Most fandoms have their conventions, also known as “cons”. Fans from around the world gather for these events and many of them attend in costume (cosplay). As you can imagine for someone that is really into a particular story, this is a major treat.
Several years ago, I wanted to go to a Tolkien convention. Such an exciting prospect to go hang out with other “Lord of the Rings” fans. If I was going to do this, I was going to do it right. The research began on finding all the components I’d need to attend as a dwarf. One of my favorite scenes in the movies is when Gimli tells us that people think there are no dwarven women because they all have beards. Perfect! I don’t do girly, anyway.
I didn’t go because I allowed someone to sway me. Their basic premise was that “Lord of the Rings” and fantasy genre books were not written for me. They went as far as to say I’d stick out like a sore thumb and wouldn’t be accepted. Would I?
Frankly I didn’t understand. How can such a wonderful epic tale not be for me?!? I got angry. How dare they tell me what I could and couldn’t enjoy! I’m pretty introverted so to do this would be stepping way outside of my comfort zone. That little shy voice said “but what if he’s right?” I have allowed that shy voice to talk me out of so many things. At that time, I had never met anyone that looked like me (other than family) that enjoyed fantasy. So I thought about it and once again I allowed that shy voice to make the decision.
With all the anger that I see and down right ugliness from some folks within the fandoms; I have again questioned “what if he’s right?”
Of course he’s not! I enjoy what I enjoy and I will not allow anyone else to sway me from those stories. But then, I wonder how would these same people, upset about diversity in an acting cast, treat me at an event? Would they be welcoming to those of us that are not of European descent?
It’s more than that, though. It’s also about the way fandoms treat members of the community. Creatives work so hard to bring us something entertaining and some fans trash not only their work, but them personally. How many other shy people want to cosplay but are terrified at the rejection of people that should cheer them on (other cosplayers and members of the fandom)?
Yes, change is coming to fandoms. Hopefully, these winds of inclusion will truly help hold space for people that look like me to fully enjoy our fandoms and the comradery.
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