On Tuesday I managed to start a very wild discussion about Twilight & hating Twilight fans on Twitter. It’s actually caused a bit of a stir and started to make me think. (Especially with the reaction of fellow manga bloggers.)
(Please be patient with me, this post is going to be my train of thoughts.)
I’ve been a fan of manga (and by extension, anime) for almost 10 full years now. For the past eight years, I’ve been attending cons, usually more than one a year, and interacting with other fans on a person-to-person basis regularly. For the past five years, that regular basis increased to weekly basis. I’m around fans a LOT and although a lot of them are fans of a certain stripe, I still get along with most fans I meet quite well.
But there are still fans that annoy me. You may say that I’m jaded and cranky because I’ve (likely) seen all the horrors of fandom by now, you’d probably be right. And worse yet, I try to be a pacifist. So why do I still hate on fans? Why do I feel like I have the right?
Simply put, I don’t. I shouldn’t hate on Twilight fans, Narutards or any other obsessive fan just because I don’t like what they like. I shouldn’t call them crazy or freaky because obviously their definition of those words is way different than mine and they don’t fit themselves into those words. But I still hate on them. Why?
I’d have to say a lot of it stems from multiple negative incidences I have had with such fans. I don’t even care if Narutards wear those metal headbands that got banned in high school anymore, (Although I still make a snarky comment about how real ninjas wouldn’t wear shiny metal objects when they’re trying to be stealthy.) but more than a few Naruto fans have been rude to me after I said I really dislike Naruto. Which has lead me to say I not only dislike Naruto, but the way the fans behave as well.
My experiences with Twilight fans have been similar. When I answer a Twilight fan’s questions about whether I’ve read the book (I tried, I couldn’t finish it because it was so abhorant to me) or seen the movies (not wasting money and time when I didn’t like the book), I get a lot of peer pressure to “change my ways.” When I start to explain that I am not going to pick up the novels again and why, I get hated on myself. I get told that the reasons why I don’t like it are not what Twilight is about, that I’m missing the point. Even though those words aren’t necessarily insulting on their own, the tone used often is.
It’s totally demeaning to hear someone imply that you’re stupid not to like something. I don’t really take well to being insulted. (I’m trying to work on that.) The little kid that used to get teased so often fights back. The conversation escalates, nasty words are exchanged and we both leave with a bad impression of each other. While I have many valid reasons for not liking the book, my reasons for not liking the more enthusiastic fans are largely my own fault (and, honestly, the fault of the obsessive fans too. Both of us should stop being so petty.)
Then on top of the horrible experiences, I hear that someone’s made a felted fetus from one of the books, someone else has made sex toys (and is selling them), someone else has started a group to “appreciate the values” of Twilight, etc., etc., etc. Well, there goes my faith in humanity. This fandom is going to last just like Star Trek and Star Wars fans have lasted (and so has the merchandising), I’m pretty sure of it. People are going to worship this book all their lives long and raise their kids on it.
So when I can’t stand the book, the fans are downright insulting and they keep doing stuff that’s toe-ing the line of cultish behavior, I feel a little bit justified when I call them crazy. But I’m still not right, mostly because not all Twilight fans are this crazy (I know this, I know many many fairly normal fans of Twilight too. They’re separate groups of fans to me.), and even some of the more enthusiastic fans aren’t participating in the creation of sex toys or knitted reproductive organs or are even deep into the appreciation of Twilight’s “values.” I’m still lumping them together as crazy and generalizing the group as a whole. That’s not fair either, even though I can’t stand screaming ninnies from any fandom.
Melinda Beasi brought up that Twilight fans get a lot of hate because they’re women and that fans who hate on Twilight are basically hating on teenage girls, being girls. This is true, but I don’t feel like I hate Twilight fans because they’re being girls. I hate them for thinking stalking is a plausible lead to a romantic relationship, not because they think Edward or Jacob or whoever is hot. If it was JUST them thinking Edward was hot, THAT I can understand. I do that too, albeit not with characters who are creepy stalkers. I hate them for thinking this book is the greatest thing ever and being annoyingly obsessive and rude to me when I don’t agree.
Do I still have the right to hate on them? No. I’m totally in the wrong no matter how much I explain my feelings about it.
Today’s lesson: Don’t hate on people. You don’t have the right and it’s of no real benefit to you. You’re not better than them. No one’s better than anyone else, especially in fandom. Remember kids, superiority complexes start fan wars. Take it a little bit further and you can say superiority complexes kill.
Don’t be a jerk and start a fan war. DON’T follow my example.