by Gail Z. Martin
Now, when the world feels more hostile and frightening than it has in a long time, I believe fandom (the creators and organizers who enable it, as well as the fans who participate) is more important than ever because when we are afraid, we need our tribes.
It is perfectly reasonable to seek comfort and encouragement from those who share a love for the same stories and our fandom mythologies.
In my experience, fandom shares a deep belief in honor, loyalty, friendship, integrity, courage, family (both family by blood and family by choice), and in spite of apocalypses and dystopias, a conviction that we will survive if we keep faith with each other and refuse to leave anyone behind.
Fandom has also been a shelter for those of us who don’t always fit in out there. We’re different, and we belong together. That means right now many of us feel vulnerable and at risk. Be gentle with each other, support each other, and protect each other.
If you’re a creator, keep telling stories, making movies and shows and videos, writing songs and acting, cosplaying and making art. If you’re a fan, gather your tribe and immerse yourself in the stories that sustain you. If you’re a convention organizer, blogger, site admin, keep bringing us together.
Fandom is fierce. We’ve got the biggest damn BAMF heroes who stand for truth, justice, and most importantly, the idea that humanity’s better self can ultimately prevail. Our heroes are flawed and scarred, they make mistakes and they pay a price, but they do not give up, give in, or give way. They inspire us to find the hero inside of ourselves.
Science fiction and fantasy has a long history of being subversive to tyrants. SF was the language of dangerous ideas behind the Iron Curtain. We speak the truth in myth. There’s a reason so many of our sacred tales are about rebels. We aim to misbehave.
We are the people of Aragorn and Galadriel, of Sam, Frodo and Arwen, of Mal and Zoe and River, Kirk, Janeway, Sisko and Picard. Of Sulu and Spock and Uhura. Of Harry and Ron and Hermione, McGonagall and Dumbledore. Of Captain America, Wonder Woman, Batman and Black Widow. Of Sam & Dean and Team Free Will. Of Frozone and Mulan and Moana (yes, I count Disney as part of fandom). Of Leia and Han and Lando, Finn and Rey, Jyn and Cassian. Sheridan and Delenn. The Doctor and Capt Jack Harkness. We are strong, and we fight for what we believe in, shoulder to shoulder.
So take heart in Aragorn’s speech at the Black Gate. Close your eyes and repeat Paul Atreides’ Litany Against Fear. Be ‘proud of us’. Stand up for what you believe in and stand up for each other. Take your place at the Battle of Hogwarts, or Yavin 5, Sector 001, Stull Cemetery, Serenity Valley, Demon’s Run or the Battle of the Line. We come from a long, proud heritage of people who don’t want to be told the odds.
And if you haven’t read my personal story about how fandom saved my life, it’s here https://holdontothelight.com/…/fandom-takes-care-of-its-ow…/