“There is such a thing as justice, Claire”…and injustice…Outlander fandom

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I’m a slow burner. I don’t get angry very often.  I do not take offense easily and more often than not, I’m willing to give people the benefit of the doubt. Some folks have anger buttons that are easily pushed. Some people have buttons the size of basketballs! You know who they are. They go “off” so often that after a while they just become background noise, “Oh, so and so? What are they angry about this time? ” If I am angry, you can be assured it has taken a lot to get me here. My buttons may be small, but when they are pushed? Well, it isn’t pretty.

After the last day of reading fan reactions, media reports and speculations, I’m about to go off. So, instead, I’m going try to write it down before I get to the point of no return.

Anger Trigger #1
Middle-age housewives, soccer moms, creepy cougars, etc.

My God Staphhhh! Enough with the age thing. I’m soooo tired of hearing how Outlander must not be very good because the fans are middle-age housewives and soccer moms. Aside from the FACT that these books have been read by people of different age, race, culture, genders, and walks of life, why choose middle-age women as your barometer for unworthy reading or watching material?

A lot of Outlander fans have been reading these books for over 20 years. So, when they started reading that would have made them in their 20’s?  If you aren’t male this is evidently the only age group that can accurately determine literary and film worthiness.

I say bullshite.

I think Starz thinks so too because they are laughing all the way to the bank.

And the cougar thing?  I might be old, but I ain’t dead! I’m not under the delusion that Sam Heughan has been looking for me all his life and someday the stars will align.  The man is beautiful. Is it okay if I look? I wasn’t planning “to suddenly force myself” on him.  (and before you start, I’m not trying to look up his kilt. I know he is more than pretty. The man is a good actor and he seems like a nice person, but he also works very hard at looking good).

The thing that I find ironic? Middle-age comes for everyone. We’ll see how you feel then! Muhahaha! Justice!

Anger Trigger#2
Snarky 20 something’s who sit at the cool kids’ table

I have just about had it up to the eyeballs with snark. IMO what this whole attitude equates to is a chance for once popular high school girls to retain their self-perceived coolness.  They are grieved by the loss of their cafeteria table, the podium from which they can maliciously talk about others and make themselves feel good as a result.  Or, maybe they are the nerdy kid who never fit in, their brilliant minds hidden under a less than perfect body or hairstyle. They have finally gotten the chance to show how witty and clever they are!

Imagine how the “meaness” has gotten compounded by the anonymity of social media.  Even if you know the person’s name, they are still able to say things they would never say to your face (I can just hear the “oh yes I woulds”…Yeah…right). It is the high-tech equivalent of whispering behind your hand. The injustice I’m finding in this segment of the Outlander fan-dom is that some of these snark monsters seem to have been sanctioned by Starz.  They are getting all the benefits of VIP status while they continue to spew. And, no one confronts them because just like in high school they hunt in packs.

I’ve watched them stir shit for quite a while now. They latch on to certain people and egg them on.  They have even gone so far as to feed them rumors just to watch the flurry of insane activity.  I imagine they are getting quite a chuckle out of being mean to people they KNOW aren’t rational.  And then…oh joy of joys…they get to name-call…they label the whole fan-dom as crazy. They are the “professionals” and the only ones who know how being a fan is done.  You can never be as cool as they are.

Anger Trigger #3
Elitist book fans

I am baffled by the divisive attitudes in the ranks of the Outlander fan-dom.  There appears to be a need by some to separate themselves out as “true fans”.  They not only see a difference between the “book” fans and the “series” fans, but they see themselves as some how superior!  The “upper-crust” want to be believe that they were here first and have read the books and so, that makes them better fans.

I’m all for reading! Reading is good and from what I’ve seen a lot of series fans are being drawn to the books because they’ve seen the show.  I can remember when I first found the books and the excitement and wonder of getting lost in the world Diana had created!  I want that experience for everybody! I certainly don’t want to discourage people by constantly qualifying my statements with “I have been a fan for over 20 years” every time there is any kind of discussion about the books or show. Your time with the books makes you more familiar with the material, but does not necessarily make you more insightful.

Sometimes, I’m envious of the newbies.  They get to watch the series with fresh eyes.  They get to enjoy the show without preconceived ideas of what should happen.  They just watch and enjoy and maybe get inspired to read. Yeah, I am envious.  It usual takes me three viewings to let go of the book long enough to just enjoy the show for what it is.

Please stop. We knew the show was going to bring an influx of new people and not all would think like we think or fan like we “older” fans.  It’s okay.  There’s plenty of room and we all have something common.  We love Outlander.

I’ve tried to live by a few rules when dealing with other fans and they have worked pretty well so far.

  1. Agree to disagree
  2. Be kind when you can
  3. Don’t get in a piss fight with a skunk

I can feel my blood pressure dropping. Whew!

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24 thoughts on ““There is such a thing as justice, Claire”…and injustice…Outlander fandom

  1. Eileen

    Beth, love this article, as usual! I think that middle-age moms are looking for something more than a story about a pretty boy who’s good in bed. I think that we are looking for something more meaningful, because our lives are more about our families and less about our figures. That’s what _I_ liked about the story, and why I’ve bought multiple copies of the book so I could always have it on hand.
    I also agree that there isn’t a pecking order to being a fan…if you love the story, then you’re a fan. I am fortunate enough to be watching the series with my daughter–she has the fresh eyes, while I tend to be a little disappointed on my first viewing. (After adjusting my expectations, I enjoy the second viewing much more!) Do we sit around and argue about who is the better fan? No, of course not. We gasp and laugh and discuss our favorite parts. I’m thankful for such a good story that generates discussion about real love and real sex and real life. And I’m going to keep watching it, regardless of the critics.

  2. Loved this Beth! I am especially onboard with you comments about ‘elitist book fans’. We are all fans of Gabaldon and Jamie&Claire. Not all of us have come to them the same way – and I think that’s a good thing. 🙂

  3. NDasi

    You know what the ‘middle age housewives’ fans love? Middle-aged Jamie and Claire Fraser. That’s who is in the books now.

  4. Angie

    PREACH! I’ve been fussing about these exact same things for a while now, especially the snarky mean girls. I’m 41 myself….. so I assume when they hit 35 or 40 they’ll automatically stop watching the show and reading the books since they’ll be “too old” to be cool. They need to STFU already.

  5. Jackie Campbell @jackieincincy

    Here Here Beth! The middle aged women put downs really rankle me, and not just because I am one. As far as I can see, middle aged women control most family budgets, middle aged women who work outside the home have income to spend, and middle aged women are baby boomers. For all these reasons and more, we are a significant demographic group and I cannot understand the lack of respect! We are your moms, aunts, sisters and grandmothers! We buy stuff, travel, have hobbies and are social media savvy. The powers that be ought to be currying our favor, not sneering at us. I am thinking maybe one of us might be President next year! Ok, thanks for the chance to rant. Love your essay and agree completely!

  6. It’s the snark bothers me the most. As you say, some people seem to think they are the only ones who invented/know the unwritten rules of fandoms. There’s this belief that fandoms only started with the age of social media & Twilight. These people remind me of The Plastics from Mean Girls. They’re exactly like you described, Beth, the cool kids in the cafeteria.

    Fandoms didn’t start yesterday. Think of the ’90’s boy bands, Star Wars, Star Trek, Elvis Presley, The Beatles or go further back to the 19th century British poet, Lord Byron. He was one of the first celebrities to receive what we now recognize as fan mail! http://ind.pn/1Jmdz26

    I keep referring to Wil Wheaton’s response to a parent who asked him to record a message for her daughter explaining why it’s awesome to be a nerd. I substitute the word fan for nerd. I’m happy to be called both! To me, he understands the core of fandoms. Being a fan or nerd involves the strong love of something that you want to share with others. I think what he says also applies to the growing contempt for, between or within some fandoms depending on your gender/age/object of your “fanning”. You’re not a real fan, because of X, Y or Z.

    This was recorded at the Calgary Comic Expo in 2013 & went viral because he struck a chord for all nerds/geek/fans. If you want to check it out, here’s the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_BtmV4JRSc

    So for all of us in the Outlander clan, I’ve modified the Wil Wheaton’s rule: Don’t be a dick or, if you prefer, don’t be plastic to each other.

    • Thank you so much for sharing this. I have to admit and it is probably very obvious from my writing that the snark bothers me the most as well. It just pushes my fairness buttons. Thank you again!

  7. jaci

    Very well said….the best fans are those who had read the books numerous times and still love the TV series, even the small changes to the books and still be so happy it is brought to life with 2 amazing actors and a fantastic show runner and the author of the books so very pleased with the results.
    Fans have no age limits. Those are true fans.

  8. Oh my! How great is this. I’m going to follow your blog. I came here by way of your comment at Terry Dresbach’s blog. I love intelligently written blogs and yours is definitely one of them. “Outlander” reigns supreme!

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