Written By: Katherine Penman
From the outside fandoms can be hard to understand. Many have their own lingo and can be so massive the amount of information put out by fandom members can be overwhelming. It’s hard to decipher and see all news concerning fandoms - even for members of those fandoms! This makes it hard to define fandoms as good or bad.
Fandoms range from all types of media, but one thing they all have in common is support. Whether for an artist, book, sports team, or video game the fandom supplies a large amount of support for what they are dedicated to. Having casual fans is important, but having a fandom can give a lot more support. This not only could financially help an artist, but fandoms can also supply a feeling of support and love not only to what they are dedicated to but also to the other members of the fandom as well.
There have also been many fandoms who’ve used their passion to come together and make positive change. The BTS ARMY are known for matching BTS’s $1M donation to Black Lives Matter in 2020, and also for planting 600 indiginous trees in Sierra Madre for member RM’s Birthday in 2019. Fandom Forward, formerly known as the Harry Potter Alliance, uses fandom's love for pop culture and turns that into fan activism. Fandom Forward fights for LGBTQIA+ Equality, Gender Equity, Youth Advocacy, and much more through training, campaigns, donations, and creating supportive communities within fandoms.
While fandoms can use their passion for good, that same passion can also sometimes turn to anger. Fandom wars are when fans of different fandoms attack each other online. Fandom wars can be started by artists not winning at award shows, fans accusing artists of stealing from their faves, or even real feuds between artists. They can result in hurtful hashtags and false information being spread about what the other fandom follows.
Fandoms can also attack their own fandom members. Fans can get hate from other fans by simply sharing opinions like not liking a specific song or sometimes even for not “knowing enough” about what the fandom follows. While this side of fandoms seems scary it’s easily avoidable by only following positive fan accounts, not engaging with others hateful posts, and blocking and reporting those who are engaging in hateful posting.
The world of fandoms is too big to give one label as good or bad. At their core they’re meant to be a community who share a similar interest. One way to view it could be that fandoms are good but have members who sometimes make bad choices. They can be good and bad, it’s up to each member to decide what side they want to contribute to! We encourage fandoms to be supportive and uplifting communities in every way, and through our Behind the Fan series, we have found that is most often the case. Fans want to create safe spaces, and any hate won’t be tolerated! Fandoms can create an incredible sense of community!💜
If you want to get more involved in fan communities,
join a Fan Crew on the With the Band app!