Fandoms and “Ruining” Franchises

Evelyn Robertson, Staff Editor

Being a fan of something says a lot about your personality. This usually leads to stereotyping, or leaving groups to be evident. There’s nothing wrong with liking something. It gives you a personality, but what about when this goes too far? What does it mean to go too far? 

     Fondness can lead to obsession. As you start to gain knowledge, correcting people who are wrong comes naturally. It is part of human nature to be superior. When discussing matters in which we have strong opinions, we take on a certain tone, a condescending tone. This tone is one that neither you nor I am immune to. Questions that are perceived as ignorant to one side may seem completely reasonable to another. This is how the fandom wars began.

     No topic is safe. There are many to choose from, but here are three examples. Shipping, OCs, and fanfiction. If you build it up and share it, someone is going to tear it down. Let’s start with shipping. If you don’t know what that is, shipping is pairing up two characters in a relationship. They’re usually never canon. Sometimes the characters have never met. Shipping isn’t restrictive to living things, as terrifying as that can be. Your pairs may be cute together or they absolutely may loathe each other. Be wary of sharing your ships, there is always someone who disagrees with you. Pages and pages of threads where people argue over shipping exist online and on various websites. 

     Original characters, or OCs, are simply characters you have made. One could make a character of everything, but these are the fandom specific ones. Homestuck is a popular choice, as well as My Little Pony. It doesn’t matter how well you can draw, sharing OCs is very easy. The younger crowd attracts to DeviantArt, and the teenage crowd magnetizes to social media. The professional crowd flocks to ArtStation. ArtStation has a very great community, so there’s no worry there. A popular social media platform to share art (and OCs) is Tumblr. This site is infamous for other reasons, but we’ll focus on the art side. Sharing OCs and AUs (alternate universes) is as easy as posting on any other platform. However, the next day you could wake up to an inbox full of hate mail by triggered fans who think your character does not belong. One person posted art of a thinner version of the curvier character, Rose Quartz, from Steven Universe. Tumblr exploded, “Fat shaming!” they cried. 

     So, perhaps Tumblr isn’t the kind of site you want to be on, there are a lot of others! Twitter is also a viable option, but the character limit for tweets can be bothersome. Facebook comes in after that, but let’s be honest, Facebook is normie land (people not well versed in meme culture.) On Facebook, you can’t really post anything that isn’t child friendly, despite the fact that children should not be on Facebook anyway. Now, DeviantArt is an option. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of talented and decent people on the site, however, the droves of children sharing their own OCs with incomprehensible character details are keen on telling you how much better their art is than yours. Children will be children, though. It’s best to leave DeviantArt alone.

     Next we have fanfiction, but what is that? Stories that you write about characters from any franchise is considered fanfiction. A popular topic is Smash Brothers, for some reason. An even more popular topic is anime. When sticking to a particular franchise, you have people who expect you to be 100% canon accurate when writing. Any OOC moment (out of character) is a cause for someone to correct you. There are people who will tear you down for your writing. Simply being a fan of something is not enough to them. Being expected to be completely accurate arguably takes the fun out of writing. 

     With all that said, how can one possibly avoid all that mess? Well, you really can’t. It simply comes from liking something. Take football for example, most people think their team is the best. Fights break out among fans because they disagree. This basic principle can be applied to all properties and franchises, from Star Wars to the recent Hazbin Hotel. Disagreements are going to happen, it’s human nature. However, it is this that tears things down. Undertale is a good example of this. Most people will say the fandom ruined the game with its fangirls/fanboys. Perhaps this is so, but did the game simply run its course? The hype for everything dies down eventually. The fandom cycle is starting anew with the above mentioned Hazbin Hotel. Perhaps this is simply the fate of everything that becomes popular, or maybe it depends on the fans the property attracts. Either way, this new “trend” in society has made its mark over people. The cycle starts with liking something to the point of obsession, only for it to die off in a year. Then, the cycle continues. As does life.