BLOG: The Mystical World of Fandoms
Ewura-ama Quarshie introduces us to the mystical world of modern day fandoms and the amazing communities they offer for fans.
In the modern day it’s almost guaranteed you know the word ‘fandom’, and I bet you’re a part of one whether you realise it or not. There are fandoms for everything including books, movies, comics, games, TV shows, celebrities, bands, hobbies and more.
A fandom is a network of people connected by a common interest; the word literally means the realm of the fans.
Basically, if you’ve ever enjoyed something there’s probably a fandom of it (maybe even fanfiction). Fandoms are amazing because you can relate to people you’ve never meet and would never have interacted with otherwise. The internet has been a vessel for this as it allows people all over the world to connect with each other and form a kinship.
I am a proud fan of way too many things. My fandoms are: *inhales* Steven Universe, Adventure Time, Pokémon, Star vs the Forces of Evil, Rick and Morty, Miraculous, The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Once Upon A Time, Doctor Who, Empire, Gravity Falls, Elena of Avalor, Wander Over Yonder, My Little Pony, Ever After High, DC Superhero Girls, The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, Taskmaster, Class, Voltron, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, New Girl, Lord Of The Rings, The Hobbit, Star Wars, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Harry Potter, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, His Dark Materials, Marvel Comics, DC Comics, How To Train Your Dragon, Hamilton, In The Heights, Waitress, Dear Evan Hansen, Be More Chill *pauses for breath* and probably a tonne more I’m forgetting.
Honestly, I get drawn in to anything I watch, even if I think it’s stupid. (aka whenever my mum watches “Real” Housewives). But I’m glad as it’s led me to networks of people sharing content and inside jokes with each other. Fans are creators and sharers of content: fanart, fan fiction, opinions, theories, ships (ships are a BIG thing). Fandoms show creators what fans want or like. Within an hour of new episode of a show airing there’s already amazing fanart and I think that’s beautiful.
However, there can be a bad side. Like any family, fandoms argue amongst themselves.
Some more extreme fans are labelled “toxic” – they are those who take their passion too seriously and insult or act violently towards others in the fandom.
Luckily, as with any hateful individual the world faces, the fandom bands together, rebels against and casts out such people. Sadly, it only takes one bad seed to brand a group as all bad *cough “all feminists are feminazis” cough* but those who just want a friendly community to share their enthusiasm for something will stick together and reclaim their name from haters.
Fandoms tend to come across a certain way to those outside of them. For example, you have probably heard of the Bronies and the Brony fandom. They’re known as grown men who like cartoon ponies made for little girls. That’s what I thought too until a few years ago until I accidently stumbled across an episode of My Little Pony, then kept watching out of curiosity. It was the first of a two-parter, and I just had to find the second part to see what happened. From that moment on I was hooked; I watched every episode I could find and eagerly anticipated the next season.
But the most important part was when I delved into the fandom. I started with Facebook fan pages (It was a time before Snapchat blew up and FB was still the main social media site) and discovered a network of friendly, non-judgemental people who loved the show too. They include people of all ages, genders and kinds who just enjoy a show like anyone else. I realised my impression had been completely wrong and could only pity those who judged the fandom by its stereotype. Many within the fandom had similar stories. But once you’re a part of something like this, the haters are drowned out.
My Little Pony was my gateway fandom; I realised that many things I loved had such communities and I’ve since discovered they exist for just about everything.
In terms of finding them, Tumblr is a good place to start and probably the most well-known site for fans. If you have a favourite movie, TV show etc. I recommend searching the internet and social media for fandom pages and finding your people. I also recommend going to Comic Con, the official fandom oasis, at least once (you’ll want to go again – I’m headed to my fifth this month). After all, isn’t the private joy of sharing an inside joke amplified when shared by a close-knit group? It’s always nice to have others who understand your passion. So, go out and find your tribe, no matter who they may be. I promise it’s worth it.