I've been a huge fan of the TV show, Big Brother, for a few years now. There's something so entertaining about watching a bunch of crazy and really attractive people, fighting, making out, and strategizing.
However, while the TV show is great, the fans are not so great. I can honestly say that the Big Brother fandom is perhaps the most toxic fandom I am a part of. I've seen fans tweet hate at contestants long after they've been on the show, tweet hate at the contestant's family members, and try to get people fired.
While some contestants have been more than a little problematic or ignorant, and tweeting hatred is not okay, I’ve seen fans get mad at contestants for simply playing the game.
When someone turns on a fan-favorite contestant, that person will pretty much be hated for the rest of the season. And when someone works with a hated contestant, his or her popularity will go down. These are basic strategies to the game and people are hated for it.
Luckily, not all contestants are vulnerable to these stupid fans. This type of behavior is usually reserved for people who are in power through the majority of the game, and either make it really far or end up winning because of their strong gameplay.
And when I say people, I mean women and LGBTQ+ players.
Every year when a new cast is announced, I see several fans on Twitter or Tumblr saying they want to see “strong and dominant female players’’ and “strong and dominant LGBTQ+ players.”
However, if they get those “strong and dominant players” those same fans criticize their personality, downplay their abilities in the game, and support female and LGBTQ+ players who aren’t as good at the game.
(Note, when I say strong, I am using in regards to how well these people are at the game of Big Brother, not their personalities.)
I’ve never understood this phenomenon. If you wanted to see representation, why are you discrediting them during the season? And why can’t you give them credit after the season airs?
Straight, white male winners might not be liked during the season, but fans can usually give them credit after the season. The three winners most commonly put at the top are all straight, white men. While I agree with those rankings, I disagree with the rankings that place the more strategic female winners and the only LGBTQ+ winner at the bottom. And the rankings that place the female winners who lacked strategic merit, and needed a twist to get to the end at the top, just because you like their personalities.
Big Brother 15 winner, Andy Herren, says this has to do with the underdog effect. Herren was the first and currently only LGBTQ+ winner of the franchise. Herren played a strong game and was trusted by all his fellow houseguests. Despite his strong gameplay, he was and is still discredited by the fans.
A similar thing happened to Big Brother 18 winner, Nicole Franzel. Franzel was in the majority throughout the season and had a lot of control over players. Both Herren and Franzel were accused of "doing nothing" and were called a "rat" and a "snake" respectively. Somehow fans did not recognize that they were contradicting themselves.
I'm not saying it's bad to root for the "underdogs'' of the season. In fact, some of them play very well. However, I think it's time to stop devaluing strong female and LGBT players, especially when you want to see them so badly.