Inside the mind of a fan

The Psychology of Fandoms


ShelaMay Rico, Reporter

For many, a fandom is something that is supportive or motivating. It can have a big impact on a person. Whether it be movies, books, video games, sports teams, brands, celebrities, and musicians, fandoms are something that we all are a part of. There are many differences to a “casual” fan vs a “super” fan, for example, the intensity of a connection to a fandom. 

In the episode “What does it take to be a superfan?” in the podcast Part-Time Genius tells the difference between a casual fan and a super fan.  “A casual fan of ‘Game of Thrones’ might spend hours binge-watching an entire season of the T.V. show. A superfan might spend an additional 20 hours listening to podcasts that dissect each episode of the show,” 

 A study from the University of Texas shows there is a definite connection between the fan and fandom. The Fan feels at least that there is a “part” of themselves that they want to have or already are. But, there are fans who consider themselves to change themselves to be an exact persona. This is unhealthy getting lost into a fictional world, you lose your own sight of reality. 

Sophomore Rose Holden is a K-pop superfan, who tells that music has always been there for her. “Well, music, in general, helps people out. But this fandom of BTS has helped me through my dark days.” 

Think about it who is your favorite character of that new T.V. show you watched? Why are they your favorite? Because you see yourself in that person, or you strive to be like them. It’s a big part of who we are when we identify ourselves into a group or either someone to accept you.

The novel  “Social: why our brains are wired to connect” by Matthew D. Leiberman states, “To the extent that we can characterize evolution as designing our modern brains, this is what our brains were wired for: reaching out to and interacting with others,”  This shows that the psyche of the human brain wants pretty much one thing: A connection with another being. 

There is a difference between obsession and fandoms, and how they affect the human psyche. Obsession is when a fandom takes over a person’s life not leaving any room for normality in their life.

Obsession is found in fandoms, the term of a person or fandom that is obsessive or addictive is “toxic.” It can become extremely unhealthy to completely obsess over a fandom. That is how the world perceives fandoms, which is false, as people of fandoms know. Fandoms, connect people with the same interests and is an interest NOT an obsession.

Fandoms do help people emotionally. They can be an outlet for emotions to be let out. The community of a fandom always cares about an individual member. As humans, we need that support in order to have a happy and healthy emotional health. 

“Disney movies (or anime), it made me something I could relate to with my dad. It’s kind of hard to connect since he’s a guy and I’m a girl and you don’t really find a whole lot to talk about or connect with, especially since, when your girl your mom, trying to get to you more. So finding fandoms gave me a place forgave me something to talk about,” said junior Tiani Olguin

Fandoms are also a beacon of light to many who have depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses. They are a way of finding some enjoyment in their lives when it seems there is none. An anonymous interviewee said  “it’s made me feel like I belong to something, even though people make fun of it all the time,”

People with these illnesses want someone to understand them, feel like they belong.

Fandoms give hope to those who need it, by finding ways to connect people. So the next time someone calls you a “nerd”, own it. The more you express yourself, you find the real you.