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Can a Fandom Ruin Everything?

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By: Connor                                  Image result for Fandoms

   Over the years, content such as video games and movies have gained such a following that they turned from a small group of fans into a humongous fandom. A fandom is a group of people who like the same thing or have the same opinions as each other. An example of this is the “Star Wars” fandom. These fans do things like buy the first tickets to the grand opening of a new “Star Wars” movie before they sell out. While many of these fandoms are harmless, some have caused people to become obsessed. Obsessions can cause some unexpected results. These results can vary from simply dressing up as the characters, as I already said, to actually believing that you are one of these characters, or even physically hurting people just to get someone’s autograph. This has affected many popular things. Such things could include trends, and even kid shows such as the popular kid’s show, My Little Pony. In this article I will tell you how fandom can ruin its source.

The “overexposure effect” is a major effect that can spring up because of a fandom. When a form of entertainment, such as a show or game, becomes so popular that people do things with this form of entertainment that can misrepresent the fandom and the source, this is the “overexposure effect”. An example of this would be the creepy clowns that started to appear across the world a couple years ago . These creepy clowns could cause other clowns to be seen as creepy and harmful instead of being known as fun and entertaining. This has even gone to the point where professional clowns are scared that they will go out of business. One has even been quoted saying this when they were interviewed by the news website, Vice.com. “I just want to do some kids shows and have fun and face paint and make balloons, you know? I don’t want to risk going out and possibly getting assaulted.”

     The misrepresentation of certain fandoms caused by the overexposure effect can also come in the form of a stereotype . A stereotype is what most people would think of something without any further looking into that thing. Some examples may be that the Star Wars and Star Trek fans are a bunch of nerdy geeks who fight over which movie franchise is the best. Some stereotypes have become so mainstream that they have been falsely accepted as reality. One example of this would be the “Bronies”. This group consists of men who like the show “My Little Pony”.  My Little Pony is an animated cartoon targeted to young girls. While this is just an innocent act, many people think that they obsess over the show. This is all because of a bad stereotype that has been created because the overexposure effect caused some people to do weird things with the show, like acting as if they are in the show. In reality the Bronies are actually just like any other fan of a show, harmless. In fact, many members of the fandom actually recommend the show. “Actually, it’s a pretty good show. You should watch it,” said  a Brony when he was interviewed by the popular internet news website, Wired.com.  The reason they were even stereotyped as this is because of a tiny part of the fandom that does things like dressing up as the characters, and acting like if they are in the show. If anything, the fandom is as harmless as the “Adventure Time” fandom. While that fandom has some adult viewers too, they  haven’t been as badly stereotyped as the Bronies have. Not everyone thinks this way about fandoms though. More and more  people have started actually support the Brony fandom in the passing years, but that’s not all. The creator of the show, Lauren Faust, is one of these people. She has even been quoted as saying this. “The fact that they did and that they were open-minded and cool enough and secure in their masculinity enough to embrace it and love it and go online and talk about how much they love it — I’m kind of proud.”

Another thing that fandoms do that seems to ruin their own reputation is the fantasies that the members of these fandoms like. If you don’t know, a fantasy is an amusing act that a person, or group of people, over-obsess about. Right now you might be thinking to yourself about how these two separate things are connected, and to that I say this. In many fandoms, people like to draw or write a harmless story about the characters that they see in a game or show, but some fans don’t just stop there. Some members of fandoms like to have their fantasies play out through these pieces of art or article of fiction. One of the fantasies that they put into these pieces of art and literature is inflation, the act of someone’s body inflating like a balloon to proportions that aren’t physically possible.  Acts like these can misrepresent the fandom and make someone who is not part of the fandom think that the fans are strange and would not want to be part of the fandom. This has been common in many fandoms, but in some fandoms there are more than usual, such is the case for the “Five Nights at Freddy’s” fandom. While the original game was a scary horror game with creepy robots, the fandom turned the character’s into a bunch of happy androids that overeat pizza and are overweight because of the fact. This would be an example of an eating fantasy or an obsession with overweight individuals. This doesn’t exactly mean that the fandom is bad though. This only means that some people are like this. In fact, the creator of the Five Nights at Freddy’s game series has even said that same thing. “The truth is that EVERY fanbase has its ‘toxic’ side.” If you don’t know, a “toxic” thing on the internet is something that many people don’t like.

We may think of  fantasies that people have today to be strange and confusing.  Originally, these fantasies were of objects that are inanimate, or not living. This is supported by the fact that fantasies were first described as “… a form of paraphilia where the object of affection is a specific inanimate object.” These fantasies, or what is most known today as fetishism, isn’t just love towards an object. The object in general actually gets its affection from the fact that it has a power or ability of some kind that the object shouldn’t have. This is further stated by this quote from “Psycology.com”. “Essentially, fetishism is the attribution of inherent value or powers to an object.” We can gather from this information is that fetishism was, and still is in some ways, the attraction to something thought to be not ordinarily attractive to most people.

While I was looking for info for this article, I came across some interesting facts that about the topic I am writing about. One of those facts was that fantasies are also seen as worship in some ways. They are seen as worship because when people originally invented the word fetish, which is another word for a fantasy, they used it to describe the objects that many West African natives used in the religious rituals that they did part in . Think of it as people using a totem or symbol to represent something religious like a god. This information supports the claim that fantasies started out with attraction towards an object that has an ability that seems out of the ordinary.

While these may only be a couple, they are chosen because they can represent many different things that a fandom does that ruins the reputation of the fandom, the media itself and many other things such as literature or art. While a fandom may do strange things, they can also have some positive results. Some of these positive results include giving someone a place where they feel like they belong, and a place for someone to express their opinions and be accepted for them, instead of being judged for them. For example, if someone is being called names or being made ashamed for what they like, a fandom can give that person a place to feel safe and be away from all the hate they get. Now that you have learned about the stereotypes, the fetishes and misrepresentations, I ask you one question. Can a tiny part of a fandom ruin the entire fandom or form of entertainment whole?

 

 

Sources:

https://www.wired.com/2012/05/in-defense-of-bronies/

http://psychology.wikia.com/wiki/Fetishism

https://kotaku.com/five-nights-at-freddys-creator-defends-fandom-says-its-1788461965

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fetishism

https://www.wired.com/2011/06/bronies-my-little-ponys/

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/yvewgw/professional-clowns-explain-how-the-creepy-clowns-are-affecting-business

 

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