On Fandom, snobbery and other ills

I’ve been thinking about fandom and the arbitrary hierarchies that are constructed by the tribes within. I’ve written before about how I find it problematic and one thing I really dislike is the way some people like to laugh at ‘lower/less worthy’ fandoms. I’ve been guilty of it myself I have rolled my eyes at someone else’s and I have come to the conclusion that it really is just not on to harsh on someone else’s squee.
Which brings me to Twilight. I read the books and the first film and decided it was not for me. It made me feel all kinds of wrong. However, an awful lot of young women loved the books and it is not for me or for anyone else to tell them they are wrong. Tastes change and evolve, the important thing is that they have connected with people who share the love for something and that is incredibly cool. When they move onto other fandoms – and they will – it is kind of awesome. I would have had a much better time at school had I been able to geek out with more people.
Now this next part is controversial. I’ve not read the books and I’ve not seen the film but have read a tonne of articles about how horrendous Fifty Shades of Grey is and how it is bad for “the women’s self esteem.” This is the thing that gets me riled up, is that reading it or watching it is somehow going to make them more susceptible to abuse. And I call bull.
What this is about is snobbery. Oh you like reading that do you… Oh I won’t read it because its badly written… Started out as fan fic. Its about fear of women publicly consuming and enjoying something risqué. There is no difference to teenagers passing round Judy Blume’s Forever. It is the same feeling of reading something ilicit.
It annoys me that women are pouring scorn on other women for wanting to go and see the film. We have to trust each other that we can separate fact from fantasy, we’re all doing that on a daily basis after all.
Fundamentally all of this about respect. It is about groups of people needing to feel superior by deriding something else.
There is enough gatekeeping within fandom as it is. If fandom is supposed to be an inclusive space then it should be without judgement of those who like different things.

Jane Hanmer

Born in deepest darkest Shropshire. Currently living in Durrey. A reader of books, a watcher of theatre and film, a player of board games. Intersectional Feminist Pronouns: She/her

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