I don't want to go on and on about a cyber bully and thus give him more attention, but I came upon a thought that relates more to fandom in general. This is the second time a man has attacked me about my love for James Callis, like it's somehow ridiculous to be a fan and have a blog like this. Both times, there have been accusations of being obsessive, and my looks have been used against me in both cases. These two guys seem to be unrelated, are from different countries and probably don't know each other. But I don't think it's a coincidence that they are both men.
When I look back on my time in the Ace of Base fandom, there were always guys saying things like "I like the music, but I don't care about the members, that's just stupid". I'd say most male fans fell into this category. They may have had a thing for either or both of the female singers, but that mostly seemed to be sexual. Very few, if any, of them would identify with the guys or really want to be like them. Some of the girls, likewise, mainly enjoyed the music and not the members. But there were also lots of female fans with an admiration, adoration, or personal devotion for one or more of the band members.
I'd argue BSG fandom is similarly divided. There are fans who go for a certain actor, and there are those who are more into the phenomenon of the show. The latter type of fans seem to be predominantly male, the former female. And this is where it gets sexist: that men hold their type of fandom in higher esteem - possibly simply because it is mostly inhabited by men. Lots of women have this attitude too. We still have this lingering cultural idea that something mainly done by women must be frivolous. People talk derisively of the Bamber Bunnies. (I may have been guilty of that myself in the beginning.) And I guess someone very into James Callis is equally silly.
I wonder - is fandom a female phenomenon? Is it somehow related to how men and women are different, or are at least raised or treated differently? Perhaps this question is, in itself, sexist and doesn't really deserve to be raised. I raise it only because I've seen many examples of this sexism, sometimes aimed at myself, sometimes at others. The argument is simply "You're a silly fangirl, and also you're ugly." The stereotype is that if you have a crush on an actor, you're a bit silly and childish, like a giggling teenage girl. This might also mean that men are less likely to admit it if they feel strongly about a particular actor, role model-wise.
And as we all know, unattractive girls are useless and a joke all around, so it becomes this big cluster of pathetic: a GIRL coveting for an ACTOR - and she's UGLY! Like, she's totally out of his league! She'd never get him into bed in a million years! Bwahaha what a joke!
This also shows that for many men, if they like an actor, it's all about sex. You want someone hot to fantasize about. Sure, I find James very hot indeed, and I do fantasize about him - but that's not all I do. I look up to him as a person, a role model. I enjoy his performances on various shows. The fantasy of James is a fantasy about a great artist, someone I'd like to be. Not just someone I'd like to frak. And definitely not someone I ever expect to have sex with.
I'm not literally "in love with" James. I'm in love with my girlfriend and she's in love with me. That's based on knowing each other well, connecting on some deep level, becoming one. I couldn't have that with James because I've never even met him. If I did, and we connected on some level, that would be great but it still wouldn't be love. It could be, at the very most, a friendship. Whether James finds me attractive doesn't really matter. If he does, I'd be flattered, but if not, that's fine too. What I don't want from him - or anyone - is to be treated as, pardon my French, a nice piece of ass. Most smart women don't want that. We want respect.
This fantasy of James is something that, through my depression, has kept me going. It gives me something to look forward to (James' new projects/cons), something to aspire to (being more like him), something to do (the blog). I've made many friends through the fandom. Not to mention all the great conversations I've had with people about James and BSG, which have all expanded my thinking and view of the world. Is there something frivolous or silly about all of this? To me, there is not. Granted, I do joke about my James adoration, but it's just self-deprecating humor. In all seriousness, I hold fandom in very high esteem. It's an important thing in many people's lives.
Introspection: Why was I so quick to defend myself and say that I do not believe James loves me? Does it mean I, on some level, think others (maybe even James himself) would find me silly if I had a fantasy of mutual love? Did I feel "owned" on some level? Is it an admission of weakness, in our culture, that you dare love a celebrity? Because if I think in those terms, I need to change my thinking. There's nothing silly about this.
While on the topic, I feel like commenting on one more thing Mr Tyler said, and hopefully then put this thing behind us.
Do I believe this is true of James? No, I don't. This is an extremely cynical and sexist thing to say, and I just don't associate those things with James (though he probably has cynicism and sexism somewhere in his personality, as do we all). I want to point out that James remembers Janine and some others from the Unofficial Website. I don't know if they ever gave him free stuff, but he's been consistently appreciative of them for over ten years now. He also remembered Nicole based on meeting her once at a con 1,5 years prior, and I don't think Nicole brought him anything. I won't comment on the "want to have sex with" thing, because I don't know James' taste in women. I'll just suggest that perhaps to some men, it's not the first thing they care about?
So - even if you've had autograph sessions for whatever reason, James isn't necessarily like you. I'd be very careful with making those assumptions.
In the end, I don't know how James approaches us fans. He seems appreciative in all encounters I've heard of, and in my autograph as well. It could all be an act, but that doesn't really matter as long as he isn't transparently fake. If he respects and appreciates me, great (and admittedly awesome and validating). If not, it's his loss. He'd lose me as a fan, and I'd be sad, but that wouldn't make my dream a joke. And when I say "respect and appreciate", I do not mean "find me attractive". These are two completely separate things. I'm sure James knows that.
I say this to everyone whose fandom has been made fun of: There's nothing frivolous, childish, shameful or silly about having role models. I think everyone does, more or less. And on a very basic level, that's all that fandom is.