maandag 4 juni 2012

Bronies and Fangirls

Okay so first of all I have to say this out loud somewhere: I absolutely -love- the Avengers! I've seen it in cinema 4 times now and I kind of want to go for another round (I love the number 5) (it's like a rollercoaster ride, that movie).I'm usually not the superhero kind of person, I prefer characters with a bit more background and depth, but the Marvel cinematic universe has really succeeded in giving these heroes a believable and layered personality while still having them being fun superheroes you can root for, and all of this comes together in the Avengers. Great job, Joss Whedon and Marvel studios!

Recently I've been having fun over at Tumblr (shameless self-advertising). I'm still figuring that stuff out but it's such a fun way to share things you like with people who like similar things (and to discover new things in the process). Through Tumblr I've kind of fallen down the avengers-fandom-rabbit hole. And oddly enough, this fandom consists of mostly women (on there, at least), who have a whole different reason for liking Avengers.

It's not really about these heroes (and villains, let's not forget fan-favourite Loki) being heroes and fighting bad guys and being cool. It's not even about saving the day. Fans have turned these characters into almost romantic versions of themselves who sacrifice their own wants and needs for the good of others and who have a romantic interest in each other or other people. And, of course, about how horribly attractive these people are (both the characters and the actors). Can't argue with that one.

This entire thing has reminded me of bronies and their struggle to have people accept that they like a show not intended for them. Now I have absolutely no idea what older Marvel fans think of all these girls swooping in and romanticizing their superheroes, but I do see some similarities; an audience not meant as the target audience comes and makes a product their own through fan-made products (pictures, stories etc.).While the subject is different and the groups of fans are different I think there's a similar trend going on.

I love it. I love seeing franchises being able to break down gender-stereotypes and being able to appeal to both boys and girls, men and women. Of course everyone enjoys a fandom in their own way or with people who enjoy it in a similar way, and I think it's awesome that people come out and say "Hey, I like this show in a certain way" and find other people with the same ideas. I think it's one of the great things the internet has brought us, the ability to find things you like and find other people who like the same things in a way that's easier than in real life. It doesn't and shouldn't replace any offline interests and friendships, but it's a nice addition.