I am a fan of many things and a part of many fandoms. Whether it be the incredible diverse fandom of Harry Potter, my own personal fan obsession of Jennifer Aniston, Friends obsession, and the previous early obsession of One Direction and Twilight… but we will just move past those ones.
I’ve always known I am quite a fan or quite obsessive with many things. Yet, I’ve also always known there are definitely people with stronger obsessions than mine. What I hadn’t yet realized was that everyone is a fan of something. No matter what it is or to what extent, everyone is a fan of something.
Not only this, but this idea of the ‘fan’ is not a new thing in any way. The fan life has been around for an exceeding amount of time whether it be the insane fans of The Beatles and Elvis or even earlier fans of I don’t know… Achilles?…
What perhaps can be viewed as more of a new notion however, is the idea of the ‘bad’ fan and anxieties about the obsessiveness of fandoms. This is seen from the anxieties about a perceived lack of distinction between fandom and reality, thus causing the ‘bad’ fan. And when thinking about these types of fans, we may stumble across things such as this.
We see images and videos of fans behaving like this, and the stereotypes surrounding them are hard to ignore. I know I for one jump straight to them being gullible, childlike and easily influenced. This is also the same as the perceptions and ideas around audiences and media audiences.
Despite these insane, diverse and somewhat erratic fandoms that exist. Those who want to change the world and have dramatic influence over the creation of what they are fans of itself, we are missing many representations of gender and race. There are these same key issues in fandoms that exist also in wider society.
There are many incidents occurring of sexual harassment towards female cosplayers, as well as general abuse towards women with these interests and opinions. Not only this but there is a lack of women, people of colour, different races in fan texts- most obviously in Hollywood. Fans are often at the forefront speaking out against these. An example of this is the Marvel superhero Black Widow and how she has never had her own solo movie, and rarely ever appears in any Avengers merchandise.
The world of the fan is so diverse and creative, and explains many ideas behind how people engage in the media.