The Poison of Fandoms – Part 2

Because one reminder wasn’t enough.

Even when I try to avoid fandoms, it seems I’m not always successful.

Tonight, I was having a marathon of MLP’s second season while playing Pokemon Moon, and I was rather enjoying. While it was going on, I paused my game to post a small annoyance on Tumblr I had with one character. She’s not a bad character. Just not really to my tastes. One episode portrayed her really nicely and had me warm up to her, but a following one had me annoyed again. Keep in mind there was nothing hateful about it. Apparently, however, even minor annoyance is too much for this character’s fans. Later on, I received this message in, as well as these posts in reply to some I’d made days ago. Interestingly, this person brought up my love of another character, despite one has zero to do with the other. They also deleted one of the replies. Typical. (Edit: This message came as I was writing this post)

Note that I do not even hate this character (or, at least, I didn’t until now). I was annoyed at her portrayal is in one episode is all. One episode I watched out of twenty. The irony of a show about friendship having such an awful fandom will never escape me, but then again, that’s fandoms in general. Even if you say you do like some things of that character, it’s not enough. Any annoyance with her whatsoever is perceived by her fans as hate. Basically, if she’s not your favorite, you’re a hater.

For those curious, that episode that irritated me had to do with her trying to befriend someone who made it clear he wanted to be left alone and she was not getting the hint. The episode ended nicely, but I was irritated because she was incredibly pushy, doing things like going into his home and rummaging through his things without permission (and even damaging some!), and those actions are portrayed as okay because she wants to be his friend. That was my problem with the episode. If the message I received in my inbox is any indication of her fans’ mentality, it seems they believe invading someone’s home and possessions is “friendliness”, and respecting someone’s privacy and wishes to be left alone is a bad thing to teach children. No wonder people hate my generation. And here, my friends have never so much as touched something of mine without my permission. They must not be real friends.

Sarcasm aside, it’s a shame I’ve liked this show for a total of three months and this is my introduction to it. I have my boyfriend, thankfully, and I’m starting to understand why he did want to me enjoy this show. I have no doubt the bad reputation of “bronies” and the show itself comes from its fandom and had I tried to get into it without him, I probably would’ve been turned away very quickly by its fandom. And no, my run-in with these jerks did not taint my love of the show, but it did make me angry enough to cancel my mini-marathon earlier than intended. I’ll continue it another time. Perhaps.

Advertisements

The Poison of Fandoms

First off, I want to say thank you to all those who still visited my blog, in spite of zero posts last month. A life of work and sleep leaves you little time to juggle all of the other parts of your life.

My last post was about Twilight Sparkle of MLP. I’ve watched more of the show in bits, and though she is still my favorite of the main/mane cast for personality, my most favorite characters are the setting’s rulers. However, this post isn’t about that.

I’ve been a part of fandoms, starting with the Sims, for seven years. I found out later on it was a grave mistake. Every fandom I’ve joined, especially those with a large following, proved itself to be a cesspool of poison. Essentially, there were rules about what made you a “true fan”, certain opinions were not allowed, and admins of certain areas proved to be extremely biased. Knowing this, it was very much against my better judgement to join a Facebook group for MLP, but in my new love for the show and excitement for the movie, I did. Within two days, I resigned. I suppose that’s a record.

The reason I left is, apparently, a fictional movie about ponies is serious business. So serious, any posted spoilers about said movie warranted banning any member who did so, and the admins, unsurprisingly, refused to consider they could be acting unreasonably (then again, I suppose that’s to be expected from someone who considers being the admin of a Facebook group a job). Remember, we are talking about a film of animation. Not poverty, war, hunger, homelessness, crime, abuse, or any other truly serious issue. A film aimed at under-aged girls. I love cartoons, something I’ve made very evident over the years, but it is not that serious. And I say this having bought an MLP shirt from the kids section at my job because it could fit me.

While the bright side is I wasn’t alone in my opinion (other members of the group agreed and were probably shortly kicked out, and members of the Disney group I’m in agreed that was out of line as well), it saddens me how difficult it is to find a community of any fandom that is rational and tolerant. It seems the only exception to this rule are small communities, which truly is a shame. Having had my love of so many things murdered by their fandoms, one of which I ranted about for a good while, I certainly didn’t want my merely one-month-old love of MLP to fall to the same fate, especially not at the childishness of Facebook warriors in a group I was a part of for two days, and with the movie coming out so soon. I left before my love for the show could take a heavy hit. But I can’t say I’m not disappointed with how poorly things turned out. Perhaps it was deserved for allowing my excitement to cloud my better judgment against joining the group to begin with.

I realize it is the internet, and social media websites in particular are notorious for being wells of addictive, yet poisonous muck. As much as I dislike it, it makes me understand the stereotype of people in fandoms being anti-social recluses with little going on in their lives. It’s a painful thing to admit, possessing so many loves of so much light-hearted media myself, but the toxicity I’ve found across so many fandoms isn’t allowing me to deny or be confused about why the stereotype exists. After all, why would someone who is content and enjoying their life feel the need to be controlling over something so trivial? The internet permits a huge amount of imaginary power, and power is addicting.

Of course, in the end, fandoms aren’t needed to keep a love of something going. I still have every intention of seeing MLP’s film and I am still very much fawning over the show. While the show’s lessons are occasionally questionable, perhaps the admins of that group missed the second half of the title: friendship is magic. I’m sure Twilight Sparkle, the princess of friendship, would be disappointed.

The Irony Is Murderous

Remember I mentioned the person who told lies about me prided herself on not sending hate?

The friend of mine who follows her reblogged something from her. Guess what it is? A Winx-hate bingo card. And she made it because she felt “extra petty” that day.

Well, I guess being “extra petty” explains why she lied about and falsely accused me of things. She certainly has no grounds to be claiming maturity (neither do I, but I’ve never claimed such or acted like I do).

Yes, I realize I talk about this a lot and I’ve no doubt those of you who often read this blog are tired of it, but when I discovered that from my friend’s blog, I couldn’t not share it. For someone who claims fans of the older stuff are “nostalgic and biased”, she sure has one of her own against people who don’t think like her (like that wasn’t obvious enough).

As the title of this post says, the irony is murderous.

Warning: May Offend

That’s a tag that may as well be put on everything these days.

Before you get your pitchforks, hear me out. Yes, I know genuinely offensive things exist. There are some things I’m offended by, so I certainly can’t say nothing is offensive. However, I’ve noticed some people seem to actively try to be offended. I respect that different people are offended by different things, but what I cannot respect is when people are offended by things that truly have zero to do with them.

I’m talking about a person’s personal preferences and no, not matters like who they prefer to date. I mean things like what TV shows they like and what foods they can’t stand. That kind of stuff.

Seems silly to get offended over such a thing, doesn’t it? Why would what someone likes to watch on TV offend anybody? But it does. I talked about this a little in my post about death threats, but even without death threats, people can be very vicious. I’ve talked several times about the mess a fandom I was previously part of has become because of a rift between fans who prefer the older seasons versus fans who like the new ones. But why? Why does anyone have to give an explanation for liking or not liking something beyond “I like/dislike this”, and have their reasons deemed to be the right or wrong ones by other people? In short, why are people’s personal preferences about trivial things put on trial?

Is it even possible to have an explanation for everything someone likes or dislikes? I like strawberries above all fruits, but I can’t tell you why. I have no idea. I just do. I don’t like the color gray. No idea why. I just don’t. Why are fairies my favorite mythical creatures? Why do I hate snakes? I have no clue or explanation for any of these. However, they’re how I feel and that should be enough. Yet, for some people, it’s not.

Even if “offended” is too strong a word, these people are still getting mad someone does not have the same likes and dislikes as they do, or that they’re not keeping quiet about it. Why should they? I know the whole world isn’t the USA, but to my knowledge, the internet is for everyone to freely and openly express themselves. Why should someone have to be quiet or censor themselves in a certain way (not tagging a post, etc) because someone else can’t deal with seeing things they don’t agree with? I walk out in public and see multiple things I don’t agree with, but I can’t tell anyone to stay home because I don’t agree with something I see of them. The internet is hardly much different.

If someone wants to talk about or give reasons why they feel a certain way, that’s fine, and they should understand they’re opening themselves up to criticism if they publicize it. But making someone feel they have to explain whatever feelings they have, especially over something as insignificant as entertainment media, is little more than being mean-spirited. At the end of the day, it’s how they feel and those are their personal preferences. They’re called “personal” for a reason. Personal is defined as: “of, affecting, or belonging to a particular person rather than to anyone else” or “of or concerning one’s private life, relationships, and emotions rather than matters connected with one’s public or professional career“. In other words? It’s. Not. About. You. It’s only about them and their feelings.

I believe anyone who’s angered because someone doesn’t like something they do, and further angered if it’s for reasons they don’t agree with, or vice versa, needs to take a cue from my favorite queen.

“Let it go, let it go!”

Because, really, someone’s personal preferences do not affect you. Their personal preferences are about them, not you. Remember, everyone’s entitled to free speech, and that right doesn’t end because you don’t like what they have to say.

And if it really and truly does bother you so very much, here’s a nifty idea: try a blog! Then, you can control who speaks and who doesn’t on your space. That suggestion tends to get people mad, but it’s more productive than complaining about seeing things you don’t like in spaces you can’t control.

Who’s Biased?

There is something that really nags me when someone claims a person is biased or blinded by nostalgia because they don’t like a certain thing. That’s a biased view within itself!

First off, it suggests everyone should like something and that’s completely unrealistic. There is nothing that’s liked by absolutely everyone. People who do like the same thing may not like it for the same reason(s). For example, one reason I adore Frozen is I strongly relate to both Elsa and Anna. However, some people who like Frozen don’t relate to Elsa and Anna, but like them as the characters they are.

Another problem with the idea that nostalgia creates biases and blindness is it suggests the only reason someone would not like something is liking its previous version(s). This isolates people who like both the old and new, and completely ignores people who dislike the new version without ever having seen the old. How does it make it sense to deem someone biased for disliking a new form of something when their first experience with it is the new form?

This idea also suggests people don’t ever complain about things they like and I’d expect anyone old enough to browse the internet unsupervised to know that is a huge lie. In life, people complain about their families, their friends, their job, their school, and other aspects of their lives, yet they may still be very happy with those aspects. To use Frozen again as an example, a complaint of the film I’ve had since I first saw it is why the trolls erased Anna’s memory. In spite of that, and few others I have about the film, I still very much adore it. Yet there are some people who believe if you have so much as a single complaint, you hate whatever it is you’re talking about.

Speaking of complaining, I feel there’s also a hypocrisy with the “nostalgic and biased” crowd. Some of them will tell others to stop complaining about new things, but make complaints about those very new things themselves. While it’s likely an impulsive oversight, I can’t help feeling there’s an aura of arrogance or superiority there. They are allowed to complain, but no one else is. It’s perplexing because it seems they do understand you can like something and still have your grievances with it, however small, but don’t accept any complaints except their own and those they agree with.

The biggest problem, in my opinion, with the idea nostalgia makes blind and biased is it suggests the previous version of a work never received complaints and criticism. I have never found that to be true. I have seen criticism of works that appear almost universally loved such as The Lion King and The Incredibles. The fact is nothing – absolutely nothing – is exempt from criticism.

I’ll use a different example: Winx Club, which I linked to above. Some complaints I heard long before its fourth season were:

  • The girls being referred to as “slutty” or that the show teaches young girls to be “whores”
  • That the show encourages anorexia because the girls are too thin
  • That the girls are boy-crazy (this is one I do agree with) and the show teaches young girls they must have a boyfriend
  • That one of the main relationships was toxic (true), although it was often argued the same relationship was the most realistic
  • The girls’ bodies and faces are nearly identical (also true)

Yet somehow, I never heard those viewpoints considered biased or the people who made them blinded by nostalgia. They were argued against, but never did nostalgia come up. Since these complaints were made about the first three seasons, not just one, it definitely could’ve, but it never did. On the other hand, any complaint about the newer seasons? Must be made because of nostalgia, even if the person making the complaint has never seen the early seasons or didn’t grow up with the show. The only exception to the rule are the people who make this accusation. Those who accuse others of biased and blinded from nostalgia are allowed to make any complaints they please.

Personally, I think generalizing everyone who doesn’t think the way you do is a lot more biased than nostalgia could ever be, if it is at all. What is more biased than saying, “You don’t think like me, therefore you must be blind and biased”?