I keep talking about the “old days” over on my Twitter, how much I dislike social media fandom, and how we should all migrate back to Livejournal.
Well, maybe I should put my money where my mouth is and post something to this journal.
I thought, maybe, I should do a reintroduction post; introduce myself as a fangirl, my fandom philosophy. Although this journal is now into its sixteenth year, much has changed; fandoms, life, age, experience.
I was twenty-three when I started this journal; I had recently discovered fandom, AO3 didn’t exist, Facebook hadn’t become a thing yet, much less Twitter.
When I entered fandom, the coolest people had their own websites where they archived their fanfiction. Preferably, because I was in the Buffy fandom, they had black backgrounds with a purple or red gothic font.
Today, I’m thirty-nine. I’ve seen shipwars begin and…well, let’s be honest, they never fucking end. I’ve seen shows premier and reach their final. I’ve changed my major fandom, dipped my toes into several others, gone from one OTP to many, written fanfiction, some good, and a lot of crap.
Fandom has always been a playground for me, someplace I go to switch off the real world and have fun.
I try my hardest to make sure I conduct myself in a way that ensures others can as well. That my involvement in fandom, my excitement, joy, or escapism doesn’t negatively impact others.
To be honest, it really isn’t that hard. There’s no conflict between being a passionate fangirl/fanboy/fanperson and respecting other people’s fandom experience. It’s simple.
Be Tolerant. Be Generous. Don’t be Cunt.
Xenodikes Fandom Philosophy
1. Ship and Let Ship
I’ve always felt that arguing about fictional characters is ridiculous. I don’t care what you Ship, nor do I believe any pairing is right or wrong.
From my point of view, how we perceive a story is a highly personal experience. We’re all different people; none of us will experience a character, show, or plotline the same exact way.
I ship what I ship.
If you watch Buffy and believe she should have ended up with Angel, that’s cool. I don’t agree, but that’s how you see the relationship between those characters, and who am I to say your point-of-view is wrong?
If you watch Supernatural and see Destiel or Wincest, that’s fine; good for you—I don’t. I think Cas is a bland, boring character that should have stayed dead the first time they killed him.
As for Sam & Dean, I’ve always seen them as straight and, despite their obvious, codependent love for one another, I’ve never seen romantic love or sexual desire between them.
But, that’s my point-of-view, how I see the characters; it’s not right or wrong, it’s just my interpretation. You do you, and I’ll respect and support your right to ship whatever pairing you want. Please return the favor.
2. Kink and let Kink
I don’t care what floats your boat: incest, tentacles, knotting, ABO, golden showers, bloodplay, rape fantasies, torture, even fucking coprophilia (Don’t Google it. DON’T!)
I don’t make any moral or ethical judgments about you as a person based on what kinks you enjoy. Why? Because it’s make-belief, stories, escapism.
We don’t accuse people who like thrillers and crime novels of actually enjoying murders, so why would I make a moral judgment over whatever your kink is? I don’t.
I’m not going to read it, but I would never police what you can and can’t read, nor do I believe that your incest kink means that you think real-life incest is a good idea.
I know that your torture kink doesn’t mean that you actually want real people to be tortured.
There’s fiction, and then there’s reality; I will never judge your character based on the fictional kinks you enjoy.
3. Your Trigger. Your Responsibility.
A well-written story or piece of art can be an emotional experience; it can even invoke bad memories of traumatic experiences in our lives.
Thats’ your problem, not the writer or artist.
Let me be blunt; your trauma is not that fucking special—we all have them. We all have subjects that “trigger” us.
You, and only you, are responsible for your own fandom experience; read the tags, read the warnings, read the author/artist’s notes.
4. Don’t be Entitled
Whether someone is a writer, artist, community mod, beta, tag wrangler, archive mod, whatever they may be, they’re all doing their work for free.
No one is getting paid. No one should get paid. Believe me, there are times when I watch the hit count on my stories and think if I charged a dollar from every reader... However, fandom exists because it is free; because no money is ever involved.
That means we all have day jobs; we all have rent to pay, we all need food on our tables. The work we do in fandom doesn’t pay for any of it.
Be mindful that the writer or artist whose work you love is using their precious free time, of which there might not be a lot, creating stories and art.
Likewise, all those communities, newsletters, fansites, discord groups, and many other fandom-related places and resources operate solely because a group of people, usually a small one, use their free time to keep it running.
There’s nothing wrong with being a lurker or only enjoying fandom without actively contributing, but if you are, don’t be entitled.
If you’re not willing to use your free time coding a newsletter or keeping a fansite running, don’t make demands of those who do.
5. If you’re not Deadpool, Respect the Fourth Wall
I’m an old-school kind of fangirl; I believe strongly in the fourth wall.
I don’t agree with involving actors or creators in fandom. Show them your support, express your excitement about the show or their other projects.
But, for fuck sake, don’t involve them in fandom. I mean, why the fuck would you tag them when promoting your PWP tentacle fic; what reaction are you expecting?
Write and enjoy all the tentacle fic you want, but leave the actors and creators out of it.
6. Your Fanon is Not Canon
We all have Fanons, Headcanons, and Non-Canon Ships we love; hell, that’s the whole point of Fandom. At least it is to me.
I got into Fandom because I loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and I love the idea of Spike and Angel together. That never happened on the show or the spin-off, and that’s ok. I still love both shows.
Fandom is what I turned to for all my “What if” scenarios and dreams. I scratched my Spike/Angel itch by reading a crap ton of fanfiction and writing some as well. Buffy and Angel didn’t “let me down” by never having a Spike/Angel relationship.
The showrunners, writers, and actors are not there to validate your fanon and headcanon; you don’t get to decide what story the show will tell.
So, you love a certain pairing? Great. Here’s the thing, a lot of people don’t.
What makes you so fucking special you get to decide what pairings should and shouldn’t be canon? Why is your interpretation worth more than others?
The only people who get to decide what is and isn’t canon are the writers. Don’t like it, don’t watch. You have no right to harass actors or writers to have them validate your highly personal interpretation of the show and their characters.
In short: get over yourself, you entitled fucking brat.
7. Don’t be a Cunt
Fandom is about joy. It’s about celebrating the fictional characters we love and the actors who portray them. It’s about escapism.
Don’t be a cunt.
Don’t intentionally set out to destroy or disrupt other people’s joy, celebration, or escapism because you don’t like a pairing or whatever it is that “triggers” you.
Fandom isn’t a competition. It isn’t a popularity contest. Even pairings and kinks you don’t like have a right to exist; to be celebrated and enjoyed.
You don’t have to love it; just don’t be a cunt about it—let other people enjoy what they love.
I have fandom friends who love Destiel and Wincest. Do I rant on Twitter about how boring I think Castiel is? Do I comment on their wincest post about how I believe Sam and Dean are straight?
No, I don’t. Why? Because it’s a cunt thing to do.
Why would I rain on their parade? Why would I intentionally set out to ruin their fun? Their love of a paring or a character isn’t a threat to the pairing or characters I love.
Fandom and the internet are a big place; there’s enough room for all of us.
It’s ok not to love all characters or pairings; it’s ok to have conversations about it. But have those conversations with like-minded people in a private setting. That’s what DM’s, Google Hangout, or private discord groups are for.
Don’t do it in the comment section of a post celebrating the thing you hate; that’s a really cunt thing to do.
Don’t be a cunt, and fandom will be a happier place for all of us, you included.