Tag Archives: posters

More than Wallpaper: Posters and Female Fandom

Happy Wednesday! Yesterday I had a conversation with someone about posters. I still have some posters up in my room – actually my small walk-in closet. I made the comment that I don’t really know why I still have them.  When I was a kid, the posters served as a sort of visual of my fantasies, I guess.  Yes, I loved the music.  In fact, their music is what bowled me over first. I didn’t see what the band looked like until several months later when I first saw the video for Hungry Like the Wolf.  That said, I also really fell hard for Roger Taylor along with the rest of them. <wide, toothy, innocent grin here> Naturally, I had posters of the entire band.  My room was my sanctuary.

As a pre-teen, I saw the band as perfect. They really WERE Paper Gods to me. I believed they could do no wrong. In many ways, they were the perfect first love because they couldn’t hurt me. I didn’t have the opportunity to meet them, and so the image or fantasy I had in my head of how each of them behaved couldn’t be destroyed until I was ready to let that go on my own.

Somewhere between 1983 and say…the present(!)….I finally gave up on the idea that I was going to marry Roger Taylor. <another big toothy grin here> Might have been when he married Giovanna…. or maybe it was when he left the band in 1985…or when I got married in 1995…but at some point, I gave up on that particular fantasy.  I wasn’t sad about it, and it didn’t hurt, it just faded naturally.  That doesn’t mean he wasn’t still my favorite, I just gave up on the schoolgirl-crush portion of it, I think.

Giving up on the idea that each of the band members were probably not like the characterizations I had dreamed up in my head for each of them came at some point later.  Some of our readers have shared stories with me about how so-and-so was rude when they met,  and how it completely devastated them. I never had that (thankfully).  I think that with age and maturity, along with a fair amount of life experience, I just realized that the personalities I had made up for them in my head were just that – completely made up.

I began accepting them as real people. Not just posters on my wall. Not just rock stars, and certainly not perfect. That happened a lot later for me than I want to admit, but the reality is that when I was kid – I didn’t go to concerts or things like that. When I was older and finally did go, it wasn’t with friends. I went with boyfriends, or a bit later in life, my husband.  It wasn’t until I started traveling and going to concerts with Duranie friends that I screamed with abandon at concerts, or waved and smiled at them as they came out of a side door after a show, running to their vans to be whisked away back to their hotels.

They weren’t REAL then. I mean yeah, I could see that yes, they were real people – but even then they felt so far removed from me that I felt like nothing I did was of any real consequence. Running down a hotel hallway in Vegas, laughing and calling out a certain band member’s last name because it was the “password” for the weekend was just fun even if it was completely ridiculous and immature.

I can’t put my finger on the exact moment that changed.  It might have been when I started recognizing that they interacted with other people I knew.  I know my feelings about them changed slightly when that started happening. I also know I hoped for similar experiences someday. Or maybe it was when my heart fell flat when I heard the Red Carpet Massacre album for the first time.  I began to realize that these were people who were going to make choices and do things that I didn’t agree with, and either I was going to accept their decisions and continue to be a fan regardless, or I was going to walk away and forget them.

So yesterday, I had commented that I still had posters of them. Not nearly as many as I once did, and they are confined to my closet – which I realize sounds strange but it’s only because I don’t have any other space that is my own in this house. No desk, office, or anything like that.  I had said that originally, I had my own teen fantasies about the band, but now – I have the posters up in my closet, and if I’m being honest about not still fantasizing about them in the same way (which I am) – why do I bother to still have them up?

The person I was tweeting with mentioned that for her, it is very much like having a favorite sports team. Just as someone might have White Sox or Manchester or Aston Villa memorabilia up in their house, or up on a wall or even in their office or cubicle at work – she has the same of the band. I thought about that for a minute, because she is right.

I’m not a sports person at all. I don’t have favorite teams, or anything like that. The one thing I have is this love for Duran Duran, though, and I support them.  (OBVIOUSLY, am I right?!?) I have t-shirts, their music and videos, and posters.  I don’t have those things because I’m still secretly hoping for my chance at a one-nighter with any one of them, or because I still play them out in my head as perfect people.  I am a fan because I support them.

Female fandom can be a very slippery slope. Men don’t “trust” that fandom. They automatically assume that it is because of some sort of sexual attraction or fantasy, particularly if the band or artist we choose to support is male. Even worse, we females are programmed by society to automatically apologize or feel shame for the fandom we feel.  Why do I really need to justify having posters up in my room…even to myself?  I don’t, and this is something I’m going to work on.

I don’t know about anyone else, but at the age of 45, I’m getting awfully tired of having to justify why I’m a fan of anything.

Here’s my closet!:

Rhonda's closet posters 2

Rhonda's closet posters

-R