There is a huge difference between calling out a fandom and calling out a fan, and we need to distinguish.

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Title: There is a huge difference between calling out a fandom and calling out a fan, and we need to distinguish.
Creator: freedom-of-fanfic
Date(s): October 7, 2019
Medium: online, Tumblr
External Links: There is a huge difference between calling out a fandom and calling out a fan, and we need to distinguish.
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there is a huge difference between calling out a fandom and calling out a fan, and we need to distinguish. is a 2017 post by freedom-of-fanfic.


to elaborate:

fandom reflects its participants’ selfish wants from media, and in turn it reflects the value of media back out at the world. Like its (varied) source material, it’s loaded with racism, sexism, ableism, transphobia, etc etc - all the bad things of the world echoed back out. and like the rest of the world, fandom is and should be subjected to criticism and discussion about the hurtful trends it is subject to and participates in.

on the other hand, there is a line to be drawn between critique of fandom as whole and assuming fandom trends can be applied to individuals the same way. pointing out that the disproportionate popularity of kylux in fandom reflects a trend of favoring minor males over main character POC/women - a racist, sexist trend - is different from saying ‘anyone shipping kylux is racist/sexist’. the first one observes the influence of racism and sexism; the second one assumes that the entire social framework of every kylux shipper can be summed up in a single interest of theirs.

The conversation I see far too often goes like this:

Fan A: fandom is for having fun and doing what you like! Fan B: bUT those things could be harmful to others! Fan A: they don’t have to look. are you saying people can’t have fun? Fan B: their fun is problematic. are you saying that people should be free to do anything they want without criticism?

And the answer is: I’m all for freedom of fanworks. I’m also all for the freedom to critique them. But a line is crossed when we move from criticizing a fanwork, or fandom as a whole, to criticizing the person behind the fanwork.

A person’s participation in fandom is not all of that person. We cannot assume their fandom presence truly represents an individual. personally attacking a creator for their fanwork, or their participation in wider fandom trends, is inappropriate.

Fan Comments


(2) also assumes that the emergent effect (bias in which characters are represented, and how) is the personal responsibility of each individual member of fandom. Is it a good thing for each individual to learn about the fact that these biases exist, and about the social influences that might be affecting their comfort or discomfort with certain characters or pairings? In my opinion, yes, but attacking or censoring someone who is either innocently privileged/oblivious, or closed-minded about it for whatever reason, is never going to have the desired effect; it just creates defensive anger or defensive shame.

Spread the information (like this blog does!) and let each individual decide for themselves whether examining their own biases will cause a shift in what works they’re willing to seek out or create. Allow it to be a personal decision, without condemning them for the things they will continue to like, regardless of whether they also open up to things they have previously been uncomfortable with.

If a person is persuaded (not forced) to broaden (not abandon) their individual fandom habits and acceptance, then their only responsibility is to shift their own data point on the graph (and if they choose, perhaps to participate and spread conversations like this one) – they don’t have an obligation to personally shift the entire trend-line of their fandom. If anything, just the opposite – an obligation to neutrally offer the information that persuaded them, and then let it go. We can hope that this would mean fewer crusades for the varying forms of purity, fewer personal attacks and moral pile-ons, less defensiveness and shame.

People will always be people, but we can try to do better individually, and we can hope. [1]

Flipside, it’s also important to realize from a fan perspective when someone criticizing fandom is not fucking talking to you.

People wanna get all UP yourselves, and the Kylux example is a good one. It’s a ship I enjoy, but because I have experience in…being black and alive, I know that if absolutely nothing but the actors playing the characters were switched between Finn and Hux, it’d be swaths of Kylinn/Finlo fics and art as far as the eye could fuckin see.

But let me point that out and people start crying about ‘We’re being called racist for our ships!’, like calm the FUCK down, I don’t even know you.[2]
[red--thedragon reblogged this from freedom-of-fanfic]: #finally a good fucking take from the pro ship part of tumblr that doesn't make me feel like it was made by a moron


  1. ^ shinychimera
  2. ^ augustdementhe