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09 February 2007 @ 12:36 pm
My Evolution as a Fangirl  
This is a long essay of sorts of how I've grown and evolved within the SG-1 fandom, the only fandom I've been completely active in.

Quick disclaimer. These are my opinions on how I've changed in the fandom. This does not imply that my way is the only way. This does not imply that I'm better than anyone else. You may have grown in different ways. You may believe I'm insane and regressed. So please feel free to add your own thoughts if you wish, but do not flame anyone or character-bash please.

I started with S4 reruns of SG-1 in 2003 when I was at a bad place in my life. Hated my job. Had just started with anxiety over said job. Feeling pretty low. SG-1 just happened to be the show that gave him the right distraction and since one of the characters was an archaeologist, that was enough to give me the nudge I needed to get back to school for my MA in anthropology/archaeology.

Needless to say, I was immediately drawn to Daniel. For me, Daniel was smart, cute, and had excellent taste in academics ;) But most importantly, he was a tragic angsty character and I like those.

I was immediately taken by the Jack/Daniel friendship I loved how they could argue, have different opinions, and yet still show much they cared for each other. Jack and Daniel sort of balanced each other out, yet I always felt they were similar at the core. And I've always had a soft spot for buddy relationships. (At this point, I didn't even know what slash was.)

At the same time, I also fell for Sam. Sam really represented the other side of me. I was always a science geek growing up and I nearly went into some form of science in college. (I had been trying to decide between geology and biology. Aced astronomy. Geology won, but then I transferred. Oh science, how I miss you.) So for me, Sam was cool. I could see the show was hinting at Sam/Jack which so did not please me, but at the time I was *not* in fandom so this did not influence my enjoyment of the show. I loved the team. I loved Daniel. I was a total Daniel fan. And the show rocked.

I happily devoured seasons 1-4, nearly in their entirety, and was catching up on the replays of the current season 7 before I jumped into fandom by early Nov. I discovered a couple of forums first and I settled in with people that could share my Daniel love. And I have to say, it was fantastic. I had a blast going through the episodes, chatting with people, and meeting great fans. And as time went on, I started my first fanfics.

This was a time where I read everything about Daniel and Daniel and Jack that I could get my hands on. Badfic. Clichefic. Smarm. Kidfic. I learned what slash was and started to poke into that as well. You name it, I read it. I read so much, in fact, my original perceptions of the characters started to change. I started to believe in fanon and lose my grasp on canon. My love for Sam also started to wane at this point. And I reached a point where I was fighting between trying to stand up for her and to just put her down. I would not go near Sam/Jack anything, including fans, with a ten-foot pole. Still, I enjoyed myself.

My glee did not last very long, though. I went to my first convention in the summer of 2004 and the experience did not endear me to the fandom. I met some great people. The guests were great. But without going into details, there were some aspects that left a bad taste in my mouth. In fanfic world, I began to tire of seeing the same kinds of fics over and over.

I wanted to give up on fandom. But then I met some nice Dan/Jan folks that opened me to some new perspectives on the characters. Conversing with fans that had a different spin on the characters let me reevaluate how I had come to see the characters. It came less about Daniel for me and more about the other characters. My view of Daniel, which had been skewed by fandom, started to develop into more.

By mid-Season 8 (2004-2005), I was still struggling with my Sam issues and now begun to write ship as both a thank you to my Dan/Jan friends and also to give me something different to write. I started experimenting with different ships like Sam/Teal'c and Sam/Daniel. As S8 of SG-1 started to wind down, I started to migrate towards Jack since I knew his time on the show was coming to an end and I decided to give up my inner war with Sam. I started to try to grasp onto that feeling I had when I first started when I loved all the characters and I could put fandom politics behind me. I could love Sam and Daniel, Jack and Teal'c, etc, without there being some conflict. This is when I wrote Echoes of Autumn, a fic that really reflects my state of mind at the time.

By the summer of 2005, I was pouting that there would be no Jack in S9. I was against Vala. And I started to support Sam. My love of Daniel had waned quite a bit, but he remained my favorite character. As S9 progressed, I became more supportive of Sam. Sam reclaimed status as one of my favorite characters. (She's been awesome in S9 and S10.) Cam got approval from me.

I created tealc_fic to promote Teal'c. (Which I need to get back to and liven up.)

In 2006, I had completely refashioned my fandom self. I scaled back, but I made it a point to try to reach out to different segments of the fandom. I added Sam/Jack friends to my flist. And despite my hatred of the Daniel/Vala gushing in the fandom, I wasn't about to let that come between me and some of my SG-1 friends. So I kept in contact with them. I continue to have Daniel/Vala fans on my flist and they are just as important as everyone else. I found myself giving up forums and lists, unfortunately, since I moved to becoming spoiler-free. So, as time passed, I became acquainted with fans of all types--Vala, Cam, Jack, Daniel, Janet, Sam and Teal'c. I started to finally watch S6 and realized that, darn, it was actually quite good. I branched out more and wrote other pairings.

It was sad to realize that my undying Daniel love had changed. But then I realized I hadn't given him up at all. I still love Daniel, especially the early Daniel, but I had grown to appreciate the other characters just as much. I realized that at least for me, I was most comfortable with fangirling Daniel, Jack, Sam, Teal'c along with other characters like Hammond and Janet and Cam. (Vala is a work in progress.) And I didn't hate characters like Jonas. And while the Jack and Daniel friendship will always be my cornerstone, I adore all the unique friendships between the characters. In the end, I've come closer to being the team fan I had always wanted to be.

I've now reached a point where I feel like I've reclaimed my roots. I remain staunchly gen for the show. But I've become way more relaxed in fandom. I laugh at the hypocrisy and the ship wars. I laugh at the character-bashing from different aspects of the fandom. Nothing is going to curb my enjoyment of the show and my fun in the fandom. I might not be as active I used to be but I'm still surrounded by vastly different views and great people. I'll ship whoever tickles my fancy at the moment. Maybe I'll ship a pairing that I'd never considered before. Maybe I'll read one, too. For me, the show and the fandom are two separate animals. I can remain true to my gen roots but have a little fun on the side. And you know what? It works for me and I happy this way :)

So maybe you're a fan who has had slash change their lives. Or maybe you grew from gen to Sam/Jack. Maybe you are gen and team fullstop. Maybe Daniel is the heart and soul of Stargate for you. Maybe you discovered your OTP or you ship everyone under the sun. Or maybe you just think everyone is nuts.

Whatever path you've chosen, it's right for you. And it makes the fandom all the more interesting :)
Current Mood: geekyfannish
Current Music: The Lady's House--Balder's Gate Soundtrack
cyren_2132cyren_2132 on February 9th, 2007 06:06 pm (UTC)
Nicely written. You know, my first Stargate episodes were season 4 as well (Hide and Seek, specifically. I had no clue what was going on).
suzannemarie on February 9th, 2007 08:10 pm (UTC)
My own personal fandom evoloution followed a similar path, but started with other shows as well.

Slowly I've learned that I have to set my own boundaries. If I don't, I find that I no longer enjoy things (or not enjoy things) in a show on their own merits. I've fallen into the trap of watching a show and then thinking "oh Forum X isn't going to like that." Or feeling preemptively defensive about something that I know won't be popular. Or feeling preemptively defensive about not liking something that I know will be popular.

For some shows, I've learned that I just have to watch on my own because I've learned that getting into debates and minutia is only going to make me unhapppy and ruin my enjoyment of the show. For other shows, I've slowly learned how to disassociate myself from getting bogged down in others opinions. It's an ongoing process for me. But overall, I think it's been good for me too. I'm better now at not taking things so personally. And as far as interactions, I've learned better how to put my personal investments into the relationships with others and less into what others think about Sam/Jack, or what they think of season x, or whatever.

I've learned and am still learning when it's time to bite my tongue, when it's time to stop putting energy into dissenting opinions that ultimately don't matter much. And I've learned that sometimes it's just simply time to walk away, that sometimes I'm trying to hold on to something that doesn't exist anymore. Maybe something that never existed. For all of that I'm grateful. I think I'm a better person for getting these (sometimes painful) lessons.

I still don't always find the right balance, but I think I'm much closer to it than I used to be. If I've learned no other personal truth I've learned this one: that fandom is supposed to be fun. It's supposed to be a break and a recreation in life, not a consuming passion that leads to misery and burnout as much as it does enjoyment. From now on, I will participate in things in ways that are fun for me. If I'm not having fun, then it's time for me to either walk away or find a way to find the fun again.

[I had a whole thing about how my understanding of online communities has evolved along a similar path to my understanding of fandom, but decided that it was a bit much.]
Gunhildagunhilda on February 10th, 2007 07:03 pm (UTC)
That's a really lovely post.

MegTDJ: Team - my_shiny_thingsmeg_tdj on February 9th, 2007 09:27 pm (UTC)
*claps* Yay! :D
Abyssis: SG1 - Daniel and Sha're doomed loveabyssinia4077 on February 9th, 2007 10:02 pm (UTC)
This was interesting. I love seeing how different people found/interacted with fandom because in some ways we all come for the same thing (a sense of community, a way to further explore character/stories we love) and yet we all are looking for something a little different and get something a little different out of it. I think that's part of what makes fandom so awesome and there's something for everyone.

Also - it's kindof interesting to me that Stargate affected me similar to you at first - mostly in that I discovered it when I was really down and miserable with my current situation. Sometimes having that place to escape makes all the difference.

I curious what it was about the convention that through you - I'm debating going to the Chicago one in August and can't decide if it'll be way too weird or not.
Working for the Mandroid: Lovemoonshayde on February 10th, 2007 02:08 am (UTC)
Longing for a sense of community is the driving force for many of us, I think.

Ah, the con. Um. Well, I've been to 3 of them. The cons themselves are fun. I love hearing what the guests have to say and having the opportunity to meet them. (One of these days I will post pics.) And you get to meet cool fans. But you also meet scary people. Really scary people. The kind that cannot seem to tell the difference between reality and fantasy.

I hear the Chicago one is cool. I know some people going to that one. If it's Creation you're talking about. I went to the ones in NJ and one in MA.

I hear Dragon Con in GA is the mother of the east coast cons. I'd love to go, but I don't think I'll be able to.

And your icon is sad. :(
Abyssis: SG1 - Sam & Daniel deep in thoughtabyssinia4077 on February 10th, 2007 04:24 am (UTC)
Yeah, I figure it's about 3 parts longing for community and 1 part being excited that other people are similarly crazy (which, arguably, is a sense of community...)

I've been to a Trek convention long, long ago so I'm vaguely familiar with scary people, but I can see that being a bit off-putting also - I've definitely been embarrassed occasionally at other fans doing crazy things since I'm a fan too and try not to do the crazy.
I've heard about Dragon Con for years - definitely supposed to be cool.

And your icon is sad. :(
I swear, Daniel and Sha're is one of the saddest love stories ever.
sela21k: Heartssela21k on February 10th, 2007 06:17 pm (UTC)
I went to Chicago last year and had a blast. Meet up with a number of people that I had been blogging with on Gateworld for a while and had a chance to get to know some new people. It's a nice relaxed little con and there were no fan related problems that I heard of. Also, you got a chance to occasionally talk with the guests who hung out with the fans. Cliff Simon showed up at the GW dinner and then the next night showed up at a party in one of the fan's room. Dan Payne and Alex Zaharis were great taking pictures with anyone who asked and chatting in the hallways. I plan to go again this year. Hopefully I'll see you there! :)
Joanna: SWC//inmyhands... (luux_lu)hawk_17 on February 9th, 2007 10:47 pm (UTC)
Well said.

I know what you mean... getting so excited and diving into the world of "fandom" tends to actually suck enjoyment out of it. I've chosen as of late to stick with what I enjoy the most- the 'olden days of SG-1, particularly when I first started watching season 6. Those were good times, and I like going back to that glee I felt over staying up late to see another episode (I didn't have cable/dish, so I had to stay up until 1:00 am on sunday nights. It became a weekly tradition for me, and an enjoyable one at that.)

Working for the Mandroid: Jimmymoonshayde on February 10th, 2007 02:03 am (UTC)
It's kind of sad. You get so into a show, dive in, and then often it does more harm than good. But it's a lesson in life.

I think many of us are trying to recpature the good ol'days. Viva La Revolution ;)
ridin' the star mile: bravostargazercmc on February 10th, 2007 01:17 am (UTC)
Bravo! Mine started out with a love for Jack (I'm such a snark 'ho) and built to a love for them all from there.

And meeting people via fandom who aren't nuts always helps. There are (still) some really crazy folks out there.
Working for the Mandroid: Unprotectedmoonshayde on February 10th, 2007 02:02 am (UTC)
Jack is a good place to start from :)

And alas, there will always be crazy folks. I guess they probably think we're weird, too.
(Anonymous) on February 10th, 2007 02:14 am (UTC)
Thanks for the story. :) It's interesting to see how people's ideas change.

You know already that my first fandom is Star Wars. SG-1 caught me up because it's somewhat similar, yet much more grown-up and believable in characterization--and I'm a sucker for good characterization. Definitely loved Daniel first and most and always will, but Jack is a close second, and of course I came to love Sam and Teal'c along with them.

Didn't mind Jonas--like him, actually, and wished he didn't have such a sucky, truncated character arc. I love fanfic where he and Daniel interact, actually, because they have so much potential for working off/against each other. Love Cam. Like Vala. Miss Janet and Hammond. Not terribly impressed with Seasons 9 and 10--too much plot, too little character. But that's been going on for a while . . .

I actually started getting into the fandom because of reading fanfic online, Jack and Daniel friendship, naturally. I was running out of good SW stuff with the kind of characterization that I like, so I went looking for more. So, so lucky to find SG-1. My uncle owned all the boxed sets available when I was just getting into the fandom, so I was able to borrow them and devour all eight seasons in quick succession, over the course of a month or so. (My family thought I was absolutely nuts and were worried that I was wasting far too much time when I should have been studying. They were right, of course . . .) Though the first season I watched was eight, actually, because that was the one we had in the house at the time. Definitely love earlier seasons more.

And yes, I am gen/team full stop. :) I read all kinds of stuff, but I don't enjoy it as much. And Sam/Jack gives me heebiejeebies.

I've only been in the fandom for not quite a year, so I don't think I've really "developed" much. Was somewhat taken aback by things I found when I started getting involved in the online communities--like the vitriolic Jonas hatred, to the point of denying the existence of Season 6. Did not understand that at all. Also not quite sure where the Vala disgust was coming from at first, but I'm understanding more as I watch Season 10. She's getting too Mary Sue. I still like her, though, and I think Claudia Black is fantastic.

Mm, enough babble from me. Back to your regularly scheduled fandom.
maychorian: Obi annoyedmaychorian on February 10th, 2007 03:31 am (UTC)
Urgh. That anonymous comment was me. I'm such a dork.
crayonbreakygal: sg1 team shipperfeycrayonbreakygal on February 10th, 2007 06:51 am (UTC)
I love these kinds of essays about fandom experiences. Very interesting.

I guess since I started way late in the fandom for SG-1, I didn't get that jaded. And I've had several people like you on my flist to steer me towards the good stuff (i.e., fic, etc.) and away from the bad stuff (shipper wars, character bashing people), that's it's all been good for me.

I don't think there's a character on SG-1 that I don't like. They're all good for me. And I'll try any pairing once. Well, almost any pairing.
Annalastingdreams8 on February 11th, 2007 06:04 am (UTC)
Wow. Your story about how you were introduced to Stargate is awesome:) It made me think about my progression as well, and it's just really amazing how much thought and intelligence must go into these fandoms...so we are geeks forever, but we are smart and that's the difference from fans who misspell 'kernel' and those who delve deeper into the character's development. I'm not dissing people who just want to watch for recreation, I watch scenes and totally don't see the meaning in it too sometimes, but just saying that it takes a lot of devotion, and that's why Stargate has survived this long.
Power to ya, and all us fangirls/guys:)