Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Fiction Friction (#13): What I Think It Means to Be a Fan

These posts are meant to bring about some conversation, discussion, and perhaps even a debate. These discussion posts can occur at varying days of the week, mostly depending upon what's scheduled on the blog and what I feel like discussing.

Many different recent occurrences led to this discussion post idea, but I think it's an interesting topic to address. What does it mean to be a fan of something?

For me, being a fan means that you enjoy whatever you're a fan of. It doesn't matter how long you've loved it/enjoyed it. It doesn't matter how much later in life you discovered it. It doesn't matter how dedicated you are to it/to the fandom. If you enjoy it, you're a fan. If you like to talk to others about it, you're a fan.

But some people have this idea of what it means to be a "true fan." Again, I think being a "true fan" means that you enjoy/like whatever it is. If you love Harry Potter, you're a Harry Potter fan/Potterhead. You don't have to have read Harry Potter when you were a child. You don't have to have read all the books or watched all the movies. Yes, there's a difference between being a fan of the books and being a fan of the movies, but the thing is, either way, I'll consider you a Harry Potter fan. I guess you could say there are levels of fandom, but ehh. In general, you're a fan. In the specific case of Harry Potter, I do believe the one distinction is the "Harry Potter Generation." I know this will probably cause some arguments, but that's what discussions are for, right? I consider myself a part of the Harry Potter Generation. I grew up around Harry Potter, at the time when Harry Potter was still being released. Some people don't consider people my age to be part of the generation because we were still really young when the first book came out or because we weren't the same age as Harry when the story began. But I think the Harry Potter Generation spans all the people that were young and grew up with Harry Potter. Whether you were twenty or two when the first book came out, I think you could be a part of the Generation. If you became a Potterhead while the books were still being released, I think you're part of the Generation. And this name doesn't mean that we're better fans than kids that are discovering and loving Harry Potter now. They're fans and Potterheads just as much as we are. But they, in my mind, aren't part of the Harry Potter Generation. 

So basically, I think there can be levels of being a fan, but being a "true fan" doesn't have to mean you started loving whatever it was when it first began. I consider myself a fan of Divergent now. Am I a true fan? Sure. Have I been a fan since the beginning? Not at all. But don't you dare tell me that I'm not a "real fan." I liked the book and the movie. I like to talk about it. Doesn't that make me a fan, just like you?

There's also the issue of how big a fan you are. Are you a better fan if you know every episode plot and title of a show? Are you a better fan if you follow a band's every movement and news on Twitter? Perhaps. But that doesn't make you better than any other fan. It doesn't mean you can accuse someone of not being a big enough fan. Some of us are a fan of so many things we can't do it all. Some of us just aren't able to remember every episode plot and title. Some of us aren't able to remember all the smallest of details in our favorite books. If you aren't one of these people, sure, maybe you are a bigger fan but maybe not. There are other factors to think about, not just how many fandom facts you know.

At the end of the day, isn't what's most important the fact that we can all come together and just love whatever it is we're a fan of?

What do you think makes someone a fan of something? Are some fans better than others?

1 comment:

  1. Oooo, a great topic! And I definitely agree with you. I believe sometimes people are so hardcore that they refuse to let certain people be a part of the fandom (i.e. Potterheads). In my opinion, anyone can be a fan of anything so long as they have interest in it and treat other fans with respect. I can't wait to find out what your next discussion post is about!



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