The generalisation of fandoms really ticks me off. Specifically, this warped impression that fandoms can constitute only teenage girls (as if that was something to be ashamed of, anyway) and that their fanaticism is something to be looked down upon and labelled: weird.
I should explain, before I get into the thick of it, that this rant isn’t inspired by my own insecurity, but actually by the numerous real-life-people, and hundreds of comments, on our YouTube videos.
In pop, there’s this trend of traditional media to belittle fandoms because they are characterised as fanatical teenage girls. And, I won’t deny it, I used to think the same way – it was very easy to do that with a cursory glance on Twitter at the One Direction fandom – but as with so many things, it is wrong to only focus on the loudest in the crowd.
Last week I was at the Marina (ex Diamonds) show in the Royal Albert Hall and a lady who, as I was later informed, had two teenage kids, leaned over and asked if I had made a video exploring Wembley Stadium ahead of the BTS show there in June. I replied that this video was my child, and she then explained to me that she was a huge fan and couldn’t wait to see BTS at their sell-out shows.
I wasn’t in the least bit surprised. I have met and engaged with such a large swathe of the ARMY, and fandoms in general, over the last few years. We regularly have comments from humans explaining that they are [insert age above 40] and also massive BTS fans, and how they appreciate that we don’t generalise fans as mindless 13-year-olds with their parent’s iPhone.
I think the poo-pooing of fandoms as mindless creatures really misses the point. The world can be a dark place, and having this community – a support network – of like-minded individuals to engage with whenever you want to share your joy in something, is important.
TLDR; fandoms are as diverse in age as they are gender, identity and race. It’s beautiful that music is no longer language driven, and the age of streaming really has removed borders and barriers to world music. As an interviewee quoted Bob Marley in our latest interview: “when [music] hits you feel no pain”