Don’t Feel Guilty Seeking Comfort in Fandom
Yuri on Ice is keeping me sane right now. I spent Tuesday night and a good chunk of Wednesday crying, but my fandom friends have kept me focused on some of the few positive things in the world. They are my life boat. They are my rock. I love you all.
No matter what fandom you’re in that’s bringing you joy, don’t feel ashamed to embrace it right now. Don’t be afraid to indulge in it as it feels like the world is crushing in around you. Tuesday was rough for us progressives. Many of us are living in fear of what these next four years may bring. We here at The Geekiary have already made a statement about what we’re doing here as a community (Progressive Geeks: We Have Work to Do). Many of you are also planning actions as we move forward and try to hold on to what we have.
We all need to dust ourselves off, stand up, and keep fighting the good fight. We need to work towards representation and equality. But right now we’re hurting, and it’s okay to indulge in the things that make us happy. It’s okay to not be ready to go out there and fight yet because we’re in mourning. Indulging in our fandoms not only gives us some much needed positivity, but it reminds us what we’re fighting for. And it reminds us that it is possible to smile.
For me that positivity is coming from the Yuri on Ice fandom. I’ve already recommended this amazing show before: Yuri on Ice Skates Into My Heart on Rainbow Glitter Skates. Since I wrote that recommendation, the incredible fandom has grown exponentially, and there’s even more to love about it. After my country nominated someone who is the antithesis of the values I hold so dear, it was hard to really find much joy in anything. But for 23 glorious minutes on Wednesday I smiled. I not only smiled, but I laughed! And cried happy tears instead of tears of sadness. I was in such a dark place, having something so positive show up in my life just pushed me over the edge and I was a mess of happy emotions for a change. I honestly didn’t think it was possible to feel so much joy given what’s happening right now.
— ji@宗介先輩!!!ON ICE✨⛸⛸ (@soukatsu_) November 10, 2016
Yuri on Ice specifically gives me hope as a queer person. The story primarily takes place in Japan, so it’s not directly related to the politics I’m battling against right now (though they do travel for competitions), but regardless of the country that the narrative is set, it gives me great hope to see such a positive depiction of queer characters. Yuuri and Victor are unequivocally queer. The show isn’t labeled as BL or yaoi, but that has no bearing on how this narrative is playing out. We are following Yuuri’s journey as he moves towards the Grand Prix Final, but we’re also watching two men fall deeply in love with each other along the way. The show doesn’t dance around it. It doesn’t hide it. It doesn’t dress it up as fan service meant to string along fans without any payoff. This is a story about an ice skater who just happens to be head over heels in love with another man.
The comfort this show and fandom is giving me right now is so incredibly important. Representation like this is what I fight for. Logging onto Twitter every morning and seeing dozens of notifications from my fellow fans starts every day off on a positive note. I’ve changed my phone lock screen to a piece of Victor and Yuuri fan art so that every time I check my clock, I’m reminded that I can still feel joy when everything else seems to be crumbling around me. For the next four years, as I fight to keep the rights my community has fought so hard to gain, I’m grateful that there’s still something that can make me smile and momentarily take me out of such a dark and negative headspace. I didn’t think I would be able to smile for a long time, but Yuri on Ice and the fandom friends I’ve made because of it have proven me wrong.
Don’t feel bad if you’re distracting yourself with your fandom. Yuri on Ice is mine. I’d love to hear what fandom is keeping you positive right now. Please share your joy in the comments! Let’s try to remember it’s possible to smile right now.
Stephanie “Angel” Wilson is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She’s contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She’s written for Friends of Comic Con and has essays published in Fandom Frontlines.
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