Hey pals. Apparently this is a thing that we, as an internet femslash community, need, so it is time for Grouchy Aunt J’s Guide To Fandom Deportment.
1. I know that you really like your favourite actors, especially the ones involved in your fave wlw ships. I totally understand this! They are pretty, and wlw fandom is really fun, and if your ship is also a canon ship then it is super exciting and validating to see yourself reflected in media that you love. I, too, love that feeling and get really passionate about the media that I watch, which is why I am a Fandom Old.
2. The actors in your favourite ships are people. Like, real people, with anxieties and food preferences and sometimes they have weird hair days and some of them are introverted and some of them are extroverted, etc etc etc. When they are acting in your favourite media, they are going to work.
3. Part of an actor’s job these days is to sometimes be around on social media. Sometimes not! If they are kind/friendly/available on social media, that is a fun perk of someone who is going the extra mile for their job. You are not entitled to this.
4. Even if you super like a ship and are really passionate about fandom, there are things it is not alright to do. Actors are people, and when fans start treating them poorly it is unkind and potentially frightening or traumatic. Plus, your behaviour reflects badly on all fans and means that fandom as a whole doesn’t get to have nice things anymore. (Thanks, jerks.)
5. It is never okay to:
- harass actors on social media because something about their character is interfering with your ship/they’re not supporting your ship enough/they’re supporting the wrong ship too much/their character is problematic/the ship you think their ship is better than is problematic/just whatever please stop it this is not their problem. Tweeting at them will not fix whatever is upsetting you on the show you like, but it is probably pretty hurtful for them and not something they should have to put up with.
- harass/question actors who are involved in queer ships about their sexuality in public spaces. People’s sexuality is private, and being involved in portraying a queer canon or subtext ship doesn’t give fans the right to know about an actor’s queerness or lack thereof unless they choose to volunteer that.
- tell actors on social media about any sexual fantasies you may or may not have about them, b/c sexual consent also applies to actors.
- send actors unsolicited links to/hand bound novellas/lovingly hand-lettered scrolls of fanfiction, especially smutty fanfiction, especially especially if that author is not aware that their fic is getting sent to actors inappropriately.
- send actors your nsfw fanart about them, or someone else’s nsfw fanart about them, oh my g o d.
- ask them to read your fanfiction or autograph your fanfiction, damn.
5a. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself: would I, or another a reasonable person, want to see this [insert fanwork of varying levels of nsfw] about a representation of myself/themselves? Most actors are actual people who find this just as upsetting as you might find it, if someone drew fanart of you and then brought it to your workplace.
5b. Yes, I know, there is a certain amount of distance involved in creating fanworks because they are about fictional characters and that storytelling and play is one of the things I love about fandom. But I also never, under any circumstances, would want any of the actors involved in my ships to read my fanfiction because it would be super uncomfortable and that’s the point.
6. Also, your favourite actor’s non-actor family and friends are just that: not actors. Don’t bother them. Don’t - hypothetically - stalk them and try to catfish them to get information about your favourite actor. It’s super super not okay and it’s a huge boundary violation.
In conclusion: social media is super great and has changed fandom in a lot of neat ways, but having cool TV and movie actors available to connect with in that way is a privilege, not a right. Let’s all act like we are worthy of it.