(This rant springs from a discussion of shame sparked by perceived judgments on fans by the creators of Sherlock. I’m not going to talk about that wank—I actually don’t think they were casting much shame. But so many people are feeling shamed that I just can’t stand it. So I want to lay out some ideas drawn from my own experience, my reading, and fifteen years of therapy. These may or may not be clear or thoroughly thought out; fact of the matter is, I’m just pissed, deeply pissed, that anyone would cast shame on fandom, or feel shame in it. Feedback, critique, and correction are very welcome.)
I’ve been thinking a lot about shame lately, because I’m coming out a bit farther professionally as a fangirl, and every time I search my trepidation, I find—no shame. I refuse it.
I refuse it.
Yes, you can refuse shame. I know, you might say it’s a feeling that crops up without your control, it’s imposed on you from the outside, but you can refuse. Because it’s not about you. It’s about the one shaming, who is usually consolidating their own sense of their moral identity by shaming you.
Wow, does this resonate with me. I refuse to be ashamed about being a fangirl. Do guys get shamed for their involvement in fantasy football? For being able to rattle off obscure facts about baseball players/leagues covering 100 years? For hanging out at their neighbor’s garage and talking about the difference in a Porsche Carrera and an Audi R8? (FFS, there are TV shows dedicated to guys’ fannish pursuits: The League and Comic Book Guys, for starters.)
So why the hell should I be embarrassed for loving specific media as I do? Hint: I shouldn’t be, and neither should you.