This topic has been on my mind for weeks. I know I wrote a poem based on that subject. Yes, I know there are worse issues going on right now in the world and this isn’t me ignoring them. Something about the concept of fandom shaming has grabbed my attention with how it affected me years ago. I’ve been fandom shamed for liking anime, independent music (sometimes for specific bands or singers), and even superheroes at one point like how I used to play HeroClix during my teens. I had the toughest time making counterarguments to the people who insulted me. Maybe this was me taking the high road or maybe I was so stupid and naive to have a comeback towards those fools. It also frustrated me when other people like other things, but never get insulted. I’m not just talking about “acceptable” fandoms like sports, shoes, cars, etc., but for certain bands/singers, movies, or games out there.
I have some questions for you because I feel like I’m the only person in the world who gets fandom shamed.
Have you ever been fandom shamed? If so, what was it for?
Have you ever fandom shamed someone? If so, what was it that the other person liked?
How do you deal with being fandom shamed if it happened to you?
Here’s a break from my poetry and other posts. I am aware about the serious issues going on from this week alone, so this isn’t me ignoring what’s going on around the world. This kind of started after listening to James Humphrey and Imo Emah’s podcast series where they critique some Disney movies of all things which were quite interesting. I’m glad they weren’t sycophants covering all these movies which was a huge plus. Going with that as well as still self-analyzing all the psychological damage I received in my life, I really got to thinking about how I was made fun of for what I liked as well as what I didn’t liked.
Before I get into these thoughts, I will promise you that I’m not going to beat a dead horse about that freaking 90s franchise that some of my regular readers know I love to bash on here and my film review blog. It’s much bigger than that.
Did I ever like Disney movies when I was a kid? Of course. I wouldn’t lie about that. I stopped watching them when I was in my teens mainly because I really got into anime as well as starting to check out international movies. What really ticked me off during my high school and college years was being a target of bullying for what I liked. Anime and some superhero stuff (I used to play HeroClix back in the day) more so during my teens while I was insulted for liking independent music during my time at university. While I was bullied for worse things like my heritage which I won’t deny, I was also made fun of at college for NOT liking Disney stuff. I thought that was weird because I thought it was too childish even though I never voiced it out loud to anyone. Yet at the same time even to this day, I see adults rocking merch from the House of Mouse and NO ONE says anything. I’m not just talking about people in their 20s or 30s, I mean people old enough to be my parents and even grandparents. Is liking Disney in America one of those “bully-proof” or “acceptable” hobbies like sports, shoes, cars, or premium cable TV shows (think about the stuff on HBO, AMC, FXX, or Showtime) where no one can make fun of you? I’ve wondered about that.
I absolutely hated how that fandom would be treated with Mickey Mouse gloves while I was a laughingstock for watching Gankutsuou or listening to Starflyer 59 among other examples. How was it that other people could watch “kiddie” movies and shows with no pushback? I’ve wondered that for years and I was furious on the inside. For years, I wanted to find ways where I can figure out people before I would insult them for what they liked if they had issues with me, but I never had the opportunity to do so. There were ideas of bashing the movies they watched, how they have bad animated role models, or how formulaic the plots are. As I got older, I got more rhetorical ammunition against that fandom with the racism, sexism, or malevolent corporate stuff I’ve learned about with the house that Walt built. If I knew about these issues then like I know now, I would give them all the riot act and try to verbally break their self-esteem as retaliation for all the insults I’ve received from them by dropping all these facts in their faces. There’s still vitriol against other fans that was compounded as I put up with petty insults as well as severe verbal attacks in different topics. It’s a miracle I didn’t blow up on bloggers who like the works from that company especially when it comes to multiple movie examples I’ve openly criticized including the one example I don’t need to bring up again at this time (trust me, I would’ve made some people look like hardcore bigots just with that one example if I knew all that baggage back then). Sometimes, I wonder how I can even read reviews from bloggers I enjoy that happen to cover movies from the Mouse and not have a conniption fit in the process. Yes, I still have anger about this subject with various fandoms being treated better than the topics I enjoy. No wonder I like other things like history, geography, and avant-garde stuff even though I also enjoy lesser topics.
As I continued this self-realization, I knew this was hypocrisy on them. I still hate how I get bashed for liking certain things while no one insults them or at the very least I don’t see them. Part of me wonders of there were other intersections about me that made me a target like race, my personality, mental health, etc. Part of it was jealousy. Even to this day, I struggle with sometimes caring too much about what others think. It’s really tough when I get demonized for standing up for myself even when I’m not doing or saying anything wrong. I even thought that if I had my way back then, I’d make sure people would be forced to respect my hobbies and interests while also having all the right rhetorical arguments to bash someone’s hobbies if they dared try to insult what I like. Look, I’m not Jesus here. I’m not trying to be some perfect individual or some flawless moral guardian. I don’t want to lie about some of the thoughts I had even when it comes to jealousy and sorting out my psychological baggage. There was jealously in wishing that I was never hurt by anyone no matter how petty or severe the attacks are against me. I was also angry how I felt like not many people were criticizing them or worse, extolling the bad things that have been documented. While I still get angry at people giving those movies and that company a pass for everything, part of that anger stems from jealousy and not just doing my best to call out evil in this world.
I know this isn’t some mind-enriching post, but I just feel like I have to get this off my chest as I’m still trying to make sense of my mental state.