11-13)


It Has Happened to Me

No, no, Season 6 can't be the last one....I can't take it

Maell had a loud talking thing to help him be heard across a valley.
Not that it gave him any points from the warrior princess.

[01] I have heard many people say that the Xenaverse has literally changed their lives. It always sounds incredible, even exaggerated, when people say it, but I know it is possible, because it has happened to me.

[02] The show, and the world that has been created around it, has taught me valuable lessons I needed to learn about the importance of forgiveness, faith, trust, love, openness, tolerance, and acceptance - not only in relation to others, but also in relation to myself.

Lessons of the Show

[03] Through the show, I have learned that all people and situations have good and bad sides to them, and that having bad sides does not necessarily make the whole bad. I have also learned that there is a reason for this multiplicity and that often the different sides help maintain each other, and work together to form a more balanced, more durable whole.

[04] I have learned that there is not much sense in regretting the past. It is how one chooses to use its lessons that counts. It is our past that makes us who we are in the present, good and bad, and there is no way of knowing what might have been. There are developments and consequences beyond our grasp. It is entirely possible that things have actually worked out for the best, without our knowing it.

[05] I have learned that there's always a chance for change, but also that changing is an ongoing commitment and a choice which has to be made time and time again.

[06] I have learned that one's fate is in many senses in one's own hands, and that it is important for one to take control over whatever part of fate that can be controlled, and not leave it to be determined by other people and factors.

[07] I have learned that some relationships should take precedence over everything else. I have learned that even the best relationships have their ups and downs and that all relationships require constant work, but this does not diminish from their worth. This realization has urged me to take a long hard look at my past and present relationships and has made me appreciate those ones that really matter.

[08] Through the show, I have met many people I would have never met otherwise. People very different from me, of various ages, places, occupations, and interests but all sharing a passion for the same show. Their thoughts, opinions and feelings, not only regarding the show, have enriched mine, and in many cases, these exchanges of ideas have evolved into solid friendships, which I am very proud and happy to still maintain.

[09] My experience with fan fiction both as a reader and as a writer was also a new experience for me. It gave me a sense of what it means to be an audience, and what it means to write for an audience. Writing fan fiction has also restored my long lost passion for writing, and the readers' kind comments were very helpful and heartwarming.

[10] Writing the article for WHOOSH helped me put the show in a yet broader context. It gave me the chance to discuss my ideas about the show on a higher level. It also showed me that my passion for "trivial" things like TV shows, and my studies and future work can and do indeed connect, and that it is possible to use each of them for the sake of the other.

A Gift from the Show

[11] Finally, the publication of my article in WHOOSH brought on the most wondrous change in my life. Shortly after the publication of my article, I had received an email from a fan that had read it. What started at first as a pleasant correspondence soon evolved into a rare friendship and later into a wonderful one in a life time love.

[12] XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS and the Xenaverse have been there for me in sad and happy times. They helped make me happier at times when I was already happy, and were often my consolation when I was sad and lonely. They have bestowed many gifts upon me, like the feeling of belonging, insight, friendship, and love. I feel very lucky to have gotten the chance to be a part of it all and I want to thank everyone who had any part in making it happen.

[13] I know that the show must end at some point, but its effects do not have to. I know that I will certainly carry them with me for the rest of my life.


Hamutal Yellin, "No Fate But What We Make: Xena's Perceptions of Religion, Destiny, and Free Choice" WHOOSH #40 (January 2000)


Hamutal Yellin Hamutal Yellin
I am 26 years old, living in Be'er-Sheva, Israel (the same city where I was born and raised). I am currently working as an English teacher, but I am hoping to become a writer one day.
Favorite episode:ORPHAN OF WAR (25/201) BITTER SUITE (58/312) and GOD FEARING CHILD (102/512)
Favorite line:I love all of Xena's teasers and Xenaisms, but my most recent favorite is Gabrielle's "sometimes people think that a home is a place. It can be a person." BACK IN THE BOTTLE (97/507)
First episode seen:Probably the first one, but I do not know for sure. I started watching again during reruns
Least favorite episode:GABRIELLE'S HOPE (51/305), A FAMILY AFFAIR (71/403), THE WAY (84/416), FALLEN ANGEL (91/501), MARRIED WITH FISHSTICKS (105/515)

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