I believe music fandoms are considered very different from other fandoms. There are more ways for fandoms to be created other than just online (which I personally think is what we have been mainly focusing on in class) as well as how there certain stigmas associated with different fandoms that are set by the media , which essentially become automatically set in people’s minds. Thus it is understood, through media like Television shows (some fiction shows have their own stigmatized fandom like Big Bang Theory and how it represents ‘nerds’: obsessed with fictional characters, comic books, exhibit ‘weird or strange behavior’), that fandoms like for specific video games are non-social nerds, or fandoms surrounding a specific movie franchise that create a fanbase name, such as ‘twi-hards'(Twilight) or ‘potterheads'(Harry Potter).
However this can best be seen by comparing hardcore sports fans (who mostly consist of drunk men with their bodies painted yelling in a sports arena), something very much worth studying in order to “consider it a fandom we must try to fully understand it”, to fandoms such as Beatlemania (the epidemic across the United States in the 1960’s of crazed teenage girls lovestruck over an English band called The Beatles). There is a vast difference in the public acceptance rate over the behavior of either fandoms. In 1964 when The Beatles music group really began becoming popular in America, their fanbase was mostly comprised of teenage girls who were considered crazed, and obsessed with the band (which honestly was almost impossible not to be). Instead of studying this type of fandom and questioning what about the band made these young impressionable ‘fangirls’ so obsessed, the men of the world and the critics just wrote this off as girls ‘just being girls’, and as another new fad for the youngest generation to make a big deal about (Anderson). Little did they know this fandom would be one of the biggest in our history. Even with all this said, the girls were actually really completely lovestruck with the bands’ look, really identified with their sound, and utterly adored each member of the band’s easy going attitude. It was something for their generation to bond over, and with the creation of the Internet it became easier to bond with other generations over. “Beginning in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the earliest music fan communities on the Internet were mailing lists and Usenet discussion groups, many of which still operate” (Baym).
For sports fans it’s somehow deemed more acceptable to act in a ‘crazed’ behavior, with the media speaking about it and even encouraging it through the building of huge stadiums made specifically for cities, National leagues, schools, and even the olympics, televised through the Television network ESPN. Men are mostly the ones who celebrate each other painting their bodies in support of their team they’re rooting for to win, running across the field, doing idiotic things that are in no way (but should definitely be) deemed as ‘crazed’, instead of being deemed as ‘just being boys’ (Anderson). It might prove harder to study as well as you could online studies, but it’s similar in the way that “When a community is spread across multiple (online) spaces, it requires more time and effort for people to figure out what there is and to what extent in which spaces they will develop a community–specific identity” (Baym).
Suppose the media is still gender biased, that’s nothing new, and neither is the idea that fan bases get reborn. This article mentions how even though “each new incarnation of online fandom has emerged, previous forms have not disappeared”, which got me thinking, could this idea work when reversed? While ‘Beatlemania’ has definitely not disappeared, a similar effect has happened many times with different fandoms as a result, on example being ‘Beiber fever’ in teenaged girls (for the musician, Justin Beiber). It applies with the same rules, how “fan communities have distributed themselves more widely” and “individuals can become increasingly selective about which places they want to spend time”. It’s mainly the “online platforms and locales (that) have become increasingly specialized in the functions they serve for fans” (Baym); of which applies to fan communities that take part in enjoying performances, so sports arenas of which could also be used to hold special concerts for specific musicians and their fans. So, even with all of these similarities in different fandoms, followed by wide online presence, why is the ‘crazed fangirls’ still only the specific stigma against the music fandoms, and not just ‘fans’?
- Nancy, Baym “The New Shape of Online Community”
- Beatlemania WiKi
- Victor Anderson, Sports fans vs Fangirls