An Open Letter For My Fellow Oliciters
I’m pretty new to this fandom. It’s not often that I get to watch TV, so when I do, I usually fall for only one or two shows. But when I do fall, I fall hard. Arrow is one of those shows. It’s made me nutters. Absolutely nutters. I marathon-ed it in the space of a week (please don’t judge me), then turned around and watched it again– this time with the sister in tow and at a more reasonable pace.
There’s so much to love about Arrow– it has great writers, fantastic acting, and a mesmerizing story line (I gush all about it here). And it reflects itself in the fanfiction– Arrow fanfiction is some of the best that I’ve read out there. So many creative people with awesome writing skills! And the tumblr entires! And the gifs! It just made me so incredibly excited to be a part of the Olicity fandom. (Just in case you missed my excitement from the exclamation points, hah.) I mean, here are two wonderful characters on a show, engendering wonderful feelings in a multitude of people, all of whom are expressing it through fabulous art. What can be better than that?
But every fandom has a dark side, and Arrow’s is UGLY. I checked out the Arrow Facebook page for the very first time today and literally RECOILED from my computer screen. The amount of vitriol and hate spewed towards Katie Cassidy and Laurel Lance is DISGUSTING. It’s horrifying to read the comments on there. I was shocked– beyond shocked. We’re all humans. Why do we need to spew so much hate?
And it is hate. Such hate. I can only imagine how awful Katie Cassidy feels if (more like when) she sees these kinds of comments. They're so personal. You know, it’s one thing to say, “I don’t like this character, she’s not doing anything for me on this show”; it’s another thing to say, “You’re a fucking bitch and a whore who hasn’t eaten in 3 years, I hope you die!” Do you see what I’m saying? Just look at that. There’s a MASSIVE difference between Comment #1 and Comment #2. Why do we need to be so vicious towards someone? It’s bad enough to listen to attacks on your performance (and I say “attacks” because these comments are too harsh to be called criticism); but to have someone viciously attack your person when you don’t even know them? (Not the character you play, you as a person) And not even just someone, but a mob of someones?! Wow. Just… wow.
Now, I’m not saying you have to LIKE Katie Cassidy. I’m not saying you have to LIKE Laurel Lance. (Yes, they are two different people.) Or even like them. If you don’t, that’s fine– that’s your right. God knows there are times when I’ve watched the show that I’ve been irritated with Laurel and just wanted to, you know, smack her. And that’s fine. People don’t always get along in real life and sometimes they intensely dislike each other– it makes sense that the same would apply to our TV characters, too. So if you don’t like Laurel Lance, don’t. Go ahead and criticize her. Criticism can be great. When done the right way, it’s a powerful tool. But you can criticize without being combative. You can say you dislike a character without spewing hate. You don’t have to be in battle mode and super-aggressive to get your point across. You can be gentle. Sometimes, that gets you even more listeners.
My excitement for Olicity’s been dimmed after reading all the horribleness of Facebook– and even on Tumblr, I won’t lie. There’s been a lot of defensiveness from people saying that they have a right to their opinions while missing the greater point: it’s not about the opinion you have so much as the hate people are spreading while voicing it. There’s also been a lot of defensiveness from others saying that they don’t share the awful, vitriolic opinions expressed. And that’s also true– I firmly believe that the majority of this fandom is warm and supportive, but there’s a bigger point to all of this, and it’s that we shouldn’t stand for such ugliness. We need to speak up against hate spewing. I know some already have– Rosie Twiggs wrote some great blurbs that you can find here and here. It’s not about liking a character or loving them or whatever. It’s about speaking up against hate. That’s really what this discussion is about. Not letting hate perpetuate. So I hope people will support the discussion and support the concept of speaking up when criticism becomes ugly, because it’s a form of bullying and we don’t need that. Not from the Olicity end game peeps.
(Which I am one of.)
Olicity is, all in all, a great fandom. It’s filled with awesome people who are passionate about the show. These people are funny, smart, and creative. They create fabulous art. They create fabulous conversation. They create fabulous fanfics, which I get to read and benefit from on a regular basis. There maybe a dark side to this fandom, but there’s a lot of love here, too. So. I’m still going to be super-excited about Olicity, and I’m still going to be super-excited about Arrow, and I’m still going to fangirl it all with all the fangirl-ing love my heart can give. But now, I’ll be cheering for Laurel Lance, too. Because I think Felicity and Laurel could be friends, and I want to see this happen. Because I think Lauricity could be great. Because that’s my way of combating all the unnecessary hate I saw today. By being supportive.
Thanks for listening. :)
P.S.- ohmypreciousgirl just Tumblr-ed a fantastic blurb from TVGuide’s Matt Roush, which you can read here.