Your Favorite Media Is Not Yours

By: Dylan Hysen


Welcome to 2016, where it only takes one click to find legions of other people more “passionate” about your favorite television shows, movies, and any other forms of media than you are. We live in a new internet age, one where it doesn’t take extensive searching for a specialized forum for a show. All you have to do is visit your favorite show’s tag on your already-existing social media account to have instant access to thousands of other posts about your favorite show, character, or pairing.

Nevermind the obvious and immediately apparent degradation of discussion quality you’ll now find from your quick foray into the movie-you-just-saw’s tag. Because there’s something much more sinister, and yet also as obviously apparent that you’ll find: ownership. Yes, fans of shows and movies now think they control the characters and relationships that they see on screen. It’s now apparently their right to decide what happens to their “fav” or their “ship”.

Here’s a sampling of opinions (portrayed as facts) that you’ll find on a journey into tumblr (and even comments sections of news sites now!):

  • “They better not hurt my baby!”
  • “If my ship doesn’t happen by the end of this season I am going to stop watching”.
  • “I can’t believe they killed off my favorite character. How dare they! They meant so much more to me than anyone else and I’m harmed by their death!”

All of these assertions are obviously absurd and go against everything that’s great about content creation. Here’s the obvious reason why: they intend to take ownership of media away from that content’s creator.

This is so obviously destructive that I can’t believe I even have to say it. You watch a show to see the creator and crew’s story being told across the span of episodes and seasons. That is how television works. It’s the definition of television. If you take that away, we have nothing. Nothing.

Yes, I get the passion and I get how much media can mean to people these days. And it’s great. I love that media has the power to empower a person to believe in themselves and their identity in a way in which every other aspect of society fails them. A gay teen seeing someone like them portrayed on their favorite show can be life-changing in the best possible way and that’s so, so good. And it maybe even takes a meaning beyond the show itself.

But it doesn’t supersede the show itself. Because if it did, we would have nothing and be back to square one. Media can be life-changing because storytelling itself is empowering and incredible. Storytelling is the reason someone can see someone like them on screen and be more assured of their identity. They’re consuming a story about someone like them. And the one telling that story is the content creator. If they decide to kill off the character which meant so much to that gay teen… so be it. It’s their decision, because it’s their content. Maybe they’re misguided, maybe they approached it all wrong, but it’s their story. Inherently. Taking stories away from our content creators destroys the very essence of creative content itself, and if that happens, there can be no more life-changing stories. So let content creators tell their stories. Start your own stories! But don’t be apart of this unintentional attempt to destroy storytelling.

Dylan is a software developer from the DC area who hosts the Overly Animated podcast discussing everything animation.



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