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Fandom Snowflake Challenge Day 9

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In your own space, talk about what surprises you about fandom. It could be a pairing or fandom you never thought you'd like. A fanwork type you never knew existed.

I think about this a lot, but it constantly amazes me how very different fandoms can be from one another. I've jumped between a lot of fandoms over the years and it's always interesting to see how the culture will change, how the age and gender makeup is different, and what the atmosphere is like.

The example I always use is the Final Fantasy VII fandom. I was in that fandom... starting around 2008 maybe? I was around 17 and my friend and I were the youngest people we knew of, and we knew (or at least knew of) pretty much everyone because it was a very small fandom. Most of the other people were women in their 30s or up who had families. It was very chill and the majority of the fandom shipped the same ship, but there was no wank or ship bashing that I was aware of. One day a crack pairing popped up and the consensus was pretty much to shrug and start making fanworks for it.

FFVII fandom was an entirely different place than megafandoms like Harry Potter or Marvel. The size is definitely a big factor in how different fandoms like these are from the small, quieter ones, but it's still so surprising to me when I enter a new fandom. And even Harry Potter and Marvel are totally different from each other.

I started in Harry Potter about 2007 or 2008, a bit before FFVII, and I mostly stuck in SBRL and then Tomarry. HP is so huge that it's kind of hard to categorize the whole thing because a lot of people isolate themselves to their specific ships like I did. And there are a ton of HP ships, and unfortunately a lot of wank and ship bashing as well. I mostly missed out on the Cassandra Claire bullshit because it was probably a little before my time, but the hugeness of the fandom makes it really easy to miss things like that. The size also means there's a lot more diversity in age and gender and sexuality, and makes it almost impossible to know everyone or even a lot of people in the fandom. Tomarry is/was pretty small, but even back then I wasn't aware of more than a handful of other fans because the community wasn't there in the same way it was in FFVII.

And then there's Marvel, which I came into in 2011 or so via Earth's Mightiest Heroes, I think. It's bigger than FFVII but also very different from HP because it's not a singular verse and the characters, ships, and canon are constantly changing. That makes it both easier and more difficult for fans to join the fandom, and certainly makes it confusing to navigate. You can Break Marvel down to MCU down to Avengers down to a single ship and it's still a sprawling mess. Wank seems to come and go a lot more quickly and easily in Marvel, though that could have a lot to do with new internet platforms and just sheer numbers. My primary spot in Marvel has been ClintCoulson, which started small and exploded. That brings in a whole nother set of differences, but even when it was small, there was still a lot of wank to contend with, both within and outside of the ship.

I don't know if all of that made sense, and I could talk a lot more about my various fandoms and how they differ from each other, but I hope I made my point. Which is that fandom is amazingly different and I never tire of seeing how the fandoms I'm involved in (and even those I'm not) are so unique and interesting.

EDIT: On a side note, I was also thinking about how surprising it is that one can be in a fandom without actually interacting with the source material. I was in Kingdom Hearts fandom for several years and have never played any of the games. I was in FFVII fandom for awhile before watching the movie, and I've still not played the games. And still I was welcomed into those fandoms and had a lot of fun and made friends and contributed fanworks. It's surpising that it can work out that way, but it's also why I truly love fandom.

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