I don’t think there’s a single fandom that doesn’t have issues, and I’m a firm believer in the idea that people do get to make their own decisions about liking or not liking problematic things. Which is why, for a long time, I bit my tongue on my feelings about Patrick Kane, and…
I came into hockey fandom with a lot of negative feelings about Patrick Kane. Mostly all I knew was the cab incident, the drinking, the obnoxiousness. I realized he was talented but I didn’t give two shits about that because from all appearances, he seemed like a terrible person. And not tumblr terrible, but actually someone I would never want to meet.
The view from inside hockey fandom is different. I learned about his skill, his work ethic, his love for his family. All endearing qualities. But all this tells me is that he’s an actual human being who sometimes does, says, and most likely thinks and believes really shitty things. Loving your own sisters, while charming, does not absolve you of being an asshole.
So, what is a fan to do but compartmentalize. I’m not here to judge anybody for compartmentalizing, because I do that all the time with problematic media I enjoy. I even do it as a writer! I wrote something the other day that was pretty ugly and appropriative and I had to reevaluate my justification that a hockey player would almost certainly say that thing, because it didn’t belong in my life or my story.
But the thing is, you can’t throw away those things you have stripped away and are ignoring while you enjoy your media/fic/fandom. You have to remember that they’re there, and if someone is hurt by those things, their need to discuss, refute, argue, complain, and bring things up over and over trumps your desire to feel comfortable in fandom. Compartmentalizing does not mean sticking your head in the sand and ignoring problems. It means acknowledging the problems, acknowledging your feelings about the problems, and doing your best to enjoy your problematic media *without hurting anyone else around you*.
Reblogging this post again, and bolding the commentary for truth. It’s never cool to privilege your own hurt feelings over the concerns of fans who are interacting with hurtful media/people/whatever. The vast majority of people in fandom are women, and many are queer or POC or queer POC, which means we ought to ALL have awareness of and empathy for people who need to discuss this shit. Even if you feel somewhat hurt by someone asking you, personally, to account for it, the decent response is not to use language and phrasing that attempts to shut discussion down entirely. Hockey fandom has been EXHAUSTING for me as a queer person, with people essentially saying if you react according to your own experiences, you’re being divisive/telling people how to think. I can only imagine how it is for fans of color, who have to deal with hockey’s racism on top of all the other problems. The answer is never, N E V E R, to center your own hurt feelings over someone reacting to fucked-up shit in fandom. That’s silencing and apologism. IT’S NOT COOL.