I’ve been thinking lately about fandom and my place in it. I’ve never been one to participate in fandom to a huge extent. Sure, there are many pieces of pop culture I enjoy. But I’ve never really felt like I’ve participated in fandom in a write fan fiction / create fan art / hang out in forums dedicated to a thing sort of way.
But maybe I’m confused about what fandom even is and whether I’m participating in it. For example, I don’t see myself as participating in fandom because I have this blog. What fandom would I even say I’m a part of? I often feel very isolated in this little corner of the internet. I rarely get comments, so when I post something, it’s like I talk and all there are are tumble weeds. And I mean, that’s fine. It’s largely my own fault that this blog doesn’t get more traffic and interaction.
But anyway. I’ve been thinking about what It would mean to be part of a fandom; to interact with other fans. Two things I know for sure:
- I’m not much of a musician or visual artist, so I’m not going to be creating fan works in either of those mediums.
- I don’t have the patience for editing. Like, at all. So podcasts and videos will present a problem.
I’m probably the type of person who will hang out on a forum somewhere. Or write something. But regardless of what my jam is, I feel like participating in fandom is a huge commitment. And I’m not sure how I’d work that kind of commitment into my life.
Take my love of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, for example. I loved it so much that I decided to try my hand at a podcast, even though I’d never recorded a podcast before and knew nothing about the process. Alan from Gatecast even agreed to cohost. But if you’re not familiar with my ill fated Slayercast, I can’t blame you. Slayercast only really lasted for five minutes, because it became pretty clear pretty quickly that I was way over my head.
But Slayercast was kind of unusual in one regard: I’m not much of an ideas person. So while It’s pretty typical for me to not finish something I started, it was pretty atypical that I even had the idea for the podcast in the first place.
And then something happened to made me consider fandom for another angle.
I recently finished watching the original Sailor Moon anime, a fact I’ve talked about both here and elsewhere. I loved Sailor Moon in all its cheesy goodness. And I got to thinking: since Sailor Moon fights for love and justice, wouldn’t it be fun to incorporate Sailor Moon and sonnets? I could write (admittedly bad) sonnets for each episode of the anime or each volume of the manga. Or something. One obvious concern I had about this plan was that there’s a relatively high chance I’d burn out on this plan before I finish – there is, after all, 200 episodes of the original anime, and that doesn’t even include the manga or Crystal.
But here’s another concern I have: would it even be appropriate for me, as a white Westerner, to even participate in Sailor Moon fandom when Sailor Moon – and indeed anime and manga in general – was created by Japanese artists? When it comes to enjoying a piece of media that was made by a culture other than your own, what activities are and aren’t acceptable? At what point does my involvement in Sailor Moon fandom become racially questionable at best and outright racist at worst? I totally understand that it would be wrong of me to dress in Sailor Moon cosplay and I have no intention of doing so. But what other things should I know before attempting to participate in a fandom created by a culture not my own? What are the dos and don’ts?