We’ve all heard it. The phrasing may change, but the message remains the same no matter how you spin it.
Well, you’re not a real fan unless…
These gatekeepers have taken it upon themselves to protect fandom communities from the nefarious fake fans who seek to infiltrate our sacred Nerdy Realms. And as self-appointed Queen of the Nerdlands, I have decided that it is my responsibility to aid them on their noble pursuit to purge our beloved Geekdom of fakes and frauds. So, in order to make this process as fair and simple as possible, I have determined the official criteria against which Nerdlands citizenship is to be determined. If any of you would like to take up arms to defend our community, there is one simple way to tell Fan from Foe and I have declared it as thus:
Any individual who accuses another of being a fake fan for any reason is to be exiled immediately, without trial.
This Queen has a zero tolerance policy for bullshit. Byyyeee Felicia.
There is no right or wrong way to enjoy something. The only thing you can do to prove you are not a real fan of something, is to try to discourage someone else from loving it just because they don’t share your exact experience with it.
A person is NOT a fake fan because you’ve been a fan “since the very beginning” and they only just discovered it.
A person is NOT a fake fan because they don’t know every obscure bit of trivia like you do.
It is the people who imply that they are a real fan because they read the book before the movie got announced, because they’ve been watching the show since season one aired, because they played the game before it was popular that are the real fake fans, and I just have zero time for that. I have negative zero time for people who feel justified in quizzing others on every obscure detail about something as a way of trying to prove they aren’t a real fan.
The only people we need to be protecting the Nerdlands from are the gatekeepers who feel justified in trying to keep people out of our communities based on arbitrary, elitist criteria. No real fan would ever try to stop someone from loving the same thing they loved. Real fans are too busy fangirling over the fact that they have another person to pull down the rabbit hole with them. Real fans encourage other people to give their favorite things a shot because they want others to understand how amazing it is. Real fans love sharing that excitement. Only a fake fan would ever dream of trying to take that away from someone by suggesting they’re doing it wrong.
If you are the type of person who has said these things before, please stop and think before you say them again. You could easily be turning that person off from something that could have become really important and special to them, just like it already is for you. We should always be welcoming to newcomers, because once upon a time we were all just like them. And remember that we are that newcomer every time we discover a new show on Netflix and accidentally binge 4 seasons in a weekend. The rest of the world has a hard enough time understanding us nerds, so we need to be supportive of each other. Plus how on earth are we ever going to take over the world if people keep discouraging others from joining us? Come on, now.
Spread the nerd love today. Shoot a tweet at someone who just started watching your favorite show. Recommend your favorite book to someone you know would love it. Some people work very hard to keep others from crossing the Nerdlands borders; it is up to the rest of us to smuggle them in anyway.