Thank you anon!! It means a lot to me in particular because I basically stopped writing that series because no one cared. I had a bunch of stuff I wanted to talk about: the Russophobia plotlines Natasha dealt with in the 1970s, the collapse of the Soviet Union and how it was explored in-text, Natasha and second wave feminism, the shifting place that SHIELD has occupied in the mythology of the Marvel Universe and the almost post-national space Natasha came to embody by the 2000s. The thing is, that stuff is, well, difficult, and it touches on the parts of Marvel that are almost deliberately obscure.
And, well, I do this because I like doing it, but it is hard to spend 2,000 words of effort for one or two or zero notes. I’m not saying this because I’m mad about not being popular on the internet, but to call attention to the fact that fandom is a communal exercise. I’ve been seeing some stuff on my dash that’s made me think about the role recognition plays in fandom, and how affirming it is to just have someone say to you, yes, I appreciate this.
Like, I have run this blog for a long time and carved it from the ground up, so I have a follower count built from tenacity and hey, I do all right, but I want to emphasize that hey, when I started here, in a pre-Avengers movie world, I felt like I was speaking into a void, too. And even now when I can write #catmeta and get close to 300 notes in the stretch of a day, some of the tags went like this:
#god bless this post #and p much any limited meta #i ever see about nat
And that’s heartbreaking, not just because yo I believe everyone has the right to excellent Black Widow meta but because Natasha is one of the most meta’d ladycharacters around and it’s still hard for some people to find. I think of this confession, which I initially rolled my eyes at for laserpointing criticism at the popular girls, but that makes a point I think is true and worth reiterating. One, obviously, is that you shouldn’t go around bashing Bobbi fans or whatever, because that is a jerk move. But two: that it is profoundly alienating when in fandom, with its skeleton rhetoric of togetherness and inclusion, you feel as if you are the only one who cares. It’s the kind of thing that will drive you to only post about fandom favs and perpetuate this limiting, lonely cycle.
I don’t have that problem anymore, but I did once— it took me a while to find my tribe, so to speak. And since I feel like I do have a platform now, I want to take the time to encourage people to encourage. If you see a fic or a mix or a meta that you appreciate, let the creator know. You can’t give everything 2,000 reblogs all by your lonesome, you can’t make everything speak to everybody, but you can drop a message that says you saw this and you enjoyed it. I am going to try to do more of this. Because, I mean, if just one anon ask three and a half years later got me remembering about all the things I wanted to write but didn’t because I didn’t think anyone would see them, that’s evidence of the power that can have, right?
So, this is a really long and breathless tangent and I’m definitely procrastinating on a paper I need to write which is all to say: thank you, anon. I really mean it.