Cringe is dead, enjoy what you want

Written by: Claire Phillips | Entertainment Editor

For the past few years, young people have been straying away from trends and exploring their personal style. There is now a place for anyone and everyone to express their identity and interests — the internet. Whether it comes down to curating a unique wardrobe or enjoying a show that dubs you a “geek” or even “Gleek”, it is essential to constantly spark your inner joy and ignore the haters. 

Fandom culture has existed for centuries. Fans of the Shakespeare play “King Lear” rewrote the ending simply because they enjoy the tragic conclusion. Similarly, fans of “Sherlock Holmes” are credited for some of the first ever fanfictions and publicly mourning the death of Holmes. These fans have never been spared from criticism, however, today, Beatles fans will ask teenage girls to “name three songs,” when the original Beatles fan base was mainly composed of teenage girls.

Fans have found ways to connect both online and offline. Conventions have served as a meeting place for people with similar interests. The greatest fans will even “cosplay” as their favorite characters with intricate outfits and props. Cosplay became popular on social media apps, but unfortunately, not every cosplayer was well-received. They’re creatively doing something they enjoy, so what’s the harm?

Actually, there can be harm in being a superfan. Fans of the hit TV show “Glee” popularized the show and started calling themselves “Gleeks.” It was all good and fine until the Gleeks began harassing the actors. The leads of the show already had stressful lives: long days of learning songs and choreography led to exhaustion for both the cast and crew. 

The same goes for other popular television series, such as “Stranger Things” and “Heartstopper.” Otherwise, cringe is dead — feel free to be a Gleek, as long as respect is at the forefront of your intentions.

The difference between the Shakespearean era and today is the glorious invention of social media. If conventions aren’t accessible, there is another option: talking to people online. The days of posting flyers on theater doors are over, now just a five to ten second video can reach thousands. However, if you’re one of the brave few who share their true self online, the result could be subjection to the hateful words of close-minded people.

The truth is, those people are never going to go away. Whether they appear at school, work or online, the haters are everywhere. If their words are taken to heart and people change because of it, then they’re just being proven right, and the negativity will continue to spread. The most effective course of action is to ignore the hate, respect differences and support each other.

The point I’m trying to make is that it’s draining to constantly be a hater. Reach out to the people around you, and you might find something in common. The universe will align to bring people close to you who will love you for all of your quirks. If you like to make weird noises, seek someone who will do the same. 

Whether you’re a theater kid, a cosplayer or a bookworm — there is a place for you. People like you have existed for centuries. Wear unique clothes, find time for niche passions and seek out those who are similar. In ten years, the haters won’t matter, unless you let them crawl into your head and build a home there. What’s important is the people who will let you shine.


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