We’re continuing to spotlight women editors on Fandom who break the bias! We’ll explore how these change-makers are taking a leadership role in their community, creating inclusive spaces for others, and explaining what “break the bias” means to them.
Meet Lostris, which happens to mean “Daughter of the Waters,” but don’t mistake that for her preference for fire-bending. She’s from the north of Belgium, and her native language is Flemish. According to Lostris, “Belgian fries are the best, as are the chocolate, beer, and waffles. All the stereotypes are true!” Not only are we fans of all of those things, but we’re also fans of this avid traveler, fan-fiction writer, and community leader.
Fun fact: Although she’s never seen Star Wars, she knows that Belgium is 25.71 times smaller than the second Death Star, and “Having seen all the world wonders” is on her travel bucket list (Great Pyramid of Giza, check! Colosseum in Rome, check! Only six more to go!), as well as “photograph a tiger in the wild.” Read on to learn more about Lostris’ fandoms, her editing journey, and see how she breaks the bias!
Questions and Answers
1. What are your fandoms?
Lostris: I love everything and nothing. I try to keep an open mind in general, give things a chance, and take recommendations for what to watch. That’s how I became a Drag Race fan;
thank you, Mandy!
In general, I naturally seem to gravitate towards shows with strong female leads and sassy one-liners. I also always end up stanning the
gorgeous anti-hero of the story, the flawed hero. Think Regina Mills from Once Upon a Time or Lena Luthor from Supergirl (okay, maybe not really an anti-hero there, but she wasn’t the golden star, flawless hero). I am just, in general, a fan of the flawed “broken” characters who do their best to do the right thing but who also stumble along the way. Like yas, you live your life, make mistakes, rise again and just keep going and working for what you want.
2. How long have you been on Fandom?
Lostris: I found Fandom in July 2010 and created my account on August 28, 2010, to get rid of the ads lmao. It wasn’t until January 4, 2011, that I made my first contribution (a hateful comment about The Last Airbender movie on the English Avatar Wiki, oop). Though it was the start of my involvement in that community, as we’re more than a decade later, and I “celebrated” my 10-year adminship on that wiki on the first of March.
3. What specifically drew you to Fandom, and how did you get started editing?
Lostris: Honestly? Boredom and dumb/bad/good luck, lmao. I discovered Fandom after being hit by a bus on July 6, 2010. I’m not kidding. People often think that the quote on my Avatar Wiki profile of me saying, “This just totally ruined my day. — Lady Lostris after being hit by a bus.” is some sort of hyperbolic joke, but nope, true story. A bus hit my car, and long story short, after a week in the hospital, I was condemned to literal bed rest for eight weeks (I was only allowed to get up for 20 minutes per day, so). At one point, I was doing some research on a fire-bending move for my own fan-fiction, discovered the English Avatar Wiki, discovered its fanon portal, and voila, I was hooked.
Starting to edit was only months later. I think many people can relate to feeling overwhelmed when looking at a wiki that seems perfect, not knowing where to start, and being scared about making mistakes. So I started on the transcript pages—cause how many mistakes can you make writing down literal lines from the show, right? The Avatar Wiki also has a user group system (basically users committing themselves to specific projects), one of which is the Transcript Team. To this day, I still remember how nervous I was applying for “membership” and elated when I got it. The community was welcoming, and the wiki was just bustling with life. It was such a pleasant atmosphere I wanted to be part of. I may have become a bit obsessed with editing, and here we are, more than ten years and 128k edits later on that wiki alone.
4. What wikis do you contribute to, and what do you love most about those communities?
Lostris: The English Avatar Wiki will forever be my baby; it’s basically the only community I ever wholly committed to. I’ve been too busy the past few years, but before that, I was that insane person who checked every edit ever made. I just love the open and accepting atmosphere the community has consistently put forward. The entire wiki is super organized, and it’s all done with community participation.
I did branch out to the broader Fandom community, as I was asked to join the VSTF now SOAP in November 2014 and tried to help out that way. Now, as a Wiki Representative since 2020, I naturally do contribute to a lot of different Entertainment wikis, and it has honestly been a blast. It’s so much fun and interesting to learn all the other practices in different communities and learn why something does and doesn’t work on a particular wiki.
5. How did you become inspired to take on a leadership role in your community(ies)?
Lostris: I am someone who hates to sit on the sidelines. I want to help out. Big or small tasks—I don’t care. My responsibility or not—I don’t care. As long as it serves a purpose I believe in or helps someone else; I am there for it. I just am a firm believer in helping whenever you can, being kind and listening to others, and “assuming good faith.” Lead by example. Whatever I’ve ever done on the platform has always been with those core principles in mind. So I never really aspired to take on any leadership role per se. Still, I am not blind to the fact that you just can have more of an impact in certain roles, so I did do the work to land myself in certain positions so I either had the necessary tools to be more efficient or I could be in a role that gave those core beliefs more visibility and be better placed to have my voice heard to affect change.
6. What is your favorite thing about being an admin/mod/editor on Fandom?
Lostris: This may not be an innovative answer, but my favorite thing about being a Fandom editor (regardless of the rights you hold) is the passion and connection. It’s really the only logical answer to the question, “but why do you spend hours and hours on this online platform?” For editors, that passion is the drive to document everything. For social users, it is about connecting with other passionate fans and feeling accepted in the depths of their geeking out. Although the platform is typically divided between the “content creators” and the “social users,” in the end, we are all connected by our love for the franchise, and we just share it in different ways.
I also love that Fandom is such an international place where a random Belgian woman can become close friends with people from the US, UK, Australia, Chile, Germany, The Netherlands, pick a country, any country; that’s just amazing.
7. What contribution(s) on Fandom are you most proud of?
Lostris: There isn’t just one thing. I will always be proud of my contributions to help make the Avatar Wiki what it is today and have editors recognize the wiki from other communities and even people of the franchise (such as Janet Varney, the voice of Korra) as this wholesome place that’s just everything.
It also brings me pride to know that I can bring some of that mindset as a Wiki Representative to other communities and help them refine their policies, wiki structure, and general attitude toward community building.
8. Our theme for WHM is “break the bias,” which highlights the importance of challenging biases and misconceptions to create a more inclusive and gender-equal world. What does breaking the bias mean to you personally?
Lostris: “Breaking” and “highlighting” the bias go hand in hand for me. Still, I often realize that the bias is just not understood or, even worse, that it has become commonplace. The bias can be big (think the still existing divide in wages between men and women for the same job), but also small (like being addressed in a derogatory way as “little lady” in a professional setting). I do not speak for all women, but for me, breaking the bias means to break the silence around it and speak up when you see it happening. Or, if you don’t see it, at least be open to listening to those who do and taking a second to think about it and realize that not every woman’s experience is the same. It’s not because it’s not a general truth for the entire gender that it is not a real problem.
9. How do you “break the bias” in your real life and on Fandom?
Lostris: Speak up when I hear people say something that makes me go, “no, baby, no, here’s the tea instead.” I never shut up anyway.
That’s most easily done on Fandom since talking is a big part of what I do on the platform these days: going to communities and having those meaningful conversations with people and spreading awareness. I love to seek them out to listen to people’s arguments, understand where they are coming from, and then broaden their current perspective (rather than telling them that they’re wrong cause nobody likes that, lmao). I guess here is where my law background really serves me well. Even if you only get through to one person, that in itself will have been worth it cause hopefully, that one person will take that newfound perspective to the next and so on.
Offline, I guess the most significant personal “break the bias” breakthrough I had was to come to terms with being a tall (I’m 1.83m / 6’), strong woman. I’ve always been athletic and good at sports. I got bullied a lot for it as a kid for being “half a dude” cause I didn’t fit the stereotypical girly image. It caused me also to try to hide that part of myself. At one point, the realization struck that I am who I am, and I own what my body can do, and that’s a message I tell the women at my Crossfit box all the time. So I hope that every girl and woman out there just own their strength, literally and figuratively speaking. You are all so strong. Don’t ever be afraid to show it. Anyone having an issue with it is speaking out of fear – that also includes your inner saboteur, thank you Miss RuPaul – and we all ought to be done letting ourselves be held back by fear and preconceived notions of how a woman should look or act! Break that bias, queens!
10. What are some of your favorite female characters who “break the bias,” and why do they resonate personally with you?
Lostris: Thinking about this, I realize that my life was shaped by late nineties early 2000s television, all shows with brilliant, gorgeous, and strong and powerful queens in the lead. I didn’t just resonate with these characters, and I literally wanted to be them, lmao. Forget about Marvel and DC superheroes; give me Xena and Gabrielle (they are a couple, and that’s my hill of truth I will die on!) from Xena: The Warrior Princess. (Lucy Lawless is such an icon!), Sydney Fox from Relic Hunter (I wanted to be Sydney Fox so bad! I wanted to study Egyptology or Archeology at university because of her, but that’s not the most sensible degree to have in Belgium, oop), Piper Halliwell from Charmed (come on, who hasn’t tried a spell or did the hand thing to freeze time and blow something up), and then, of course, Korra from The Legend of Korra (the POC woman titular character of a show with defined muscle tone and still distinct feminine qualities, hell yeah!)
These characters all had the same core traits that I just absolutely lived for: they were strong women, wise, weren’t afraid to fight (literally and figuratively) for what they believed in, stood up for themselves, stood up for others, did their best to make the world a better place, they were funny, had amazing, sassy lines, they were beautiful, they literally were just everything and I just—give me more! They also had such fantastic story arcs of personal growth I would love to explain it all in detail, but then we’ll end up with more than two pages full of text (as that was the first draft of this answer). I just count myself really lucky for having grown up with these women. I just have so much love and respect for these women, and if you want to know more, just send me a message, and I’m happy to geek out with you over them!
Break the Bias
Challenging biases and misconceptions are what breaking the bias is all about. Thanks to Lostris for sharing her journey on Fandom and breaking the bias to support others in the community!
Check out our takeaways from Lostris’ interview:
Takeaway #1: Own your strength! Don’t let fear and preconceived notions hold you from being your authentic self.
Takeaway #2: Speak up and let your voice be heard! “Even if you only get through to one person, that in itself will have been worth it, cause hopefully, that one person will take that newfound perspective to the next and so on.”
Takeaway #3: “The bias can be big (think the still existing divide in wages between men and women for the same job), but also small (like being addressed in a derogatory way as “little lady” in a professional setting).”
We’re interested to learn more about our editors and communities you see breaking the bias! Do you know someone creating spaces so others can learn and grow within the community? Share in the comments!
I'm a huge fan of Law & Order, VEEP, and a long list of anime.
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