Anti-Fan Fans

I have a confession to make.  I like being a fan.  I even like being a Duranie.  I like Duran Duran.  I like the members of Duran Duran.  I like their music and their videos.  I like to see them live.  On top of all of that, I do many things that show this.  I am part of a writing partnership that writes daily here at the Daily Duranie.  This partnership is also writing a book about fandom.  I wear Duran Duran t-shirts and I buy Duran Duran products.  Heck, just this afternoon, I used my Duran Duran tote bag to bring my groceries home.  Yet, sometimes, I’m cautious about showing my fandom or showing the extent of my fandom.  Yes, obviously, there are many non-fans who don’t understand what it means to be a fan and why I am a fan.  Beyond that, though, at times, I feel like I can’t show my fandom around other fans, other Duranies.  There is pressure to be a “cool” Duranie.  Last weekend, I blogged about the typical fan, which I based off the video “Sh*t Duran Duran Fans Say”.  In this blog, I listed all of the different characteristics or traits Duranies have, according to that video.  My point in that blog was to show that there are contradictions and that no Duran fan exhibits all of those traits.  That said, I found it fascinating that the majority of comments about that particular blog post was from people who said that they only fit a few of those characteristics.  I don’t doubt those people.  Yet, I found myself wondering if I was the only fan who did relate to a lot of them.  While I didn’t want people to worry if they didn’t fit certain behaviors in order to be a Duranie, I don’t want others to worry if they do.  Unfortunately, I see this pressure to appear “cool”, or non-fan like within the fandom all the time.  Many of the characteristics I mentioned last week even show this pressure.

The characteristics in that video that show what I’m talking about includes the following:  “Can’t believe that others would camp out for a signing even if the person has in the past,” “Claims that they don’t do that hotel thing anymore, ” and “Claims not to be hardcore anymore because she had to grow up and move on.”  First off, am I the only one to have heard these?  I can’t be, can I?  Second, am I the first one to point out the hypocrisy in these statements?  Seriously.  It was okay to camp out in the past but not now?  Why?  What would have changed?  The only thing I can figure is that now the person thinks it is no longer cool to do that and that, somehow, she is cooler than a fan who would.  The same thing could be true for going to the hotel or being a “hardcore” fan.  I get that not everyone wants to camp out, go to the band’s hotel to wait for them, or even be as into Duran as others.  That’s fine.  What doesn’t seem fine, to me, are those who make statements which imply that others who do aren’t cool.  Obviously, a Duranie could say, “I would prefer not to go to the band’s hotel.  It makes me uncomfortable (or whatever the reason).”  Why make someone feel badly for wanting to, which is what I bet happens when someone says that they “don’t do that anymore”?  I have been in situations when people I have been with have known where the band is, but wouldn’t tell.  What is worse is that they implied that it wouldn’t be cool of me to even WANT to ask, never mind actually asking and then going. 

So why do people do this?  Why do they want to seem like non-fans even though they still like the music and the videos, etc.?  Is it because they are jerks?  Maybe some are, but I don’t think it is as simple as that.  I think it has everything to do with social status and stigma.  While we would all like to think that there is no such thing as social status within our fandom (and all fandoms), there is.  Many of us fight it but we know it exists.  For some reason, to be “cool”, to be “non-fan” like within the fandom is considered by some to be a characteristic of those with higher social status, at least on some subconscious level.  Why is that?  This is where stigma comes in.  Society, generally, looks down on fans, especially fans like Duranies.  Fans are thought to be obsessed, illogical people who are stuck in a state of childhood.  Could this attempt to appear non-fan like be to escape the stigma of being a fan, again on some subconscious level?  Is it better for people to say, “Yes, I’m a fan but I’m not like that kind of fan?”  I don’t know.  It is my theory, anyway. 

No matter the cause for what I call “Anti-Fan Fan” behavior, I want to fight it.  I want to be free to express my fandom within my fandom and I want others to do the same.  Now, that said, I’m not saying that people have the right to break into Simon LeBon’s house and wait for him.  To me, that isn’t fandom, that’s creepy and illegal.  Within the bonds of respect and the law, I think that people should be able to say that I like to wear Duran t-shirts or that I would love to see them at their hotel.  I refuse to give let society’s negative idea about fandom win.  I won’t hide who I am.  Thus, for now on, I will avoid people who make me feel badly about myself because I’m a proud Duranie and I will create as much space as I can for others to be themselves as well.

-A

22 thoughts on “Anti-Fan Fans”

  1. I think people behave this way because they either got tired of being criticized for being a “crazy Duranie,” so it's a self-defense mechanism, especially now that we are “grown women” (allegedly) that we shouldn't be acting like that any more. OR they are stuck in the attitude of needing to be “cool” and that means you need to be blasé about everything. And you're never going to stop that attitude completely.

    I'm curious why you say, “No matter the cause for what I call “Anti-Fan Fan” behavior, I want to fight it. I want to be free to express my fandom within my fandom and I want others to do the same.”

    How do you think we could fight this? If you feel confident in being a fan, which you obviously do, devoting an entire blog to it and writing a book about it, why does the “anti-fan” attitude influence you at all? (Aside from being annoying and childish. You're never going to get rid of all the annoying and childish people in the world.)

    As far as I'm concerned, let them be annoying and the rest of us can get on with doing our own thing the way we want to.

  2. Good blog post!! I have seen this happen too, where fans will put down other fans just because they are expressing their extreme fan-ness. I think in general, music and concerts are a young people thing, so when 30 and 40-somethings are heavily into following bands around the country and talking about them all day on Twitter and FB, to other people the same age, it makes them appear immature, and like you said, like they are stuck in a state of childhood. I HATE when people think that. Life is meant to be enjoyed, and if we want to freely enjoy the things we enjoy, why shouldn't we be able to? It is a social stigma and it sucks! I also want to add, I don't see this problem among young music fans, like teenagers…they almost expect that you are a mega fan in everything you do, but if you're talking to someone who is past that “stage”, suddenly it's a bad thing. I think I may just be repeating myself now, but yeah, I've never had this problem before when dealing with teenage fans (I am into a lot of bands whose fans are a lot younger than me LOL)

  3. I find this topic very interesting.
    Firstly I firmly believe that everyone should be free to express their Duranie-ness however they choose.
    People shouldn't be made to feel inferior just because they want to camp out for a particular event where DD are involved or go to their hotel to meet them. These are our idols whom we've grown up with since our childhood and I think it's natural to want to meet them, be around them, tweet them, listen to the music they listen to etc. it makes us feel closer to them(or at least it does me).
    Yes, I'm 35 years old, married with kids, a job and a mortgage but when I'm in my DD bubble I feel free to dance, sing and forget my problems for a bit. I don't think that's being immature, it's an escape to a time when life was easier.
    I must admit, I don't often tell people outside of my usual network of friends that I'm a Duranie just because sometimes I don't like the reaction it gets. When non fans refer to DD as “has beens”, it upsets me because it's absolutely not true and I would rather just not talk about at that point.
    Bottom line is, be proud to be a Duranie! Enjoy it and share it with other Duranies. We should all support each other and not envy one another. If a fan has been lucky enough to meet the band, she should be congratulated not be put down for it.
    I haven't yet had the opportunity to meet DD but I know a lot of fans who have and it gives me hope that one day it will happen to me too!
    Of course not everyone likes DD, and that's completely fine, but don't put me down because I do and want to show it! 🙂

  4. In the words of character Lester Bangs from the movie Almost Famous: “The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you are uncool.” If wearing DD shirts, and travelling for shows, and singing and dancing and screaming and being super excited about fandom is uncool, so be it. Part of who I am is a crazy Duran fan and most who know me, ranging from my family to my work colleagues, love me for me. Those who don't can rightly shove it.

  5. This isn't limited to Duranies. There are a lot of people out there who think “fannish behavior” is something to hide(and there are a lot of people who just don't get fannish behavior at all, which is probably why those fans feel the need to seem “non-fannish”–see for me I don't get NOT being a fan, I've been a “fan” of something for as long as I can remember, which is since I was about 3, I'd be lost if I wasn't a fan of at least one thing at any given period:)).

    But there are a lot of people out there who just are never really fans of anything. They may like stuff but that's as far as it goes. Now the perhaps petty, defensive side of me thinks maybe they don't get “fannishness” because they are too self-involved and can't see anything as being worthy of attention if it isn't all about them and their own personal lives, that they can't get outside themselves to see anything else as important or worthy of real attention. But who knows perhaps they really ARE more grown ups. LOL

    The only time I actually ever tried to even slightly hide my fannishness was when I was originally a fan. I didn't really hide it much(heck I had a Duran Duran purse, Duran buttons lining my purse strap, pictures in my locker, the usual:) but it wasn't “a cool thing” to be a Duran Duran fan, in NJ we tended to be very rock oriented, it was cooler to be a fan of those hair bands than of Duran Duran, even as a girl. So rather than getting picked on, I didn't volunteer a lot of information, except with other fans. That said I think pretty much everyone knew I was a Duran Duran fan. 😀

    But my point being, being a fan, unless of sports(which probably points to a certain amount of misogyny because somehow it's OK if lots of guys like something), is often looked upon in a derogatory manner and that is probably more what those fans who like to pretend not to be fans are reacting towards I think.

    I think the best way to fight it is just continue being an “out” fan. 🙂 Don't even be defensive about it, just “be”. It's the non-fans(and not just of Duran Duran, but in general) who are missing out, IMO. What do they say “living well is the best revenge”? There is so much creativity in fandoms, at it's best there can be so much camaraderie, sharing and generosity(another fandom for a frankly badly aging tv show on a minor network I'm a part has been responsible in the last 6 months alone for sending over $50,000 to a couple different children's health charities plus money to natural disaster victims). Not to mention just plain fun. Like Rose said above, life is meant to be enjoyed and so long as it's not hurting anyone who is to say HOW it's to be enjoyed? It's more like “Why do they feel the need to rain on someone else's parade?” than there being anything wrong with being fannish.

  6. I'm a fan and have fun with it – in a sane way! There's some folks out there who are simply miserable by choice. I remember not long after Andy left a few 'fans' went a bit odd and seemed to not be able the handle the fact that the band carried on successfully and some fans didn't seem to mind that there was a new guitar player on the scene. I recall seeing messages I had posted on DD boards be re-posted and analyzed and made fun of on a couple of bashing-type boards. Very odd, immature behavior. Live and let live I say as long as you aren't doing anyone harm.

  7. I'm not so concerned with the anti-fan fan attitude bothering me as much as bothering other people in the fan community. My point about fighting against it is simple. I think we should all fight to not have it influence us as individuals. I will do my part by avoiding people like this and hope that we all do.

    -A

  8. Yeah, the general stigma with non-fans is a big problem. I was focusing more about people who are fans but still want to stigmatize other fans. You do make an interesting point, though. Would this be such an issue if our fandom was made up of younger people? I don't know.

    -A

  9. I agree that you should let people live as they choose. I think, in some cases, people think they are doing others a favor by trying to get them to be less fan like.

    -A

  10. I agree with your way to fight it is to be an “out” fan. What amazes me, though, aren't the people who aren't fans of anything but the people who ARE Duranies who think that other Duranies shouldn't this or that. That is what I was trying to really focus on here.

    -A

  11. That was what I was trying to say, I think that is why those “non fan Duranies” get on other Duranies cases. I think many are reacting to the many people who don't get “fannishness” at all and so think it's stupid/immature, etc. They are like self loathing Duranies, the ones who feel the need to say “See I'm not one of THOSE fans” and they criticize other Duranies in the hopes of making themselves feel/look better. If THOSE fans aren't visible(having been pushed out or underground by the criticism), then the “non-fan Duranies” they think somehow it will cease to reflect, what they see as, negatively on themselves in the larger “non fannish” world.

  12. I found a lovely explanation by Steve Hogarth of Marillion of why they named their first fan-funded album Anoraknophobia, which I couldn't shoehorn into my crowdfunding blog. Seems appropriate to share it here:

    “It occurred to me about a year ago watching “Never Mind The Buzzcocks,” or something like that, that we're starting to live in a 'take the piss' culture, and that having a cheap shot or ripping the piss out of somebody has become a national sport in this country, and all the easy targets are people who believe in something and have a passion. Our fans are the easiest people in the world to point the finger at and call anoraks, and the thing about these guys that are sitting there – the Mark Lamarrs and the Angus Deaytons of the world – whether you love or hate them, is that they never actually stand up and declare what they believe in themselves, because if they were to do that, then everybody else would point and laugh at them.
    So really to declare a passion is to expose yourself to ridicule, and I personally would much rather have a world full of people that were passionate and believed in something and cared about something, than a load of two-dimensional types who stood around smirking and pointing at other people. I really just wanted to say, “We know you're all anoraks, and there's nothing wrong with it! We're anoraks too!”
    The point of the title “Anoraknophobia” was no fear of it. Anorak no phobia.”

  13. Thank you so much for sharing this! I absolutely agree that the more passionate someone is, the more likely that person will suffer from ridicule. That said, a lot of us would rather be that!

    -A

  14. The way I see it is people who openly criticize others (whether for being an extreme Duranie or for any other reason) are bullies, and bullies are bullies because they're insecure about something in their own life, and making fun of others makes them feel better (supposedly). I choose to take a page out of the Amish playbook and employ the shun. Nothing hacks a bully off more than to be ignored.

    I'd be willing to bet that most of the time the bullies are jealous that the ones they make fun of are having more fun with their fandom. Have you ever seen a happy bully? I haven't. They're generally sour pusses about everything, so just keep on being who you are and don't apologize for being a Duranie. Live your Duranie life on your own terms – whether that's quietly listening to music, or putting a billboard up asking John, Simon, Nick or Roger to call you when they come to town. (My sister told me saw that today – a fan had put her name and phone number on a Daily Billborad for Elton John. Here's a hint, Camille, I don't think he's coming in on I-95, might want to try a sign at the airport.)

    In other words of our fearless lyricist, “hey child, stay wilder than the wind… we'll make it all right to come undone.”

  15. I don't think it is as simple as putting people in the category of “bullies”. I think we all can find ourselves being “anti-fans”. This could be as simple as saying that someone shouldn't…I don't know…buy 3 copies of an album or shouldn't go to more than 2 shows. We all do it at one time or another. Thus, yes, I agree, if someone is like this all the time, ignore them. For the rest of us, we should check ourselves, too.

    -A

  16. I think some people just don't get it because they were never really passionate about a band, and didn't have a longterm favorite band, so such behavior strikes them as childish, silly, dumb, etc. I honestly think it's kind of sad for someone to never have a real favorite band, and lose interest in a band or singer as soon as its/his/her heyday is up and someone new comes along. My parents have just this kind of attitude, and don't really understand why I'm still a passionate, knowledgeable fan about the classic rocks bands I've loved since I was very young, like they're surprised I haven't “moved on” yet. I also think they're unable to believe bands they consider “moldy oldies” would have appeal for more than a few weird younger people. I only really became an official Duranie last year, in spite of having casually liked them since they were big when I was a little kid, so I guess at least I'm getting more current in bands I love!

    I think a true fan should live by the Confucius line “Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.” If you're a big fan of a band, you shouldn't be afraid to show it, even if other people think you're lame for caring so much about things they consider useless trivia or think you should periodically “move on” and get into newer bands.

  17. I think it is wrong to say there is a typical fan and you need to tick boxes. Everyones fandom is different as what a band or idol means to them is different. None is right, none is wrong, doesnt make anyone a bigger a fan if they tick all the boxes than the person who ticks one or two. The one thing that is not acceptable is for another person to criticise another person's fan behaviour as everyone is entitled to express their fandom in a way they feel is acceptable. The band / management etc will always put security in place to stop fandom going beyond what they find acceptable too.

We (Amanda and Rhonda) appreciate discussion and differences of opinion. We respectfully ask that you fully read the blog before bitching us out. If you're only here to take us down a notch, note that we moderate replies (meaning we're not printing rude comments). Thanks a bunch!

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