Hopefully not everyone can relate, but back in the day I used to be a fangirl. I used to be part of these things called ‘fandoms’. For those who did not have the privilege of being a part of this embarrassing part of the internet, fandom is basically just a simplified word for all the fans of a specific franchise. However, people that were a part of these fandoms would often get a little bit on the obsessive side and not only devote their time to these fandoms but also their way of talking or their fashion. Luckily, it seems that these sorts of fandoms have died out, but is that really true?
The origin of fandoms
The height of fandoms was during the first few years of the 2010’s. Especially popular fandoms were those of the shows Supernatural, Doctor Who and Sherlock. It became even crazier when these fandoms would combine and thus turning into something called Superwholock. But, what is the harm in being a fan of a show? Sure, there is no harm in buying a show’s merchandise or getting really invested in the lore of a movie. However, as said before, people in these fandoms could get a bit obsessive. For example, in some cases some people got a bit too obsessive with the characters and their actors and ended up stalking them or pressure an author or directing into changing the story to their liking. Luckily, these are rare cases and of course do not represent fandoms as a whole.
Fandoms of today
Nowadays, it seems that these sort of fandoms have died out, but is that true? Sure, fandoms are not the way they used to be, but they are definitely still present. They simply followed along with the evolution of technology and its trends. For example, a very prominent fandom nowadays are those of K-Pop groups such as BTS. Something that is very common regarding K-Pop groups are things called Fancams. In these edits, fans pull together different clips of an artist and edit them to be in sync with a song or an audio. K-Pop fans will often flood tweets or other social media posts with these fancams in order for other people to join in on their love for these groups (or simply to be funny).
The impact of fandoms
Furthermore, even though old fandoms might not be as popular as they used to be, they certainly left their mark on the internet. For example, some common words frequently used on the internet originated from fandom communities. Although these terms are still active in fandoms, they are also very common in art communities. Some examples that you might have come across are; WIP, Canon, Fanfiction or OTP. Check out this list by Vox for a handy explanation of common fandom terms and see if you might have come across them! A digital phenomenon that is especially present in fandoms is cancel culture. With their obsessive nature, people from fandoms can get invested in the actors of a show or film and might thus find out some unsettling things. This can lead to someone being canceled, even if the unsettling thing in question was something small or even misunderstood.
Although fandoms might look like an innocent and even embarrassing part of the internet, they are very much present. So next time you’re scrolling through TikTok, try to see how many fandom tiktoks you come across. Who knows, maybe you are part of fandom tiktok!
Such a lovely read, and super relatable too! Back in middle school, I was part of at least 5 fandoms at the same time and identify myself as a “professional fangirl”. While my obsession was kept at a fairly healthy level (if obsession can even be considered healthy in the first place), I was more or less still affected by the toxicity of fan culture. For instance, I used to feel so ashamed because I couldn’t afford real physical albums by artists that I considered myself a fan of because when you’re in a fandom, you feel the pressure to stay loyal and dedicate yourself to supporting the thing/person you idolize.
This was a great read, especially since I recognize a lot of the things from my years in high school. I find fandoms now are simply different in their online presence than they used to be, especially on twitter. I truly do not understand the current way of being in a fandom and how people form the communities anymore, but power to them XD
I had actually a pretty fulfilling and rather healthy encounter with fandom. A few years back I’ve joined a Polish Tolkien forum and was overwhelmed. The thorough knowledge of the books and all the other works of Tolkien was super impressive, and I think as an unwritten rule, all the posts were written and structured thoughtfully. I have never seen spam there. At the end of my adventure with Polish Tolkien fandom, I have ended up with Silmarillion books translated and assembled by the forum OGs. Good times.