For the past few years, fandoms have had a bad reputation in the world of pop culture—from toxic in-fighting to fanboys being demanding and never being satisfied with the finished product. When we think about it, this reputation is earned. We become fiercely protective of things we love and care about; why else would long-time fans of Star Wars be mad at The Last Jedi if they didn’t care?
But the good news is that there is power in being a collective—especially if you are part of a community with members all over the world. If fandom can be a force for toxicity, it can also be a force for good. If you are part of a big fandom, there are plenty of ways to restore your fandom’s image. Here are some ten ways you can promote joy and positivity in your community.
Donate in your fave’s name
One of the best things to come out of the frustration of Game of Thrones fans over the finale is them deciding to channel their anger towards something good by donating to a worthwhile cause. The star’s TV show, Emilia Clarke, founded the brain injury rehabilitation non-profit called SameYou after she experienced multiple brain aneurysms while filming the show. The fans, who thought Emilia’s character Daenerys was butchered the most in the final season, decided to come together to donate more than $130,000 to the charity not just to make Emilia feel better but to let something good come out of their frustration.
If you are part of a fandom that “stans” a celebrity or a group, why not come together to donate a certain amount of money or goods in that person or group’s name? Support their favori
te charity or choose a non-profit organization that stands for what your favorite stands for. It’s not about shutting the naysayers up; it’s about using your power as a fandom to do something good for others.
Advocate for the good things your favorite advocates for
Supporting your favorite celebrity or group’s causes goes far beyond financial; you can also use your talents and skills to advocate for your favorite’s causes. One example of this is K-pop fandoms and how they have become a force for political activism in recent years. From advocating for mental health sufferers to speaking up for the Black Lives Matter movement, K-pop fandoms have taken the lead in terms of engaging with some of the most pressing issues of our day. Whatever skills and talents you have, use them to bring attention to your faves’ causes.
Host positive fandom events
Because we’re still contending with COVID-19, one of the best and safest ways to get together is through online gatherings. Consider employing the help of virtual event professionals to help you set up fun events in celebration of your favorite TV show coming back with a new season or even an online viewing of a new movie. Instead of engaging in fights on Reddit or Twitter, you can spend your valuable time cultivating fun, exciting, and positive experiences for everybody. We may not be able to go to Comic-Con just yet, but we can have the next best thing by holding online events that still feel like the real thing. Don’t hesitate to wear costumes, too!
Live out the life lessons and wisdom from the stories
The majority of the biggest franchises and stories in history—from Lord of the Rings to the Marvel Cinematic Universe—don’t hold cynical and nihilistic views of the world. Often, these stories inspire hope, and good always wins in the end. These stories may make us seem naive in the face of overwhelming evil, but these stories are popular for a reason: Deep inside, we know it’s true, as twee and simple as it may sound.
If you truly want to rehabilitate your fandom’s image, learn the value of letting things go. So what if the storyline disappoints you? Who cares if a random stranger on the internet thinks your favorite band is stupid? Don’t shy away from valid criticism, but don’t let your disappointment or anger turn you into someone who says things on the internet that you would never say in real life. Get some fresh air, touch some grass, and know that good will win in the end.
Being part of a fandom can be a fun experience, but it can also turn sideways real fast. Don’t let your experience of fandom sour your love for a person, group, or piece of pop culture by being a force for positivity and good in your community.