geek girl con

Guest Post by Jessica Mason

 

Pros and Cons

Fan conventions are funny things: they look different from inside. It’s actually much easier as an outsider observer to notice trends and take in everything about a con. For instance, I felt like I knew much less about all the panels at SDCC 2014 because I was too busy racing through the San Diego Convention Center and surrounding climes to keep up with Twitter and Tumblr and all the news that was emerging. In a way, that’s what can make a con fun. You are completely enclosed in your little world. There are usually too many people taking up bandwidth to make actually readings tweets and tumblr feasible, and the reception is always crappy, so you get to exist in this nice bubble. You hang out with your fellow fans, make friends, stand in long lines, forget to eat, squee and generally enjoy your time fangirling. And that was to some extent my experience at Geek Girl Con 2014 in Seattle over the 11th and 12th of October, except the real world’s very ugly head kept finding ways to butt in.

To Whom It May Concern,

Fandom is a means of expression, much like the clothes you choose to wear. Choosing what shows to watch or what books to read is not so different than choosing a new pair of shoes. We each have our own criteria: do we pick them because they’re comfortable? Because they’re attractive? Because everyone else has?

The reason I choose my fandoms, and my shoes, are my own and they are no less valid than yours. 

I write in response to recent events in one particular fandom, but what I say concerns all fandoms: the shaming of fans because of their interests not only contributes to the negative stigma of fan culture, it promotes it. When you tell me that I’m not a “real” fan for not having seen every episode or having read the books or shipping a particular couple, you are perpetuating the idea that to participate in fandom, you have to know the specific combination of elements, the “formula,” that makes you a fan.