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Fan Culture In Sports And Science Fiction Enthusiasts In The 1920s

1540 words - 7 pages

The term “fan” was originally used to describe sports fans during the nineteenth century and was later adopted by science fiction enthusiasts in the 1920s. The term “fan,” however, is used for describing a type of person who is enthusiastic, or fanatic about a certain subject. Popular fan culture, nicknamed “fandoms,” have become an integral part of society in many countries, and have connected people sharing a common interest through online communities where they can freely discuss fan related topics. Popular fandoms today include Directioners, Beliebers, and VIPs. People who are part of fandoms usually show their devotion by participating in fan conventions such as Comicon, writing fan ...view middle of the document...

These types of fans are continuously thinking about their fandom, taking things too seriously which affects the emotional state of the fan. The other characteristics of a pathological fan is the “hysterical fan,” who usually travels in crowds and can be seen screaming, or sobbing fanatically, but these types of fans are most commonly present in music and sports.
There are many benefits to being a fan and participating in a fandom. It was perceived by the general public and psychologists that die-hard fans were lonely, alienated, and searching for self-esteem through identifying with someone or something (McKinley 1). But a study was done in the University of Kansas that sports fans or regular fans had less cases of depression than those who were not enthusiastic about something. Engaging in fan communities online helps to increase confidence levels in social interactions, making fans feel less isolated. From being a fan one gets to experience a sort of fantasy world in which one can escape from reality and experience things that were not possible in their own life. Fans are able to live vicariously through the singer or celebrity they idolize, or the show or comic book they follow. Fans gain self-satisfaction from watching the thing or person they love and feel as though they have achieved something themselves. “Watching someone perform an action triggers mirror neurons, making the viewer feel, to an extent, like he is the doer. The greater the observer’s personal draw to the action, the more intensely he feels that he’s the one hitting home run” (Hirt 1). But living vicariously through someone else can cause the fan to feel unsatisfied with their own life and affect the fans state of mind leading to
Fan culture is also noted as an output in exploring sexuality and gender, making fans feel comfortable in their own skin. The new exploration of sexuality and gender in fandom started during the Beatlemania craze of the 1960s, this was the name of the extreme enthusiasm and frenzied behavior of the Beatle’s fans. “To abandon control - to scream, faint, dash about in mobs- was, in form if not in conscious intent, to protest sexual repressiveness, the rigid double standard of female teen culture, it was the first and most dramatic uprising of women’s sexual revolution (Enrenreich 4). This craze appeared due to the Beatles’ slightly androgynous sexuality, and the very attainable image that they exerted. This is an important aspect of fan culture today, the fact that media figures give off a very obtainable image and likable personality leads to these hoards of crazed fangirls/boys. There are many negative affects to becoming a fan. When the majority of one’s thoughts and energy goes into one’s obsessions it can prove unhealthy and change the fanatics view of reality. Then living in the fandom world would become more interesting than living in the real world. Fans need to find a balance between the fan culture world and their own reality.
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