Obviously, there are many fandoms out there. There are movie fandoms, TV show fandoms, book fandoms, specific actor/actress fandoms, music fandoms, sports fandom and more. It seems to me that the only really acceptable fandom in American culture is sports. No one thinks it is weird for football fans to set aside their Sundays to watch the games. I doubt if those who are getting ready to travel to the All-Star game gets questioned like I do. In fact, major media supports the sports fandom by not only showing the results of the games or events on the news but also by showing featured “big” games on primetime TV. The Superbowl, itself, is a crazy, big deal with a significant viewership and big time dollars being spent to have an advertisement during it. Can you imagine if the news covered things like Sci-fi conventions? How would it be if they showed big concerts live in primetime? Is the lack of media attention the cause of the unequal treatment between sports and every other fandom? Perhaps. Maybe the media coverage just reinforces what was already in existence. *shrugs*
In analyzing fandom, I have thought a great deal about the differences between fandoms as well as the similarities. When I think about what makes sports different from the rest, I’m forced to acknowledge the demographic difference. Who were the majority of fans when most of the major American sports came to be? Men. Who are the majority of fans for things like Duran or movies like Twilight? Women. Are there female sports fans? Obviously. I’m a Sox fan and so is my mother, my sister, and my nieces. I know many women who are into football or basketball. Are there male fans of things like Duran or Harry Potter? Of course. Do they make up the majority or are they in the minority? I think it is pretty clear that they are in the minority. What about fandoms like Star Trek? Those fandoms have a decent number of guys from what I can tell. How come they aren’t treated like sports are? Could it be that the guys involved in sci-fi or comic fandom aren’t like the guys into sports? Perhaps. Obviously, this assumption could be based solely on stereotypes of both types of fans. Nonetheless, it does make me wonder if sexism isn’t playing a role.
If sexism is playing a role, could it be that some fandoms, like ours, won’t be accepted in general American society because the majority of fans are women? Could it be that other fandoms aren’t treated equally because the majority of fans for those fandoms are made up of men who are deemed as cool as sports fans? I don’t know. What about fandoms like Phish or the Grateful Dead? How are they treated? They certainly aren’t put in the spotlight like sports but they aren’t as made fun of as Twilight fans? What makes those fandoms different? Could the age of the fans also play a role in determining how acceptable fandoms are? Thus, younger fans equal less respect? Could it be that Duranies experience far less acceptance because it is made up mostly of women, because many of us started when we were young and because the men that are involved aren’t as cool as sports fans?
If this is the case, then, it seems like being a Duranie will never be accepted. I wonder if there is anything we, as fans, can do to try and change this unequal treatment of fandom. Of course, some will argue that it shouldn’t matter to me or to anyone else. While I agree with that and will certainly deal with that, I have to admit that I would prefer the rest of the world to treat my fandom as it does sports as I believe that both can have value.