#StarTrek
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What Was Your First Fandom?
There's nothing like your first. Vingle is awesome because it feels like no matter how obscure my fandom is, there's always someone else here who's into it! So let's take a trip down nostalgia lane and find out how it all began... The Superwholock fandom Did you dive headfirst into the wonderful wild world of Supernatural, Doctor Who, or Sherlock? I was away from fandom for a while, but some amazing Sherlock fic brought me back in. And you all know how that went! Now it's all fanfiction all the time here! Anime fandom I know there are a lot of you out there! The first fic I ever read was anime (and trust me, you don't want to know about the fic that I *wrote*. It was a monstrosity). Lord of the Rings fandom If you speak Elvish, you have my respect. The Marvel/DC fandom Superhero movies seem like they're here to stay. Whether it was Marvel or DC, Daredevil or the Dark Knight, you're gonna have a lot of fun in the coming years! And of course I'll be right there with you. Star Wars fandom I'm so happy for you all. I know Sherlockians have been called the fandom that waited... but you all really waited, didn't you? The Fandom that Lives Harry Potter is definitely a global fandom, and we haven't seen the likes of it before or since. The first fandom Star Trek inspired fandom as we know it today. The fic, the cons, the culture... to use an inappropriate quote "I was alone and I owe you so much". WAS THERE A FANDOM I MISSED??? If so please don't think I love you any less! In fact I probably want to know all about it. Share your first fandom experience!!! Were you a livejournaler in the days of Cassie Clare? Did you get sucked into Tumblr during Mishagate? Or were you one of the old school fans subscribing to zines in the mail? Or hey, is Vingle the first place you've let yourself fan the freak out? That would be awesome too. Let's get excited about our first fandoms!!!
Why Do Stereotypes Hurt So Much?
It's not just rude... it's bad for our communities. If you're not familiar with the "fake geek girl" accusation, that's probably a good thing. It doesn't happen all the time, but there are some people in the geek community (an over-generalization of gamers, comic book lovers, and sci-fi readers) that feel the need to act as gatekeepers. And while there's nothing wrong with defending the things you love from people who only wish harm on your community, the practices currently in place end up deterring new fans, which keeps the fandom from growing. Not only that, but it makes it a very hostile place to be, even for those who have been fans for a long time. Instead of coming together to get excited about what we all love, fan events have become gated communities more concerned with outing the 'fakes' than with the media that brought us together in the first place. And the 'fakes' being targeted are predominantly- though not exclusively- women. What gives? The above is, of course, satire. The truth is that geek culture has become extremely accessible in recent years. There are lots of new comics fans thanks to the hugely popular Marvel and DC franchises. Thanks to Cartoon Network's lineup, there are anime fans left and right. Steam is making it easier (and cheaper) for new fans to become dedicated gamers. Geek is no longer an insult, it's an identity that people are proud of. And why should we be ashamed of our passions? They're a big part of our lives. They're how we have fun. They're how we relate to the world. So why is there a culture built around punishing new fans? I've seen lots of reasons tossed around. But I'm not really sure what the answer is. I've been told that 'fake geek girls' are only interested in sex, that they're only calling themselves geeks because it's trendy, that they're invading male-only spaces to cause trouble and not because they actually care about the medium. Via Tara Tiger Brown, Reddit, Joe Peacock. Sure, there are probably lots of 'booth babes' at conventions who care more about doing their job than showing off how much they know about geek culture, if anything. Maybe there have been some trouble-makers at conventions. None that I've ever been to, but I wouldn't say it's not a possibility. But isn't that what convention codes of conduct are for? Protecting fans- all fans- from misbehavior? It seems unreasonable to assume that someone has bad intentions based on their gender presentation or their appearance. When it comes to bullying or toxic behavior, it sounds like being exclusionary based on the way someone looks is generally agreed upon as unfair and cruel. So why is this an accepted practice when a new fan is present? Or when a person is expressing their fannishness in a way that's different? The truth is, we all miss out as a result. We were all new once. I wasn't born with an encyclopedic knowledge of knowledge of Marvel comics or fandom history. That's all stuff that I learned. Because it was interesting, because it was fun, and because I wanted to hang out with the fans who invited me into their spaces and made me feel welcome. What is so threatening about new fans that makes us so possessive? Why wouldn't we take advantage of their new-found excitement, instead of shunning their enthusiasm? @RobertMarsh @CarmenMRey @AimeeH @DanRodriguez @ButterflyBlu @melifluosmelodi @DonovanMoore @InPlainSight @baileykayleen @LizArnone @VinMcCarthy @WayneWinquist @MattK95 @ChosenKnight @RaquelArredondo @BeannachtOraibh @chris98vamg @BryanVincent @BiblioLady @purplem00n23 @dustinparson I would love to hear everyone's thoughts on this subject! I know it can be difficult to have these discussions and I'm honestly humbled by the responses I've gotten here.
Surprise! Girls Have Always Been Nerds
In other news, water is also wet. But apparently J.J. Abrams, director of the upcoming Star Wars movie (and the rebooted Star Trek franchise) didn't get the memo. On Good Morning America last week, he gave this well-meaning but kind of oblivious endorsement of the movie: “Star Wars was always about, you know...it was always a boy’s thing, and a movie that dads take their sons to. And though that’s still very much the case, I was really hoping that this could be a movie that mothers can take their daughters to as well. So I’m looking forward to kids seeing this movie and to seeing themselves in it, and seeing that they’re capable of doing what they could never imagine was possible.” *Sigh* Definitely well-meaning. And I'm completely excited about the emphasis on female roles, from what I've seen so far it looks like a definite improvement. But the truth is that despite the somewhat alienating failures of the original trilogy, female fans have been here all along. It's not like we're quit either! Who do you think was discussing the infamous slave Leia bikini scene? A random bunch of women who had never seen the films? Who do you think has been showing up to conventions, reading the books, and watching the movies over and over and over again? I appreciate what he's trying to do. But it feels a little weird that he's talking about appealing to women when he doesn't seem to know anything about the female fans that are already here. Female fans exist! They like nerdy stuff! They always have! This is just... tiring. I don't really have anything against J.J. Abrams for this (though I have a few bones to pick with him over the Star Trek reboot). He's unfortunately just one of many people in the industry that seems convinced women do not and have never cared for anything that has to do with geek culture. They couldn't be more wrong. The science fiction genre was INVENTED by a woman (Mary Shelly's Frankenstein to be precise). In the early days of Marvel and DC, comics were most likely more popular among girls than boys. When Stark Trek was about to be cancelled, female fans were the ones leading the first letter writing campaign of its time to bring the show back for a third season. tl;dr We're here. We have ALWAYS been here. And Hollywood would know that if they'd start listening.
This is Difficult..
I have such respect for this man. His talent is immense and the roles he's brought to life are iconic... and in truth all of these things are easily surpassed by his generosity and kindness - if you are not aware of what I am referencing look up Sir Patrick Stewart's work with abused women and children - and his work with combat veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. He is truly a gentleman and a scholar - so this is difficult because what do I call this illustration? He's Professor X - sure. But he's also Gurney Halleck (one of the most important characters in the Dune Universe). There's no question that he's beloved the World over as Captain Jean Luc Picard. Recently he's taken on the role of Walter Blunt on the offbeat dark comedy series "Blunt Talk" on HBO. Some of his less talked about roles - but roles that are notable for being memorable - He played King Leodegrance - Queen Guinevere's father in John Boorman's masterpiece, "Excalibur". His distinguished voice has brought animated characters to life in films such as "The Prince of Egypt" and "Jimmy Neutron"... and he was the narrator "A Nightmare Before Christmas". He's simply one of my favorite actors... one of my favorite celebrities... favorite people. So I think instead of making this illustration about a character - it'll be about him. Yeah. That feels right to me. It should be finished today. Working on the final touches now. The finished card is here - https://www.vingle.net/posts/1177100-Patrick-Stewart%0APencil-Illustration-Portrait
Does Nerd Culture Have a Problem?
Are nerd spaces hostile to LGBT+ and female fans? I don't want to give anecdotal evidence, because one person's experience isn't going to be the experience everyone has, but I will say that I personally have avoided a lot of 'nerd' spaces because it didn't seem like there was any institutional support for people who were on the receiving end of any kind of abusive behavior. And since so much of 'nerd' culture is based on this idea that we are outsiders, or that we're a family brought together by our niche interests, it does really disappoint me to hear that someone in the community has experienced harassment. So instead of anecdotes, here's some of what the above Youtuber is talking about: +Zoe Quinn was stalked, harassed, and threatened for months by the gamer community after breaking up with her boyfriend, who used his power in the community to create a mob to go after her. +Lauren Faits was sexually assaulted when she was underage at a convention. +StarTrek.com left racist and homophobic comments on a post about Sulu. +MariNaomi wrote about her experience on a panel where one of the other panelists repeatedly touched her, asked invasive questions, and crossed her boundaries. Guess who he apologized to? Her husband. +Maddy Meyers wrote about being dismissed by fellow fans at Anime Boston. +And finally, here's John Scalzi's scathing takedown of the harassment policy of the 2015 World Fantasy Convention, and why it actually fails to protect con-goers. This... doesn't feel isolated. It feels a lot more like the culture (and the conventions/institutions that help sustain it) has a serious problem. Do you feel like the suggestions Justin Denis made were helpful? Do you think there's more that we can do as a community to stop these things from happening?