The other day I ran across an article that caught my attention. It was on the website entitled shityoushouldcareabout.com. This is not a website that I’m familiar with but when I saw some tweets referencing an article about fandom, I thought I should check it out. You can check it out yourself here. The basic gist is that people need to stop giving grief to fans. Before I even read the article, I found myself clapping. There is a lot of topics within this article, including the gendered nature of fan criticism, media influences, and political power of fan communities. The part, though, that really grabbed me was about the skills you learn as being part of a fandom. The idea here is simple. People often complain that fandom is a waste of time with comments like, “You have wasted so much time talking, reading, thinking about Duran (or whatever your fandom is). You could do so much more with your life if you weren’t doing that.” Goodness knows that there have been times that I have felt like I needed to defend the time I have spent on this blog. Yet, this article provides a good counterargument (even if you shouldn’t need one).
I love everything about this and completely agree. Fan activities can and do create or strengthen skills that can be used beyond fandom. The author points out some great skills like website building (Rhonda would agree with that!), community management (ha!), photoshop, video editing (Rhonda might also mention podcast editing, too), writing, organizing, and marketing. One skill that is not mentioned here but that I have on my resume that goes along with organizing and community management is event planning. After all, we, along with some great friends, organized a convention. That convention included leading activities, managing a significant budget of thousands of dollars and coordinating with businesses. Are there other skills that the author missed even with this thorough list? I thought about the people who create their own remixes and share their collections in unique and meaningful ways. What else?
The other day I had a meeting with someone I work with, politically, and I mentioned being a fan. She had no idea that I was a big Duranie. After explaining all that I have done as a fan, she nodded and nodded. When I took a breath, she jumped in to say, “No wonder why you are such a good organizer. You have been organizing in a lot of capacities for a long time!” At first, I didn’t know how to react to that. I’m so used to people criticizing, either openly or silently, my participation in a fan community and this was the exact opposite. She not only understood but appreciated the skills that fandom has taught me. Now, can we get the rest of the world to adopt this same understanding?