I know this is risky business posting a rant about fandoms on a site for fandoms – but admit it. At some point or another you have been super-pissed about something in your fandom or another one that you’re not really into.
It’s okay, please feel free to let your frustrations fly. But note: Do not use this as an excuse to harass other fandoms. This is merely a rant about etiquette, not a bashing of people’s hopes and dreams and ships (albeit however much they annoy you).
I love the Power Rangers. I’m open about it, happy to talk about it, and I readily wear a Power Rangers t-shirt as often as I can. When I first found out that there were other adult fans like me I was thrilled – just as anyone is when they discover a community of like minded people. And – like most if not all fandoms – I found them online. The first place and really only place before the invention of Tumblr I went to was Rangerboard.com, a Power Rangers online community.
Now I wasn’t exactly met with open arms as I was not only new to the idea of an online forum and all its mannerisms, I was also new to a fandom in general. Wide-eyed and bushy-tailed I walked into this brave new world a sweet little innocent bunny with the hopes of gushing over how cute the Red Ranger was and talking about all the toys I had when I was little. Unfortunately the Power Rangers community is a tricky one at that; I happened to hop, skip, and jump right into the Mordor of fandom sites.
Needless to say I stayed away from RB for a while and came back when I was much more versed in the idea of what it means to join a community. I had experienced unwarranted rudeness, incredibly disdain, and just plain dick comments about things I generally like purely because I liked them and somebody else felt like I shouldn’t. I thought I had outgrown all of this when I came back and then I joined another group – the Glee fandom.
This was where I began to notice trends. People in fandoms are ravenous for information and even more ravenous for information that lays evidence to their own personal loves of the show. Ships seem to be the heaviest hitters here as everyone loves to read between the lines and create a romance all their own.
I know I do! I ship like there’s no tomorrow. The thing I don’t appreciate is when a subfandom, like a ship, hates on other people for liking something else. I remember the world in an uproar when the Klainers and Seblainers would get into fights over the validity of a relationship. Klaine fans weren’t satisfied that their ship was canon – they would rip anyone a new one if they didn’t like it.
Naturally, I let it go. I liked the idea that people were so passionate about their loves and figured it was normal. I even joined a Glee RP group. Soon I grew to love shows like Doctor Who and Teen Wolf and suddenly things were changing. While the Glee RP group I was in became more and more hostile and unwelcoming (God forbid you weren’t a Finchel fan) the Sterek fans were super-friendly and loving, as were the Who fans who generally just appreciated that we all had a common bond.
Where was this in my Power Rangers and Glee lives? Pretty soon I began to lose touch with Glee due to the bad taste left in my mouth by the shippers and fandom. Anytime Kurt and Blaine had an issue I would just sigh and roll my eyes thinking of all the threats that would be thrown around because of it. The second a new clip of Power Rangers would come out I would avoid anything about it because it was all so negative.
These fandoms that I was supposed to feel so safe and excited to be a part of were the things driving me away from the shows that got me involved. I watch Glee once every few weeks now in bursts of Hulu marathons and avoid it on Tumblr as much as possible. I talk to maybe two people about Power Rangers because I know they’re happy for each of us having an opinion but won’t degrade you for feeling differently about theirs.
We, as fans, have incredible power. We can create a whole new dimension to something that we love and be interacting with it. Fans bring shows back from the dead, movies to fruition, and seasons being renewed. But even more amazing – we give people a place where they can go and express their excitement about something that they may not be comfortable enough talking about with their friends because they wouldn’t get it. Do you know how hard it is to talk about Power Rangers with someone who doesn’t see it the way I do?
I can tell you right now there’s a bunch of you reading this who are giving me the exact expressionless gaze I am talking about. A fandom should be exciting and fun and open to interpretation because that’s what art is. I ship Seblaine and Blam without flaw because I love the idea of it and you have no right to hate on me for it just as I have zero right to harp on you for shipping the hell out of Feberry and Blina.
So lets do each other a solid and stop focusing on what’s different and start expanding on what’s the same. (Schuester is a douche, amiright?) Let’s make sure that when you get online and get involved with something you’re passionate about, that it’s a place you can go freely and express yourself without fear. Fandoms are directly associated with a show and if that fandom leaves a sour taste in your mouth, soon that can leak into the show experience. Can you imagine that happening to something you love? Suddenly you just can’t stand watching it because the association just turns you down to the idea.
I’m not saying you have to hold hands, I’m just saying that manners matter. Take the Hypable spirit of multifandom appreciation and spread it like the herp on prom night!
Editor’s note: Fan art pictured above by ArtsNLetters.)