I really want to say something about this quickly, as someone who has been in online fandoms since 1998. I have been in Sailor Moon, Fushigi Yugi, Gundam Wing, Nsync and popslash, Lotrps, HP and HPRPS, Firefly and Firefly RPS, Stargate Atlantis, 1D, McFly, Marvel, DC, and the Musketeers. So when I say I am familiar with fandom, I want you to understand my full meaning.
Right now, during this 1D hiatus, my dash and twitter timeline are full of people who have moved on from 1D. It is full of OMG Check Please, hockey fandom, women’s soccer, Kpop, Marvel, DC Comics, Years & Years, Clean Bandit, Teen Wolf, Little Mix, Hamilton, Fear the Walking Dead, bandom revivals, and so on, and so on. These are people who I wrote 1D fic for and whose fic I read, whose gifsets I reblogged, with whom I’ve shared group chats and twitter DMs and whose sofas I’ve slept on and who have flown across the country to visit me and with whom I’ve driven four hours to see 1D perform one last time.
Changing fandoms doesn’t have to mean you stop talking to your friends. Changing ships doesn’t have to mean you stop talking to your friends. Liking something slightly differently than your friend doesn’t have to mean you stop talking to your friends.
What I find interesting is the ways in which larries elevate not 1D, not even their ship, but the WAY they “ship” (read: tinhat) to the status of “fandom,” in order to exclude people. These aren’t even people who say they no longer care about 1D and have moved on, or people who started thinking Narry was more real than Larry. They aren’t even people who don’t think Larry were ever together. They merely dare to suspect they might not be together NOW.
But even as the larries decry being referred to as a cult with this post, the fact is that they have set up their beliefs as something that are being attacked merely by the act of disbelieving: that is to say, it’s “okay” with larries if you stop believing in larrie dogma, but only if you never say anything about it ever again. The approved ex larrie must be extremely careful to never say, “I found it difficult to believe in this based on a lack of evidence,” because HOW DARE YOU SAY AFTER ALL YOU SAW THAT THERE IS NO EVIDENCE HARRY WOULD HATE YOU (AND SO DO I NOW).There’s always space in larrie for the right kind of larrie, just as there is for the right kind of woman, the right kind of mom, the right kind of dad, the most perfect of gays.
And it helps to clarify how it is that larries are so confused by ex-larries (beyond merely being threatened by them, of course): because they don’t understand HOW you can be a fan of Harry or Louis (nevermind the band, the band isn’t even mentioned here - does the band exist at all other than a means to further larrie?) without being a Larrie. So if someone stops believing in the dogma, Larries want to know why they don’t just go away. Uh, because they didn’t stop being fans! That’s what fucking makes it a FANdom. Try, maybe just enjoying seeing Harry and Louis doing their respective things?
That’s just one of the strange, prominent things about the larrie “fandom” as it exists now; that the point has become about winning and being in the community of winners. They don’t even see a point in just being a consumer of the media, and recognizing their place as fans who are the recipients of condoned interaction. They crossed the fourth wall with gusto, maybe never even recognized it existed (which is why I find their claims of experience in prior fandoms ever so slightly dubious), and have no idea how to live inside of it. They derisively call ‘houies’ those who just want to enjoy the fictional idea of Harry and Louis together in stories and media, or perhaps the Harry and Louis that were, without recognizing that THAT IS HOW EVERYONE OUTSIDE OF THEM HAS BEEN ENJOYING THEIR FANDOMS ALL THE WHILE.
They forgot, or lied to themselves until they forgot, that shipping was never tinhatting outside of a derided few, and then, when they cannot for the life of them understand why fandom sees them this way, decide it must be because their only crime (not cyberstalking, not cyberbullying, not accusations of child abuse, not spamming TMZ with demands, not popularizing conspiracy theories in the media, not trying to tank the search results leading to someone’s name, not buying up domain names to fill them with dreck, and certainly not mocking the relationship their idol has with his son) is saying, in this world where Troye Sivan and Olly Alexander and Nick Grimshaw and Colton Haynes are among the faces that cross my dash in new fannish form, that two men are gay.