Fandom might be something people participate in during their spare time, maybe in the privacy of online communities or convention halls, but it undoubtedly has an impact on the wider world. In the past few years, the types of strategies deployed by politicians and those leading social movements have increasingly started to look like those used in fandom. This is particularly true of tactics pioneered within the digital and physical fan spaces in order to increase visibility and impact. All the while, fandom itself is continuing to change and evolve.
Powered by passion, fans make things happen. Sometimes those accomplishments are only important within each individual fandom — producing a zine, making a character or celebrity trend, starting a new meme. But other times they reach further than expected, outside fan spaces, and make things really move.
Taking a look at the accomplishments of fandom communities this year is a good way to get a bird’s-eye view of what exactly fandom is, at a time when more people engage in fandom than ever. In 2023, fans showed up and made their voices heard. They launched projects, saved shows, supported strikes, and even rescued historical figures from obscurity. Here are just a few of fandom’s most impressive accomplishments from this year.
Fans on strike
When the Writers Guild of America announced that its members would be going on strike in May of this year, fans took the news in stride. Of course, it was disappointing to hear that production on many fan-favorite shows, like Stranger Things, would be pausing thanks to the strike action. But it was more important that fans supported the actions of the WGA, and later SAG-AFTRA, which were necessary for writers and actors to earn protections and fair wages in their industry.