Category Archives: male fans

But Here and Now It’s a Different Storyline Part 2

Yesterday, I wrote a blog about favorite band members, male fans and the competition that too often is experienced by female Duranies.  As part of that blog, I went ahead and asked the question: “If you are a male Duran fan, do you have a favorite band member?  If so, what does favorite mean to you?”  I got many, many responses both on Facebook and on Twitter and hope to get more as the more responses I get, the more accurate my conclusions are (from a social scientist point-of-view!).

One thing I immediately realized right after asking the question is what do female fans mean by favorite band members.  I assumed that many/most/almost all female (straight or bisexual) fans, at least, initially chose their favorite band member because they found them attractive.  Perhaps, of course, that personality, sense of style, interactions with fans and on interviews, musicianship and more has reinforced that initial attraction over time such that most female fans now have a favorite for a variety of reasons.  Goodness knows, that is how I would describe why and how John Taylor became my favorite.  I have said it before and I’ll say it again.  He turned his head to look at the camera in the Reflex video and I was done.  I was from then on a John fan, a John girl.  It was about his looks first and foremost, at least back in 1984.  Is it now about his looks?  Obviously, if you read my blog on his birthday, you would realize that it isn’t.

Based on this assumption, I wanted to know.  Do male fans have favorites?  If so, did they pick a favorite like I did or like so many female fans I know.  Was it about the band member’s looks?  If not, what was it?  While I got a range of responses, it became very clear to me, very quickly is that most male Duranies fall into one of two camps when it comes to favorites.  The first camp is the no favorites camp.  These fans love the band as a whole.  They might definitely appreciate one band member for this and another band member for that but one band member does not really rise about the rest.  For these fans, it is all about the collective.  I can imagine that for these fans, they prefer group pictures over individual ones, follow everyone on stage and seek out picture taking opportunities equally between band members.

The other camp is the “I do definitely have a favorite” camp. For these male fans, they do have favorite band members and these favorites might have been favorites since they became fans.  Unlike my story or so many female fans I know, they didn’t necessarily choose the favorite because they were attracted to the band member’s looks in the same way that female fans were/are attracted.  For most female fans with favorites, it was about being attracted to that band member, romantically and sexually.  For the majority of male fans who responded to me, the attraction is more about appreciation of style or personality.  They aren’t attracted to that band member out of some romantic fantasy but because they want to be LIKE that band member.  They admire something about that band member.  They don’t want to be WITH the band member like many female fans do.  Thus, for those male fans, I got a lot of responses having to do how much they admired someone’s personal style or personality characteristics.  There was a LOT of mentions about the band member’s musical skills as well.  Would we get the same from female fans?  If not, why not?  And, if a female fan talked about musical skills would that get respect or would the female fan’s opinion be mocked.  Something to think about, I guess, and probably another whole blog topic, in and of itself.

Of course, there are male fans that don’t fit into either of these camps.  For example, men who responded who do not consider themselves straight did respond more about the favorite band member’s looks than other male fans.  This could lead me to conclude that the band member’s looks matter in picking favorites when fans are attracted to men.  It is more about sexual orientation than gender, perhaps.

The follow up question to all of this has to do with the second part of my theory.  Since male fans, generally, don’t pick out favorite band members in the same way that most females do, do they experience the same level of competition that female fans often experience?  I guess that would require another survey on my part.  From the few conversations that I had yesterday, I suspect that they do not.  This makes me think of other fandoms which do not have favorites much at all or which are made up of mostly men.  Then, I wonder how our fandom could combat this, to rise above, to create a more harmonious and generous fan community rather than a community filled with competition.

-A

 

Is Fandom an Adolescent Thing? A Girl Thing?

Yesterday, my writing partner discussed an article written in the Wall Street Journal in an attempt to explain Justin Bieber “fever”.  If you are interested in reading the article, you can go here.  If you would like to read Rhonda’s take on it, you can go here.  While I don’t disagree with the points Rhonda made on the blog or points made by other people on facebook, the article did not sit well with me.  After having a few days to really look at it, I can now (hopefully) explain why. 

The premise of the article from what I could see was to explain the screaming teen behavior that is currently found in Justin Bieber fans but had been found in Elvis fans, Beatles fans and even with a little band called Duran Duran and their fans.  They quoted experts including a neuroscientist, a sociologist, psychologists, a professor of communications, and a psychiatrist.  That’s all fine and good.  Cool.  No problem.  They also spoke with some young Bieber fans and their parents.  Again, fine.  As Rhonda pointed out that a large part to the article was this idea that when people hear familiar and favorite music, that neurotransmitters are released in the brain and these are the same ones involved in pleasure and addiction.  That seems logical to me.  The author also states that music one likes as a teen actually becomes wired into the brain, which is why adults like the music from when they were kids.  I can’t argue with that, either.  To me, that does explain a lot about how fandom begins.  What I can argue with is the emphasis on adolescence and on females.

The article is framed in a way to explain young girls infatuation with Justin Bieber.  The other examples of fandom also were of young girls.  Heck, Duran Duran could have been included in that.  Yet, not all fans of Justin, Elvis, the Beatles or Duran were young girls.  Many, many fans became fans later in life.  Many of our readers might be people who became fans later in life.  Yes, I’ll agree that those pleasure and addiction neurotransmitters can happen at any time of life.  Yes, they can happen enough to make for solid wiring within the brain.  Sure.  This could explain why and how fans become fans NO matter what AGE.  Yet, the author and the article didn’t say that.  Instead, we are left thinking that fandom is only about teenagers and mostly, female teenagers at that.  Thus, while trying to present fandom as normal, which the article does for the most part, it also locks fandom into a “stage in adolescent development” and to a gender.  How does that help older fans like myself?  How would that work for all of the male Duranies I know are out there?  

Male fans of pop/rock stars were completely ignored in this article.  The article mentions how girls fall for pop stars as an early, but safe entry into romantic and/or sexual interest.  Okay.  Sure.  I can go with that.  That couldn’t happen to boys, too?  Young gay boys couldn’t have been interested in male pop stars for the same reason?  What about the fact that there are a lot of female pop stars now?  No boy has been interested in Madonna or Beyonce for the same reason I might have liked John Taylor?  Really?  No, they say that most boys were more interested in athletes because they could emulate them.  Couldn’t I have emulated Madonna?  Why would I have been interested in a romantic fantasy at age 10 and not looking to have a role model of the same gender?  Why boys be the only ones to do this?  How would this work for straight boys who started liking Duran at an early age?  Could some boy have become a fan in order to be like Simon?  Or Roger?  Nope, the author didn’t offer this as a possibility.  Instead, the focus was on how the pop star created a fantasy for the young girl.

At the end of the article, the author talked to this parent who commented about how her daughters lost interest with Bieber when he began dating.  In this parent’s opinion, it was all about the fantasy of having Justin as a boyfriend.  Once the fantasy was gone, so did the interest.  Does this contradict the earlier notion from the neuroscientist that said that once certain music was wired into the brain, it would release those pleasure neurotransmitters?  Perhaps, so.  Now, is it possible that for these two girls it was all about this boyfriend fantasy?  Sure.  Maybe, the music had nothing to do with it.  Yet, for a lot of fans it is and was about the MUSIC.  It was never really about the fantasy of having a Duran member as a boyfriend.  Not really.  If that was the case, wouldn’t I have lost interest a long time ago?  Again, I ask.  Why would a straight guy ever like them if it was all about this romantic fantasy? 

All in all, I like the idea that science can explain that there is something chemical related to fandom.  To me, it gives a reason that most people can’t argue against.  I just wish that the science included in this article wasn’t surrounded by stereotypes that all fandom is about teenage girls who fantasize about their idol(s).  This definitely feeds into the stigma that I and every other adult Duranie has to deal with.  People then assume that adult fans are simply people who refuse to grow up, who are stuck in some sort of perpetual immaturity.  It also completely ignores the male fans while presenting female fans as people who are only fans because the pop star is cute.  Yes, in my case, I thought and think that the members of Duran are attractive.  I’m alive, aren’t I?  Yet, it is much more about their music than it ever was about their looks.  To assume anything else is offensive.

-A

Too Bad THEY’RE So Beautiful

I can always tell when I’m really stressed about something because the words for my blog(s) just do not come easily, and right now is one of those times. What I would not give for a few days of relative worry-free peace.  It would be nice to be worrying about what beach to visit next, rather than how I’m going to get my nearly thirteen year old son through middle school, but alas…

Recently, Amanda’s questions of the day have taken on the theme of asking about various band members and what our opinions of their “best era” have been.  To begin with, I have to have a little chuckle that they’ve been around long enough for discussing “eras” about them. I’m not just laughing at their expense, but also my own – because let’s be honest, I’ve been a fan the whole time, and I am definitely not getting any younger myself.  (I should just be thankful that the tables are not suddenly turned and it’s not the band being asked about when their favorite “era” for the fans has been!)

In thinking of my own answers for these questions, I’ve found that some come to mind rather easily, and some have been more difficult.  For instance, the other day I knew right away that I preferred Nick best when he had orange hair.  I also remembered the days of Arcadia when asked about Simon.  However, today the question was in regards to Roger, and I really stumbled.  Interestingly enough, Roger has always been my favorite band member and yet there’s not really one period of time that I liked best over the others that came immediately to mind. I like it all, at least at first glance! Curiously, I started thinking back on my previous answers and realized that I wasn’t really answering the question with what I felt was their “best” period of time, but rather what might have been my favorite, and that “favorite” time may or may not have had anything to do with the band musically.  When I thought about Nick and Simon’s best periods of time, I thought about how they looked, not necessarily how they sounded, and that makes me kind of wince now that I think about it!

I must admit that at this point in my life, I would have loved to believe that being a fan of the band went beyond just their looks, and of course it does – but it’s also very clear that in as much as I love their music, it is the magic combination of looks, personality and musicianship that has continued to encourage me to be a fan for so long.  I would imagine that holds true for many others out there.  I think it’s that fact: the fact that the guys are still loved by so many for being the entire package, that helps make them so easily dismissed by critics. I could go into a long term paper on how incredibly sexist male music critics (and the occasional male fan) might be, but I’ll refrain for now.  Suffice to say though that just because they are loved by women that makes their music shallow and not worthy.  Naturally we female fans don’t help matters when questions like this come up and we answer with what appeals to us on a purely superficial level – but I suppose I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Call me crazy, but I’m just not into Mick Jagger or even Steven Tyler.  I like Simon, John, Nick, Roger AND Dom (my blog, my rules on who is in this band!)….and their music isn’t half bad either.

-R

Do Male Fans Get Negative Reactions?

This week in Duranland saw more ticket purchases, more presales, more excitement about upcoming shows.  It seems to me that the only shows we are waiting for news are New York City and the re-scheduled European dates.  Those people who are lucky enough to have tickets for upcoming shows, I’m sure, are making show plans, which can include transportation and hotel as well as family and work responsibilities.  I’m no different on that front as I am not sure what I will be doing with work that day of my show, but I will have to make a decision in that regard at some point.  I’m sure others have already figured out if they plan on working or are going to try and take the day(s) off.  I always wonder how those conversations at work go once the decision is made to take time off.  Are people’s bosses accepting?  Do people tell their supervisors why they need time off?  What kind of reaction to they get from them?  What about the reactions from colleagues?  Then again, what about reactions from other family members? Do they get your fandom?  Of course, this leads me to think about reactions or questions I have had about going to Duran shows.  One question that seems to come up is, “Are there male Duranies?”  I explain that there are.  Duh.  The follow-up question tends to be, “Are they straight?”  Obviously, here, the assumption is that only gay or bisexual men would listen to Duran.  I’m sure that I could write a whole blog about why that assumption is made, but I’m more curious if these questions are asked of me, what questions are asked of male Duranies?  Do they get the same kind of negative reactions that female fans often get or is it different?

I think that most Duranies have experienced some sort of negative reaction about the fact that they are fans of Duran Duran.  I know I have.  Some of the negativity is directed at the band.  “Why would you like them?  They aren’t any good.  They don’t care about the music.  They just care about what they look like?”  Some of it has more to do with my desire to tour.  “What a waste of money!  Aren’t all the shows the same?  Why do you feel it necessary to go to all those shows?  Aren’t you going overboard?  Isn’t that a bit obsessive?”  I could go on and on.  Sometimes, people go a different route with the disdain of my being a Duranie and outright ask, “Are you a groupie?”  They aren’t meaning someone who just follows the band, people.  The assumption that a female who goes to a bunch of shows is going for one thing and one thing only, the ultimate autograph.  I’m willing to bet that most male Duran fans aren’t questioned about being groupies, but maybe there are other questions that they have to deal with.

How are male Duranies treated?  Do they have to deal with the general anti-Duran statements?  Do they have to put up with negative statements about going to shows or buying albums?  What specific negatives do they hear that female fans don’t have to put up with?  Of course, some of you might be saying that guys don’t have to deal with much of this because they don’t show their fandom as much and don’t do as much touring.  First of all, I don’t know that if that is true or not.  I’m willing to bet that there are a lot of male Duranies who show that they are fans and many also go to a bunch of shows.  However, if guys don’t show that they are fans as much or don’t go to as many shows, I would ask why.  Do they feel like they have to hide the fact that they are Duranies?  If so, what do they think will happen?  If they don’t go to as many shows as they want, why not?  What’s stopping then?  Then, I wonder how they are treated by the female fans?  Do they get negative reactions from female fans?  Are they dismissed as unimportant?  Ignored? 

I’m hoping that some male Duranies will chime in here and answer some of these questions for me.  I would like some education about what it is like to be a male Duranie and to see if they experience some of the stigma I know I have dealt with!

-A

Male fans

There has been a lot going on in the world of Duran lately – much ado about the new single hitting iTunes tomorrow (my motto: download early, download often!) aptly named All You Need is Now.   I’m looking forward to hearing the entire song the way the band intended rather than the youtube clips that are rather distorted and muddy sounding, and I’m sure all of our readers are as well.

Not long ago, I was on a search for a new Duran Duran related message board.  The one which I had called home for quite a few years had dwindled to the point where I could go weeks in between visits and still not see many new posts.  Oddly, I am still good friends with several of the people I have met on that board, it’s just that our friendships have transcended the original platform of “Duran Duran”, and we use many other avenues of communication, including facebook.  That said, I still enjoy to read about what is going on within the fan community, and so I was on a hunt for a new place to read and mingle!   I won’t go into detail (in this blog) as to what I found on some of the boards I visited, suffice to say that what is comfortable and right for me is probably not what is right or comfortable for someone else.  That’s OK, that’s the way the system works and it’s a very good thing that there are still 50,000 and then some pages still dedicated to Duran Duran out there.

The board that I have ultimately “chosen” is a much different place than where I began.  My current board is populated by a much higher percentage of active male posters – which is really exciting for a change!  I find that as I grow older, my interest obviously changes, and while at one time it was enough to talk about the band members, exchange “new” photos we’d found of them online, and of course we’d chat about the music from time to time….now I find that I’m really mainly interested in the music!  (I could easily add a cornball line here about how “The music’s between us”…but I won’t.   No really, I won’t!)

The men that I’ve exchanged posts with, debated, and even traded insults (!!!) with have been the ultimate in Duran fans – and I think it’s refreshing to see that in this day and age, it’s finally cool to be a male Duran fan. (I feel very odd calling them Duranies…so I just won’t.)  It makes no difference whether they are heterosexual, gay, metrosexual or a combination of everything – it’s about the music, and none of them are afraid to let me know when they think I’m wrong, which again is something I really appreciate, oddly enough!

At one time, back when my Duran Duran fandom was in it’s infancy and I was in middle school, it was made very clear that if you liked Duran Duran, you were totally an outcast.  It was even worse if you happened to be male.  I knew very few, and I mean VERY few, guys who would even admit to listening to their music, much less admit to being in the fan club or going to concerts and reading articles about them.  In 2010, it’s a mixed bag.  Yes, there are plenty of female fans out there, and I would imagine that there still might be more females than males….but there is plenty of room for men to join in, and find issues to debate with vigor.

The board that I visit is a “closed” board, in that you must request permission before you’re allowed access to read and post, but I strongly urge anyone who is interested to come, request membership and check it out, especially those male fans out there because this is a great place to talk about the music.  The address is www.duranduranboards.proboards.com – I hope to “see” you there!  It’s bound to be a busier place in the coming weeks, so now is the time to join in!

-R