Remember when Trey parker and Matt stone went to the oscars in dresses and whenever anyone asked about it they would avoid the question with ‘it’s such a magical evening and everyone just looks so spectacular we’re glad to be a part of it all’ and they were on Acid the whole time.
Is there a word for that occasional moment of self-awareness when reading smut, like where your brain accidentally takes one step back and you realize you are reading really descriptive pornography in your pajamas, while it’s light outside, with a box of Wheat Thins tucked under your arm?
I’m, uh, asking for a friend.
i feel like there should be a german word for this.
I don’t know if there’s a word but there certainly is a gif:
Let’s be frank: San Diego Comic Con 2014 has not done the already tenuous relationship between fandom and Teen Wolf any favors. It’s easy to see things like the the MTVu Fandom Awards refusing to mention The Sterek Campaign by name, the actors and showrunner reading and mocking fanfic in an interview (one of which was a finalist in Teen Wolf’s official fanfic competition back in 2012) as The Big Problems but they aren’t. They are symptoms of a much larger issue: you, TPTB, have yet to truly understand what fandom is.
Yes, we create works based off of your properties. We buy your merch, we pay to go to cons, we sometime support you when you raise a call to arms. But fandom is more than that. Those are our products that are easily visible to outsiders, the quantitative metrics that you seem to mistake as as our value. And you’re not exactly wrong, but you’re very much not right either if you look at that and think that describes our worth. So let me let you in on something that you seem to keep missing.
Fandom is a living culture.
Fandom is a community.
Fandom is not something you can absorb and institutionalize.
I’ve been in fandom since the mid to late 90s. Been on BBS’s, mailing lists, message boards, Live Journal, home grown fanfic archives, fanfiction.net, and now AO3 and Tumblr. I’ve been in wide range of fandoms from a stand alone movie that five years later still produces fan works, to anime, to a tv show in a well established property, and now Teen Wolf. And while yes, official media is what initially captured my attention it is not why I always seem to come back to fandom even when I take a break for years.
The first time I got involved in fandom I was 16. Home was not a safe place but because of where we lived and some other circumstances I had to spend a lot of time there. There was no out. I was so utterly and completely alone and hit every day with being told how worthless I was in words and actions by some of the adults in my life who Rockwell would have us believe are the champions and protectors of children.
My entire existence had narrowed down to “survive high school, turn 18, go to college, run like fucking hell, cut any motherfucker who gets in my way and don’t look back until you’re safe, and don’t EVER go back because this place is killing you from your mind, your heart, your soul outwards. Because your sense of self is hanging by a thread and your force of will is the only fucking thing keeping you from being the walking dead at 16.”
And do you know what the worst part is?
What I felt then, what my existence had become, is not unique. While you may be reading the above with an impartial eye I can guarantee there is someone else who is reading it and crying because they know exactly what I am talking about.
I fell into fandom by accident. It was Dragon Ball Z’s first run on the Cartoon Network and it was unlike anything I had seen and I wanted to know more. So, I searched the internet and stumbled into fan art that was more amazing than the actual show’s art and fanfic that delved into a deeper emotional depth than the show’s narrative allowed. I’ve always been a reader but for the first time I was seeing stories that really connected with me.
And then I got directly involved with fandom.
To say that it was an experience much like turning around in Plato’s Cave and seeing the shadow puppets for what they are is not hyperbole. Every coming of age “I might be queer,” every “the world is ending but we will survive,” every “I’m not giving up on you,” story resonated. Suddenly I was interacting with people who understood a part of my headspace and self I had been lead to believe was strange and twisted, and wrong. I found people who would listen to what I would say and talk with me not at me and not belittle me for my likes.
To 16 year old me fandom became a lifeline.
After a while I got struck with a story idea and I decided to try and write it. I had already been writing original work on and off but had no solid training. Looking back it is of little surprise that my first fanfics are cringe worthy at best and technical nightmares. But this amazing thing happened. The people that I had befriended in fandom beta read my work, gave me constructive criticism, and I evolved tremendously as a writer and a storyteller.
And do you know what the really amazing thing is?
What I experienced in my first fandom is not unique and my experience in a wide variety of fandoms has been fairly similar. To the point where the majority of my close friends I either met initially in fandom online or fandom was something we had in common and we initially bonded over.
You see, here in fandom we can grow as artists and as people in a community of other artists and people that are growing. For some of us our fan works are not your accolades. They are us desperately trying to save ourselves and become more.
Fandom is more than the number of works our ship has on AO3.
Fandom is more than the number of votes cast in online contests.