“And I don’t have a weird thing with Simon Snow,” Cath said. “I’m just really active in the fandom.”
“What the fuck is the “fandom”?”
From Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
A little while ago I had to explain Tumblr to someone and then I added that it was big with fan communities. It’s difficult to really explain it anyway but my explanation of a site that I’ve loved using was dismissed instantly. I don’t use Tumblr as much as I used to, but as someone who has been and still very much is a part of different fan communities, this got my back up.
It took me a long time, but I’m not ashamed of being a fan and a part of these amazing communities anymore. I’m proud to be a passionate fan, to be a part of these magical worlds, to have those communities to fall into and be enthusiastic and keen and overexcited, without it mattering.
Different things drive different people, it’s true, and not everyone has the need or the want to be a mega fan, and that’s fine. But it’s when people dismiss fandoms and communities just because it doesn’t fit them, without knowing anything about them, that it gets to me.
Fandom isn’t just “obsessing” over a band/book series/tv series. It’s so much more than that.
It’s friendship, and meeting people who have the same interests, from different worlds. It’s expressing yourself, it’s finding a safe, secure place, it’s family, it’s building confidence, it’s creativity. It’s pursuing hobbies and things you love. It’s developing skills. It’s helping others. It’s music and writing and art and activism and charity. It’s getting together with like minded people. It’s caring deeply. It’s compassion. Fandom allows you to be passionate about something, to explore passions, ideas, and life. It’s an escape, but also a way of dealing with life.
John Green, Vlogbrother and author of YA novels The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns, put it perfectly:
“…because nerds like us are allowed to be unironically enthusiastic about stuff… Nerds are allowed to love stuff, like jump-up-and-down-in-the-chair-can’t-control-yourself love it. Hank, when people call people nerds, mostly what they’re saying is ‘you like stuff.’ Which is just not a good insult at all. Like, ‘you are too enthusiastic about the miracle of human consciousness’.”
I mean, who wouldn’t want to be a nerd? Who wouldn’t want to be passionate about something so deeply?
But it’s impossible to put it into words, to explain to someone who just doesn’t get it – and perhaps there’s not much point. So I’ll just go on caring, go on being a fangirl, because that’s never going to change. I’m glad that I’ve spent the last thirteen or so years being a fan, being a part of fandoms. It’s made me a better, stronger, and braver person. I wouldn’t have it any other way – no matter what people say.