Did I mention the fans? If anyone wants to know exactly what a fandom of anything is or how the heck it works, ask yourself an obvious question: What are you a fan of? Whether of comic books like DC, Marvel, or visual entertainment like Doctor Who, Game of Thrones; True Blood even. Specifically, the international niche culture anymore is massive.
Dusting off the ol’ Time Capsule
Fandom: A History –Well, MY History
Fandoms. A fancy word that gets the point across more vividly. The community itself, basically. Sometimes I wonder if fandoms lose sense of their own identities or nature. I mostly refer to the internet but this can apply to anything, really. But how to get into anything? I remember growing up not owning a PC (not even an old MAC desktop!), but instead a corded phone in my own room that lost its appeal REAL quick lol. My first stereo was gifted to me–by my parents, God bless ‘em—and to me that was the biggest milestone in the world. Still, even that didn’t get me friends. I had to socialize. Despite video game consoles I had very little in my possession to give me access to people outside of my inner circle. So I had to actively LOOK. Which didn’t help my young introverted self at first lol A community that reflected my own interests was hard to find. Family varied. Some stuck with me, until something else got more popular. Then I rode solo again.
So, that’s another thing: This “popularity” factor. I didn’t realize not-caring was a viable choice, as a kid. I didn’t know many girls who were into Sailor Moon, Gargoyles, Toonami or Cartoon Network. (Let me emphasize: Black; FEMALE; gamer-who-watched-cartoons). I didn’t know many people my age who watched anime at all. It was pretty much down to me sitting at the local middle school lunch table with classmates whom were just as much the classroom wallflower as I was, talking about the latest cartoons we watched. In fact, it was one of these fellow wallflowers who told me what a manga was. This encounter introduced me to one of my first inspirations to becoming an illustrator: the legendary Miss Yuu Watase and CLAMP. It wasn’t until high school, however, that the world started to look not necessarily bigger. The world already seemed big enough to me, who’s barely seen outside my own city—heck, my own NEIGHBORHOOD—but the world DID seem more accessible. I matured into my interests, created communities with people whom I genuinely called friends, and built bonds with them based on stuff we all actually LIKED. After reading this, some might think I just went from being a giant question mark in middle school to finally being a beacon of sorts to myself by high school. She found herself. She found friends. She realized that there are people like her who have similar interests. All good, right? Not quite yet.
Music and Me: The Timeline
I mentioned Kpop earlier. If I got questionable looks about anime and Sailor Moon in grade school, oh, the looks I got in HIGH SCHOOL about foreign pop music! Always the SAME questions too: How can you listen to that and not understand anything? Who’s that? What is it, again?
“But I can learn!”
Other languages? Why bother? Everyone you know speaks English; when are you gonna use these other languages, anyway?
Oh…the STRESS. How could I tell people whom have just heard Usher’s latest new slow jam, about Japan’s EXILE and Utada Hikaru? How could I have told classmates who were just talking about this new, super-talented kid called Chris Brown about BIGBANG?! All these other talented singers I knew about and NO ONE to resonate with me. Family hung in there; but most think a youth’s experiences are PHASES. To me music was never a phase; it was exposure. Music kept my mind open. Conformity, to excess, would’ve kept me closed …
ignorance does that too though…hmm.
I DON’T. GET. THEM. You’ve just read WHY. There’s a strange reversal now about who’s a real NERD and who’s not. About who’s a true FAN (of whatever) and who’s NOT. This isn’t universal necessarily, but this comes up a lot. Now, as for my disclaimer, me being a ’90-liner or a 90’s baby doesn’t give me the luxury of say a ’75-‘79er who went to high school and college during the 90s. I never had the privilege to use the first commercial PC at the frequency I’m using this one
that I’m blogging from right now. I never knew the awe of seeing the first cross-campus internet connection (WITH WIRES) that probably inspired the same feelings people get when they acquire the latest cell-phone. Sorry. They’re mostly “Smartphones” now… These people of the 70s and 80s I would dub the “True Nerd OGs” or what some call the “Proto-Nerds.” These individuals I feel are who put all of current Nerd-dom to SHAME, including myself lol I’ll take that. But the nuance of the word “Nerd” and “Fan” are a bit different now. It’ll keep changing, I think. Thank God I at least got to witness the U.S. have a POP-CULTURE BOOM and the Animation Renaissance (i.e. Disney, Dreamworks, Don Bluth, Square Enix, etc) and NOT still be in my diapers. The flip-side of the true-fan definition though: the community. No déjà vu; I did mention this earlier. I grew up in a time of outcast-inclusivity. Being different in relation to comic books, music and cartoons—VIDEO GAMES—was not regular elementary, middle-school, teenage conversation. How many American parents now say “Pokie-MAN” instead of Pokémon? How many middle aged, American adults say “Japanimation” instead of Anime nowadays? How ‘bout Canada? Anybody? In the U.S. at least, there are still some. Those numbers are waaay fewer than before. Even people who DON’T watch anime sight Naruto, Dragon Ball Z and the occasional surprise, Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyoujin). And that’s TODAY! Fifteen years ago from this date? Not even close. Because these niches were not as popular at the time I got into them. I took a shine to any person I could find who was my age and into the same things, and we welcomed others who felt the same. Today with the internet, the bandwagon rules are different. Netizens can not only exclude people based on these niches I’ve grown to love (those that I’ve contributed to by “liking” them), but inspire almost territorial polarization concerning said niches. This is not universal, of course, but it appears ridiculous to me who didn’t grow up with pre-established fandoms COA: StarWars; Trekkies—I know, I know. But I didn’t EXIST YET!. I don’t think there’s potential for polarization quite like that of the Kpop fandom, however.
From Brownies to the big Leagues
Musical fan bases may look like just commercial markets on the outside. But third-parties (i.e. those who aren’t really into these niches yet nor care to be) don’t know the intimacy of these communities. People get careers and meet future spouses within these communities
kid’s goin’ through a “phase,” huh? I’ll reiterate my last post: The Kpop Fandom is HUGE. If you’re a South Korean Native, you may know better than I. There’s etiquette; concert choreography; planning; LOYALTY. A popular trend across fandoms nowadays is “stanning.” Fans will stand by their respective “biases,” or favorite artists, in any niche or genre, by way of support, whether it’s by way of commerce, cheer leading, you name it! Specifically I see this a lot within the Kpop fandom. I’ll emphasize: the Kpop industry is so in tune with its demographic that musicians, especially male groups and female groups I won’t say boyband, etc. because that to me suggests something generic or ol’skool bubblegum to those who don’t know; Kpop is LAYERED, will create names for their fans. I, for example, am a V.I.P, EXO-L, “IGGOT7,” B.A.P baby (bare with me lol), KISSME and well the list goes on hahaha. Translation? I support these talented people: BIGBANG; EXO (2-groups: Mandarin and Korean); GOT7; B.A.P (they’re going through some contract troubles; please pray for them?) and U-KISS. To a non-kpop fan, this all seems NUTS, childish and probably borderline JUVINILE lol you know that feeling you get when you’re bored, see a PC or mobile game and think “this looks addicting. I probably shouldn’t. Aw, what the hell! Why not?” Times that feeling by a HUNDRED. You’re a new Kpop fan.
To excess, this “loyalty” can exclude others, close the mind, and polarize people over little to nothing. The internet (as well as other factors) has exposed a level of human nature that has always been there, sure. But with fandom exclusivity now, there’s a frequency of political correctness to the point of “treason” talk (can nobody take jokes anymore??). Somehow a lot of people these days voice entitlement to their opinions protected by free speech and constitutional rights.
They’re not wrong to think so. However some people sparingly acknowledge opposing viewpoints, all the same.
I mentioned fandoms losing their identity earlier. This may not be the actual case and only seem that way to me, because I grew up with the notion of a fan base being a forum, with inclusive perspectives, less shaming, no flaming by your own kind, and when no one had cell phones to hide behind—only their bedroom doors. Anymore, if people find disagreement, they in turn curse another, ignore each other, and actually threaten lives out of rage that often stems from insecurity. Fifteen years ago, adults blamed the all-ambiguous “media” for polluting minds. Interestingly enough, now, people blame the actually ambiguous “Social Media” for polluting minds and character. To me, a 90-liner, this is kind of amazing. The cross-cultural paradigm shift even in the last 8 years prior to this date is HUGE (I like this word ^^ It’s fun to type).
Wanna learn more about this topic?
**COA's, Disclaimers and ETC's**
All mentioned content is purely for entertainment/informative purposes. All links provided for each respective topic are of sites I find trustworthy (a.k.a. safe to browse) with any following content the property of those admins. Any unexpected roads to elsewhere are at the discretion of your own browser/internet provider’s security settings …annnd hopefully a good firewall.
Please pardon me if I am not too accurate with the subjects I post about. I do try my best to stay current and not generalize. Constructive criticism and “Grammar Nazis” are welcome (especially about my artwork ^_^), but no flames …[pretty] PLEASE? If you have anything to add, correct or would like to share any cool topics you’d like me to draw for, feel free to click on the links towards the bottom of each page, or drop me a message here!