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Jenn Hammond: Ok lemme address this Seahorses thingy

jennhammond:

There’s this thing called The Lizzie Bennet Diaries which is a webseries that has really taken off and some of my friends are like super obsessed with it, even to somehow unhealthy levels. There’s a Google Hangout group that has formed made up of those unhealthy people and through a random…

Reblogging just to say that this account precisely matches my own experience. I have my own reasons for feeling awkward around the LBD fandom, starting with having been the kind of kid (and now adult) who will always avoid social gatherings when possible, and for whom standing in the corner feeling awkward is a defining character trait. And then with LBD, I’m both older and more male than the large majority of fans. So on top of my nonsensical but inescapable subjective sense of being different and an outsider, in this case I actually am, demographically speaking, kind of different and an outsider.

So I completely sympathize with anyone who looks at the “Seahorses” thing and feels awkward and excluded. Because, again, for some of us feeling awkward and excluded is just our default mode, and it takes very little to trigger that feeling. Even the sight of a bunch of silly, harmless people enjoying themselves in Google hangouts can trigger it. Does that mean people should be prevented from being silly and harmless and enjoying themselves, just so I don’t have to feel bad from seeing that and wishing I could be part of it? Um, no, it doesn’t.

The first time I joined a Seahorses hangout I was scared. Not for anything having to do with the hangout; just because of me. Clicking that red button was really hard to do. My heart rate was noticeably elevated. Which is embarrassing to admit, but I feel like it’s worth sharing just so anyone else who feels that way doesn’t think they’re the only one.

Once I clicked that button, though, everything immediately got so much better. The people in the hangout were friendly and welcoming. I didn’t have to do or say anything; they were fine with me standing in the corner. Eventually I started talking, and they were respectful of my opinions, and laughed at my lame attempts at humor. And every time since then has been easy, and fun. (Well, except the time I joined during a Ke$ha dance party. That was a little too freaky, even for the new me. But it was interesting, at least for the few minutes before I fled.)

I think it’s completely valid for people to bring up how the Seahorses visibly enjoying themselves can make some people feel excluded. Because people who are prone to that feeling exist, and they probably exist in greater numbers in online fandoms than they do elsewhere The solution is not to stop the Seahorses from enjoying themselves. It’s to help and encourage the people who’d like to join in, but have a hard time doing so. Based on my experience, the Seahorses actually do a pretty good job of that.