Fandom and Gatekeepers

Let’s talk about fandom, shall we? These tweets from Chuck Wendig dredged up some old emotions for me:

Fandom gatekeeping has long annoyed me. “You’re not a real fan” is a phrase that I have long wanted banished from everyone’s vocabulary.  I don’t really understand what it is inside people that makes them want to police other people’s fandom.  Let me give an example.

I am a fan of Doctor Who.

I fell in love with Doctor Who as a child when I saw some reruns of the show from the Tom Baker years. I only saw a few episodes, but I loved them. I loved the show and most of all I loved Tom Baker.  Flash forward to the advent of the current version of the show (starring Christopher Eccleston at first). I picked up immediately on the show and counted myself as a fan. Then, when discussing the show that I loved, I would hear from others that I wasn’t really a fan, not  real fan, if I hadn’t watched all the old iterations of the Doctor. Wasn’t truly a fan if I didn’t know all of the deep lore. I was a newcomer. An amateur.

It seemed like people were creating strata of fandom; assigning themselves to the pinnacle, and tossing folks like me at the base of that pyramid.  Here’s what I have to say to those people:

FUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCKKKKKK YYYOOOOUUUUU. Fuck your face with your face. Wendig has it right. If you like something, you’re a fan of it and your fandom is no less important or real or meaningful that that of the person who is obsessed full time.

What do you think?