Representation & My Search For the 13th Doctor of Bass Players

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I keep talking about music, in life and in this blog, because it’s what’s on my mind. I podcast about music, listen to as much music as I can (for the podcast and because I feel like I have 20 years’ worth to catch up on) and I love the fact that I’m practicing my bass at least every second day to stay sane not just because I “should”. So, with that in mind I wasn’t expecting thoughts about representation relating to Doctor Who and the new, upcoming female Doctor to necessarily enter into the equation because of music. I thought I had made up my mind and come to a fair point of neutrality even if I couldn’t quite understand why the gender of the Doctor was that important to these people. Wasn’t the most important concern whether she was the best actress for the job? (Spoiler: yes, and…)

The word representation was brought to me time and time again in response to this question. I thought I had a good idea of what representation meant.  I thought I was savvy on this kinda thing. I actively try to listen to bands and surround myself in people that promote positive messages, whether that’s fighting sexism, racism, homophobia, fascism and/or just making sure their fans know that treating others badly isn’t cool. It’s punk to call people out on that nonsense. I may have understood the definition of representation, but I didn’t understand the meaning.

So, I wasn’t expecting the frustration I would encounter when I was trying to find representation. I just wanted a band to watch & listen to that had a member that was like me. Could I not become a bassist as part of a band? Logically I knew that my gender shouldn’t stop me,  I can do anything. Still, there is a kind of magic of imagining yourself on a big stage playing perfectly while you struggle through the same song for the umpteenth time. I wanted to read about someone else’s struggles, give myself inspiration to keep practicing and eventually find a group. I knew picking up the instrument that bassists need bands; it’s not a solo instrument, so where were they?

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Random fandom: Bandom

I had never considered that music could be part of fandom.

Call me crazy or ignorant, but to me fandom was TV, film, books or hobbies. It was things created for you or by you that you can watch or read; music is neither of those things. In a fandom you gain inspiration, you make friends because of it, you pass your love of it to your children, and your life will most likely change because of it. It was a disagreement that made me to stop and review my opinion. On a podcast we discussed whether David Tennant fans were still Doctor Who fans even if they were only watching for him. Strangely I started off saying that no, they weren’t Doctor Who fans and then I began to reconsider my answer.

This was no different. The more I tried to prove why music wasn’t fandom, the more I realized it was. My first reaction was that maybe there was simply another term for it.

I was already on tumblr living the life of a multi-fandom fangirl when I stumbled over Bandom. It was something I was aware of but no more than general knowledge. The term itself is a very interesting one, as this very informative article points out, it can often mean two different things:

1.   A fandom about bands or;
2.  A specific type of fandom consisting usually of one of three bands:
My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, & Panic! At the Disco.

Now I think defining a term based on just three bands is very exclusive and from the number of One Direction posts I see in the same vein I would try to include them as well. After all fandom isn’t just SuperWhoLock or Harry Potter they are just some of the loudest voices.

Although “bandom” is a great term and it makes for a great tag on fanfiction sites, it’s just a wrapping for what appeared to be another piece of fandom. Wrapping up an orange doesn’t mean it isn’t fruit anymore.

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