December 21, 2013

I’m–Like a Fan?

There is something I have to admit…and no, it is not fun admitting it.

I have claimed to be a fan to numerous things that I truly did not know about. In every description of fandom I am reminded of how I pretty much am a limited fan.

Before you go off judging my thoughts, hear this. I enjoy a lot of things. In fact I have said numerous times that I am a “fan” of what I was enjoying. This did not make me an actual fan. While I enjoy many things in life, I am only a fan of different groups in body building. I will explain some reasons as to why I just didn’t make the cut for fandom in other areas.

After reading through the entire book Understanding Fandom by Mark Duffett, I was blown away. He makes some very good points that helped me understand exactly what I am a fan of. I know, I know, body building? That’s it? Well, yes. I’m sorry.

“Personal fandom originates in a process of emotional investment.”(138) You mean that when I said, “I’m totally a fan of BBQ Popchips.” that I really wasn’t? Nope. This is something that I wish more people would understand. In today’s world we throw the word fan around so much that it actually loses its purpose. First reading this book I didn’t expect to feel how I do by the end but, I just can’t help it. I had no emotional investment with those tangy yet tasty tiny circles of crunch.

“Many academics have directly compared fandom to religion.”(142) Through Duffett’s explanation on this idea, I realize that I must not be a fan of my favorite pair of jeans. I do not show any sense of worship to them and, at the same time, they do not regularly get pulled out on specific days of the week. Fandom and religion appeal to people in a lot of the same ways. I don’t have to bow down to things to show I am a fan, but, I could exalt them in some way. The point that Duffett makes is on how they both reach out in one way or another and fill a void in a person. I am a Christian, and I do feel a connection there. Many people may feel a strong connection in their incredible excitement to pick up Justin Beiber’s new album. The scary thing to ponder is….are they feeling that same fulfillment buying his CD as I am when I worship in Church?

“By shaping believers’ commitment to the group, loyalty and morality, it helps to generate a part of their identity.”(151) When you are a true fan of something. It is a part of you. In a sense, it defines a piece of you.

Now, I’m not saying this is the only way to be a fan.

My goal in this is not to shout “What do you got! Show that you’re a true fan!” I simply want to hear the word fan and go “Ah! I wonder what makes them crazy over that object of fandom!” followed by any answer better than “Well, it was cool!” I UNDERSTAND. I want people to pause the billion things that they do every minute of the day and actually learn why they enjoy what they enjoy. We cannot keep throwing the word around, using for “I like”.

There is definitely extreme fandom, although it is not necessary. We don’t all have to go out and stalk the celebrity we admire. I want people to change “I’m a fan” back to “I like that”. I want to appreciate hearing “I am a fan of Bruce Springsteen because I go to as many concerts as I can and I even post lyrics of his on my website from time to time.” Just show you care! Show that it isn’t a lazy liking of something and that you would actually put effort into your fandom!

To finalize my point–I am a fan of body building and more so specific brands like MusclePharm. Why? Because I actively purchase their products while working out and trying to get my body bigger! Makes sense? Through a semester long study of the hashtag ArnoldSeries, I have even more powerful fannish emotions for the company. I eagerly seek new products by them and share my opinions on social media. Through creating a website I have already accumulated a high number of visits with hopes that my reviews have helped others. I am a fan of MusclePharm, just as I am a fan of body building. What else? Not sure yet…. But I hope that you can figure out exactly what you enjoy being a fan of too.

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fan activity, fandom, Fitness, health, movies, participatory culture

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