Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Fandom & Fans & Future

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.


  1. Outstanding post and I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said here.

  2. I am new to the fandom. Well, since October or November and I have found it most welcoming. I too agree with everything you said. There is a group dynamic but for a group to be effective every member, however different they may be, must feel that there is room for them within the group.

    1. Hello Gracie. Thank you for sharing your experience in fandom. I find the welcoming aspect of it so heartwarming and enjoy so very much to be around. Thank you for joining and enriching the fandom and my blog!

  3. This is brilliant. I agree with your completely. Thanks so much for saying it.

    1. Thank you very much, Judiang! I am very glad for your support in this.

  4. It is interesting that those protesting recent events are accused of setting "unspoken rules," when they are clearly in a minority and the vehement reaction against them shows how little influence they have. It seems that the rule is for people to accept people posting RL fic, and those that take a stand against it are banned or personally attacked. Some have even taken a great deal of harassment for taking an opposing point of view to the notion that Richard Armitage is fictional and therefore not worthy of the same respect we ask for ourselves. So who is really setting the rules when we are the ones being chased away?

    Also just because you do not walk into a certain government office, that does not make it any less of a public place. The internet is a public place. Period. Just post a threat against the President or the PM (or whomever the head of your country is) on your blog and watch the legal authorities show up.

    1. @Anonymous
      1. I must add that I have a special dislike of anonymous posts, not making it possible to respond to a certain fan or co-blogger, but to an anonymous 'nobody', who does not take the responsibility for a comment, even with a relatively safe fan-identity.
      2. You will have recognized that I never (!) post anything political here on my blog. Not for the reasons you mention, as dissenting and posting something against my government would have a special freedom of speech in my country.
      (I know the triggers, which would set my government and security services on edge, but I have no intention of using those stupid and well used triggers to gain attention, but attacking our government or president clearly would not win much attention as it is common ground.)
      3. I completely don't understand your comment why I should walk into a government office as a public place. From time to time I do that, because they have a delicious lunch restaurant open for the public there. I could try to read parts of my blog out loud there, but don’t think that would meet with much interest, as RA is a rather unknown actor here. The only thing that would have immediate attention would be, if I walked in with a weapon and as I have none, that is out of the question ;o)
      4. The setting of rules does not depend on the size of a group, but on the way its followers try to ascertain that a certain behavior or opinion is obeyed by all. As I clearly see that in your comment alone, as you now try to get me in line, I need no further proof to see what is going on.
      5. I did not (!) attack you (whoever you are), nor did I press a certain opinion upon you. You can like real life fiction or not like it, just as you please. I won't dictate any kind of rule upon you, but I expect the same courtesy of valuing other fans as the responsible adults they are by you.
      I also think you should act responsible enough to know for yourself what you want to read and what you don't want to read.
      And, after you completely miss-interpret my text, I think you should read more closely what a blogger says instead of judging what you think he says.
      This is also the main reason for all the farfetched discussion on Servetus’ blog. The restricting comments do not really touch the topic opened by her, but state what others should do in cases never under discussion or in danger of being violated by her. So I really understand her for getting annoyed by the whole discussion.
      From what I posted you can't even determine, how my opinion towards RLF generally is and I will certainly never tell you or discuss that with you, as for a discussion, I expect both parties to be open-minded and tolerant enough to at least hear and listen to the opinion and arguments of the other side. Otherwise every discussion just is useless and ends in an attempt to dictate the opinion of the other party.
      If you don’t see the difference of what I suggest and what you do, I cannot open your eyes to such a basic truth of life.

  5. Excellent and thought provoking post!
    It's interesting to see how group dynamics work in a large group of people scattered around the world, having to rely entirely on virtual, verbal communication. Taking into consideration that we all come from different cultures and that many of us don't even share the same language I consider open-mindedness and a high level of tolerance to be of utmost importance.
    Through this fandom (which is a first for me as well as I've never participated in any fandom before) I've had many lovely chats with fans around the world. I've found people with whom I'm now discussing all sorts of things, much of them entirely unrelated to RA.
    I was pleased to see that a young, gay and ardent admirer of RA has recently been accepted into this 'group' by several of the cRAzy women I'm communicating with. Experiences like that make me think that there's hope for this 'group' yet ;-)

    I'm sure our 'group' of fans is very heterogenous and changing all the time. There is no life without disagreements and conflicts. I can accept that. What I cannot accept is intolerance and people who try to force their opinion onto others.
    So thank you again for this important post.

    Liebe Grüße in den Süden :-)

    1. Thank you very much, Suse!
      I made the experience that the fandom opened doors for me, where my nationality might have been a hindrance otherwise.
      We sometimes (and I enclose myself very much in this statement) go around with such a lot of biased opinions, which limit us and close doors and it is a wonderful experience for me that the RA-fandom in its world-spanning community just makes short work to prejudices.
      I love the world-embracing openness, compassion and the wonderfully cRAzy community ;o)

      Dir alles Gute, Suse, und liebe Grüße zurück in den Norden ;o)

  6. To the Greatest RA Minstrel!
    I understand and agree with you completly. I love your blog and if you don't mind my lame English,I will try to leave comments from time to time. Sending you hugs and warm regards:)
    Joanna from Poland(Silesia)

    1. Thank you very much, Joannna, and a warm welcome and hugs!
      You make me a bit shy with your compliments ;o)
      You are very welcome even without them and I am very much looking forward to your commenting here. Don't worry about possible mistakes!

  7. Aside from what I said elsewhere, I wanted to mention that for years I've heard Germans using the term Gruppendynamik without knowing exactly what they meant. So this post was also good for my Allgemeinbildung!

    1. Hello Servetus, thank you very much for commenting and your wonderful feedback!
      Yes, Gruppendynamik is a very powerful energy / motive / effect (? - Hard to say what best describes it) dominating one's behaviour. It even can bring out totally different characteristics than when one is left alone or can think things through in peace. It does not even necessitate open corrective methods, but already starts working by what the members think is expected of them in the group or how they should behave to belong.
      Germany had a hard history to learn the devastating effect Gruppendynamik can have ;o(

  8. Dear C.Doart,
    never left a comment before. I just wanted to let you know, that I love your writing style and I admire your passion for the work of RA.

    It is inspiring. Keep it up. You are inspiring.

    1. Thank you very much, Miss Piggy, and a warm welcome here!
      Your feedback means so very much to me. Thank you!

  9. Late, as always! Much going on in RL. Alles gute, mind you. (That is possibly the extent of my German language, following a 2-yr posting to Vienna, and trying to Berlitz enough to get around, and be polite). I think this was a very good post. It was well-thought-out. And things needed to be said.

    The community survives, and flourishes. There will always be things that require thought and free discussion, and we will always re-visit issues. Respect for one another and courteous disagreement are always sought and explored. Courtesy. Respect. We are not here to impose our view of world order. We are here to celebrate the work of a rather good actor. Yes, his work influences our diverse views. But he is not (and does not) try to be a model for the world. He is an actor. Which has influence. His influencee is benign. Thank you for the post, CDoart.


    1. Thank you very much for your encouragement, Fitzg! How lovely of you, to bring in your German knowledge!!!
      I fully agree with you. I always feel that different opinions enrich a discussion and already widened my horizon of RA-appreciation and my world view. When I expect all people to have my view of something, I also can stay at home (literally and virtually) and talk to myself. How very boring ;o)
      What I cherish so much in fandom is, that all fans feel free to utter their opinion, different views and approaches and find a space to freely do so. - Very close to paradise for me ;o)

  10. I must admit, I haven't the foggiest what this post is in reference to, but the comments echo something I read a little earlier on Frenz's blog, so I guess it's to do with that? And I still don't have a clue! XD

    Suddenly, I think I'm quite happy to stay out of most of the RA fandom, and stick to admiring the guy in private, so to speak. Loved your post, though, regardless. It has many valid points. :)

    1. Thank you very much, Traxy! Don't worry if you did not encounter the discussion. It is best not spread further and the freedom we have to cherish and admire the talent of RA together is the best thing to be had in fandom.
      Thank you for your wonderful feedback!