ESCAPE NUMBER FIVE FAN STUDIES

As a grown up scene kid I think being a music fan is partly in my DNA. 

This week in BCM110 we worked through Fan Studies. Fan Studies, what is it? It is the scholarly study of fans and the surrounding culture. Fans are created from pretty much everything, from books, movies, shows etc. Do you know anyone who is really, really into sports? Yeah, well, that’s a fan. These groups of fans are then referred to as ‘Fandoms’, a lot of which give themselves or are given to them a name. Fandoms require a special knowledge of texts and inner references and they’re a place where we find identity, belonging and personal connections we seek out in life, especially as teens. 

Henry Jenkins wrote a study of fans in his ‘Textual Poachers, television fans & participatory culture” which brought up the ideology of Participatory and Consumer culture. He goes on to suggest the idea that we are ‘Poaching’ the forms of media that fans are consumers of. This kind of thing is often linked to negative feelings and thoughts, the concept that fans aren’t only consumers but producers. Fanfiction for example has a large negative stigma and usually these kinds of creators will hide the fact they embark within it. I think it’s sad, that generations of creativity have been hidden and buried because of the fear from society.      

Early models of fandoms rely on these stigmas around them, an example that the fans of Soap Operas are lonely housewives. Fans were perceived as gullible and easily influenced. Within the last decade I have seen the stigma slowly release itself, society is progressive. Many fans have let go, changed, and grown from them. With the aid of social media we can be exposed to all kinds of ‘Poaching’, for example fanart.

My ‘fan’ artwork of Machine Gun Kelly
My ‘fan’ artwork of Awsten Knight, from Waterparks
My ‘fan’ work in progress of Yungblud

Fandoms hold emotional importance to many, including myself, which is why the study of them and the connotations to them is extremely useful. The desire to belong is human nature. I have been a part of the Waterparks fan base since before their first album release in 2016. That year was hard, for many reasons, but stepping into this fandom was like a break free from some personal struggles, their music came to me at the point of my life that I needed it. This is why fandoms are important, it is so much more than just being ‘a fan’. They’re positive escapes, where you can connect. 

Chris from Motionless In White said it nicely, after the passing of Chester Bennington. “Please do not make the same decision….go to your favourite bands social pages and reach out to some of the fans of the same bands you love…there are a lot of people just as much as a fan of another band as you are that are willing to reach out and help you… And I need every one of you to be there for each one, each other, every single time that hand extends.”     

Me being a ‘fan’, meeting Amity Affliction
Me being a ‘fan’, meeting Sleeping With Sirens
Me being a ‘fan’, meeting Josh, from The Faim
Me being a ‘fan’ at a Motionless In White concert

REFERENCES 

Jenkins, H. (2012). Textual Poachers : Television Fans and Participatory Culture. [online] http://www.taylorfrancis.com. Routledge. Available at: https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/9780203114339 [Accessed 23 Apr. 2020]

obo. (n.d.). Fan Studies. [online] Available at: https://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199791286/obo-9780199791286-0027.xml [Accessed 23 Apr. 2020]

Grinnell.edu. (2009). Fandom and Participatory Culture – Subcultures and Sociology. [online] Available at: https://haenfler.sites.grinnell.edu/subcultural-theory-and-theorists/fandom-and-participatory-culture/. [Accessed 23 Apr. 2020]

Motionless In White – One Step Closer (Linkin Park Cover Chester Bennington Tribute) LIVE 7/21/17. (2017). YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vp0USXUDa3k&feature=youtu.be [Accessed 23 Apr. 2020]

Lecture slides – week 6 

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