Fans Destroy Fandoms
What do you think when you heard the following names: Brony, Twilight, Naruto, Proxies, Hetalia? Chances are, you have a negative thought of them almost immediately. These are just four of the fandoms that all started off as harmless until well, the fans. Granted, there is NOTHING wrong with being a fan of anything whether it’s MLP, anime, Steven Universe, Gravity Falls, anything really but sadly, the main thing that ruins ALL fandoms are the FANS themselves. And before you say “My fandom is good! There are no crazy fans! We’re all normal! We’re awesome people!” Nope, it isn’t. Every fandom has those fans who not only ruin it for others but the fandom itself. So far, anime fans, furry fans, Twilight and all their subcategories have been known to have crazy/ annoying however recently, we added Creepypasta fans and now, quite sadly, Steven Universe is slowly making their mark into this and this is where for the first time, we’re seeing some regular fans trying to help the fandom but also inadvertently hurting it. I’ll explain this later.
First off, being a fan of anything is okay. You can be a fan of trains, you can be a fan of Dr. Who, you can be a fan of chocolate however, there’s a type of fan that goes above and beyond on what it means to be a fan. There are different names for it: obsessed fan, weeaboo, hetaboo, but the Japanese has created the best word for it: Otaku. Otaku has been coined for anime fans and many wear it as a badge of honor but the term expands to different things. In Japan, you can be a train otaku, a mecha otaku, an anime otaku, an computer otaku. The term otaku in reality mean: Obsessive Interest, it means that you are literately so obsessed that you can no longer tell the difference between reality and your obsession. Sadly, this is the type that has been popping up in every genre and they’re becoming worse and worse by the day. Today I’m going to talk about exactly what’s been going on in the Steven Universe fandom, how one fandom was killed, and why more and more people are shying away or closeting themselves from genres.
Just recently in the Steven Universe fandom, there was an incident with Keystone Motels in Pennsylvania, California, and Florida. For those of you who don’t know, there was a mention of the motel in the episode. The episode was cute and had many feels and character development however it was the morning after. Some fans thought it would be funny to leave low ratings and complained about something the happenings in the episode, like “My room was freezing and I went to see and saw a blue girl on the other side of the wall” and “I wanted to take a swim but the water was completely evaporated with a red girl pacing and ranting inside it”. Okay, seriously if it was one review, it could have gotten a chuckle but twenty plus fans doing it to every Keystone Motel? Ridiculous! Then the other fans, decided to plead their case but apologizing ON the reviews, leaving good ones and defending the fandom only creating an even bigger mess. Only listen, if you’re going to defend a fandom, there’s other ways of doing it. First, post reminders on blogs saying “Okay, it was cute now stop” or rising above the need to rant and just ignoring it.
Another thing with the Steven Universe is harassing certain ships and character hate. Not agreeing with a ship in fandoms is nothing new. Even confirms ships still get some backlash in the fandoms, an example of this would be the recent Naruto and Hinata ship. For SU, there are plenty and many ships. The one that many seem to have a backlash over is Jasper/ Lapis or “Japis”. I’m meh on the ship, I can take it or leave it but I won’t harass another person because they like it. A tumblr artist had to delete her blog because of the harassment she was receiving. In fact, many artists are threatening to delete their SU blogs because of the harassment and pressure some fans are putting on them because of certain ships. Also, no artists has owes you anything. If you want them to draw your ship, ask, if they refuse guess what, that’s okay too. If you really want to support the ship ask for a commission. Don’t harass an artist or blog for anything. Let’s talk about the forbidden ship: Dewey/ Pearl. Once again, not everyone’s thing, if you don’t like it, fine, if you do, that’s fine but don’t harass other fans over it. Just because someone likes it, doesn’t mean that they’re homophobes, pedophiles, or ANYTHING like that. It just means they think it would cute to see or it would be awesome to be canon, that’s it. This also leads me into another pet peeve, character bashing. It’s perfectly FINE to not like a character, especially if that character has no redeeming qualities, annoying, whatever, but remember, there’s other people who like that character. This doesn’t give you the right to bash a person for liking it or just outright bashing the character for literately no reason.
Here are three prime examples of characters that have been under fire in the SU fandom: Greg, Peridot, and Pearl. Before A Story for Steven, many people bashed Greg for being worthless, old and a deadbeat father because he wasn’t living with Steven. He was bashed for living in a van, just seemed skittish all the time, didn’t care much for his appearance and even when he helped out in the fight against Lapis, there was STILL a lot of Greg hate, until fans saw how young, charismatic, and sweet he was when he was younger. Now it’s “okay” to like Greg because he’s “So hot and wonderful and just so perfect!” Just because a character is now attractive, shouldn’t be a reason to automatically recant every single thing you didn’t like about the character because if a level of attractiveness.
The next character: Peridot. Personally I LOVE that little nerd. Yes she’s a bad guy, yes, she’s ruthless, yes but she’s also likeable and funny. She reminds me of the old school bumbling villains back in the day like Dr. Drakken and Zim. Yes, they’re threats but they’re funny while doing it and she provides some comic relief from the show’s seriousness. She just wants to do her job and LEAVE. Yes she’s responsible for the Cluster, yes she was about to blast the gems, yes she tried to kill the gems, and yes she even stepped on one of her own robots but she’s very comical. She’s hard to not like. She does have redeeming qualities, like she had all opportunity to harm Steven when they were alone, instead she just stared and decided to leave before the others came and she didn’t blast Pearl to kingdom come when she went after her, just did a nonviolent attack to throw her to the side before going away. Many have constant rants about how no one should like her because she’s “evil” but can’t think pass that she does have a personality. And speaking of personality, let’s talk about Pearl.
Pearl is a difficult character. Personally, I don’t like certain things she’s done or how she acts especially after the Rose’s Scabbard episode. Pearl’s personality in reality is very real and that’s why she’s very irritating. We all have met a person like Pearl once or twice in our lives and that’s why the majority of people don’t really like her. And you know what, that’s okay. However what’s NOT okay is trying to bully a person or a group of people into sharing your view as to why you don’t like or why you like Pearl. What’s also not okay is painting her in an over the top way just to make her even MORE unlikable. It’s true in the recent episodes, Pearl has been a psychologist’s dream and it’s getting worst. To any rational person, she is annoying with her condescending attitude about everything, her unhealthy relationship with Rose, and how she’s trying to latch onto Garnet as a pseudo replacement for Rose. However, it’s not okay to bash anyone who things differently, especially on blogs or at conventions. There was an entire episode based on not agreeing with someone’s view on the show and ironically about the book Connie and Steven were reading.
Please remember that fandoms can be destroyed. Sadly, there had been one truly horrific that caused a fandom to die and that happened on June 5, 2014 when two girls attempted to murder their friend to live with a fictional character and live as his proxies or followers. I’ll admit, the fandom was fun, it was dark, and it was creepy. Narrators like Mr. Creepypasta, CreepsMcPasta, and DeadJosey all had awesome narrations about the stories. Then the proxies showed up. Once again, light hearted fantasies about being Slenderman’s proxies, in a pseudo-family where everyone argued, killed, by had everyone’s back later on. Then the fangirls came, turned Masky and Hoodie into timid little fuck boys, Jeff into a handsome lover, Ticci Toby into their boyfriend, and then the rest followed. Then fans tried defending the fandom and that in fact, made things worst. It brought the entire community together but then a few fans, instead of something a little more tasteful to show that they are in mourning of the incident; they used the operator symbol, the VERY thing that prompted the attack. So the community had to band together and agree on the yellow rose. But after that incident, even with the donations, apologies, and everything in-between, it took a big fall and so much that people just gravitated away from it not because the fandom was bad but because of two mentally unstable “fans” that took things too far.
Hayao Miyazaki, one of the most, well respected, and best directors/ creators in the anime world even said that the industry and the fandom suffered because the otakus in the fandom. What he said was true. Of course many tried to paint him as an anime hater and turning his back on his fans but that’s not the case. In the early years of anime, many very good titles were being produced and of course brought on some cult classics with excellent plots, Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z, Ranma ½ , Rurouni Kenshin, Pokemon, Yu Yu Hakusho, and Gundam Wing all relied on plot, swearing, and character development to create good anime. Sure there were few scenes for fanservice but it was enough to grab attention and nothing else. Now there isn’t many anime without a fanservice wink or geared towards male otaku. Some titles managed to slip through the cracks such as Black Butler, Attack on Titan, Hetalia, where the plot was more important little fanservice but there are countless of manga titles that had potential to be great anime if it wasn’t for the overwhelming voices of the otakus.
However, female fans are not innocent either, case in point, Hetalia and their fans or what they have been known as hetaboos. I love Hetalia, write 2P Hetalia fanfics, and make Hetalia themed things but I also have a healthy relationship with the fandom. I don’t make fun or bastardize or romanticize events in history the countries represent. It’s one thing to watch the series, laugh, learn something new, and use it to understand actual events, but it’s another thing to say a country deserved something just because you like a character in the series. For example, it’s okay to like the Axis because they’re funny, you like their relationship, and how they’re so close and using it to understand their alliance in WWII however, it is NOT okay to say that the Axis should have won WWII, Germany should have won then Austria, Prussia, and half of Europe would have been German. Why? Because WWII is STILL a very sensitive subject that the entire world is trying to forget and Germany especially is trying to be seen for something else other than Nazis.
Meetups and cons are great places to meet new people and a great chance to dive head first into a fandom. It’s also a place where you can meet people that will give you a poor idea of what the fandom is. Just recently, I went to my first meetup as Rose from Steven Universe. Not only I was scared to death but I didn’t know what to expect. I actually enjoyed myself. Everyone was friendly, easygoing, and hilarious. I only met on SU fan who was talking out of his ass at my table but that was meh compared to the rest of the people I met. However, I have been to anime clubs where the fans were literately a collection of standoffish basement nerds, the over forty year old man or woman who is like an older “senpai” figure and if you’re an outsider, you get no contact whatsoever unless you’re an Asian or decked out swag girl. Which is sad because not only do they give all anime fans a bad name, they’re spreading this to other budding fans to create more nerd ate. This is why MANY budding fans drop out of anime. Granted, there are a few clubs and meetups that aren’t like that but when it’s your first one, then it creates a bad experience. So please fans of fandoms please take into consideration that the only way for people to enjoy a fandom, prompting more episodes and things in it is by being a normal regular fan. Just keep that in mind when you interact with people of the same fandom.