Stitch @ Teen Vogue: How Ableism Can Manifest in Fandom—and How to End It

At this point across fandoms, we largely recognize that framing fandom as only for “crazy fangirls” is harmful and incorrect. We push back at outside writers who insist upon the phrase, because it’s a narrative that is ableist and misogynistic, and on top of that, erases the presence of people who aren’t women in fandom. However, it’s important that we all work on looking critically about how we handle ableism within fandom as well.

I love growth. It’s super important to me regardless of what areas I’m growing in. Every year is a new version of my best self because I’m constantly growing and leveling up as a person so 2021!Stitch is going to be a better version of 2020!Stitch and both are just incredible when compared to me in 2009. One of the ways I’ve always struggled privately is with using ableist language. (I don’t do fanworks that often anymore, but I’ve always made sure to write responsibly as a content creator, utilizing some of the very resources I share in the piece.)

There are so many things that don’t ping as ableist even though, when you pull back and think about it… they’re pretty obvious. Trying to figure out the best ways to convey frustration with someone without hurting them or others who may see it – because you don’t know who will see your tweets and misfires hit the innocent often – is something I have been working on for a while. Sometimes I slip. But I always course correct and educate myself. Because that’s really all you can do.

That, and do better!

For a jumping off point, check out “How Ableism Can Manifest in Fandom—and How to End It” over at Teen Vogue!