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Mama Deb
mamadeb
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Mama Deb [userpic]
What are my feelings about fandom?

What are my feelings about being female? Or having hazel eyes and impossible hair? Being a Fan is part of my self-definition. I've been active in fandom since my mid-twenties, but that was because I couldn't figure out how to be active before then.. My favorite reading material was science fiction and, later, fantasy, and I've loved Star Trek since I was three. Nothing felt so right as watching those tv shows or reading those books, except talking about them and writing my own fic about them.

My best friend in junior high school was a fellow Star Trek fan I'd met in a hotel in Pennsylvania - we spent hours in the motel pool quoting episodes and we were delighted to discover she lived in a different neighborhood in Brooklyn. And we had hours long phone convesations where we tortured our favorite characters. Literally. (She loved Chekov and wanted him to suffer.) Gina, are you out there?

It got me through the traumas of high school and college. I wrote reams of Star Trek fanfic in college, and I collected every book I could find.

And when I did find my way into organized fandom (thank you, Debby, for bringing me to that Blake's 7 con, even if it would be over a decade before I set foot in a media con again), I found myself. I found the people I could talk to the best, where I had skills that people appreciated. Where I was considered attractive. And I found friends that I still have, that I hope I always will have.

It's where I found the way into being religious (thank you, Harold and Becky); it's where I found my husband, another Fan. It's where I belonged. Belong. SF fandom still plays a large part of my social life, our artwork comes from convention art shows and we organize our vacations around conventions. Which we attend not to see any particular writer or artist, but so we can see our friends, participate in discussions, buy books from people we know and spend the night singing in a circle.

And when I rediscovered media fandom, I found a different home. SF fandom has lots of women these days - we've pretty much reached parity. It's not the boy's club it used to be. But in media fandom - especially but not exclusively slash - we've carved out a woman's space that is very rare these days. And I've met some of the most amazing women this way, some of whom I consider friends. And I wouldn't have met them at all if I didn't want to see Paris and Chakotay together.

I'm a fan because that's as much a part of who am as being Jewish, as being female, as being *short*.

FIAWOL

Comments

Thank you for this.

I remember finding out about fandom when I was about 10/11, my sister had printed out some Voyager fanfic. It was actually what got me to stop tolerating computers as a necessary evil, and start actually liking them because of the stories I could find.

I ended up joining active fandom my freshman year of college on an NCIS message board. And later that year, I was introduced to livejournal, which has become my main source of fandom involvement.

Being fannish has given me friendships I never would have had otherwise, has taught me so much about interacting with the texts and media presented to me. It's made me grow.

I'd be missing out on a lot without fandom, and without the people like you that I've met through fandom.

Next step for you is a real convention. Take your dad with you.

Me and crowds could be interesting.

But I'm definitely planning to go to at least one sometime in the next five years.

Hats off to you.

The whole FIAWOL vs. FIJAGDH has always baffled me. I met some people early on in the first group who, to put it bluntly, scared me. I couldn't--and still have trouble--with things that are gllefully explored (possibly even exploited) in fandom, treated as casually as commercials for breakfast cereal. They were the 'scary people' that made me back away and look for the hearest exit.

So I put myself in the "hobby" group. That led to other problems. It's social, yes. It encourage creativity, be it writing, art, cosplay--and in some cases, metalworking, cooking, sewing (I'm thinking of plushies, here), amateur video making--song vids, gag reel, amateur animation. For some people, it encourages research into lifestyles, philosophies, and cultures they would otherwise not have learned of.

Your post has offered the best illustration of 'way of life' that I've ever read. And I've been wrong--I'm not a hobbyist. I'm a fan. (And I met *my* SO via fandom also!)

Thanks for writing this, Deb. It was an eye-opener.

Re: Hats off to you.

Not just cosplay and plushies - costuming is a big deal,and so is making SCA and Faire garb.

And there will always be the scary people in fandom.

I'm glad, though, that this helped. :)

*raises hand in the fannish Jewish female short corner*

Hear hear.

I remember sometime in my late teens, en route to one of the earlier conventions I did with some friends, the conversation came around somehow or other to why we were going. I mentioned that I went not so much to watch videotapes or movies or the costume contest or the panels, but to be with friends and make new ones. The driver told me that was the most adult reason for going to cons he'd heard. (He had to say it three times for my bum ears to hear him over the road noise, but you get the idea.)

Bless you for sharing your eerily-similar-and-yet different journey to more or less the same place.

It's exactly like coming to a home you've never knew you had.

Succinctly and beautifully stated.

Thank you! Will I see you at Conterpoint?