After FanstRAvaganza 3, I repeatedly encountered the idea, that fandom of RA will greatly change after "The Hobbit". Some fans even think about leaving or at least cease to actively take part in fandom after "The Hobbit".
As most of you, my readers, will know, that my enthusiasm about "The Hobbit" at best is limited, I thought I would sit back and wait till "The Hobbit" hype is over and new things come along.
So the idea that it will bring a great change to the fandom is not an entirely welcome one for me, though I am openhearted enough and welcome new fans, new ideas, new creativity, new things in general.
A specially among women very far spread and established way of behaviour is, to make all members of a group swear to a certain set of rules. This for one ascertains the feeling of being a member and also guarantees, that no group member will get the chance to develop a solitary rout out of the group. So in a way it is a method to keep a group together.
But this establishing of a group feeling is also limiting for the individual member to develope one's own abilities, as group rule dominates individual behaviour. So the group developement is slowed down compared to what individual curiosity and research could reach.
This group building also establishes a defence shield and collective 'army' to stand as a group against the outside world. So by defending the group, it also in a way is limiting to embrace new members, as they do not feel welcome in a surrounding where an unspoken, but well formed set of rules already is established.
So I must admit, I am very much against such an unspoken set of rules
- for one limiting the existing members and
- for another chasing new members away.
As I see these group dynamics at work now in the RA-fandom, I want to remind of the openminded attitude, the fandom of Richard Armitage is famous for.
Keep your mind and heart open and live the friendship in fandom with a curious attitude to new things. Things are not bad because they are new or one did not try them oneself. I don't like all aspects of fandom and am certainly avoiding some areas of fandom, but I don't judge or say they are not o.k. or legit, they are just not the right thing for me at a certain time of my life's development.
And I certainly will not avoid explorations in one's own reactions to fandom, when I myself am searching for a reason, why I, after avoiding it all my life, was absolutely helpless to resist when RA caught me ;o)
So when another fan explores deeply emotional reactions to RA and opens up to fellow fans to explore these reactions together and find out what they mean, I will not shrink back and come with a 'kill-it-all' argument that this might hurt RA. RA might be hurt by stupid reactions to this explorations, but not (!) by the exploration itself, as this is an individual statement full of trust, given and shared with fellow fans in a way I admire greatly.
Even uttered counter-arguments of 'public' publication do not cut for me. A blog is not a public place and internet, as much as it might be publicly available, per se is not a public place like e.g. a central place in town. When I encounter an advertisement or pamphlet at such a public place, I cannot avoid it, whereas in the internet, I specifically need to go to a certain place or search for certain information I have already an expectation to find. I can encounter misfits for my search by accident, but that, with the new search engine technologies gets more and more unlikely. So I search or see information I want to read and so am solely responsible if I want to read them. I formerly thought, we as fans were adults and responsible enough to do that, but with the latest discussion in the fandom, I start to doubt that.
Whereas still in doubt, I tend to see the good side.
I hope, the fandom can find a basis to interact with an open attitude and if not, at least a group of openminded people in fandom can create and dominate their corner of the fandom in a way that it continues to be an ideal place worth to be shared and encouraging participants and new members to develope their creativity in it.
I cherish the fandom for exactly its freedom, its encouragement of each other and its supportiveness and creativity.
Don't let us destroy that wonderful place and make it a prison of our own creation.
P.S.: This post was burning inside me since the end of FanstRAvaganza 3, but new developments made it essential to be posted. There are ideal elements in the RA-fandom I greatly admire and I have met women I adore and share common interests with (what I only rarely and to a limited extent have in real life). So I must admit, I am fiercely defending the 'ideal' place of fandom and fight catty and narrow minded attempts to destroy it, which I so often encounter in real life. Those attempts are only spread out to limit one's progress, under whatever well-meaning and caring disguise they like to hide.