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August 25th, 2014

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07:59 pm - changing face of fandom

(10 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:August 26th, 2014 02:21 am (UTC)
Oh, crap! But all too believable.
[User Picture]
Date:August 26th, 2014 02:39 am (UTC)

I found the comments enlightening

the author gets called out for age-ism and there is a sense that the dailydot is "more interested in pageviews than journalism". I do think there's a core truth but I don't think drawing age-based divides helps. My reading of people who went to Detcon is that convention did a lot to promote inclusiveness and afaik, Detcon was run by people who bid/run Worldcons as well. So, yeah, let's not paint with really broad strokes here.

There certainly are problems at cons (including Arisia) but you'd get more mileage out of picking good moderators and teaching them to control people (of whatever age) shouting down or talking over other people (of whatever age).
[User Picture]
Date:August 26th, 2014 10:59 am (UTC)

Re: I found the comments enlightening

I think the core truth, such as it is, is "conventions aren't all alike." There's hundreds, possibly thousands, of science fiction and fantasy conventions around the world every year. There's no need for one of them to try to cater to every possible interest and need.
[User Picture]
Date:August 26th, 2014 10:56 am (UTC)
Hmm. I have to say, my experience of Worldcon was somewhat different from the writer's, and I'm hardly some mouldering fogey. Yes, Worldcon is predominantly focused on books, rather than other media, and yes, it probably has an older demographic with different social attitudes than younger fans may be comfortable with. That said, I don't think young fandom is necessarily free of the problems the authors mentioned. The "fake geek girl" meme didn't come from the mists of time, it's a feature (bug?) of comic and media fandom.

(ETA: LonCon's code of conduct was prominently displayed on its website and it also had water in the hallways.)

Edited at 2014-08-26 10:57 am (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:August 26th, 2014 01:25 pm (UTC)
Thank you for saying this.

I think the linked article does a real disservice to all of fandom, but especially to anyone who isn't 20-something and up to the minute on social media. Ageist? You betcha.

My biggest problem with LonCon was not being able to get into the panels I wanted to get into!

Arisia's one of the better "old style" cons for trying to bring in a younger and more diverse crowd, while not making that the main focus. Getting said people onto Staff, and keeping them there, well, that's a whole 'nother challenge.

(ID: 50-something, not a "serious" fan, well-connected to the SMOFs of Arisia but not one of them.)
[User Picture]
Date:August 26th, 2014 03:24 pm (UTC)
different social attitudes than younger fans may be comfortable with

Gosh, that phrasing can cover a lot of sins...

Could you give an example? That isn't awful?
[User Picture]
Date:August 26th, 2014 03:30 pm (UTC)
It does indeed cover a lot of sins, deliberately so :) (A neutral example: differing levels of acceptance of the use of technology in a social setting, such as at a meal. We can all fill in the blanks with plenty of non-neutral examples, though I would argue that the within-groups differences are greater than the between-groups differences in most cases.)

Edited at 2014-08-26 03:32 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:August 26th, 2014 03:40 pm (UTC)
That's a good example, thank you.
[User Picture]
Date:August 26th, 2014 08:34 pm (UTC)
I attended Renovation back in 2011 (WorldCon 69, I think), and to be honest, it was a very big let down for me. This article does touch on some reasons why, so I wouldn't just dismiss it.

For the record, I'm a female and 32 now, and was 30 at the time. I never connected with my age group until just a few years ago, and all my friends seem to be older than me.

At the con, I was bombarded with literary-minded individuals who didn't want to talk about books (I would have been fine with that), but rather THEIR books or, more specifically, their opinions about books, which I was flat out told by many of them was the right/correct opinion, and someone like me was too young to know anything.

(As someone with 4 college degrees, two bachelors in physics and molecular biology, and two masters in ecology and chemical research, I greatly despise being told that I don't know anything, so this immediately put me off.)

I am 5'6" and rather middle-build in figure, but I was treated, much of the time, as if I was a little kid and my only role was to be there to fawn over the con and the stories from people who'd been coming for years (I stopped telling people it was my first WorldCon because so many of them immediately started bragging about how many they'd been to, often with a superior attitude). The only time I felt like I was truly accepted and belonged was when I was hanging out with my costuming buddies (hello, members of the International Costumers Guild!), most of whom I was friend with from Costume Con.

Overall, I think the problem is that WorldCon was one of the first conventions and it has survived for so long, so many of its members feel that being long-time attendees gives them a sense of entitlement. Plus, with something like the Hugo Awards in its bragging bag of tricks, it does seem like a big deal. Nobody wants to point out that just because the Emperor is holding a gold scepter doesn't make the fact that he's not wearing clothes any less noticible.

Sort of like a person who uses a Chanel handbag feels like they are special because of the handbag, whereas most people just want something functional and don't care too much about the origin. I shouldn't be dissed for not fitting in with the clique in charge.

That being said, for all those out there in Arisia-land, last year was my first Arisia (I was the Darkwing Duck in the masquerade), and I thought it was one of the best conventions ever. I never once felt abandoned or shunned, and in fact often had the exact opposite experience (people were overly-open to my costume choices and discussing odd topics, or politely stating that some topics made them uncomfortable and requesting a subject change).

It was absolutely wonderful, and if the attitude of WorldCon had been remotely similar to Arisia, I would have loved it. As it is, I doubt I will ever attend another WorldCon unless it is very close to where I live. I very much want to be a part of future Arisia cons, though. :)
Date:September 2nd, 2014 12:44 am (UTC)

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