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Friday, July 11, 2014

THIS Is How You Fandom, Fandom

{from left to right} Sherlock, Avengers, Game Of Thrones, Merlin {or Newsies, depending on your view},
Doctor Who, Harry Potter, and Supernatural...together, they spell COEXIST.
I love fandoms.

I love being in them.  I love the weird jokes that make me laugh, or the heartbreaking headcanons that make me cry and haunt me for days after.  I love the fan-art, fan-edits, fan-covers, and fan-videos.  I love having a huge shoulder to cry on when I finally watch Catching Fire, or Robin Hood dies, or the 1832 revolution fails. I love having other people to obsess over all my favorite things with, the ones who get all the inside jokes, or the ones who brand-new to whatever fandom I'm currently in.  Or the sense of camaraderie when a non-fan ignorantly attacks your fandom and everyone bands together as one to fight against it.


But what I don't like is how much fandoms have degenerated lately.

You know what I mean.  The flame wars, the backstabbing, the mud slinging, the battles that rage across Pinterest/Tumblr/Facebook and back again.  The snooty fans who don't believe that you can be a true fan unless you read the books first (I think that's what gets on my nerves the most).  Who call you an illiterate wimp if you watched the movie(s) first.  Just because you watched the movie before the book doesn't make you a 'fake fan'.  Come on.  A fandom is supposed to be a secure, happy place for fans to gather without living in fear of being judged for their obsessions.  Turns out, most fandoms are just as bad as non-fandom people...or worse.  You can't go online without being bombarded by some of the following issues...
  • Peeta or Gale?
  • Does Marius belong with Eponine or Cosette?
  • Was the ending of Allegiant perfect or stupid?
  • Do we really need a Peggy Carter TV series?
  • Newsies movie or Newsies musical?
  • And, of course: BOOK OR MOVIE?

I'm in several fandoms.  Les Miserables, BBC Robin Hood, Marvel, Newsies, The Hunger Games, Divergent (kind of), Disney, Jane Austen, and The Rat Patrol.  The only one I can honestly say actually gets along is The Rat Patrol and that's just because it's a small (like, five or six members MAX) fandom.  Any more members, and I can garuntee there'd be huge wars.  Probably mostly about shipping.  Every other fandom I'm in has battles over different ships, headcanons, and whether or not certain things should have been included in the canon work.  Not to mention opinions on villains, heroes, heroines, and minor characters.  Frankly, it's exhausting to be in so many fandoms (because of the drama and rudeness that abounds) but how can I un-obsess myself in something?  Not. Possible.  So I just sigh and roll my eyes and go with the flow.


Don't get me wrong - fandoms are, for the most part, amazing and the good outweighs the bad, but still...couldn't we all get along a little better?  After all, we've all been drawn together by a mutual love for a certain book/movie/TV show and I don't think that should be broken up just because of some stupid argument over whether Katniss would have been better suited for Peeta or Gale (Gale was best for who she was, Peeta is best for who she is).  If we all decided to be a little more kind and courteous, the fandoms would be 'cleaned up' quickly and we'd all have a lot more fun.  To start the ball rolling, let me list a few of my personal guidelines for being part of a fandom.  This isn't a hard and fast list, since everyone has different views, but I'm sure everyone can pick up a few useful things.  If any of you have any more ideas, please share them in the comments.
  • DON'T start/join a flame war - This is the most important rule, in my opinion, and I've always followed it strictly (well, except for a couple of times when people were bashing Enjonine or the barricade boys and I started a mostly-friendly comment war).  I don't agree with slash shipping (guy/guy or girl/girl) but I'm not going to call someone out about it.  What's the point?  I won't be able to change their opinion, and it'll just leave both of us feeling angry and/or hurt.  And please, please don't continue a flame war.  It might be tempting, especially when your views line up with the person who seems to be winning, but it'll blow things up even further and, again, no good will come of it.  Stick with the lighter side of the fandom, and everyone will be much happier.
  • DO always be prepared to help new fans - You know the type.  The ones who've juuust joined up, and are Rather Confused.  They'll probably spell your favorite character's name wrong, but don't sneer at your computer screen.  Let them know what the correct spelling is and they'll be forever grateful (as I know from experience, since I've been on both sides of that particular exchange).  Introduce them to a few headcanons, give them links to the best fan-fiction, and leave your email inbox open in case they need to rant or cry or explode with happiness.  It's always awesome to have a friend to spout off to.
  • DON'T condemn new fans because of how they became a part of the fandom - I've mentioned it above, but I'll mention it again.  I've never insulted someone because of how they joined a fandom, or if they've only watched a couple episodes of the TV show, or haven't read all the books in the series.  Hey, they're here, they're enthusiastic, and they're eager to learn more.  Why would be turn them away?  You know, once upon a time, we were all new fans ourselves.  Let's try to remember what that felt like, and act accordingly.
  • DO contribute to your fandom(s) - Well, this isn't really a requirement, or a way to keep peace in your fandoms, but it's a pretty awesome thing to do.  I can't/won't make fan-covers, fan-art or fan-videos, but I write poetry/fan-fiction and make fan-edits.  It's lots of fun, and the fans actually enjoy what I do (and I'm sure they'll like whatever you do too), and that makes me happy.  Whenever the fans can interact without getting into an argument, I'm happy.
  • DON'T forget to have fun - Sometimes you can get bogged down by debates, arguments, or all out wars that you forget the most important part of the fandom.  It's a place to gather and chat about all your favorite things, cry over scenes and episodes (yes, crying is happy for deep people), and go crazy with theories and wacky tumblr stuff.  Every day should be confetti and hearts and flowers and gushings of happiness/sadness.  What do you think?
Again, it may seem as though I hate fandoms since I've been pretty harsh in this post, but I don't.  I really don't.  I just wish that they'd all be a little more polite and more interested in the actual fandom objects than arguing about personal preference.  And I really think we can do that.  How about you?



[post title taken from this pin]


Anne-girl said...

I wholeheartedly agree. Great post Eva!

And that goes for fandoms you're not part of too. Never insult somebodies fandom f course there are things we disagree on and thing that we don't approve of but likeEva said you're not going to change anybodies mind.


Anonymous said...

GREAT post, Eva!!! Pleeeeeease do a re-post on feelsy feels?

@Anne-girl - Are you a Nerdfighter???


Miss Jane Bennet said...

Lovely post, m'dear! You made a lot of good points/suggestions (some of which I intend to follow better...this post hit close to home for me, haha) and I'm impressed with how you wrote this. :)

Carryin' the bannner and building barricades and Avengers assemble! :D

Jennifer said...

Really well said. Even though I'm not in any fandoms it was all very well put and made so much sense. Just. have. fun.

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