I wrote this post a few days ago and then was too sick to actually post it. In the interim, there’s been some discussion about ‘SPNFamily’ and whether that term is appropriate for us when there sometimes seems like so much infighting. I hate the infighting and love the sense of community – it’s why we wrote Fangasm and why there are entire chapters on wank and the reasons for it in Fandom At The Crossroads. I hate seeing other fans hurting, whether that hurt comes from inside or outside the fandom. I guess, when you get right down to it, I hate seeing people hurting. That’s what I do for a living, after all.
So I understand why some are questioning the term ‘SPNFamily’ – who wants to believe that someone within your family could deliberately hurt you? There are people in any group who try to cope with whatever it is they’re dealing with by attacking others, or are afraid of losing something important to them and are willing to use whatever means they can find to keep that from happening. That sort of anger-based, fear-based behavior is tough to watch and even worse to be on the receiving end of. And it’s not okay. This ‘family’ we’re in is not perfect. Bobby Singer’s warning that family is there to make you miserable isn’t always off the mark. That’s true of every family I’ve ever known, blood or no blood.
At the same time, I don’t want to lose sight of the many powerful and important ways that this gigantic diverse squabbling infuriating supportive creative amazing group of people is a family. I’ve been collecting stories for a new project about how Supernatural and SPN fandom have changed people’s lives. In some cases, saved people’s lives. Fans, cast, crew – we’ve all been changed by our participation in this widespread, dynamic group. I’ve heard stories of fans going out of their way – above and beyond – to help other fans. I’ve seen it and experienced it myself, in big dramatic gestures and in small moments at cons when someone lost their photo op ticket. That feeling of belonging and acceptance that we wrote about in Fangasm is still there, and still has a strong impact on fans who discover the community of fandom. Like all large families, we have our factions and our alliances and our family feuds, and some people get along better and are happier if they just don’t talk to ‘that branch of the family’ anymore. (Of course, you may still see them at Cousin Martha’s big bash of a wedding…or run across them in the comments on a fandom blog…)