At first I’m a little undecided on whether I should write about this particular subject or not with a slight fear of offending some very sensitive people out there, but after contemplating more about this subject, the more I get tempted in writing more about it and learn what people may say about it. So here goes.
When you enter in a specific type of fandom and you end up getting yourself active in the online communities around the world (wide web), it’s common that you will meet a few (or a lot depending on how open you are) fellow fans whom you find closely connected to, not necessarily on their specific interests within the fandom but for who they are as people. The advantage of meeting people online is that you have a chance to get to know what type of people they are before you can actually how they look like in comparison to meeting people in real life, where you see their looks first before you can even get past the physical appearance barrier and get to know the real deal within that person. But when it comes to fandom, it’s most likely that people would want to be friends with you because of your interests first and vice-versa with you. When you think about it, that’s like meeting a person in real life with the judging of the outside first before the inside.
So, you stick to this fandom for awhile now along with your friends and then one day that time came where you find your fandom and enthusiasm fizzling down the drain. You were not as enthusiastic, hyped, or even on the verge of exploding your kyaa~! kyaa~! to an image of your current favorite ido anymore. You see your own fandom in a different light where you not only just go kyaa~! kyaa~! on your idol but to also respect him both as talent and as person. You also appreciate his works regardless of what critics think, and most of all, all you care about is this person’s success, not your fangirly dreams of marrying him and become his wife. And while you’re going through this particular phase, you notice that your fellow fan friends are still in the kyaa~! kyaa~! stage, going kyaa~! kyaa~! on a magazine pose or a cover pose, squealing kyaa~! kyaa~! when your idol does something interesting on screen (ie. attempting to converse with a foreigner using that foreigner’s language or the universal language (which in this case, English), doing some crazy stunts in which the idol knows he’d fail, or even taking a bite out of an pork bun, etc.), or when your idol is in a critical scene or a drama or a movie where he breaks down in to tears and despair (I don’t see what’s the kyaa~! kyaa~! in that). You get the picture. And while you’re wondering about your friends’ behavior towards their favorite idol, you start to question yourself if it really is a requirement as a fangirl to squeal and fawn on your favorite idol in public and in front of your fan friends.
Let’s break it down a little bit through examples. One of the major things that fangirls today usually possess is some kind of a blog. It can be a standard self-hosting blog or hosted through free hosts such as Livejournal, WordPressCOM, Blogspot, VOX, etc. A typical (Male J-)Idol fan girl would write in their blog about their dreams of meeting, being, and even going to the extent of marrying their favorite idol or talk about their upcoming projects, like a CD/single release or even a drama or movie, and hell, they’d even write about a long-ass entry about how hot and sexy their idol looked on one particular magazine pose. And if you are a fan girl at the rabid-obsessed level, your favorite idol is the only thing you would write about in your blog, even when it doesn’t say in your About section that you’re a fangirl of so and so and give a general statement of “this is my blog.” When that happens, you can guarantee a lot of hits coming to your blog, which can possibly help boost your ego. *ahem* :roll: Otherwise, you decide to make your blog a lot more interesting by diversifying your content, knowing that your fellow fan girls can’t just spend the rest of their lives kyaa~! kyaa~!-ing on their favorite idol day and night, 24/7. Ne? Ne? Ne?
I have been talking a lot to a few friends whom I’ve reunited on IMs and each of them have their own complaints of today’s fandom scene. I know that from time to time, changes are made, but unfortunately those changes aren’t necessarily good changes. That includes the behavior of the fans (especially the “new generation” of fans) as well. If you ask me, in general I feel that it’s gotten a lot worse. Back in the days there weren’t very many who were infected by fangirl rabies and they were usually looked down upon by fans who knew a lot better. Today, the fan girls in general (note the word general, meaning not all fan girls are like this) simply just don’t care on how much they know or the stance of their idols towards issues in general. As long as their idol always looks good in all aspects and that they’re still around, that was enough for them.
Going forward, you as a struggling fan trying to keep up with your idol and the rest of the fandom, you find yourself getting caught at other things, such as real-life issues and other interests that you find a lot more meaningful than your current. You start talking about these other things in your blog or even in a chatroom or a forum (and even going further to IMs) with the rest of your fellow fans. You hope that your fellow fans would actually respond to you or even find a curiosity behind your non-idol-related post and start a healthy, ongoing conversation about that something else.
But, unfortunately, it turns out that you get the following:
- No comments/response in your blog entry
- No response in your forum post
- Your friend on the other end of your IM won’t respond to you until you mention the idol’s name. Then they wake up and respond.
Unless you write or talk about that said idol again in your blog or forum or even on IMs, your so-called “fan friends” won’t even acknowledge you as if you have to get in to the habit of fangirling for them to notice you are alive. Otherwise, you’re dead.
And the more you feel yourself steering away from the fandom community, the more you also find yourself losing connections with your fan friends. And the more you continue to keep in touch, the more you realize that your friends are beginning to ignore you. In the end, you find yourself ousted from the fandom community simply because you no longer have interest in that idol anymore. In addition to that, your (so-called) friends start to ditch you to your own new world, simply because they know you will no longer mention that idol’s name, not to mention that they would know that they have no interest in something you recently get in to…
… Unless you come back as a born-again fan girl and mention that idol’s name once again. How sad is that? :|
So, I’d like to ask all the fans who come here. When you meet someone within the fandom community and then that someone suddenly loses interest and gets in to something else, would you ditch and break up that friendship or even gradually lose touch with that person (on purpose) just because that person is no longer a fan? Does friendships among fan girls have to be that limited?
Many of us have lives to deal with, such as school, work, other personal issues. Fandom is something less important and is one of the last things a fan should deal with in this difficult world after the issues that matter to you the most. Unfortunately, many newer generation fans and even some veteran fans think that their fandom is probably the only reason why they want to live and continue on with their lives. I just hope they meant that as a joke (and even if it is, it’s not exactly a laughing matter), but if this were for real, then…
Many of us online fans would eventually “drift away” from the net due to real life matters. That’s normal. Some of us can still keep in touch and some of us are way too occupied with real-life issues that we can even barely get online and say hello to people. That’s also normal. But to completely cut connections with each other just because one person is no longer a fan?
Let’s get seriously real here, people. It’s easy to make friends when you’re in the same fandom, however it’s difficult to retain your friends when one of your friends leaves the fandom. But if losing interest in that same fandom should be the reason to break connections with each other regardless then those fangirls who think this way need to seek help. It would also make people wonder if you have a good number of friends in real life as in reflection to the ones you have online.
If you ask me, I just don’t care anymore. If you can’t acknowledge me or even want to talk to me just because I’m not a huge fanatic compared to you, then fine by me, because you lose a lot more friends that way just because they’re “growing over” the fangirling phase and more in to the realistic person phase. And if this is the case, the whole issue would be your problem, not mine.