A Matter of Opinion

Am I imagining things, or has the Internet been excessively vitriolic lately?

I’m no stranger to fandoms bickering among themselves and critics trying to stir up trouble by claiming their opinions are the right opinions, but it’s reached epidemic proportions during the last few weeks. And it’s getting exhausting.

I’ve always believed that the beauty of fiction is that it’s open to interpretation. We all view fiction through the prisms of our own experiences. As such, our interpretations say a lot about who we are. We often reveal more about ourselves in talking about fiction than we do when we try to talk about our own life experiences.

There’s an inherent vulnerability in talking about the fictional works, characters, and relationships that mean the most to us. That’s why respect is so important when it comes to discussing fiction. If someone has a different opinion, that doesn’t make them “idiotic,” “crazy,” or “delusional” (all words I’ve seen casually thrown around in the last few days). It simply means they see the world—and, as a consequence, a piece of a fandom—differently than you do.

In my experience, I’m at my most vulnerable as a writer when I talk about the characters, relationships, and works of fiction that I love the most. In the increasingly negative culture of Internet-driven fandom, it takes real bravery to admit to loving, being inspired by, or feeling an emotional attachment to something. Sadly, it’s those sincere admissions of emotional attachment that I’m seeing torn down and ridiculed the most. I’m never going to argue that the media doesn’t need people to look at it critically, but there’s a clear line between criticism and condescension, between discourse and degradation—and that line is one I keep seeing people cross without even a second thought.

It’s fine to interpret a character, a relationship, or an entire work of fiction as problematic, but not everyone has to see it that way—just like not everyone has to see things positively. For every group of fans that interprets a character or relationship as “disgusting,” another group sees it as “inspiring.” Everyone is entitled to their own opinion about a work of fiction, and no one opinion is morally superior to another. No one should tell another person how to feel or that what they feel is wrong just because it’s different.

I’ve seen too many people lately who have been made to feel guilty or ashamed for liking something because another group of fans finds fault with it. I’ve seen too many people called “naïve” for enjoying things just because someone doesn’t share their opinion. I’ve seen too many young women whose emotional investment is turned into an insult or joke because feeling deeply and positively about certain genres of fiction has become something to be mocked instead of something to be celebrated. Teenage girls have enough self-esteem issues to begin with thanks to the society around them. Do we really need to make them feel weaker, less intelligent, or like an embarrassment to feminism because they find hope in stories some people don’t particularly care for?

Enthusiasm should be encouraged, not stifled. It’s easy to fall back on sarcasm, negativity, and disdain when someone likes something you don’t. It’s harder to take the time to ask—or even just think about—why that person loves what they love so deeply. I’ll bet the answer is a heck of a lot more interesting than the standard stereotype of people only liking something because of a cute boy or pretty girl.

The same can be said for understanding and respecting why someone doesn’t like something you like. Everyone brings both their positive and negative life experiences to their interpretations of fiction, and it affects both their likes and dislikes. For as much as it bothers me to see people belittle others for liking what they like, it equally bothers me to see people insult others for disliking something. It’s never okay to attack someone for critiquing something you happen to enjoy.

Disagreement is a good thing; it fosters excellent discussions and opens people’s minds to new worldviews. I love when people thoughtfully and respectfully disagree with me and with each other here at NGN. But the key words there are thoughtfully and respectfully. What we’re so lucky to have here at NGN is so rare in other corners of the Internet.

I know I’m preaching to the choir by writing this post here, on what’s become one of the most respectful places of discussion I’ve seen on the Internet. But I also want to take this time to say thank you for being a shining exception to all of the vitriol I’ve been witnessing lately. You seem to remember what so many forget when they turn on their computers (and it’s something I pledge to never lose sight of): Behind every username, Tumblr URL, and credit on a TV or movie screen is a real person who deserves to be treated with respect.

In short, sometimes the Internet is the worst, but I’m grateful to all of you who’ve helped make NGN a happy escape from the swirling storm clouds of fandom dramatics.

29 thoughts on “A Matter of Opinion

  1. All of those reasons are why I had to step a great deal back from not just fandoms, but the internet in general. Life is hard enough, why do we need to tear others down for having opinions different from our own? Especially in a fandom online where you are likely to find people who deal with enough negativity in their lives offline. We are on the same team! Its time we all realized that the person at the other computer is a PERSON with legitimate thoughts, feelings, and opinions, and reasons for thinking, feeling, or having different opinions than you.

    • Nice to see your lovely face (and lovely thoughts) around these parts, M! 🙂

      “Life is hard enough, why do we need to tear others down for having opinions different from our own?” – This is exactly how I feel. The real world is full of enough negativity. Shouldn’t fandoms be our happy place?

  2. “I’ve seen too many people lately who have been made to feel guilty or ashamed for liking something because another group of fans finds fault with it. I’ve seen too many people called “naïve” for enjoying things just because someone doesn’t share their opinion. I’ve seen too many young women whose emotional investment is turned into an insult or joke because feeling deeply and positively about certain genres of fiction has become something to be mocked instead of something to be celebrated. Teenage girls have enough self-esteem issues to begin with thanks to the society around them. Do we really need to make them feel weaker, less intelligent, or like an embarrassment to feminism because they find hope in stories some people don’t particularly care for?”

    I love this whole thing, but I love this paragraph especially. There’s a rhetoric that’s been going around for a very long time in fandom, this idea that the things teenage girls like are automatically stupid, irrelevant or somehow unhealthy JUST BECAUSE it’s a teenage girl who likes it, and teenage girls are too stupid to figure out what things are problematic on their own. I’ve been seeing it for years and I’m so, so tired of it. Even if that was true – and it’s not, teenage girls are every bit as able to figure out what’s bad and what’s not – then why is mocking them the answer to the problem? Why is it okay for grown women to sit there and relentlessly mock and harass young girls over this?

    It’s fictional characters we’re talking about, but those are real-life girls being mocked, real life girls who already get told in 100 different ways that they’re stupid, that they’re not worth anything, that the things they like deserve to be mocked. They don’t need to see adult women going in on them like the rest of society does; if you’re truly that concerned, you should be working to educate, to try and make these girls understand where you’re coming from, instead of sitting there and mocking them for being “drooling, mindless fangirls.” They get that enough from the grown men around the internet – is that really the group you want to throw your lot in with? It’s baffling to me, people who talk about misogyny and sexism in one breath and then will turn around and gleeful unleash vitriol on teenage girls for liking something they don’t anymore.

    And it does tie into something bigger – I think it comes down to people who don’t like something anymore, who feel hurt and angry and betrayed, they feel like they need to try and inflict those same feelings onto the people who ARE still happy and enjoying something. There’s a difference between having discussions and fighting with someone who has no intention of changing their minds, or really being willing to listen. And that really does go both ways. There are some things I will never agree with when it comes to interpretation, but that doesn’t mean all other interpretations should be declared invalid. I feel like fandom is mostly full of the latter now – lots of people willing to talk, nobody willing to listen and acknowledge that others have the right to think differently, and it’s getting worse.

    I get that there’s a grieving period involved when you realize that a thing you like has changed to the point where you don’t like it anymore. I’ve been there a few times myself. But it’s unhealthy for everyone – the people giving up the fictional thing and the people who still like it – for you to sit there and seethe and stew in it to the point where you’re still as obsessed with it as you used to be, it’s just that now you’re obsessed with trashing it and anyone who still likes it. Why you’d want to devote your energy to doing that, I will never understand. But it makes the internet a very unpleasant, damaging place to be for everyone involved.

    • This is such a wonderfully articulate and passionate comment, and it’s exactly what I was hoping to see when I wrote this post.

      I work with a lot of teenage girls at my second job, and they have enough influences telling them that they’re just silly and dumb and don’t matter. Why on Earth should we—especially fellow women who were once those teenage girls—make them feel even worse? And the fact that people degrade things teenage girls are drawn to is only going to make them act apathetically (because they’re taught that feeling emotionally connected to or passionate about things is just something “hysterical teenage girls” do), and it makes me sad to see so many teenage girls thinking that apathy is “cool.”

      You are so right when you wrote about people talking at each other but not being willing to listen. Fandom should be about dialogues between other fans, but it’s become about diatribes instead. I’m just as guilty as anyone of having opinions in fandom that I will never agree with, but I always try to listen to people who want to share those opinions respectfully because I know it matters to them.

      • I’d also like to add to both of your comments that often some of what teenage girls are made fun of for are things that adults actually do as well – I don’t see a difference between the sports fans cheering enthusiastically and getting worked up over their team’s games, and the teenage girls being enthusiastic about their favorite musical artist at a concert. Both are quite invested in a thing they love, yet often one group is made fun of for their interest and the other is not.

        • YES. I actually wrote a column when I was a sports writer in college about how all fans—from sports fans to the Twilight fangirls they so vehemently pick on—are the same on a fundamental level. Enthusiasm is enthusiasm, and no one kind is better than another just because of the “merits” of the thing you’re enthusiastic about.

  3. “Behind every username, Tumblr URL, and credit on a TV or movie screen is a real person who deserves to be treated with respect”

    I agree 150% with everything that’s been said – people should be free to air their opinions (whether you agree with them or not) in a fair and open way.

  4. “I’ve seen too many people lately who have been made to feel guilty or ashamed for liking something because another group of fans finds fault with it. I’ve seen too many people called “naïve” for enjoying things just because someone doesn’t share their opinion.”

    I had a conversation about this thing with a group of friends just few days ago. We met because we loved and watched Lost and even if we all lived and live in different cities we became friends and stayed in touch because we found out that we had so much in common besides Lost. We love tv shows, books, and movies.
    One of this friend was angry with a bunch of her friends because they told her that being so passionate about tv shows and books or fictional character made her look like a “teen ager.” To be honest, none of us is a teen ager anymore. I’m a 32 years old high school teacher and she’s 31, the other girls are all about 30 something.Each one of us felt that way at least a couple of times, ashamed for liking something that to others seemed strange or guillty for liking something that others called “naive”, but most importantly, each one of us asked ourselves if we, were the strange ones, the “crazy” people who liked fictional characters and romances and liked to fangirl over a ship in a tv show or movie.
    I found my answer to that question, i’m not crazy and i’m not ashamed. I like what other people don’t understand and I’m ok with it because those things makes me happy and passionate. People might not understand it but i don’t need to understand it because even those interests make me what i am.

    • First of all, I love stories about TV shows and other fandoms bringing groups of friends together. 🙂

      I’m so happy that you’re proud to like what you like and feel passionate about things that matter to you. Like you, I am far from being a teenager now, and I get so angry with that term being used as a way to insult people for daring to like things. So kudos to you for being comfortable in yourself enough to stand up for the things you love and the passion you feel for them.

      PS: It’s always nice to see fellow Lost fans over here at NGN! 😉

  5. From what I’ve experienced lately (and what you mentioned in your post), I’ve noticed two major sources of anger and I am frustrated by both of them.

    Like you, I’m never going to discourage anyone from being a critical consumer of media. Everything we consume is going to be problematic in some way to some one. We live in a world full of prejudices, both conscious and unconscious, and those prejudices are inevitably going to make their way into the media. But the response to that shouldn’t be to insult the people who don’t find something problematic, especially when it has to do with character interpretation. Say what bothers you about it but don’t get mad at people when they have a different perspective. On the other hand of that, the people who disagree shouldn’t return the hate and say that they have the only correct interpretation either.

    I understand the urge to say or think that a person is wrong about their opinion and judge them off of it. I’m not innocent of it myself – there are a few characters who I find so troubling that I have a hard time understanding the perspective of someone who is rooting for them (in more than a “this is an entertaining villain” sort of way). But it still doesn’t make it right. It’s such an insidious problem because it is so easy to fall into. When coming to the defense of a favorite character, it’s easy for emotion to take over and turn the defense into a personal attack against the person you disagree with. The difference between “I hear what you are saying but I disagree for xyz reason” and “Everything you say is wrong for xyz reason” may be subtle but it is so important. The first is good, it encourages debate and can broaded your perspective. The second just causes anger and hurt feelings.

    Then there is the attitude that people have an obligation to like/dislike/feel ashamed of their media choices. I am incredibly tired of this argument. People should be able to enjoy what they enjoy without someone else telling them that they are wrong. No one has an obligation to consume any type of media. If you don’t like Breaking Bad and would rather watch The Mentalist, no one should look down on you for that. If you would rather read YA lit/women’s lit/mysteries/romance/genre fiction than classic or literary fiction, you don’t need a bunch on internet articles telling you why you’re wrong and unintelligent. We all use and engage with the media we love in different ways and none is less legitimate than another.

    • I wrote all that and completely forget to say one of the things I had in mind. You are so right about the vulnerability that comes with talking about and sharing the things you love with other people. It’s hard. It’s hard (at least for me) to find the words to present the most authentic impression of my feelings and it’s not always the most emotionally comfortable to expose what you love so much to the world. It’s something I have always seen in your writing, especially since you started NGN and I just thought I would remind you again how inspiring I find that.

      • I agree with everything you’re saying so eloquently here! And to the last comment – yes, definitely, you’re not the only one who experiences that difficulty in expressing exactly what you feel about the things you love. I have that problem a lot too, and I find it’s especially difficult when you’re unsure if the person you’re talking to has had experienced a love of a thing in a similar way and will try and meet you halfway and understand, or just think you’re silly and over-invested. It makes you think more about the way you’re choosing to describe the thing you love and makes it more difficult to find the exact right words to express why you love it, because you want to share why that thing is so great with the other person so that they might have the possibility of experiencing that love for it and have an enjoyable experience too.

      • Thank you so much for those nice words, Heather. And thank you for always being a great source of support for me, which really allows me to be as open and vulnerable as I am with my writing.

    • I love everything you said here, Heather. You’re right; everything is going to be problematic to someone or some group of people. And there’s nothing wrong with saying “I find this problematic for these reasons.” The danger becomes changing that statement to “I find you problematic for liking this thing that I find problematic.”

      Like you said, we’re all guilty of judging people for their opinion’s at one point or another. The trick is to keep that in check. I’m definitely guilty of letting my emotions get the best of me when defending favorite characters, but I’m working on always trying to put myself in the other person’s shoes to try to see why they may not like what I love.

      “The difference between “I hear what you are saying but I disagree for xyz reason” and “Everything you say is wrong for xyz reason” may be subtle but it is so important. The first is good, it encourages debate and can broaded your perspective. The second just causes anger and hurt feelings.” – This is a perfect explanation of the most important distinction that can be made in online discourse.

      And you know, I completely agree with your last paragraph. As someone who would rather watch Castle and Once Upon a Time than Mad Men or Breaking Bad, I believe no one should be belittled for their tastes.

  6. Bless you for this… as I commented on your post on Tumblr, I think this quote by Kant (later attributed to Benito Juárez) sums it up and it’s something we should really strive to follow: “Among individuals, as among nations, respect for the rights of others is peace”: everyone has the right to like or dislike/critique something, but my right ends where the other person’s right starts, and I certainly don’t have the right to insult someone for an opposing opinion, EVER. This doesn’t mean that you can’t critique someone else’s opinion either, but as you already pointed out, calling people out or calling them names is certainly NOT the way to have a polite and constructive discussion.

    Also, I am really sad when I see people condemning something by saying “this only appeals to teenage girls” like it’s immediately negative or bad because of it, because it’s not only unfair and insulting to teenagers, but it’s also absolutely NOT the absolute truth. I’m very much not a teenager anymore, and I still find a lot of stories and love stories especially truly inspiring.

    I think everyone should have the right to express their love for something without having to feel ashamed for it just because someone has a different interpretation on it; and it really doesn’t matter in the end, because no one really changes their interpretation or love/dislike for something anyway, so trying to convince someone who doesn’t like the same thing you do (or te other way around for that matter), is a waste of time and often only devolves in a vitriolic and displeasing circular discussion where everyone ends up getting upset.

    I have had to limit my time in Tumblr as a result of all of this actually, which is sad… I really don’t ever want to convince others to like what I like, but I also don’t want to read people’s post where they belittle what I like, because again, I really don’t wish to be made to feel ashamed for liking it in the first place. The internet is a big enough place to allow for like-minded people to come together and enjoy something without having to censor ourselves just because someone else has a different interpretation.

    Sorry for this long (and not very eloquent) reply, the bottom line is I totally agree with this, and I want to thank you so much for posting it. And as usual, love your blog and thank you for being so level-headed and respectful to everyone 🙂

    • Thank you so much for this comment (which was very eloquent!), and thank you for the kind words about NGN. That quote from Kant is wonderful and so applicable to this situation, and I’m so happy you shared it.

      I agree with you about the absolutely false claims that only teenage girls care about certain kinds of stories. I’m far from a teenager, and I am definitely drawn towards a lot of those same stories that people disparagingly call “fodder for silly teenage girls.” There’s no age limit on being drawn towards certain kinds of stories or media in general, and it makes me sad to see an entire demographic belittled for their tastes.

      I’m finding myself spending less and less time in certain corners of the Internet lately, too. It’s just not worth the aggravation.

  7. I am glad you were finally able to get your feelings out Katie! I know there are lot of us out there feeling the same way right now. As I like to say, I will always respect your opinion, but I dont have to respect your attitude!

    Lets just face it, life is HARD. There is enough crap we have to deal with in our lives outside the internet. Many of us use the internet and media as a way to unwind and escape for a little while. Why do we have to make things even harder and more negative by attacking the things people find joy in?

    • Thanks, Shauna!

      Your second paragraph is the TRUTH. Life outside of fandom is stressful enough; no one needs added drama and distress from the thing they used to go to for happiness and escape.

  8. I totally agree with everything you’re saying here. I don’t understand why people can’t accept that others are going to have different opinions from them and that is TOTALLY OKAY. If we all enjoyed the same things that would be boring!

    I have felt that things have gotten worse lately, so you’re not alone there. I think a lot of what I’ve felt recently is this sort of unspoken way of making people feel like they can’t like a book, movie, TV show, etc, if it has something problematic in it. To be honest, I think almost all (if not all) media we consume is going to have some problematic aspect in it somewhere. And while it’s good to be aware of these things, it’s not okay for people to act like they are somehow morally better than others because they don’t like the thing that has the problematic aspect to it. I often find this attitude is prevalent on Tumblr, and thus I tend to find Tumblr exhausting at times, to the point where I have to take a break for my mental health. It can be such a negative place and I find it can really drag my whole mood down to the point where I hate everything and everyone and feel horribly guilty for liking anything that I like, none of which seems very good for my mental state. So I try to make myself take a step away from it if I’ve started to feel like I’m heading towards that mood again.

    Mostly I just wish that people would figure out how to be more empathetic and, like you said, realize that the people they are talking to online are PEOPLE. That they are human beings, in some ways just like you, who you should respect in the basic human way that everyone deserves. And if you find yourself having trouble with that, then just disengage from the conversation.

    I will say that I do not know what is going on in the OUAT fandom right now, but just from the little things I’ve seen I wish that people would be nicer to each other. I’ll admit it, I am in the 1% of people who don’t ship Emma/Hook and I’ve been a tad frustrated lately by the way they have become the majority of what the fandom focuses on (as far as I can tell). And to be honest, the show has felt like this season was the Emma/Hook & Regina show, which is a bit annoying for someone who doesn’t particularly have an interest in one half of those two main aspects. It’s pretty much impossible to avoid fans talking about Emma/Hook or gushing over Hook, which gets irritating at times. Combine all of that with Neal’s death and I can understand how some fans who really love Emma/Neal (I’m assuming that this is the main group who is fighting with the Emma/Hook fans?) may be quite frustrated and upset with the way the show is going and how the fandom has changed their focus to a pairing they don’t like.

    HOWEVER, I would never ever consider attacking another fan, the creators, or the actors over this. Just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean you get to be a jerk about it or that other people can’t like that thing! And while I am sometimes irritated over the seemingly single-minded focus on Emma and Hook, I can understand it. Everyone is able to relate to being so passionate about something that it becomes something you focus on quite a bit, and I never would want to discourage someone’s enthusiasm for something they love and are getting so much happiness and enjoyment out of it. I always, always, always would rather be happy for them having found something they enjoy than to make them feel bad for enjoying it. After all, isn’t it what you’d want someone to do for you?

    I love that this positivity and encouragement is ultimately what you are about here at NGN, and I’m so proud of you for having a blog that so many people enjoy for its combination of constructive criticism, wonderful writing with deeper insight into the characters and plots, and enthusiastic passion for the things you love. And a big kudos to the commenters here for being so respectful in their comments, I truly agree with Katie that NGN has some of the best commenters online.

    • This comment is basically everything I love and respect about you rolled up into one piece of writing. Whenever I think about the fact that—contrary to current beliefs on the Internet—people can still engage in thoughtful discussion and can even still be really great friends despite having different opinions on pieces of fiction, I think about us. I love that, even though we don’t have all the same “shipping” preferences on OUAT, we still love a lot of the same things about the show (aka all of our Charming Family feelings). And we respect each other’s opinions because we understand that different things make us happy for different reasons.

      “I always, always, always would rather be happy for them having found something they enjoy than to make them feel bad for enjoying it. After all, isn’t it what you’d want someone to do for you?” – If anyone needs more reasons to think you’re awesome, Leah, I would like to direct them to this pair of sentences. It’s this attitude that I always strive to foster at NGN (and in my life in general), and you’re a living example of it.

      Thanks for all the kind words about NGN, and thanks for being such a big part of why it can be the positive place that it is. 😀

    • Your paragraph about Tumblr and problematic things is perfect. It is exhausting. I understand wanting to tell people why something bothers them but it comes with such hate that it’s just tiring. Everything is problematic so the bashing of everyone who likes whatever thing is most popular at the time is just being hurtful. There isn’t any productive discussion going on there anymore. You always know where to find me if you need hugs or are feeling guilty about something you like ❤

  9. You are absolutely right, and since you’ve already put into words most of my thoughts, I’m just going to add a couple of points.
    I’d like to stress the fact of real persons existing behind usernames or internet andles. It’s bad enough that people forget that, when we add to this the danger of anonymous comments the situation gets quite worse. I’ve read, as I’m sure you’ve all have, very hurtful things said to other persons over the internet, but sadly it’s so common that one gets somewhat used to it, not unlike watching shocking images on the TV news. What I can’t get over, and I hope I never will because it’s terrible, is reading someone wishing people dead. “Kill yourself” is a comment that I’ve read numerous times and every one of them, regardless of my personal opinion on the matter ‘discussed’, it makes me want to trace IPs and throttle people.
    I would also like to reflect that, although this problem is mainly created by the fans, they’re not the only ones at fault and that is very dangerous. When the very creators and authors of the fiction and media we all love start disregarding and making fun of others’s opinions, they’re setting the example that results in all those persons who act in a hurtful way towards others feeling justified. I know they are persons themselves and as such can make mistakes, but in such cases and because of the nature of their works they should know better and I hope that they don’t get a free card just because they imagined the universe and characters. That is not to say that it’s all right to insult them or bash them every time something goes differently to what we had imagine or would like to pass in the book/show/film/… Respect is something EVERYBODY should get, even the ones who don’t offer it in exchange.
    The very talented Joss Whedon said: “All worthy work is open to interpretations the author did not intend. Art isn’t your pet — it’s your kid. It grows up and talks back to you.” Whereas the quote seems mostly directed to authors/creators, I think fans could also benefit from it. Everybody is entitled their own interpretation of a story or a character, and it shouldn’t matter if it’s different from yours or even that of the person who created the story or character in the first place.
    Thank you Katie for writing this, but mainly thank you for providing this place for discussion that is respectful and thoughtful and so very interesting in spite, or rather because of the many different opinions shared about the things we all love.

    • Thank you so much, Red. I’m so thankful that NGN has become a place that thrives on different opinions because it’s so boring when we all agree on everything. 😉

      You are completely right about the horrible way “Go kill yourself” gets thrown around on the Internet (and sadly, in person, too). It’s such a horrible thing to say to another person, and it embodies the sad way people seem to forget that the things they say to another person online are being said to another PERSON.

      You are also very right to point out the danger of actors/writers/creators/authors/etc. belittling fans online. Fans shouldn’t attack them for things deviating from their personal preferences, but they also shouldn’t disrespect fans just because they have a position of perceived power. Respect should go both ways in that dynamic. Fans shouldn’t disrespectfully demand that creators change their creations to fit their preferences, but creators should understand that fans will (and should!) interpret things they differently than they do.

      I also just want you to know that the Whedon quote you shared is one of my all-time favorites, so thanks for making me smile by posting it. 🙂

  10. Can I just say how timely this article is – just this morning I saw that Jennifer Morrison had to post on Facebook to clarify some comments she’d made about Neal & Emma. basically she said in an interview that Neal had hurt Emma very much & it would have been very difficult for them to have a romantic relationship again. She got so much hate from the fans that she had to clarify her remarks on Facebook – it’s times like this when I really dislike the fandom!

    • I completely understand your frustration right now. I was online last night and saw Jennifer Morrison’s apologetic Facebook post and was wondering what prompted it, which led me to see far too many hateful, condescending, and disrespectful tweets aimed at an actress who is just trying to do her job and who has (in my opinion) been extremely generous and kind to all of her fans. It’s upsetting to say the least, and it makes me believe more strongly than ever in the words I wrote in this post.

  11. I agree. It’s gotten so bad that I don’t bother going into the OUaT tags on Tumblr anymore, because I can’t stand seeing all the negativity and bashing. It’s fine if you don’t like something, but do you really need to go out of your way to hate on it and the people who actually like it? Why can’t you just focus on what you DO like and stop spreading all this hate?

    Another thing I noticed, and this might just be me, but does it feel like a series gets a lot more hate, along with people bashing pairings, whenever there’s a love triangle involving the main female? I had this problem with another series I love dearly – which I noticed shares a few similarities with OUaT – where the main female is also in a love triangle. Those two boys constantly get so much hate, where fans of one bash the other for getting in the way of their favorite pairing involving the female… and now I come into the OUaT fandom and see the exact same thing happening! Is it just a coincidence, or do shows with a love triangle somehow attract more hate and negativity?

    On a happier note, I am so glad I found this site, where people are respectful and so nice. I wish my other favorite shows/books could have a safe haven like this where people could share their opinions without getting criticized and looked down on.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us and for the kind words about NGN. I’m so happy it’s grown into a safe space for people to come talk about the things we love and share different opinions in a respectful place. As you said, it’s so much better to just focus on the things we like, which is why running NGN has become so much fun.

      I think you’re right about love triangles bringing out the worst in fandoms. People choose their “side” early on and act superior to those who like the other half of the triangle. The thing that really bothers me about the “triangle” on OUAT is that is was so much deeper than what people are reducing it to because of the relationship between Hook and Bae. Also, by reducing Emma to just a point in a love triangle, “fans” are doing her character a huge disservice.

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