I really dislike the whole “fandom” phenomenon. (On a personal note, I experienced PTSD from 17 years of child abuse, and any adult I asked for help did not believe me, because no one really believes that women abuse children). I see so much appropriation of real-world trauma being applied to experiences with TV shows and movies.
Real life justice usually has more to do with feeding and clothing people, and less to do with American cartoons, Harry Potter, or Tolkien’s racist little “Middle Earth.” I understand that media representation is important, but it’s so myopic to be looking to Hollywood for it — there are people out here in the rest of the world making media outside of Hollywood (Bollywood and Nollywood people!), and Americans (Brits and Canadians as well) blithely ignore it — or relegate it to Sundance, “best foreign film” at the Oscars, and indie/foreign sections.
Beyond that, I think dependance on a narrow, US-centric media (which is colonising the rest of the world) for self-image means that people are spending a lot of time on the internet dissecting the motivations of fictional characters, and not enough time interacting with real people. Anglophones have a pretty documented aversion to watching anything with subtitles, and Americans usually re-make foreign films they like (re-cast with American white people, and probably set in New York) instead of screening the original with subtitles. Cognitively I think this leads to thinking in a narrow range of US-centric stereotypes. I have encountered a few people in Denmark whose picture of Canadians has been formed by Robin on How I Met Your Mother, and a few episodes of South Park. It’s incredibly depressing to have your complex existence categorised by some privileged Americans making inane TV shows.
So — live your own lives. We live in an age where we have the power to authentically represent our own experiences and create media cheaply, and even though it’s still a tougher world out there for anyone who isn’t a straight-white-american/british-anglophone dude, we have a better shot at authentic representation when we have ever had. The fandom thing nurtures dependency on the same old US and UK billion-dollar imperialist media channels that continually fail most people in the world, and they just keep puking out re-makes of crappy stories from 30 years ago instead of trying to actually engage with reality. Sometimes the most valuable thing you can give someone who is struggling is your attention, and if your attention is focussed on micro-analysing shining white dwarves and elves fighting whatever sort of racist metaphor orcs are supposed to represent, then it isn’t focussed on supporting the work of people who are making better, more inclusive texts right now.
That’s just a personal take on it. I mean, I love parts of the Star Trek franchise because it inspired me to learn about science and gave me a desire to explore, I love Sci Fi and speculative fiction because it makes me think outside of my predetermined boundaries, but it pretty much stops there: I’d rather read about the ISS and dream of going there myself than dissect Spock, looking for some version of myself in him. Fandom encourages this rabid hero-/character-worship, instead of entertaining the possibility of being your own hero.
Again, this is my personal feeling about the phenomenon. You don’t have to ascribe to it. Like I said: live your own lives. I don’t have to like the way you do it, and you certainly don’t need my approval to continue.
If you take anything from this, it would be that PTSD probably doesn’t arise from your experiences with Avatar, and it’s more than a little rude to equate your experience watching and discussing a cartoon to a disorder brought on by real-world trauma.