Is Fandom Culture Bad?

Fandoms are groups of people who share an interest in a certain thing and can range from shows, movies, and to people. Some fandoms can be big or small, old or new, and chances are that there is a fandom for everything. Each fandom is unique, however, since the digital age helped increased fandom activity, there comes a time to ask, is fandom culture okay? 

Undertale, a popular indie game, is notorious for its large group of fans and it’s avid participation online. Uncountable amounts of works made by fans, like fanart, fanfiction, and fan merch, for other fans to indulge in. In retrospect, it is a harmless, fun group to be in. However, it’s fandom is also known to have violent and dangerous events. Undertale, itself, promotes kindness, sympathy, and understanding. However, some people of the fandom have acted in a way that was against the core message of the game. 

Two years ago, a fan-artist was at a convention in Taiwan. At conventions, people of fandoms are free to meet with other fans, make new friends, and show their love of their fandom. However, a gruesome encounter occurred with that artist and another fan. What the artist believed was a cookie, was actually a harmful attack. As the fanartist consumed the cookie, her mouth was pierced by needles. Why? Because another fan did not like the pairing that she drew in a drawing.

This isn’t the only incident that involved the pain of another person, and this isn’t the only fandom that it happens in. Another fandom, like the Steven Universe fandom (an animated show on Cartoon Network), has had harmful encounters. An example is the harsh bullying led by a handful of people toward others. This bullying has become so bad that an artist was pressured into ending their life. Thankfully, that person is okay. However, it does not justify the actions done toward them.

Not only does this happen to fans, but it can happen to celebrities and idols, as well. Twitch streamer Cscoop, popular for playing on a Minecraft server, SMPLive, has had his fair share of creepy fan encounters. Some of those encounters being his water bottle stolen, only to be revealed on an SMPLive anonymous account. Although it does not sound like much, it was still his property being taken due to fan’s obsession. Other things that have happened toward the SMPLive streamers have been bullying for their refusal to say things, fanart of them killing each other, and other inappropriate works.

The problem itself is not the fandom. There are many people in fandoms who are compassionate and care about the people involved. It is only a small group of people who steal the spotlight by doing harmful things to others. It is safe to identify within a fandom and produce works, and there isn’t anything wrong with it. However, these things still can happen. It isn’t wrong to be a fan, but it is wrong to let it get too far.

Stans, another kind of fan (A fan who goes through great lengths over their obsession), are also known for going too far. Though many stans are not as intense or passionate as others, their name as a stan still hold some bad connotations. Many stans are known for their powerful obsession with the things they like. For example, people who stan popular youtubers, Dan and Phil, or popular Kpop group, BTS. It is not wrong to identify as a Dan and Phil stan or a BTS stan, but some stan behavior has been taken out of hand.

Many stans who ship Dan and Phil have bullied them to show romantic affection toward each other on camera. Others have written fanfiction notorious for it’s sexual nature. As for BTS stans, they have created the term “fan cam”, which is a recording during a concert. At many concerts, it is against the rules to record and upload the experience, however, many people get away with it and post what they like, despite it being illegal at certain venues.

There is nothing wrong with fandom culture. There is nothing wrong with being a fan. It is perfectly fine and alright to identify with a fandom, but there is a standard of behavior that needs to be met and understood. It is not okay to bully. It is not okay to be violent. It is not okay to get too obsessive. At the end of the day, everyone is just a person. They can not be treated like villains or gods. Being in a fandom can be a beautiful thing, but being dangerous is not.