I should first preface this article by saying, despite the title, it is not about the band My Chemical Romance, and their surprisingly positive effect on their fan base despite what the mass media and tabloids would have otherwise convinced you of during the height of their popularity, roughly around The Black Parade album. Though personally, Danger Days is my favourite but that’s not the point of this article, though we should probably look at music related fandoms at some point. Do tell us if there’s anywhere you think we should start. However, keeping that band in mind, the song in question does come into focus a little. Well, okay, I’m really pushing it for this connection, but frankly, you’ve learnt by now to just go with me on my crazy ideas, so there’s nothing new here.
Except there is. Here’s the thing; and this will surprise you when I say it: nothing is perfect. I know, it’s a surprising thing to say, especially in an online magazine that spends the majority of its time impressing on you that fandom is not a bad thing, but it’s true. Nothing is perfect. In fact, some things are really pretty far from perfect and start rolling on that downward slope we tend to call offensive. And that’s really what I’m hoping to impart to you in this article, though I’m taking my time about it.
Wanderers, we’ve all seen it. You’ll be sitting, watching a show or film of your choosing, and it’s all going great, you’re really enjoying yourself. Then comes that moment, and you know what we mean by that. That moment is the moment that can ruin a thing for you; something that just stands out as being so wrong that you begin to doubt why you watched this thing in the first place. Sadly, and indeed it is sadly, this is a very common thing in every single fandom. Every fandom has their problematic elements and we, as fans, have to deal with them.
If we cannot accept that the media we consume is going to have troublesome elements, then we’re probably not paying enough attention in the first place. Now, I’m not saying that everything is oh so very horrible, and how dare they even try to do anything, but it is a fact that, well, nothing is perfect, and despite best efforts, creators often fall flat at their attempts to produce media that properly reflects the world. (And yes, this includes historical media. Unless you can be 1000% sure that a certain culture or people would not be present in whatever time it is and whatever place and the media does not contain an element of fantasy, you sit back down and listen to the people who are registering their very relevant complaints.)
The most obvious example of fandoms not being perfect is representation, or lack there of, in some of the more popular fandoms. And no, I’m not going to judge people for liking what they like, or look down on fandoms. Frankly, that type of stuff doesn’t help. What does help? Fans respectfully, and intelligently, discussing with other fans in a reasonable, civil, manner about these problematic elements, and bringing it to the notice of the creators. And please note the use of the words ‘reasonable’ and ‘civil’. I’m sure, dear Wanderers, that many of you are well aware of how a simple discussion can fall the wrong way because someone was neither of those things.
The problem with this type of article is that the logical conclusion would be for me to impart some great words of wisdom, the type that clear everything up straight away and make it obvious what needs to be done. The thing is, there aren’t any words that can do that. All fandoms are problematic, some more so than others, and some are doing their best to improve upon their problems. As fans, all we can do is accept that yes, it’s true, nothing is going to be perfect, and we are completely within our rights to complain about problematic aspects.
So … not really got a conclusion this time people. Not everything can be round off nicely, sad matter of fact.
Z McAspurren (hopes this will be a better year for representation)