Behind every TV show, movie, musical artist, etc is a group of extra loyal fans who keep the momentum going by tweeting, cosplaying, making and buying merch, etc. These are passionate people, ready to discuss their favorite thing at the drop of a hat, produce theories, and defend their favorite thing to the death. The fandom can probably relate any real life event to a quote or situation from their favorite thing. In come cases, and this has been especially true for me, a fandom can become like family. I have made some of my best friends through fandom.
How Fandom Helped Me
You see, I spent most of my twenties working way too hard and not having any fun. I hardly watched any TV at all. The few things I did enjoy, I enjoyed on my own and had no idea of the concept of fandom. My first taste of true fandom, with social online interaction and all was with Stargate SG-1. I connected with other fans on message boards and their custom Geocities websites (remember those??). It was also my first taste of fan fiction. The idea that people, fans, could create stories based on the stories told on television and expand on that world through their eyes was fascinating to me. I reached out to the writers commending them for their great work, making some friends in the fandom and even writing one story of my own! I got great reviews and all! That feeling of inclusion, of positivity…it was addictive and life changing.
It was the Doctor Who fandom that eventually practically saved my life. I started watching Doctor Who when I was going through a period of bad depression, and at the strong recommendation of my friend Ken. He rewatched the entire show with me, helping me go through the motions. But once we finished the show and were caught up, I still needed to talk about it. I took to my Twitter account to comment about the show and soon found myself with tons and tons of new friends. My follower count started growing (an added bonus hehe) and suddenly I felt like I was truly part of something.
I have joined many fandoms since then, each one with their new set of friends. I even allowed some of them to add me on Facebook, which I hardly used, but now it made my Facebook more colorful and fun. One group of fellow David Tennant fans and I even got together in what we called a mini Tennant con. We flew in and drove from various parts of the US to Texas for a week of fangirling fun. (*waves at the Bus*) My phone used to be silent except for the occasional spam mail to hit my inbox or my mother texting me to ask what I needed from the store. Now my phone was lit up with messages from friends, people sharing memes, scheduling group watches of David Tennant tv and film aptly called DT Dates, etc, etc, etc…
Yeah, fandom changed my life. I have friends all over the world. I attend and even volunteer at comic cons, where I meet other fangirls and boys, some of whom I still keep in touch with. I never feel alone because I have friends all over the world who keep in touch very regularly. After a new episode of a TV show airs or after a new movie, it’s great to be able to talk about it with all my friends. I am particularly thankful to fandom for bringing my bestest friends Chrisha and T into my life. We are hundreds of miles away but we are super close as if we lived together. They helped me learn that I am way more than a soul-draining desk job and that I deserve more in life. I am a different person because of them and I will love them forever.
So What’s the Problem???
It is because of all of these good things and positivity that have come out of fandom that I just cannot understand why in the world there would be so much negativity and hate on my social media timelines these last few months. I’ve seen people tweet the most awful, hateful things to each other. The now infamous “ship wars” have reached a point where even I’m afraid to mention certain characters sometimes for fear of backlash. I feel like everyone has become SO ship obsessed they have forgotten about the show as a whole and that’s a damn shame. But worst of all, I have seen people be downright nasty and verbally abusive to the actors themselves. Really? Can we no longer make the distinction between fantasy and reality? People, it doesn’t matter what the situation is, we are capable of discussing like intelligent beings and not turn every conversation into a nasty argument.
Look, I know all about a show causing blood boiling frustration – I’m a Whovian after all – but I have never attacked anyone for having an opinion different from my own. I’m a die-hard Rose Tyler supporter and am very much not fond of Clara Oswald at all. I know that TONS of you out there disagree with me. That’s ok. I don’t necessarily see the Dean/Cas ship just because I don’t see the characters interact like that, but if you do, that’s cool! I am upset half to death that Olicity is not an item right now, but I tooootally understand why Felicity decided to leave Oliver, because I think I would have done the same thing. Some of you think she is being selfish, and that’s an opinion you are allowed to have. What you absolutely cannot do is attack people, call them awful names and drive them off social media. We are so much better than this, come on.
I am calling to you, fellow fans, to remember what fandom is, and what brought us all together in the first place. Let’s keep the conversations and debates civil and constructive. If you are upset about something happening in your fandom, treat it like any other stressful situation and take a break from it before talking about it – wait until you are in a calmer frame of mind. Fandom should be a safe haven for people, not a place they have to be afraid.
Fandom love to all you ❤