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hahaha (x-posted from IJ)

So I'm poking around Teh NZ Intarwebs looking at rabbit hutches and prices trying to see if I can find really nice roomy outdoor accommodations that I can afford and there's this one site that is like a directory of website businesses. Apparently if you search for 'rabbit and/or hutches', you get an AWFUL LOT of, erm, "adult self-entertainment" results. Rabbit vibrators, obviously. Somehow I feel that this is not what I'm looking for.

I have a lot of thoughts about fandom as separate from mainstream society.

I think a lot of people don't realise that it really is a very different culture and waltzing in without doing any research isn't gonna work. Even someone who's heavily in fandom and has been for a long time doesn't understand all of fandom because, while there are plenty of "normal" people here, there's also a lot of people who in their real lives are discriminated against and ostracised, whether outright or in subtle, quiet ways. So on the whole, fandom isn't about fitting in. To anything. (Except a nice pair of jeans or something.) Instead there are large groups of people who deliberately push at the edges and defy labeling, who make a game out of subverting societal expectations, who take back their differences and own them as something to be proud of rather than ashamed. Further, these are people who are educated, who have critical thinking skills, because they're used to questioning things. They're not happy to let things stand "just because" so they go out and learn things and study why they're that way and how they could be different. We have lawyers and scientists and anthropologists and psychologists, doctors, charity workers, sex workers, authors, academics, professors, social workers, and yes, geeks who live in their parents' basement.

I think, here, I see a difference between "fandom" as the world I grew up in and the stereotype of the teenager who posts badly-spelled Mary Sue fic on ff.net. A lot of those teenagers will grow up and leave this behind. A lot of them are superficial about it. And they're not really the ones that are the target of people like Ogi and Sal - they want to know about the people for whom fandom is a way of life. Unfortunately those people are the ones that are the hardest to study because, as so many people have observed, if you try to study fandom, fandom will study you right back. And if they don't like what they see, they'll mess with you and tear you to shreds. Because, ultimately, fandom isn't just about enjoying a canon (whether that's books, movies, tv or celebrity, or hell, web comics, media, etc), it's also a refuge for a lot of people who've learned that they have to stand up for themselves because society sure isn't going to. And even the people who don't have that sort of trouble are more likely to accept the people who do, because they have relationships with them. And what do you do when someone starts patronising your family and friends? Jump in and defend them.

There's an awareness in fandom that society sees us as creepy, perverted, obsessed, weird. We know they don't understand us, and that most of them don't care to. We know that people have tried to study us in the past and gone out with false conclusions, and made us look like what other people think we are. They might not be malicious, they might just be naive and ignorant of their subject matter, because fandom is so vast and diverse that you can't grasp it all, but ignorance can do as much harm as maliciousness.

I suspect also that Ogi and Sal might be a little baffled by how fandom's anger turned into blatant sarcasm and mockery and capslock and macros. I'm not actually sure if that sort of goings-on is a fandom thing or not but I think it might be at least more common here, if only because defending yourself in a reasonable manner gets tiresome eventually. Sure, we start out that way to give you a chance, but drama and wank are, well, fun. You can be overblown and silly about it and get a laugh to diffuse the tension and anger and it might look immature or stupid, it might not be as impressive as well thought out arguments and intellectual language, but it can make our points more obvious as well. If you're not focused on coming across politely you can just say things like "LOL BUT THERE'S NO MEN IN FANDOM WTF!!!!!1" You can fill out surveys from the point of view of ridiculous fictional characters. You can shine a bright light on how stupid you find their subtle, condescending -isms in a crude but highly effective manner, showing how they don't work for people who are so outside the norm, who try to be outside the norm. And at the same time you can make new friends and go wildly off topic and come away from it thinking.

Because, really, I feel like one of the few things people who are really, seriously, "in fandom" have in common is that they're not scared to think.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 2nd, 2009 12:18 am (UTC)
I think this is all rather funny too, since fandom is filled with men pretending to be women and women pretending to be men, etc. LOLOR5. Accuracy, dipshits, you does not have it.
Sep. 2nd, 2009 12:20 am (UTC)
LULZ YES. All men are women, all women are men, and all children are government agents.
Sep. 2nd, 2009 12:21 am (UTC)

Sep. 2nd, 2009 12:24 am (UTC)
Seriously, if they are trolls I almost have more respect for them, because it's actually a lot better than most trolls. I ALMOST WANT THEM TO BE TROLLS. JUST COZ IT'S FUNNIER. HILARIOUS, IN FACT.
Sep. 2nd, 2009 12:30 am (UTC)
Look, his name is Sai. I dunno. Has anyone check the university as to their veracity? I cannot imagine that it hasn't been done, though. Oh well.
Sep. 2nd, 2009 12:34 am (UTC)
I know someone was gonna get hold of the university's review board or something, I imagine we'll hear the results of that sometime soon...
Sep. 2nd, 2009 12:35 am (UTC)
Sep. 2nd, 2009 09:33 am (UTC)
Yes. This. Exactly. Fandom is all about openness and friendliness, and if you're one of its own, they will protect you. Come in from the outside and show yourself malicious? You're gonna get screwed. Nice observation :).
Sep. 4th, 2009 02:05 am (UTC)
This post has been included in a linkspam roundup. (I'd include the IJ version as well, but I don't know where it is.)
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )