Is there such a thing as fandom profiling? I think there is.
The SPN fandon has an iffy reputation, let's face it. We're notorious and to some degree, villainized, in Fandom, big 'f'. I've caught wind of stuff like "those embarrassing SPN fans" and "crazy shippers" in relationship to the our fandom, specifically. And it just chafes my chaps.
On the one hand, yeah, we do see some pretty extreme behavior amongst our numbers. Tin-hattery, politicizing shipping, stuff every fandom sees. Are we worse in these extremes than most? Maybe.
But that doesn't describe the vast majority of SPN fans, and to be seen as "crazies" by our OWN tribe is frustrating. I think sometimes we're profiled, and it's assumed we're as radical as our lunatic fringe. All of us.
How do we address this? Should we, even? Me, personally, I think we should. I don't succeed 100% of the time, but I try to focus on uplifting those parts of fandom I want to encourage, as opposed to tearing down those parts of fandom I dislike. That's not to say we turn a blind eye when someone's being attacked or picked on for their fandom proclivities, nor does it mean we can't be unhappy when our canon or fandom disappoints us. Of course not. But maybe what we should practice is focus on what we do WELL in contrast to what we do POORLY. And maybe we should look beneath what we see on the surface, and admit there might be more to something than meets the eye.
This isn't in response to anything in particular, but just a vibe in the air. What can, or should, we do about it? Not sure, but I have some plans for my own behavior:
-Concrit. In other words, if I want to criticize the Show or fandom, I must do it constructively and without meanness. I must remember that many of us take the Show and its characters personally, because we relate in some substantial way. We may not think we're hurting someone by tearing Sam Winchester (for instance ;)) a new ass hole for doing x y z, but we actually are. As much as we may try to maintain an objective distance--this is just fiction, right?--we don't always succeed. Tempering emotions with analysis and vice versa isn't a bad way to go.
-Humor. Why so serious? Well, as I said above, we love because we relate and care. We can be deadly serious about our fandom doings. But hey, isn't fandom supposed to be FUN? Are we having fun? No? Then something's gotta give. The biggie, I think, is in remembering to laugh WITH each other, not AT each other. Constantly poking folks in their soft spots isn't cute or funny or harmless, even if it's being done under the guise of humor.
-Compromise. Agree to Disagree. There is no sense in beating someone over the head with your opinion, because that is NOT the way to get them to see your point of view. Take a breath! Give them a chance to respond, and truly hear them. Don't just wait for them to stop talking so you can keep ranting. Be willing to give a little. Reciprocity is how shit gets done. Dogmatically sticking to your guns, blinders on, is a dangerous practice, IMHO. Trees that bend in the wind don't break, right?
-Call People on their Shit. This may seem contradictory to the first three, but it doesn't have to be. Sometimes we just need to speak up, right? If we don't, we'll explode. And I don't mean calling people out or looking for people to fight with. Having a different point of view is OKAY. But if something crosses our path that strikes us wrongly, and it sticks in our craw something fierce, we have every right to voice our opinion about it, OF COURSE. How we go about it is what will make or break the situation. Referring to the "C-H-C" model above (concrit, humor, compromise) may well turn friction into understanding. It also might put a damper on the extreme, mean-spirited in-fighting that happens in our fandom, and makes us look like a bunch of unhinged trolls.
Huh! I guess I can call this my 2015 Fandom New Years Resolutions! (To which I will add: STOP PROCRASTINATING, SELF. SERIOUSLY.)
So, feel free to comment, discuss, disagree and digest. But I will indulge in point #4 if points #1, #2 and #3 aren't attempted, heh!