Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Debunking the Myth of the Claymates

I don't know about you, but I think it's time to set the record straight.

For three years, the media has operated under the erroneous assumption that Claymates, or Clay Dawgs, Clay Nation, Claymaniacs, Clayniacs, Claynadians, Claysians, or just FANS, whatever moniker you choose, are either twelve year old teenyboppers or "blue haired grandmothers."

Not that there's anything wrong with that - we are that, and proud of it. But we are more.

Then there are those days we are an army of "middle aged women," most often spoken as if that's a bad thing. Why is that a bad thing? And why are the media hell bent on disparaging us? And most of all, why is it "disturbing" that Clay Aiken has middle aged female fans? That very judgemental statement, made by an obscure website geared to men, is more disturbing to me.

As fans of Clay Aiken, we have taken a beating in the press, often being referred to as "rabid," or "obsessed," or even "a cult."

OK, we may occasionally resemble that remark, usually during concert season or CD release time. Pretty much like the fans of many artists, in fact. Or, sports teams, if you get my drift. If we were mostly "middle aged men" instead of women, I don't think the media would be so intolerant, so judgemental, so openly hostile and resentful.

...So disturbingly concerned with us. In fact, the media seems more obsessed with the Claymates than the Claymates are with Clay. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

However, I don't think I care to sit back any longer while the media continues to define me as part of a giant, three headed, rabid, crazy-ass fan monster. It is neither fair nor reasonable to paint an entire fan base with a single brush. The Clay Nation is diverse. While many of us "came for the voice and stay for the man," just as many of us stay for the voice as well. And the hair, let's not forget the hair. Some of us stay for the hair. ; )

Guess what? Whether we are 2 or 82, male, female, straight, gay, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, a student, a middle aged female, or a rocket scientist; we have the right to enjoy and support whomever we choose. We have a right to have and own an opinion, and to express it as well. Over the years, most of us have learned to "choose our battles." But some of us have more spare time than others. ; )

Sure, some of us are opinionated. But just as many (if not MORE)are in this for the fun, the friendships and the music. Most of us do not "worship" Clay. And those that seem to, well, they aren't always "Claymates," if you know what I mean. We are number crunchers and fangirls, casual and intense. Some of us want to tuck him into bed and some of us want to take him to bed. With all due respect of course! And some of us, well, we just want to hear him sing.

There is no place in the entertainment arena for stereotyping or prejudice. I get quite enough of that in the real world, don't you? Stereotyping often leads to bias, bigotry and even the subjugation of entire groups of people.

So, cut it out.

Here's a newsflash for you - your intolerance and disrespect doesn't make US look bad, it makes YOU look bad. The point is, we do not all share a brain. We are a tribe of many ages, colors, backgrounds and beliefs. We are smart, funny and many of us know the score.

The one constant - we support Clay Aiken. We enjoy hearing him sing. We find him worthy of our time and our support. That is our choice, not yours. We want to have fun - so stop wasting your time trying to darken our experience! Keep your rude comments and bad vibes to yourself. It won't work anymore.

So, this blog. I think we should let you fine readers know who the Claymates, Clay Dawgs, Claymaniacs, Clayniacs and Clay FANS really are. Feel free to share your age, sex, state or province (or country, if outside the US,) your vocation, or anything else you choose to share about yourself, including what you like about Clay.

No personal info please; comments will be moderated - and may be edited for length ; )- to protect the poster as well as to keep the funsuckers out. There will be no sucking the fun out of this exercise! This blog comes with no challenge, no proclamations, no adversity, no drama. We just want to take the opportunity to say who we are, and, like Clay, to take back our identities from the media who attempt to stereotype us. Trust me, from my personal experience, there are some really cool people out there who like Clay. All flavors. Open your minds; you may be surprised.

This is who we are. Who we really are. Not who the media says we are.

touchstone (n) a basis for comparison; a reference point against which other things can be evaluated

©touchstone 2006