September 16, 2015

What Is Wrong With Fandoms Today?


                I have been in a few fandoms for almost three years now, and I cannot even begin to explain how much they have changed. Actually, maybe it’s not that they have changed, but the fact that I am finally seeing the true sides of fandoms. You see, I equated fandoms to being a family. Fandoms are places you can go to find others who share your love for books, movies, a person, etc. Fandoms are where we share fanfiction, fan art, fan theories, similar works, etc. Fandoms are places where those who have nowhere else to go can come and be at home around people who understand them. Fandoms sound great, don’t they? I thought so too, but that is not what fandoms are. Lately, what a fandom should be and what they actually are, are two different things.
                Lately, fandoms have become judgmental places full of disrespectful people and hateful words, and it is scary. It is scary that these fans can become so vicious. For example, I have seen fans turn against the creator of their favorite books for writing the books SHE thought up and SHE created. They got made because she wrote her own book a certain way that didn’t satisfy everyone. These so called ‘fans” claimed that they would boycott the series and warn everyone off of them because the plot did not go the way they wanted.
                NEWS FLASH: A writer is not entitled to please their fans. Sure, pleasing the fans helps book sales, but a writer’s only mission is to write what makes THEM happy, not anyone else. If you don’t understand that then you might as well stop reading all together because you will encounter nothing but disappointment.
                I would be ashamed if I was a writer and my so called fans started spreading hate simply because things didn’t go the way they wanted IN MY OWN BOOK. Do you know what happens when writers get complacent and start writing for their fans instead of themselves? Unhappiness that is what.  Unhappiness from the writer and the fans who can tell the difference because you know when a writer starts writing for their fans instead of themselves. The joy and fun writers have writing their books shows in their writing, and when that fun and joy is put in a cage to please “fans” then it shows in their writing.
                Who gave fans the right to tell authors how to write their own book? Who gave fans the right to attack other fans for DOING THE RIGHT THING and embracing what the author has done with their own story? No one. I feel like fans nowadays have forgotten that the person on the other side of those hateful and vicious comments is human too. Do these fans realize that they are calling a human being with feelings and a heart “stupid” and a “bad writer” for simply writing a book the way she has the right too? I don’t know about you, but that screams insanity and immaturity.
                Fandoms have become this place of petty fights, disrespect, and hate, and it needs to stop. Why are we fighting when it won’t change a damn thing? You can yell, scream, and be vicious all you want, but it won’t stop others from having an opinion. It will only scare people away, make you seem like an asshole, and discourage those who you are a professed fan of.
                Another thing that fandoms have seem to have lost in translation is respect. I don’t know if it was how I was raised or if I am just the only sane person in these fandoms, but why can’t we just agree to disagree in a respectful manor. I swear, I have been attacked for stating my opinion and only a few times has someone said, “I do not agree, but I respect your opinion.” You don’t have to like my opinion, but simply respect the fact that I am a human with feelings just like you, and I deserve respect. Now, some of you may say, “Ivey, respect is earned, not given”. To that I would answer, “Isn’t the fact that I am a human being good enough?” Respect is given until someone does something to lose that respect, and THEN it is earned back. I cannot believe that in this day and age we are still struggling with a simple task of respecting one another. All of you who claim to be fans and cannot respect an opposing opinion should not call yourselves such. I am aware that not everyone is nice about their opinion, but it is up to you to be the bigger person and show them how normal and sane human beings should act. I have had my fair share of rude people who deemed it necessary to get nasty when sharing their opinion, and in response I simply say, “I do not agree and I think that could have been stated better, but I respect your opinion”. Because that is how it should be. Then there are people who make snide comments through thinly veiled insults about book characters that they hate and that is also showing a lack of respect. I know these characters are fictional (unfortunately), but you owe it to the author who created those characters to be respectful. If you don’t like something then just ignore it, or talk about it like an adult and not a child who had their favorite toy taken away.
                Fans are all so focused on “making people see the error of their ways” or “teaching them a lesson” or “dragging the haters because they deserve it”, and that mentality is what is wrong with fandoms. They have become so attached and protective of these things that they have forgotten to be decent human beings to one another. I have watched as fans trashed the fictional characters we love just to get a rise out of other fans. I have watched fans make hate accounts just to make others feel bad for loving what they love. I have watched too many fans spread hate, malice, and cruelty all in the name of being a “fan” and it makes me sick. It makes me sick that people can sink so low and still claim to be a fan or even a good person.
                I am here to tell you right now that fandoms need to get their shit together and grow up. I have been guilty of getting sucked into joining the different sides of fandoms, and I am so disappointed in myself. Once I realized what was happening I immediately took a step back and reevaluated things. Fans of anything should show the world how wonderful fandoms can be. Fans should not turn fandoms into these scary places full of hate and judgment where any opinion is guaranteed a backlash. Even as I write this, I know I will have someone attack me for even questioning the motives of fans and demanding things change because that how fandoms and most fans operate today. If you get made about what I am saying, then maybe I am hitting close to home, and you are only getting mad because I am right.
                Fandoms were created for likeminded people to come together and celebrate the love they have for a book, movie, or whatever. I want to get back to that idea. I want to go onto Tumblr and not be attacked for like a certain character or shipping them with someone. I want to go onto Twitter and see respectful interactions even though there is a difference of opinions. I just want everyone to treat each other like a damn human being.
 
                I am fully aware that not all fans are hateful, disrespectful, and judgmental, but there are more of those fans then there are of the kind ones. I am also aware that this won’t change a thing, although I am hoping it might, but I just had to say something because I know I cannot be the only one who sees this. You can agree with me or don’t, but just be respectful.

See y’all on the bright side, kids.
Ivey