After a week which saw Zayn Malik quit the world’s biggest boyband and Tom Felton (AKA. Draco Malfoy) meet a group of the biggest superfans, I felt the need to write something about fandoms.
Fandom’s are groups of people who all share an interest, and form a community based on this mutual passion.
The most well known of all fandoms would have to be ‘Directioners’/One Direction fans. They make what is perhaps considered the most hysterical and intense group of fans which are the reason the boyband have become one of the world’s biggest.
Other fandoms/fanbases/fan families include Potterheads (Harry Potter), Whovians (Dr Who), Monsters (Lady Gaga), 5sosfam (5 Seconds of Summer), Galaxy Defenders (McFly), Lovatics (Demi Lovato) and there are so many more!
Those who would not count themselves as part of a fandom may not understand what role they play in people’s lives. Outsiders can be cynical and believe stereotypical preconceptions about those who are part of a fanbase. Yes, simply put, a fandom is just a group of fans; but, I want to explain how being part of a fan based community can mean so much to those in them and how they are about so much more than just the mutual interest they celebrate.
While the members of the fanbase celebrate the same passion, they will end up coming across others who are similar to them in other ways too, people with the same likes, dislikes, problems and worries. Friendships are formed, no matter what country or time zone the people are from and it’s suddenly not just about the band or film anymore. Social media plays the major part in this. It brings these people together and enables them to share their lives. They talk about what they’ve been through or what they’re going through, no matter what it is. And the others listen and give their support.
Social media platforms, specifically Tumblr, allow users to be anonymous if they want to. Domain names, profile pictures and posts can all relate to their interest rather than themselves. It provides a certain anonymity, which people use to feel comfortable with sharing their lives. In turn, it becomes a space to share worries, secrets, or anything which users don’t feel comfortable saying to those in their everyday lives. Others may know what they’re going through and provide advice, or they may not and just show their support. But this is how a fandom becomes a family. The fact that members of a fandom like the same thing can become a minor detail. The fact that it’s a network of support and advice for people similar to each other holds much more importance.
This is all true for any level of fan. Some stay at home, blogging, writing and sharing things about their interest, some travel the country trying to meet their idols and others might dress up in outfits to be like their favourite people, attending conventions and meet ups to meet others who do this too. No matter what kind of fan they are, or what fandom they’re in, these communities can play the same role.
This story written by Radio 1’s Newsbeat, talks about Tom Felton and his view of superfans showing an understanding of what fandoms do for those in them:
“[He] thinks being a fan can also lift people out of darks times or help them through the death of a loved one.”
You might be wondering why I wanted to write in support of fandoms. I will tell you that I am in some myself and have seen first hand (as a user of Tumblr) what they do for people. Daily, I log onto Tumblr and see posts from those either looking, receiving or thanking others for their support and friendships.
So, before you judge, ridicule and stereotype those in fandoms, think about how much they can mean to the members. You may not understand it first hand, but if it brings that person happiness, support and friendship, how can they be a bad thing?
(Dedicated member of 5sosfam and also 1D fan and a Galaxy Defender (among others))