When Fandoms Go Too Far: When A Fan's Over-Devotion To A Series Or Band Turns Toxic
Start writing a post

When Fandoms Go Too Far: When A Fan's Over-Devotion To A Series Or Band Turns Toxic

In a dog-eat-dog world like ours, it's hard to believe that some of the most vicious forms of Darwinism are coming out of the very things that we find comfort and escapism from.

When Fandoms Go Too Far:  When A Fan's Over-Devotion To A Series Or Band Turns Toxic

A few weeks ago, the season finale of "RWBY: Volume 3" premiered and proved to be one of the most genius and emotionally traumatic episodes in recent webseries history. Both highly impressed and emotionally compromised, I checked on the RWBY tag on Tumblr to check out other fan reactions. What I found were emotionally inept fans either bashing the creators for not obeying their head-canons, arguing with others about ships and others either threatening to completely drop the show or give up all hope in the rest of the series because their favorite character(s) didn't make as impressionable of an appearance in the season.

I immediately got both angry and confused, not only because the crew of "RWBY" had gone through so much to bring this story on board after the most difficult year of their life, but also because after the finale, we got the premise of how the events were gonna culminate over the next season and left so many exciting possibilities or the future because the real plot was just about to begin. I couldn't help but be incredibly disappointed on how much these 'dedicated' fans were so opening to giving up on the show as it was just beginning simply because of one asinine aspect. But instead of staying in my frustration, it got me thinking as to why fans like these on social media (Tumblr especially) are so obsessed with a series for other reasons other than the show and are so strung up in their various head canons and favorites that they are willing to lash out at other fans. Because the negativity in the "RWBY" fandom is sadly nothing new.

While the negative aspects of the "RWBY" fandom (aka 'CRWBY') is very distracting and detrimental for other fans online, these fans are very far from the worst. From shipping wars to biased head-canons, fandoms on Tumblr have always been war-zones for young people overly-invested in a series. The very worst of these occurrences came last year when popular Tumblr artist Zamii070, an Arizona teen known by thousands of users for her fanart for "Homestuck" and "Steven Universe." After some diehard fans of the Nickelodeon show "Steven Universe" replied to some of the artist's drawings of the characters with different body shapes and race than the show's canon or popular hard-canons, fans went livid accusing her of everything from fat-shaming to racism. The fandom even went as far as creating over 40 different blogs dedicated to bashing and threatening Zamii as well as flooding her inbox with various threats with anonymous asks. The controversy took a far more dire turn when on October 20th, the stress became too much for Zamii and the teen left a very cryptic post on her blog talking about "falling asleep forever". Three days later her father posted that Zamii (whose real name is Paige), was in the hospital after a suicide attempt. While Zamii seems to have recovered and kept on making art on "Steven Universe" fans on the website who are not only unapologetic for almost taking a life, but continue to post hateful and abusive posts towards her.

These cruel fans are only a small margin of the "Steven Universe"fandom, as is the case for countless other fandoms, but the sad part is that its these fans that are gaining the attention of the public, the creators of the series and other fans for all the wrong reasons. Even a staff member on the show sounded off on the Zammi controversy on Twitter, only to be berated by the same fans into deleting their tweets.

Another fandom with an especially scary reputation comes from South Korea with the rabid fans of popular K-Pop bands like Big Bang and Girls Generation. These fans are just as prevalent in the real world as they are online. Other than the matching online arguments and cyber bullying towards each other, there have also been a few outlandish occurrences of K-pop fans writing love letters to their favorite artists in their own blood and sending them to the artist, with artists such as Big Bang's Taiyang and G-Dragon as recipients. Some fans even go as far as threatening the artist themselves for doing something simple that they do not like. An example of this happened with EXO's Baekhyun after fans found out he was in a relationship with Girl's Generation's Taeyeon. The depressing fact of the matter is that members of K-Pop groups are usually forbidden to date by both their diehard fans and their record labels because they break the fantasy aspect for the fans. So when Baekhyun and Taeyeon's relationship was uncovered, obsessed fans went insane and were quick to bite the hands that fed them, from creating a petition for EXO to kick Baekhyun out of the band to Taeyeon being brought to tears and increasing her security due to fans lashing out at her.

With stories of obsessed and entitled fans ruining the lives of innocent people out of love for their favorite series or band, it makes you wonder how their love could go so dangerously far. After all, compared to the struggles of the real world, the importance of a show or band almost seems ridiculous in comparison. So how does this kind of behavior keep happening? Is it connected to a person's psychology? Does the impact of social media websites bring out the worst in fans?

In an article for the New York Magazine entertainment blog Vulture, NYC psychiatrist Dr. Sudeepta Varma talks about how the connection a fan has with their favorite show, sports team or musician can be detrimental to your social skills or mental health is the subject of the obsession is being abused like a drug. Varma further explains that while fandoms can prove to be a positive influence in some fans like a hobby, the chances are that it may not be for everyone, stating that "If you’re going to bed upset because your football team lost, you shouldn’t watch games anymore."

So how do we learn from these examples to make a fandom a better place for everyone?

Many would say that this could come by reporting the people involved, but unfortunately the Internet's mask of anonymity makes that task harder than you could imagine. So in all honesty, the best way to cure a bad fandom is to not be like the people in bad fandoms.

It all comes down to acceptance. If we want to enjoy the fandom as they are, we can accept other fan's different opinions and head-canons and accept that the canon of these works may not be what you expected and accept it for what it is, taking the positives with the negatives. Because let's be honest, nothing is ever perfect, even if we think it is.

If youre still wondering how you can contribute to your beloved fanbase in a positive way, just take this word of advice from our Lord and Saviour Bill Murray himself:

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

college students waiting in a long line in the hallway

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments