For the record, since it’s an ongoing source of frustration for me and a lot of other people, I have zero patience for anyone trying to gatekeep whether or not someone is a Real Fan.
So I’m reposting my own personal decision tree on Real Fandom.
Please note the lack of anything like:
- Whether I like your politics
- Whether I personally like the thing you like
- Whether I think you’re an asshole
- Whether I know more about the thing you like than you do
- Whether I’ve been a fan of the thing longer than you have
- Whether you’ve ever been to a convention
- Whether you prefer the movie or the book
- Your gender
- Your age
- Your race
- Your sexual preference
If you and I both like the thing, then guess what – we’re both fans. Yay, us!
And if anyone gives you crap about not being a Real Fan, feel free to show them this Real Fan Certificate, signed by a Real Fan who also happens to be a Real Author. (The “Real Author” argument is another, similar rant, but I’ll save that for another time.)
ETA: Updated with a higher-resolution certificate, for anyone who really wants to print it out 🙂
So, is that clear enough? Can we stop arguing about who gets to be a Real Fan now?
March 23, 2016 @ 10:40 am
I want to be a “potential” fan, not a “real” one. I want to exist only in the sheaf of probabilities until I actually read or watch the work in question. Then I might choose to collapse into singular reality, or I may go off to continue my potentiality elswhere. So ha!
John L. Payton
March 23, 2016 @ 10:43 am
I may have to alter mine to read “TruFan”
March 23, 2016 @ 10:48 am
It is strange that such things needs to be written down. But anyway… Thanks, Jim
Jim C. Hines
March 23, 2016 @ 10:52 am
I hereby dub thee Schrodinger’s Fan.
March 23, 2016 @ 11:46 am
I’m a Real Fan of flowcharts.
March 23, 2016 @ 11:51 am
You sir, are a gem.
March 23, 2016 @ 12:29 pm
At Capricon this year, I was the Fan GOH. I figured that if you get Author GOHs to talk about being authors, and Artist GOHs to talk about being artists, then as the Fan GOH it was kind of my job to talk about being a fan.
So I got up at opening ceremonies and made a speech about how it is a weird time to be a fan. On the one hand, there are people spending billions to make movies about toys we played with in our basements. On the other, we have gatekeeping and sad puppies and “you’re not a real fan if…” so it’s pretty clear that we’re all still working on what it means to be a fan. But we all chose to be fans together in that place that weekend, and that was kind of awesome. We wanted to hang out with other people who are super-passionate about stuff – not always the same stuff, but that was OK too. So I asked the con to make me up ribbons that read “_______FAN” and I asked people to come up to me and tell me something they were a fan of, and I would write it on their ribbon. Because being a fan is awesome, and no one gets to tell us how to fan, because we are the ones who get to decide what that means.
I ran out of ribbons Saturday afternoon.
See, it wasn’t really about the ribbon. It was about the conversation – I tell you the short version of the speech, and you tell me something you’re a fan of. We talk a little about some things that we are fans of, and I suggest that you go look for other people who have the ribbons and ask them about the thing they said they’re a fan of. And I told them that they are awesome, and their fandom is awesome.
I listed that I was a Kaiju fan – because a lot of people don’t know that I own at least the crappy American release of every Godzilla movie ever made. I was chasing people down the hallways with my light-up-and-sound-King Ghidorah Xmas ornament! But more importantly, I got to personally connect with a lot of my fellow fans in a way that we hadn’t before. It sparked some really good conversations. I kind of hope the idea takes off at other cons. Because we are the ones who decide what it means.
March 23, 2016 @ 12:32 pm
I want a ribbon to say “I’ve been a fan longer than you’ve been alive”
March 23, 2016 @ 1:03 pm
See, I don’t feel that way at all!
People just coming into fandom have different experiences than I do and may be able to tell me about a new show/book/idea/thing that I might really like. Or not, but then I can say “You know, I tried that and it just wasn’t for me”.
March 23, 2016 @ 1:14 pm
I wouldn’t — because I am a fan of SO MANY different things, and some of them I’ve been a fan of longer than some fans have been alive, but some of them — some of the ones I’m most passionate about, in fact — I came to very late, so I haven’t been a fan as long as people who are younger than I.
And I think that’s awesome.
March 23, 2016 @ 1:30 pm
I want a ribbon that says “I’ve been a fan longer than I’ve been alive.” It has a nice ring to it for sci-fi/fantasy. Especially for Doctor Who fans.
March 23, 2016 @ 1:36 pm
What’s awesome about someone new discovering a fandom is that it can renew your love for it as well. 🙂 I have a close friend who can attest to that. She’s gotten me hooked on Doctor Who and Supernatural in the last 5 years.
March 23, 2016 @ 2:03 pm
Any complaints for the glitter-like iconography on that cert?
March 23, 2016 @ 2:04 pm
It’s the difference between
“You’ve never seen/read/played X? Then you’re not a real fan!”
“You’ve never seen/read/played X? OMG you have no idea….What are you doing Thursday? I’ll make the popcorn and bring the kleenex!”
March 23, 2016 @ 4:30 pm