I live in Wisconsin. In general, people in Wisconsin today are focused on two things. First, it is still football season and the majority of the people of Wisconsin will be tuning in this afternoon to the Green Bay Packers playoff game. (Yes, if you notice, I point out “majority” because I’m in the minority and am not a Packers fan.) The Packers are a big deal here and fans are everywhere. The other thing that people here are thinking about is the “polar vortex” that the meteorologists are calling the impending cold front. Yesterday, temperatures were around 30 degree F. Right now, they are around 5 degrees. More significantly than that, as the temperatures continue to drop to an expected -23, the wind is picking up. Thus, we are under a wind chill warning starting at 6 pm for wind chills of between -40 and -55. At that temperature, frostbite can happen between 5 to 10 minutes. Yet, I’m sure that this will not deter Packers fans from descending on Green Bay to watch the game in person. In fact, I’m sure that people will show their Packer fandom proudly. For example, I saw this picture being shared and liked on Facebook this weekend.
What does this picture say about fandom? Simple. It shows that football fans are expected to demonstrate their fandom, right? This woman should not only wear Green Bay colors but should be willing to go nearly naked to show her dedication. She should ignore the fact that she could get frostbite or risk death all in the name of fandom. The fact that I saw people liking this and sharing it says that people are cheering this. I didn’t see one comment that said something like what I thought when I saw it, which was, “Oh my goodness, this would be the stupidest thing to do. That isn’t cool. It is just dumb.” Yet, I guarantee that there will be some “fool” nearly naked at the game today who will get his/her 30 seconds on TV as I have seen in on plenty of other games. I have never heard one comment about how crazy that is or how stupid a move that is. Never.
I wish I could say the same about the reaction I get when I tell people that I’m flying somewhere to see a few Duran shows. People will tell me all the time about how crazy that is and that I’m taking my fandom too far. At least, my expression of fandom is not putting my life and body at risk like this picture shows. So, why is the football fan acceptable but I’m not? It seems obvious to me that sports fandom is truly accepted and other fandoms are not. I was at the store yesterday like everyone else in the dang city and the majority of people were buying beer for the game. People were open and excited about watching the game. Would Duran fans or other music fans say the same? Would we be as open if there was a concert on TV? Is this acceptance of sports fandom because sports is just a large part of American and Wisconsin culture? What is the tie to sexism? That picture doesn’t show a nearly naked man, after all, does it? Most men like sports. Is that why sports fandom is acceptable? Why are some extreme behaviors in some fandoms acceptable and others not?