When I started I Am Geek near the end of 2015 the foundation of the site came from a quote in Felicia Day’s book, You’re Never Weird On The Internet. That book really helped open the door to this site and lit all the creative fires I needed to come here, almost daily, to write about all things pop culture with you wonderful people. I remember finishing it and thinking that I needed to do something. I had all these passions and interests and I needed someplace to express them. To call attention to them. To build a community of people who shared similar interests. The Geeklings.
“No one should feel lonely or embarrassed about liking something.”
This quote has kind of become a mindset for me and is definitely the mantra here at I Am Geek. It’s easy not to like something. Sometimes, it’s even fun. And that’s okay. Everyone is entitled to not like things. Not everything is for everyone. It’s just life and the way personal interests work. No one should be faulted for that. The one thing I do take exception to is making others feel bad for liking something. That’s not cool. Yes, you can bust each other’s chops over things in a friendly banter kind of way. I’m pretty sure that’s the definition of friendship. I get my chops busted about the first Purge movie allllll the time, but I don’t care, I enjoyed it. In fact, I’ve enjoyed all of the Purge movies. You’re not going to find any shame in this game.
When you start to single a person out just because they like something you then take fandom to a toxic level, and that’s not okay. Being a fan of something means your passionate and you get excited. Being a fan means you want to immerse yourself in whatever it is you love and celebrate it. More matter of fact, it makes you happy. We should be thriving on the idea of being happy. Isn’t that what life’s about? The pursuit of and all that.
Think of fandom this way, there is something in the world that you’re so passionate about that the very mention of it changes your mood. If you’re having a crap day you can turn to this something and it can make life a little better. That’s an incredible feeling that shouldn’t be diminished. When fan bases turn toxic they’re taking that something away from a person and that’s the worse possible thing you could do to someone. No one should have something that they love taken away because other people don’t love it. That’s crap. You should be allowed to love and celebrate anything you want but the internet tends to not work that way. Often times people are ridiculed and harassed because they enjoyed something. I mean, just go on a message board and try and have a discussion about The Last Jedi. That shit turns toxic real fast.
It’s that kind of fandom, the toxic variety, that makes me sad. People who believe they know what’s best or what’s better for a franchise and belittle your thoughts and perspective. There’s a clear line between debating and hating. It happens more times then you’d think and it gets me down. I just picture someone who has been so excited about something questioning that excitement, or in some cases abandoning it, just because other people want to bring them down for it and it breaks my heart.
Geeklings, those aren’t fans. Those people are monsters. I’ve been reading a lot of articles lately concerning toxic fandom and it’s getting to a point where it almost doesn’t seem safe to be a fan of something. Why proclaim your love for a thing when there are people out there looking to shred you for it? What’s the point?
Well, I’m here to tell you that the point is… it makes you happy. That’s all that matters. Yes, you’ll find like-minded friends and together you can celebrate your enjoyment and that’s great too, but not everyone has to love what you love. It’s okay. These people aren’t demons or idiots or fools. They’re people just like you and me with specific interests of their own. Let them enjoy it. Don’t be that guy (or gal) taking that away from someone. Being a geek should be about celebrating geekdom. If you don’t like something maybe listen to someone who’s passionate about it and see if they can change your mind. Maybe you’ll come around. If not, just respect that the difference in opinion.
I promise you that I Am Geek will be a safe haven to fans of all things. You are welcome here and can geek out to your heart’s content. Toxic fandom is not welcomed here nor will it be allowed, and over the course of three years, we’ve built a small community celebrating what makes us geeky. That makes my heart happy.
Just be nice to each other, okay? We’re all fanboys and fangirls just wanting to come home and enjoy the things that make us happy. So let’s just be happy.