The Curse of Fandoms

by - 7:19 PM

I still remember the good old days of early 2012. I was an overexcited fifteen-year-old, waiting for the Hunger Games movie to be released. I reread the book a dozen times, hummed songs from the soundtrack during class and wore a Mockingjay necklace at all times. My friends called all this an 'unhealthy obsession'.
These days everyone has an obsession. The cashier at the local supermarket speaks High Valyrian, the jocks discuss which one of them would win the Hunger Games and the popular girls no longer only judge by appearance, but also by which Hogwarts house you'd be in.
The big difference between then and now? In 2012 it was called an 'unhealthy obsession'. These days, we call it a 'fandom'.

What is a fandom? I can't properly explain, but Urban Dictionary knows how to express my feelings about fandoms perfectly:

1. The most disturbing phenomenon of our generation.

2. A group of people all obsessed with the same thing. Usually a work of fiction being either a movie, book, TV show, anime, comic, video game, etc...

3. A way for lonely people to feel a part of something larger than themselves.

4. A collective of creepy obsessive type people that only serves to feed and encourages each other in unhealthy obsessions and exaggerated exultation of non-existent people, creatures, places and objects.
"Oh my god, I wanted to search for pictures of that actor from that movie we saw last night but I was inundated with terrible text posts and reaction gifs from a fandom I didn't even know existed! Ugh!"

At first I was pleased with the whole fandom thing coming to the Netherlands. I imagined hating on Twihards with my fellow Potterheads, or discussing dystopian fiction with people who love it just as much as I do. Seemed a little like my personal heaven. Things I liked became a little less taboo and people started wearing superhero shirts in public. I was living the dream in those days.
But then, as usual, reality came along and smacked me in the face. The people wearing superhero shirts? They didn't really know who the green dude on their shirts was. Potterheads vs Twihards? More like a I'm-a-bigger-Potterhead-than-you debate... Fandoms didn't turn out to be fun, fandoms turned out to be ferocious, an all-out war on anyone who dared to disagree with your view on a book, movie or tv-series.

Life became very confusing when M. was converted to the Fandom Philosophy. Everyone was cool with it. M. started to behave like... like... well, like me, actually. She was obsessing over the Fault on our Stars 24/7. Everyone thought this was totally acceptable. So I thought fangirling had become acceptable too. Oh gosh, I was so, so naive. I only had to say 'I liked the Fault in our Stars, but the Hunger Games is still my favorite book', and by doing so, I ruined everything. The general response after that on any remark I made: 'Oh my God, Envy, could you please, please, give it a rest?!'
Apparently there are rules for when and where to fangirl and about which fandom to fangirl. I was totally done with it. So it's okay for my History teacher to make Star Trek references, but not for me to say I liked one book better than another? Well, at least I was a fangirl before it was cool! (Did I really just write that? What if I'm becoming a hipster? Please tell me I'm not...)

A few weeks after all that, I quit the whole fandom stuff. I stopped drooling over my mint condition Batman mug, started drinking tea out of it. Traded my Mockingjay necklace in for an ankh on a piece of shoelace. Quit watching the Big Bang Theory and became a geek myself. Without the judgemental Fake Fangirls (the ones who think it's not acceptabel to talk about Captain America for a week, but talking about the Fault in our Stars for over a year is perfectly fine, the ones who think superhero fandoms aren't good enough), life became much more fun.
Though I rebelled a little on the last day of my junior year in my own way. I wore my Batman shirt to school, which was after the arrival of fandoms still not-done. My Fake Fangirl friends didn't like it. The aversion on S.'s face was almost lethal to those around her, like radiation. I'm pretty sure she would have killed me with her looks if she could.
But then something beautiful happened. An emo girl in a Pikachu shirt came up to me and said: 'Awesome shirt, Envy.'
'Like yours too,' I replied. And in that instant, we had one of those instant bonds that the so-called fangirls want us to believe you can only have if you're in one of their approved fandoms. We don't need fandoms to like things. We don't need fandoms to be friends. We don't need to be in a certain fandom because it's 'better' than another fandom, just because the fangirls from the first group yell louder. All we need is genuine fondness of things and kindness towards eachother.

Don't be a fangirl. Be yourself.

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5 Fellow Ramblers

  1. I loved this post and I definitely agree. Some people take the fandoms way too far and take it as a lifestyle rather than a hobby xD
    PS Hunger Games > TFIOS for me. You're not the only one :D

    1. Yay, someone who shares my opinion on the Hunger Games vs TFIOS discussion :D
      Fandoms were never meant as a lifestyle, but what annoys me even more is that my fangirling behaviour isn't accepted, while M.'s is...

  2. You know if one has an nerdy side and like something he/she is obsessed but when someone cool does that it's fandom -_-
    People used to think I was crazy with my "obsession" with cartoons and comics and batman before it all got cool D:
    My school friends still think they're above all it..none of them have read a single book or seen the cool movies D:
    The Faults in our Stars stands no chance in front of Hunger Games..Katniss would put holes through it with her arrows :D

    1. That is so true, when you're 'popular' everything is cool and if you're not, everything is lame -.-"
      No one is crazy or has an obsession if they're in love with something fictional. We've just found something that fits our personality, as if we've found another part of our true selves. I'm a Hunger Games fan because it shows exactly how I feel about society sometimes. There's no reason to think you're above that. Especially not if you don't even want to watch the best movies or read the best books of our generation.
      And Katniss would totally find a way to turn TFIOS into either game, or a death trap.

    2. Exactly!I don't want to give justification to anyone why I like fiction..I like batman because he's batman :D


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