How Obsessed is Too Obsessed?

Fandoms have oft been portrayed in mass media circuits as being conducive to little more than stirring up trouble amongst women and the youth, and it can be said that fandoms have only increased in number. By the mainstream internet, the fan community has become seen as nothing more than an annoyance. The virtual community; that the internet helps to develop is essential to the creation of these large communities, as it provides an online virtual gathering space for the fans to communicate their ideas and recruit and remain strong. The squealing fan girl has been in existence in some form so long as there has been some form of popular culture or popularity, one particular example that the author gives is the fandom that follows the horror thriller show. The Larsen and Zubernis describe the frenzy and fervor with which the fans attain a sense of community, especially to females with nothing better to do, stating that

Fandom offers the possibility of laying aside the whispering—or worse, the complete silence—that is usually the burden of the closet fan. It offers up community, support, friendship, reassurance, and fun. That all-important “you’re not alone” feeling is hard-wired into all of us from way back, when being isolated meant literally not surviving. It can still feel that way. Ask anyone who was the odd girl out in middle school.

(Larsen, Zubernis, Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls, 14)

The fan girl is the epitome of the gushing fan and the world of the fangirl is shown to provide a refuge for girls that are socially outcast for whatever silly reason. It provides them with some form of safety and security that is normally not present within their lives. The most annoying part about female fandom is perhaps similarites is bears to the phenomena of hybristophilia, albeit to a lesser degree, and its potential to become unhealthy.

Though I myself am perhaps one of the knowledgeable fans of Star Wars lore backstory, as well as Marvel comic books, I will not go out of my way to spend excessive amounts of money on a lot of the merchandise, or obsess over it to the point that it’s all that I ever talk about, but I definitely will support it in other aspects such as buy some books, movies, and the occasional video game, however I know that there are fans that are far more invested than I am in Star Wars and Marvel fan cultures, to the point that they spend most of their money on their products, and at conventions seek to emulate the lives of their onscreen heroes. This phenomenon is not limited to simply fan girls; however, they do get a lot more attention for their crazed, stalker antics than the majority of male fans. However, this does not mean that the male fan is not capable of some creepy things as well, with one particularly good example being Robert Hinckley’s assassination attempt on US President Ronald Reagan being an insane attempt to gain approval from Jodie Foster. It is hardly considered a big deal if a man is obsessive or stalks a female star, however, as this is rarely the case, men receive far less flack from the media. From my own experience, men rarely act in an obsessive manner concerning female stars, and usually prefer pictures or videos of them, however, there are men that are more obsessed with the people associated with a sports franchise or movie franchise they support. Below is a documentary concerning the Hinckley assassination attempts.


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