Dear fans of all the fandoms, this is an open letter asking you to please stop the hate. You may only be a fan of select fandoms -- maybe only one fandom -- but as a Fan (with a capital "F") it's important to remember, that when you get to the heart of it, we all share the same type of feelings towards these different subjects.
Over the last few years, I've witnessed different bouts of hatred between or towards certain fandoms. They flare up more potently from time to time, and for whatever reason, we seem to be experiencing another flare up right now.
Maybe it's the fact that the mainstream media likes to pit us against each other. News outlets are constantly publishing articles asking what is going to be "the next Harry Potter" or "the next Twilight" or "the next Hunger Games," and this immediately sparks a flurry of angry bashing between the fandoms.
But let's take a step back a moment, shall we? Let's start by addressing the first problem: there will never be a "next Harry Potter" or a "next Twilight" or a "next Hunger Games." The reasons these things (and other big franchises) are so successful is because they were completely new and original. Anything that aims to replicate that will inevitably fail because (a) you can't improve upon the original and (b) cultural phenomena can't be made; they just happen. It's an organic process.
So my first plea to my fellow Fans is this: stop buying into these articles. We all know they are rubbish, so let's treat them as such. Ignore them, and perhaps eventually they will go away. (Well, a girl can hope, right?) But seriously, these articles are just meant to garner readers -- yet they do nothing to further promote the fandom itself. We know that there will be no "next XYZ Franchise." There will simply be another new big as-yet-unidentified thing. And honestly, when media outlets try to compare franchises like Harry Potter, Twilight, and The Hunger Games, I think the comparison isn't about subject matter or what you think the quality may be, but rather the level of commercial success. They're talking about "The Next Big Thing" -- not the next big wizard franchise, or vampire franchise, or what-have-you. So take that into consideration, as well.
But really, my main beef right now isn't with the mainstream media. They're going to do what they want, and my voice isn't loud enough for them to care what I have to say.
My real beef is with the fandom haters. You know who you are: you claim you are a die-hard Hunger Games fan, you balk at anyone who ridicules your beloved series, yet you freely dole out hate on other series like Twilight or Harry Potter. Please. I'm begging you: STOP.
Because here's the thing: you may only be a fan of this one thing, but many fans cross over multiple fandoms. I write the Hunger Games Examiner column, but I also run NovelNovice.com -- which got its start as a Twilight website, and now features all manner of young adult literature. I'm also a huge geek for Harry Potter. I also love Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Indiana Jones movies and the Marvel comic book movies and Disney princesses.
I'm not alone. Just look to some of my fellow Examiners: Amanda Bell is the brilliant voice behind the Twilight Examiner column, but she's also a big fan of The Hunger Games, as well as other books, movies, and TV shows. In fact, she now writes about several of them for Hypable.com, a really fantastic resource for fans to connect with all their favorite franchises (and it was started by the guys who created the Harry Potter fansite, Mugglenet). Or head over to Natalie Markey's The Mortal Instruments Examiner column. She covers all things related to Cassandra Clare's book series and upcoming movie adaptation, yet she's also a huge supporter of The Hunger Games, Twilight, Harry Potter, and more. The ladies who run the Twilight Lexicon got their start running a Harry Potter/Remus Lupin website. Or the Page to Premiere Network, that includes websites like Mockingjay.net and HisGoldenEyes. Many of the admins who run Hunger Games fan sites like The Hob and Down With The Capitol are part of other fandoms, too!
Because you see, Fans are not limited solely to one fandom. We are Fans because we have the "Fan mentality" -- when we love something, we share our passion, and we in no way want to limit ourselves to one single thing.
So sure, you may not like Twilight or Harry Potter or what-have-you -- but that shouldn't give you free reign to bag on the people who do like them.
Let me pose these questions to you:
What do you really get out of belittling something that is beloved by so many others? Does it make you feel good about yourself? Does it make you feel cool? Because in reality, it just makes you look like a bigoted jerk.
How would you feel if the shoe was on the other foot? How would you feel if you saw someone writing negative, hurtful comments about something you loved? I presume you came to this site because you are a fan of The Hunger Games. What if someone started writing mean, hurtful comments about that series? It would probably make you feel like crap. So don't make someone else feel bad just because they love something that you don't.
And honestly, if something like Twilight or Harry Potter or WHATEVER is big enough to have a large fan following, then the creative forces behind that franchise are quite clearly doing something right. So even if it isn't suited to your tastes, it is appealing to a massive audience. And whether you are intimidated by that or simply feel as if that massive audience is misguided, that doesn't give you the right to bash them.
Here's another bit of food for thought:
When you post comments online, does it ever occur to you that another human being will read them? It's almost as if the Internet has given us a great disconnect from humanity -- and by simply typing comments onto a screen, it feels anonymous and innocent. But on the other side of that screen are individuals with feelings and emotions and thoughts and opinions just like you. So remember, before you type something hateful or hurtful or negative online ... remember someone WILL be reading it. Would you say something so hurtful to another person in real life, face to face? Really? Whatever happened to common courtesy and manners and the age old saying, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all"?
I'm not saying you should be forced to accept and love and support all fandoms. Hardly. I'm simply saying this: RESPECT the other fandoms. They have just as much a right to be here as you do.
And because Fans tend to think about things in the same way -- with that "Fan mentality" I talked about -- I'm guessing, we all have a lot more in common than you'd think regardless of which Fandoms we follow.
So I invite everyone to join me and proclaim ... FANS OF THE WORLD, UNITE!