Much has been written about how fandoms facilitate friendships, but Build-A-Bear’s celebration of the 25th anniversary of Power Rangers reminded me of how friendships can define fandoms.
Last year, in celebration of the 2017 Power Rangers movie, Build-A-Bear released a Pink Ranger bear and a Red Ranger bear, along with uniforms for the five original Power Rangers. This year they released a Green Ranger bear, and I thought, maybe they’ll keep going! Maybe they’ll release a bear for every Ranger!
In principle, I want the Yellow Ranger to be next, because women. But the Blue Ranger is my favorite.
Back in the day, two prominent factions emerged in the part of Power Rangers fandom I engaged with most frequently: the Yosties and the Oliverettes. The short version of a long and occasionally hilarious story is that the former supported the Blue Ranger while the latter supported Green, and the two sides staged a virtual war with each other.
I was an Oliverette. Not because I chose to be: I deliberately didn’t pick sides, because I supported the Blue Ranger while all my friends supported Green. So I couldn’t very well be a Yostie; they would have disowned me.
Of course it didn’t matter. By not choosing, I chose, and I became an Oliverette by virtue of the company I kept.
Occasionally during the “war” my supposed neutrality would be mentioned, but largely with the designation “honorary” in front of my Oliverette title. In the fighting (there was virtual fighting, including a virtual pirate ship), the Oliverettes always counted me among their ranks.
I still identify myself as an Oliverette today, despite the fact that it’s not how I think of myself.