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Toxic Fangirling

What is Fangirling?

Fangirling is the art of obsessing over fandoms, the characters in the fandoms, the actors who play the character.

Healthy and appreciative are good fandoms. In a collaborative group, good fans support each other. They are working to build each other. The opposite is toxic fandom. This is when their critique of any part of the show is emotionally inflated. In an abusive connection to the material they’re a fan, the toxic fan is actually the abusive group. In other words, they are not only here to celebrate it but to manipulate and negate it.

Toxic fans can harass other fans as well. This is typically done when you believe you are “true” fans and other people are counterfeit poseur or casual fans. Mainstream people usually experience the brunt of their anger.

Toxic fandom ingredients

The three big ingredients of the toxic fandom stew are possessiveness, entitlement, and a sense of superiority.

  • Possessivity means that the toxic fans believe that they have the material with which they are fans. They are going to behave like it is theirs and only theirs. You see what you are fans of as an area or property of your own. The non-toxic or respectful fan instead realizes that they don’t have the right to own something.
  • Possessiveness is followed by entitlement. Since they have the thing or people of which they are fans in their mind, the creators must do what they require. They can, for instance, require a certain romantic combination or “ship” to take place on a display. If it doesn’t happen, they will get enough angry to give the writer’s death threats. A good fan might ask something, on the other hand, or think it would be nice if you were to go somewhere. Yet developers don’t do what they want sometimes. A fan should not only agree that they do not own the material of which they are fans but respects the creators’ right to settle in their own artistic paths.
  • The sense of dominance is then present. Toxic fans feel stronger than other less extreme and obsessed fans who are often referred to as casuals. You feel over non-fans as well. To call the names of non-fans, or to use some derogatory term, makes the fans believe they belong to an exclusive club. They think these people are ignorant and superficial, unable to “get it,” regardless of what they are. The thing they are fans of is not sophisticated enough to understand and appreciate entirely. Good fans consider non-fans instead. It doesn’t matter that various people look at or like various things.

 

The Persecution Complex inside all Toxic Fan Cultures

In so-called Internet echo chambers, toxic fan culture evolves. An echo chamber is an environment where dissident views are not accepted, often in Internet forums or social media groups. This indicates that the group’s attitude is conformist. What they do and say fosters their preference in the group and out-group preference.

If an outsider joins one of these classes and takes a false move, they are typically ‘trained’ rudely or simply banned. This nurtures the poisonous fans’ cult fanaticism. It gives them the feeling that a wide group of people agrees with their views. No matter how narrow a point of view, you find large niches of people holding that view.

 

How to prevent toxic fangirling?

  • Never affiliate with a specific “group” of fans or “take aside.”
  • Give yourself a breathing break and just catch up with life. Know, you don’t need to be “on” all the time. Mute people who make you feel all that bad, even if only for a few days.
  • Leave toxic Facebook groups or other social media spots that are causing your anxiety.
  • Establish your own mental health standards and boundaries. Speak to people who make you feel comfortable and pick people you spend time with who makes you laugh or smile.
  • Note that NO FAN is the best friend of any band. And becoming “friends” with a fan who claims to be friends with a band doesn’t get you any closer to them.
  • Nobody is great. Nobody is perfect. It’s useless to “fight” or engage with someone who says they can’t do the wrong thing or place them on the pedestal to be more holy than you.
  • Find your new fangirl mates! It might sound a little creepy to do if you’ve been in the fandom for years, but branch out.

Mental wellbeing is something that is frequently overlooked, so if you find yourself struggling, make sure you tap any support that will work for you. Being a fangirl is a serious business—but don’t let it get so serious that it takes all the fun.

 References

Lefler, R. (2018, September 27). What’s Toxic Fandom, and What Creates It? – ReelRundown – Entertainment. Retrieved January 06, 2021, from https://reelrundown.com/misc/5-Factors-that-Can-Cause-Toxic-Fandom-to-Arise

B., & K. (2020, October 17). When Fangirling Turns Toxic (+ What To Do When it Does!). Retrieved January 06, 2021, from https://bsbfangirls.com/backstreet-boys/2020/when-fangirling-turns-toxic/

 

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