Something’s been nagging me about most fandom meta for a
while, and I’ve only recently put my finger on it:
The vast majority of what
crosses my dash is coming from a position of bad faith.
By bad faith, I mean meta presuming that most people are 1)
doing fandom wrong and 2) need to be instructed on how to do it right. Meta
writers are addressing common fanons, stereotypes, trends, and other aspects of
fandom that they dislike, and which they think need to be stopped or
reexamined. And you know what? I’ll admit that there’s sometimes a kernel of
truth in what people are presenting; however, I think the means are very
flawed. Wagging fingers at people doesn’t work very well, because you’re
guilting them for how they choose to spend their free time, in a hobby that
Here’s what happens when I see a piece of meta chiding
People who already agree with the stance agreeing with the
People who disagree, posting rebuttals
People reblogging with guilty tags about how they feel bad
for enjoying [bad thing]
Is this really productive? Is it encouraging less [bad
thing], more [good thing]? Not really.
Now that I’ve put myself in the position of doing the exact fingerwagging
I’ve criticized, what do I think is the solution to this problem? Because yes,
there are some things in fandom which are pretty bad, and which I wish reduced.
Produce the work you want to see in fandom. If you don’t
produce content, then comment, kudos, reblog, rec, or otherwise send good wishes
to things that meet your standards for [good thing], instead of yelling at
people for [bad thing]. Be supportive, rather than negative. Ignore shit that
you hate, because it doesn’t deserve your attention anyway. What’s a greater
condemnation of a work than silence? Being nastily critical will often put fans
on the defensive and create more support
of things that are legitimately problematic/bad/just plain silly. No one wants
to produce fanwork to an empty room. And all that attention that you’re now
giving to [good thing], rather than [bad thing]? Is going to produce more and
more [good thing].
Plus, you can always make friends through privately griping
about [bad thing], so you can still get your hate on, you diamond.