It’s Written Revelry time! I have to tell you, this is the most wonderful exploration of Geek culture and fandom in general. And I have to tell you, it’s pretty on point! I mean being a geek is so accepted now, plus there are different levels of geekdom that one can be in. Personally, I’ve never dressed up… Okay fine, I was Angel for Halloween… For three years in a row, but other than that no cosplay for me.
Still, it can be hard to fit in for any fanboy especially in the many subgroups that fandom entails!
Check out the Novel Strumpet’s fangirl exploration after the jump!
On a day-to-day basis I would say I’m surrounded by all things geeky, nerdy and fandom inspired. I mean I blog for Mikethefanboy, I work at an internet site that has a ginormous amount of fan fiction, fan art, cosplay, etc. I follow well-known geektastic sites on Twitter. And none of this takes in consideration the massive amounts of fan related conversations I have per day with my coworkers and friends. I eat, live and breathe it.
In case you don’t know Her Universe and other sites that are similar have declared 2013 the “Year of the Fangirl” which I think is a-may-zing. So I’m always on the lookout for things related to that. Today, a coworker sent me a link to a Youtube video where these three young women are talking about how they got started in cosplay and how massive their fandom is (yes, cosplayers have fans…wild right?). I was enjoying it when two things that were said hit me : One girl talked about how they refer to people who don’t dress up at Cons as “mundanes” and another talked about how much negativity she can get from fans if her costume isn’t just right or if the fans feel she’s just riding the coattails of popularity and not because she eats, sleeps and breaths that fandom.
At the end of the video they talk about how they’re so happy that this is a great time for cosplay because it helps all those kids out there who are awkward like these girls were feel like they belong.
But do they?
Not to rain on this feel good parade, but in my experience fandoms can be some of the most judgmental and elitist groups out there. I’m guilty of it.
For instance, I do not count people who like “True Blood” as being real fans because I’ve been reading the books they’re based on since they came out and the show is nothing like the books. Or the fandom that’s grown up around the BBC Sherlock and it’s many, many, many offshoots (curse you tumblr!). I tolerate them, but they’re not real fans like me since I’ve been reading the stories from the time I was 13 and have seen nearly every movie, tv show or play about the characters. I also own, in addition to several versions of the original Canon, countless books that are based on, about, feature, or even hint at the famous detective. I even have a board game. And that’s just those two fandoms. I have many more.
Get any comic book fan started on their favorite comic or graphic novel then mention the film version, and just stand back and watch the fireworks. Or the reboot of an entire comic series, I mean how many versions of Batman do we need? How many AU’s do the X-Men seriously have to live in?
(Editor’s Note: The only AU that erase’s The Last Stand forever from my mind! M-)
OH! How about the kerfuffle when J.J. Abrams was announced as the director for the next Star Wars films. BUT WAIT… he’s directing the Star Trek reboot…HOW CAN HE DO BOTH?!?!?! Star Wars and Star Trek are like the Ghostbuster proton packs – you cannot cross the streams!
Next time you’re at a convention ask someone who’s in costume who they are or what their character is from and just see the reaction. They may answer you politely enough, but there will be an air of condescension to it especially if it’s a really popular anime. I don’t mean to pick on the anime cosplayers, but I’m speaking from experience here.
So what we really mean is: I WANT YOU FOR MY FANDOM! So long as I feel you’re a “real” fan.
But what constitutes a real fan?
Why is someone who only watches “True Blood” less of a fan than me who’s only read the books? Ok, I did watch the first season, but I’m sorry and no offense to Alexander Skarsgard, he is not Erik and that killed it for me. Why am I a bigger Sherlock Holmes fan just because I’ve been alive longer and own a Sherlock Holmes nutcracker? No I’m not lying, And there are Sherlock societies out there who would scoff at me and claim me not to be a true fan because I don’t read the original stories all the way through every year.
Why can’t I love both Star Trek and Star Wars? Why do I have to choose? And can I call myself a Trekkie if I don’t speak Klingon? What if I don’t own a lightsaber? Can I still say I’m a Star Wars nerd?
Why is your fandom better than mine or vice versa?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying everyone who is part of a fandom is an a**hole but I’d say it’s a good 80% when they are in groups. Individually it’s usually 15%. Ah, the mentality of the masses. And again, I’m not exempting myself I’m just as bad.
It’s like we want new recruits and acceptance so badly, but at the same time we want to protect our territory and like being “in the know” while judging those who aren’t. It makes us feel special, and if too many people know about it then we aren’t special anymore. There’s always been a certain level of pride in being a nerd or geeking out over something no one else knows about.
However with things like Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. our fandom can now reach millions and those millions believe they own the fandom. It’s crazy!
How am I supposed to keep up when my fandoms are always changing and adding in things? How can I possibly keep myself plugged in? How can I choose? Do I follow Redpants, Smauglock, or Otterbatch? Although I personally would like to propose SherKhan ;P
Do I only wear brown for my Steampunk? Do I cosplay Steampunk Star Wars? Steampunk Disney Villians? Steampunk monster hunters? What about Lady Mechanicka?
Do I cosplay Assassins Creed or Bioshock Inifinte? Can I still do the Legend of Zelda? What about Game of Thrones? Do I cosplay the books or the show?
It’s hard work to be an accepted geek. You have to basically plug into the Matrix and forget the real world. If you can’t name drop then you’re nothing. If you don’t follow a certain website or “expert” then you’re not really one of us. If aren’t aware of how your fandom changed 5 seconds ago, then how can you call yourself a real fan? Forget you’re # and you are in some serious trouble because then no one will know you’re out there.
I’m half terrified of this strange new rise of the geek and thrilled at the same time. I guess you just have to figure out how best to navigate it and keep your head down, because even amongst ourselves we can’t get along. This is no longer a tribe for those who don’t fit in, it’s a massive culture of assimilation to the “norm” that your fandom chooses.
But I’m still taking the blue pill and jumping head first down this rabbit hole.
Excuse me now, I have to go drink some Sherlock fan tea while tweeting about the latest New Adult novel a la Fifty Shades while Facebooking about how many times I’ve seen Iron Man 3 and planning out my Steampunk costumes for Comic Con 2013.
I should probably do my actual job in there at some point but who has the time? My geek cred it at stake!
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