In many ways through out life (in my life anyway) there have always been acceptable fandoms and unacceptable fandoms. I don’t mean like Twilight and Lord of the Rings, but more like sports and anime. In many ways while growing up, cartoons were “for kids” but not really for kids because have you seen how much dirty humor is hidden in Nicktoons from the 90’s? But more importantly I’ve realized that I’ve liked anime since before I could read. From the days of Voltron and Transformers being on the USA Cartoon Express and granted I had no idea they were actually anime… nor did I understand the concept of anime and that those cartoons were different from G.I. Joe and Ninja Turtles in any way shape or form. Without knowing it I started down a path of being an anime loving, video game playing, comic book reading fan that would keep up this love for over 2 decades that had its good and bad times (and I’m not just talking about Super Mario Bros. The Movie or horrible dubbing.)
In the recent age there has been a booming surge to the interest in pop culture. Being called a geek no longer means you are completely socially awkward and that your hobbies are strange, well it might… but rejoice because that “strange” hobby is now cool and being socially awkward is relatable. This is the time in culture I’ve really been waiting for, at least part of me always has been. In my tiny bubble and the outlook that was created via the various encounters with people I saw myself as kind of an outcast. I didn’t think anyone wanted to talk to me nor that I had anything interesting to say since no one else knew what I was talking about… more so I didn’t know what they were talking about. Growing up in the Bay Area in the 90’s most of the talk was about gangsta rap, boy bands, the 49ers, Michael Jordan, Friends and TGIF. Most of mine was about Chrono Trigger, Street Fighter, Star Trek :TNG, Batman, Spider-man, Power Rangers and Metallica. However with all these differences between I and the 30 to 40 or so classmates of mine, we had 1 thing in common. We were fans.
Maybe not fans of the same things, but we were fans none the less. From the girls that signed my Yearbook as “Mrs. Timberlake”, the guys wearing their clothes backwards, and everyone that wore a sports team Jersey. We shared many similarities in how we displayed our love for these pieces of media. (Yeah I had a crush on the Yellow Ranger, what of it?). In many ways we both looked up to ideals that we thought would be awesome to actually be, if possible. Granted I wanted to be a sword wielding hero that traverses time in order to save the world while fighting the forces of evil and they wanted to be someone that was really really really good at sports, but the spirit is still there. Whether you’ve caught a pass and ran down a field wearing a Jerry Rice jersey, rocking the mic at a karaoke bar dressed as your favorite pop idol, hitting up the local hot spots sporting the latest trends as seen on the currently in celebs, or posed battle ready with a sword and shield while wearing a green tunic and elf ears, cosplay is still cosplay. It holds a place in your heart and you only wear that of the person or character that you admire and are a fan of. Sadly they aren’t always treated the same.
Really its more acceptable on a mass scale that you wear a baseball cap, wear a jersey and root for the home team than it is to dress in costume and feel much excitement over the impending release of the next game, episode, issue, etc. in your favorite series. Luckily these days it seems like its getting there. So if you’re still reading these less than coherent ramblings the real message I’m trying to toss out there is, if you really have a passion for something, go with it. Despite what others may think of it and what they may say, they have their fandoms that they’re just as passionate about.
I mean as long as you’re not hurting anyone… because hurting people isn’t nice.