r_grayjoy: (Default)
Before I get into this, a clarification: I realize that we use "real life" as a convenient, universally understood term for things that happen offline and with non-fannish people. And I realize that a lot of us have valid reasons for not letting people in their outside lives know about their fandom activities. That's not the sort of thing I'm talking about in this post.

I'm always a bit confused when people talk about keeping their fandom lives and their real lives separate, and I always feel a little odd using the term "real life" myself. And I get pretty pissed off when people make snide remarks about those who "take fandom as seriously as real life." The thing is, I've never been able to neatly sort "fandom" and "real life" into tidy, conveniently labeled boxes. I simply can't grasp the concept of fandom being any less "real" than any other part of life. Because fandom is a part of my life, and every part of my life is equally real to me.

When I interact with people in fandom, I'm interacting with real people. The fact that I can't see the faces behind the user names doesn't mean that the faces don't exist. When I make friends in fandom, I make real friends. Again -- "online friends" vs. "real life friends"? WTF, guys? Why would we categorize people that way and why would we value someone's friendship any less purely because most of our interactions with them happen over IM/email/LJ/IJ? Hell, I rarely see my mother and most of my interaction with her is online. Does that mean she isn't my "real life mom"??

I spend real money to go to real cons and meet-ups and hang out with real people. I spend real time staying up far too late writing fic or modding comms. I gain a real sense of pride and accomplishment from the work I put into my various fandom pursuits. I have real feelings about fandom and the things that happen here and the people who inhabit it.

My fandom commitments are real commitments. Online commitments aren't any less real; just ask anyone who makes a living from working online! Commitments to hobbies or things one does for fun are real as well; just ask the any amateur sports team that has a member who refuses to show up regularly and take the game seriously.

So, yeah. The fandom/real life divide? I don't get it. And people who treat fandom differently than they would real life? Them I really, really don't get. Because if you're not being your real self, and making real friends, and having real interactions, and investing real time, and having real fun, and feeling a real sense of involvement and commitment... then what the hell are you doing here??

Fandom, you are my friends, my family, my community, and my favorite people and places all rolled into one, and you are real.

I have so many posts I really need to make, and so instead I randomly made this one? WTF, my brain?

ETA: And now I want someone to write me fandom/real life slash...

April 2017



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