Fans. Short for “fanatics”…and many fans more than fit the definition of the word. But what makes a fan so crazy for a particular TV show, author, movie, comic book, etc.? What drives a person to extreme levels of love or hatred over fictional worlds and characters?
People who are immersed in fandom take their devotion to almost inhuman levels. They create social media identities that are intertwined with the fandom, often so engrossed in their obsession that their own identity is lost in the madness. Posts with fanfic, fan art, memes, and clips and GIFs of their favorite thing encompass the entirety of their fan profiles, with little to no hint of an individual personality.
There is only the fan.
Now, I’ll admit to being obsessed with certain shows or books. I’m a fan of the new Doctor Who, that’s for sure, and it has become a part of my identity. A small part, but a part nonetheless. Do I become entangled in fan battles about the show and its canon, about whether Rose or River is a better match for the Doctor, about which companion is the “best”? No, not really. Does that make me any less of a fan? Some would say so.
The psychology of fandom is a mystery to me. Then again, I dropped my psychology course in college because the professor was a bore. Lol I still wonder sometimes what kind of personality is drawn to this level of immersion into fantasy worlds. Can a person’s home life really be so bad as to be overwritten by fiction?
I know that I myself had a hard time of things growing up. I became obsessed, in my own way, with certain books or TV shows or comics. I didn’t let them become the entirety of my identity, as some of these fans seem to do, but then again I grew up in the age just before the social media explosion. Are these fandom profiles I’m seeing really as fanatic as they seem? Or are they just secondary profiles, places to escape from the real profile for a few hours a day?
I shudder at the thought that these are, in fact, the fans’ primary profiles. Is social media somehow to blame? There were die-hard fans before social media, that’s for sure. I just wonder how far is too far, and how long it will be before the fandom engulfs the fans.