This is something that’s intrigued me over the last few weeks… Fandoms. A fandom, for those who don’t know, is an online – usually on tumblr and twitter – collective group of people who all enjoy one particular show or thing. Big and small, there are fandoms for nearly everything now – I mean heck, there’s even ceiling, bedroom and sofa fandoms! (Slightly parodical, of course)
Fandoms are great, you are introduced into a family where immediately you are met with people who share your appreciation with a show or person, people who will understand your TV show quotes, references and in-jokes. There’s nothing quite like it – even your best friends won’t always understand your obscure My Drunk Kitchen quotes!
People in fandoms also will not hesitate to defend other people in the fandom if they’re the unfortunate victims of online abuse, as has been the case with some people I’ve known. Similarly but in a slightly different shade of scenarios, if someone publicly offends their idol and gets noticed by fans (I’m looking at Beliebers and Little Monsters here), all hell breaks loose and unstoppable tirades of backlash are unleashed (justified or not)… and thus we see the darker side of fandoms.
Now, not all fandoms are like this. I dislike making generalisations, but this aforementioned negative behaviour does tend to be from fandoms that are predominantly young impressionable teenage girls and boys, who have either become sexually/romantically attracted to celebrities or have placed them in an inappropriately high role-model position above anyone else in their life.
A slight change of focus, but here I’m going to make a claim:
The greater the number of people that share an obsession, the more accepted it is.
Let me back up what I mean with a few scenarios. Imagine there is a young teenage girl who is a die-hard Belieber. Her bedroom is covered tip to toe with Justin Beiber posters and photos. Her bedsheets are covered with a larger-than-life Justin Beiber design, and the pillowcases have the face of Justin Beiber printed on them, so she can wake up to him smiling at her each morning. Creepy, but I’d be willing to bet that there are many girls (and maybe some boys) with bedrooms like this around the world – and wahey, a quick google search proves me right!
Now take this bedroom, but replace Justin Beiber with a not as globally recognised individual. Those who know me personally will know I am a fan of the Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby, but if I were to redecorate my bedroom and have nothing but posters and photos of her on my walls, I’m certain people would be calling for me to see a therapist, and I’m sure at some point I would be expecting a restraining order in the mail.
Back to the first girl, and if she were to have managed to – somehow – been to 60+ of Justin Beiber’s concerts, this would easily be a major bragging point amongst her peers, and would no doubt receive comments like “OMG you’re so lucky, I’m so jealous!”. On the other side of the spectrum, I know for a fact that there is a woman who has seen Adam Hills – a much more respectable individual than Mr Beiber, in my opinion – perform live (on Spicks and Specks as well as stand-up) more than 60 times, and as a result gets labelled a stalker (in good humour, I’m pretty sure) on his DVD!
I could go on and on about the strange double-standard we have in our society in terms of fans, but I think I’ll leave it here: with fandoms there are the good and the bad, but I guess that as long as it’s not the only thing in your life, then you’re in the clear.
…Creepy stalking ‘aint cool, guys.