“In Australia, vlogging and wearing Dan and Phil merch, is known as like a crime, because it’s like, it’s gonna be shamed upon. Thank god people think I’m young so I can pass off being 16 even if I’m actually 18“
-Cutiejea (Sydney Phandom Picnic)
Now that we covered a bit on what a fan girl is, time to talk about one of the issues we are facing, how society perceives us.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like society wants us killed or anything but it’s rather than the fact that depending on the country you’re from, there will be some hate or shock depending on which fan group you are in and how you represent said fandom. Which is sad because it’s discriminatory since it’s basically telling us ‘You’re allowed to be in these fandoms but these groups… NOPE!‘.
For me, I think its quite unfair since it’s like society is shaming you just for being a fan of something or someone.
Here is an example based on experience:
Back when I used to live in the Philippines, fandoms and fan girling is accepted. If you are in a fandom, you can be popular and reach a high social status depending on your fandom and how many people in your school or peer group are involved. For me, it was the Club Penguin fandom before the huge changes in it’s design and limitations between members and non members.
Since the Philippines have some American culture within it’s middle and higher class economic groups, you can say that fan culture is accepted. And it is evident since during the premier of the film ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ back in 2014, the Philippines was known to be the country to be highly obsessed with the film according to Time Magazine (2014).
“According to Google data, it’s actually the Philippines, whose search volume index (normalized as a score of 100, the highest) for the term “The Fault In Our Stars” is more than double that of the U.S. (44, the second highest)”
-Time Magazine (2014)
If that doesn’t convince you, the Philippines are known for their ‘Street Teams’ run by fans using social media (most predominately Twitter) and are known for making #BringYouTubersToManila a trend.
“About a month ago, inviting YouTube content creators— better known as “YouTubers”—was only an idea. It was not until a 15-year-old girl started a movement through a hashtag on Twitter that the event would finally become possible.
Reese Limbaga, a YouTube fan since 2013, tweeted with a hashtag #BringYouTubersToManila when the YouTube FanFest (YTFF) was happening in Singapore. She invited her friends and fellow YouTube fans to do the same, and it trended not only in the Philippines, but worldwide. It eventually came to Google and YTFF’s organizers’ attention“.
-The Inquirer (2015)
Now let’s get to Australia’s P.O.V:
Fan culture is also a thing in Australia but only for a selective group. This basically means that only a few fandoms are accepted and considered ‘normal’ to be a fan off. I’m not saying that Australia is being mean to other fandoms and saying ‘liking [insert fandom here] should be shamed upon’ but for what I’ve seen and experienced, that’s the case.
When I was going to the second Sydney Phandom MeetUp (or the Sydney Phandom Picnic), I wore the lion beanie on my way there because it was cold and it’s a phandom meetup meaning I have to wear it. The problem was how people were giving strange looks just because I was wearing it.
And you may be saying ‘But what kind of 18 year old girl wears a lion beanie?‘ and you have a point BUT I can say the same thing with ‘What kind of 30 year old man wears an Elmo costume for a video game expo?‘. See, it’s selective and not all fan groups are treated equally in normal society. Think about it, a young girl wearing a lion beanie because it’s cold and she’s going to meet some friends in the park is shamed upon rather than an old man wearing a GIANT costume from head to toe from a children’s TV show for a video game expo.
It’s not only that, in high school, you may end up being the ONLY ONE who enjoys a certain fandom and no matter how many times you explain to your peers what fan group you’re from, it’s more likely they won’t get it. They will still treat you normally but once you talk about your fandom, they just ignore you (unless both fan groups collaborate).
This was very evident in my high school since I was asked ‘Who is dan and phil’ 3 times and they still get the names wrong. One friend of mine thought Tyler Oakley was Dan and Dan was Phil.
Some even got the names wrong
Just yesterday, my friend thought Dan and Phil were called “Phil and Dave”… WTF?! HOW ARE THE OLD DUDES THEM?! pic.twitter.com/1KTa8KgWUZ
— キュチジェヤ l MEETING D&P (@Cutiejea1) August 3, 2015
You can see the frustration that I had to explain over and over to my peers on who Dan and Phil is. And even if I try to explain it to them, they just end up not caring. And these guys are trying to have me interested to their fandoms which I try but it’s just not appealing to me.
And here is the argument that we’re looking for, how ‘appealing’ a fandom is in a country or to a social group? Is it because that the fandom isn’t ‘advertised’ or mentioned as much in the media which could lead to some ignorance? Is it because the media isn’t interested about two British boys drawing cat whiskers on their faces? Not exactly… it’s more of an influence. According to Shank (2013), the media would chose a fandom to discuss which they think it can gain an audience and based their story to accomodate the masses.
“Another reason fandoms thrive is because of the camaraderie within the community of viewers or people who engage with the specific piece of media that is the subject of the fandom. Once shows gain an initial viewership and once the media decides to capitalize upon that viewership, the show takes on a stage where it becomes viewed by “outsiders” as an avenue to social inclusion.”
This shows that it’s based on the interest of the majority that media decided to jump in the bandwagon and make a statement on said group in order to have people noticing them. Same as in relation with your peers, they are mostly in the fan group because other people are interested as well. The media decides which fan group should be ‘under the spotlight’. And the more popular the fan group, the more times they mention it.
In conclusion, there are some countries that discriminates on fandoms just because they are not bothered to understand or learn why this fandom exist in the first place. This can be bad if this is the current attitude in certain countries. I’m sure there are fandoms out there in some parts of the world that gets heavily criticised by society just because it’s ‘weird’ or they can’t understand why we idolise these people or enjoy this book series and etc. And it’s can’t just be our ignorance of our human nature that plays a role, it’s also through the influences of the media that may cause some fan groups to remain ignored or hidden under the masses hence it gets criticised. (Like seriously, I can’t wait for what the media will say once Dan and Phil arrive in Australia).
So answer me this, why are some fandoms ‘looked down’ in certain countries while some are accepted in others? Is it the media’s fault? Is it our ignorance? Is it based on maturity or taste? Let me know down at the comments.
- Linshi J (June 6 2014), You’ll Never Guess Which Country is the Most Obsessed With The Fault In Our Stars, Time Magazine, Retrieved From: http://time.com/2837917/the-fault-in-our-stars-country-tracker/
- Arcilla C (July 3 2015) Filipino fans bring YouTubers to Manila, The Inquirer, Retrieved From: http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/199140/filipino-fans-bring-youtubers-to-manila
Shank, M. (2013, Oct 30). Do viewers or media perpetuate fandoms? University Wire Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.uws.edu.au/docview/1447072954?accountid=36155