Nowadays, there’s a heavy abundance of media. From Television to video games, and from mobile games to social media, it’s not too hard to be entertained. Something I’ve noticed is the segregation that goes on in the world of mass media.
People categorize themselves according to what they’re interested in. You have the sports fans, the gamers (and gamer girls), the vloggers, the tutorial makers and so on. And then you have the “outcasts”. Notice how “outcasts” or “nerds” aren’t categorized into one specific thing. Rather, they’re brought together under one roof of pop culture that doesn’t seem to be as socially acceptable as being a hard core sports fan. If you scroll through any social media site you’ll find one of the biggest groups of these pop culture dwellers; the dark hole that is the “Fandom.” These people are as into shows, movies and books as sports fans are into sports! However, these people, who’re seemingly into an ancient alien with two hearts and blue box, or a duo of a high functioning sociopath and a doctor, or even a trio of demon hunters (two of which are an OTP that HAS YET TO ACTUALLY GET TOGETHER), aren’t accepted by those around them as much as those hipster bloggers and sports fanatics are. The people of the fandom world are often criticized for “obsessing” over these actors and the concepts of their television shows/movies. Why is it okay to tease a person for loving the idea of traveling through space and time, but not okay for someone to have a cardboard cutout of Peyton Manning at the foot of their bed? It’s just not right!!!!
Growing up, I was obsessed with the Harry Potter franchise. I owned all the books and the movies (as well as all the extra stuff Rowling put up) I hand drew fan art and glued them to my walls, I printed pictures of Daniel, Rupert and Emma, and I even took a bunch of quizzes online to figure out which house I’m in! (I’m a Ravenclaw). On my 11th birthday, I was devastated when I didn’t receive an invitation to Hogwarts.
My best friend used to tease me about how much I spoke about Harry Potter; while it was perfectly okay for her to kiss her poster of Joe Jonas every night before she went to sleep. When I got older (and obsessed with other shows and books) I found a whole world of people who shared my interests, as well as my thoughts on being ridiculed for liking the things we liked. I ended up exchanging ideas and theories about my shows, as well as having discussions about what might happen in said show, or what happened in the past.
Fandoms don’t stop at television shows, either! Many people, especially teenagers, become exceedingly into bands. Some of the most popular ones are “Fall Out Boy”, “5 Seconds of Summer”, and “Twenty One Pilots”. Although having an obsession with a band is seen as more socially acceptable than being obsessed with television shows, the genre of music (because it’s not as popular as Demi Lovato and Nicki Manaj), is still seen as lesser. Nonetheless, many people view fanatics as psychopaths. What many people don’t know is that the fandom world contains some of the nicest, realest people there are. Because many of them have similar interests, they come together and become friends. Instead of being surrounded in a competitive environment, they share their interests and turn them into creative things like fanfictions and art. It’s a very tight knit community where everyone looks out for one another!
Now, I’m not hating on sports fans; I enjoy the Yankees and the Giants as much as the next gal, but all I’m saying is that they get way more respect than those who play video games (and no I’m not talking about “Call of Duty” and “The Sims”) and watch sports than those who become “obsessed” with television shows and such. Hell, most of the success in media is due to people having similar ideas over a certain thing and making it something bigger; just like the writers of Doctor Who and J.K. Rowling. We wouldn’t have such broad luxuries of sports, video games, books and shows if it wasnt for a fangirl or fanboy who decided that their ideas were strong enough to make public.
Next time you want to point fingers at a member of a fandom, whether it be for television, books or music, think twice! These people are letting out their creative ideas in their own way! I, as a fangirl, would like to be treated with more respect and not be labeled a “freak”, or be thought of as vicious (which is how many people perceive us as). Yes, I get worked up over shows and books. Yes, I get incredibly invested in story lines, and yes, sometimes I might love fictional characters much more than I love actual people; but it’s just who I am. Accept me.