Intersectional critique and social media activism in "Sleepy Hollow" fandom


  • Jacquelyn Arcy Saint Xavier University
  • Zhana Johnson Saint Xavier University



Fandom, Gender, Intersectionality, Race, Social TV


We examine fans' social media engagement with the supernatural detective series Sleepy Hollow (2013–17) and argue that fan discourses about the African American police detective Abbie Mills address the representational and institutional treatment of women of color. Sleepy Hollow fans use social media to counter and reshape industry narratives that often cast Black women as archetypes. We explore how fans recreate meaning by writing fan fiction, how fans collectively critique stereotypes on social media, and how fan boycotts challenge media institutions. By charting the evolution of fan responses to Abbie Mills's narrative arc over three seasons, we explore the potential for fan actions to disrupt the television industry. While fan activism is unlikely to alter the industry objectives of a capitalist media system or reconfigure power dynamics between producers and consumers, organized actions can resist institutional efforts to channel fan activity into show promotion.

Author Biographies

Jacquelyn Arcy, Saint Xavier University

Jacquelyn Arcy is an Assistant Professor at Saint Xavier University. Her research is grounded in television studies, new media, and feminist theory.

Zhana Johnson, Saint Xavier University

Zhana Johnson is a current student at Saint Xavier University majoring in Communication with concentrations in Journalism and Electronic Media Production. Her interest lies in following current events as well as studying and critiquing film and television.