It has been a long week, one that I alternatively spent either super busy with work or contemplating. The two activities are connected, of course. The fact that I have worked way too many hours on top of criticism of my work led me to ponder a lot. Finally, yesterday, a thought came to my mind. I had this thought while writing directions on the chalkboard for my students who were about to take their Women’s Studies final. I wanted to find a quote or some inspirational phrase for them to leave with. As I thought and began searching for the perfect statement, I remembered how often we talked about the importance of voice, of not being silent or silenced. While I emphasize this in class, I’m not sure that I’m really living it in all aspects of my life.
When I tend to think about who I am, the three things that immediately pop up are fan, teacher and activist. Do I have a voice in all areas or am I silenced? Let’s take it one at a time. As far as my activism goes, I generally do feel like I have a voice. Last year on this day, I was driving to Washington DC with a few friends to participate in the Women’s March. I’m proud of that. Today, I will drive to Milwaukee to participate in another women’s march. So that area of my life seems solid. What about the other two?
Teaching is a far different story. It is an intense job that takes up both a lot of time and my energy. Honestly, I feel like I could talk about my job not just hours but days. Maybe weeks. Yet, I often find myself only dropping hints, little thoughts, bits and pieces. The reason for this is simple. As much as I am bursting to talk about my job and everything that goes with it, I cannot. It isn’t a simple job of “do I like it” or “do I hate it”. It is a job that everyone thinks they know about but the only ones who really do are the ones who have done it themselves. The public watches and uses what teachers say to fit whatever beliefs they have about education or teachers. Thus, I don’t say more. I simply cannot explain the full spectrum of thoughts and feelings I have about my job. There is too much there. Does my being silent about my job hurt me? Probably. Yet, I lack an alternative. For now.
So, what about this? What about blogging? What about being a fan?What about being a Duranie? Hmm…I never really thought about my voice when it comes to fandom. When Rhonda and I started doing research on fandom and applying what we had learned to our fandom, the reason was simple. We wanted to better understand ourselves and our fan community. The plan, of course, was to share our learning with others. Then, we added this little blog here. In thinking about both book work and blogging, clearly, we have found means to share what we think and feel when it comes to our fandom. We have spaces for our voices. Many people can choose to read this blog or participate in social media with us, giving our voices acknowledgement. As the blog moved from infancy to what we have now, a place in which not only our voices are heard, but a place where other fans can be heard, too.
When I think of teaching and being a political person, having a voice is a big deal. When I think about fandom, it is a big deal there, too. I think about how often fans have been criticized or mocked for having such passion for whatever it is that they love. This has led a lot of fans to be silenced. Too many hide that passion, that love. Rhonda and I chose not to do that here. We give voice to our love for Duran Duran. We don’t hide it here and never will. On top of that, we welcome others to do the same. In thinking about the stigma that too many adult fans face, it seems to me that one way to fight this is to speak out and speak up about being a fan. I am a fan. I love the band, Duran Duran. If being a fan seems normal, common, won’t that stigma die? I sure hope so.
What do the rest of you think? Is it important for fans to find and use their voice? What other ways can fans speak out about their fandom?