“Fans are the ones who wear the colours of their favourite team, the ones who record their soap operas on VCR’S to watch after the day of work is over, the ones who tell you every detail about a movie stars life and work, the ones who sit in line for hours for front row tickets to rock concerts.” (Lisa. A. Lewis 1992: 1).
This description of fans exhibits the intriguing nature and great interest so called fans has for their idols. It is argued that fans are the most creative and active group out of all of the media audiences. This could be because of the lengths fans go to in order to find out about the latest news concerning their idols or to get the latest merchandise provided by their idols. The examples of the activities fans engage in such as waiting in line for hours to receive front row tickets to their favourite artist’s concert is argued to make fans the most identifiable and visible media audience.
In this essay I plan to discuss if fans are the most active and creative group within media audiences and if true, how are they the most active and creative media audience.
To fully gain an understanding of fans as a media audience it is important to define the word ‘fandom’ to gain a better understanding of fans as a media audience. In a way we are all fans of something in the sense that we all as individuals respect, admire and desire. However it is important to distinguish between a ‘fan’ and an individual who just simply respects or admires a certain individual. Three scholars have different definitions of fandom and the first scholar is Joli Jensen who:
“Surveys the social scientist’s view of fandom as pathological and deviant. She draws a parallel between the fan’s obsession with popular media figures and the scholar’s devotion to a specific research interest in order to demonstrate a system of bias debases fans and elevates scholars even though they engage in virtually the same kinds of activities. Jensen counters the view that the popular press portrays fans as ‘dangerous’ by approaching fans as “ordinary people immersed in everyday life, and reveals the deep dilemmas about modern life that generate such negative characterizations.” (Lisa. A. Lewis 1992: 2)
Lawrence Grossberg approaches fandom as:
“a special relationship between audience and culture in which the pleasure of consumption is superseded by an investment in difference. In fandom, moods and feelings become organized and particular objects or personas take on significance. By participating in fandom, fans construct coherent or cultural activity of their own making which is, potentially, a source of empowerment in struggles against oppressive ideologies and the unsatisfactory circumstances of everyday life.” (Lisa. A. Lewis 1992: 3)
Both Grossberg and Jensen seem to agree on the fact that fandom is merely about giving people the opportunity to create a new identity for themselves and to move away from the negative aspects of their lives or...