Fandoms for Dummies

Assuming you know your way around the internet, you presumably know what a fandom or fanbase is. If you don’t, I shall explain. A fandom is a group of devoted fans of a certain pop culture icon, especially a TV show, a movie, or a book series. The idea of fandoms and fanbases has been around since Star Trek invented the Sci-fi Convention back in the 1960s, indeed, the third season’s existence is proof of the devotion of fans. The degree of devotion varies, but it is far different than the stereotyped nerd who is so obsessed about a particular fandom, that he forgets to live. Most fans do have real lives, and in fact, many people identify with more than one fanbase. However, if given a choice, many devoted fans would rather live in the world in which the fandom exists. Below is my handy reference guide to popular fandoms today, especially in the United States. Beware, this requires a great deal of scrolling:

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Star Trek

 Since: 1966

Nickname: Trekkers for more devoted fans, the term “trekkies” is also used but is used to refer to the more obsessive nerds that generate the stereotype of no-life nerds.

Demography: Mostly women older than 40, generally single, and well educated. Fans are among the most devoted of all.

Works: Six TV series, eleven (going on 12) movies, and an expanded universe of non-canon novels.

Star Wars

 Since: 1977

Nickname: Warsies, 501st Legion

Demography: An obscure fanbase, as most people who like Star Wars also like other fanbases as well. Most fans are young boys under college age.

Works: Six movies, many video games, and an expanded universe of canon novels, to expand on the canon that was never developed in the films.

Lord of the Rings/ The Hobbit

 Since: Unknown, the earliest could have been 1937, when The Hobbit was first published.

Nickname: Tolkienites

Demography: Everybody (all ages, all races, all locations), mostly Christians who enjoy the subtext Tolkien, a devout Catholic, put into his stories.

Works: The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillon, Unfinished Tales, The History of Middle Earth saga, and The Children of Húrin. Not to mention the four (going on six) movies based on the books.

The Hunger Games

 Since: 2008

Nickname: Tributes

Demography: Children and teenagers, mostly Americans.

Works: The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay, and the movies based on the books.

Doctor Who

 Since: 1963

Nickname: Whovians

Demography: Mostly everybody in Great Britain, but has gained an overseas fanbase of young people due to the success of the new series, called by fans “NuWho”. Younger fans often do not know of/enjoy the classic series (1963-1989 and 1996).

Works: Doctor Who is a television show that has run on the BBC from 1963-1989, and 2005-present. There also was a movie made, and after the series was cancelled back in 1989, stories continued to be made in the form of audios.

Harry Potter

 Since: 1997

Nickname: Potterheads, Muggles (is rare, and is sometimes used to refer to non-fans as well, as an insult).

Demography: Most people in the English-speaking world who were in childhood between 1997 and 2008, when the books were still being written, or were still relatively new. By now these fans are mostly in their late teens or in their twenties. Despite being written as a children’s story, adults found the stories gripping as well.

Works: Seven novels and eight movies (loosely) based on the books.

Twilight

 Since: 2005

Nickname: Twihards

Demography: Intended for teenagers, but really only appeals to young girls between the ages of 10 and 15.

Works: Four novels and five movies based on the books.

Glee

 Since: 2009

Nickname: Gleeks

Demography: Young, hip Americans

Works: a TV show

Game of Thrones

 Since: 1991

Nickname: none

Demography: a broad spectrum of people

Works: 5 novels currently in the series of novels A Song of Ice and Fire, a TV show based off of the books with great success

Celebrity fanbases

 Type: devoted fans of a particular celebrity, usually a popular musician or band

Nicknames: Little Monsters (Lady Gaga), Beliebers (Justin Bieber), Directioners (One Direction), Rihanna Navy (Rihanna), Fanilows (Barry Manilow), Beyhive/Beyontourage (Beyoncé), KatyCats (Katy Perry), Team Breezy (Chris Brown), Animals (Ke$ha), Barbies (Nicki Minaj), Smilers (Miley Cyrus), Swifties (Taylor Swift), Idiots (Green Day), Dolls (the Kardashian family), Cumberb*tch*s (Benedict Cumberbatch), Stans (Eminem), Hooligans (Bruno Mars), not to mention the old classic Deadheads (Grateful Dead).

Demographic: Mostly teenagers and people in their early twenties. The Deadheads are all in their forties or fifties though.

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But wait! I’m not quite done yet. There are some other things you need to know about fanbases. The internet has made fanbases popular and widespread, allowing fans to connect with one another. There are many websites devoted to fandoms. Most particular is the dangerous realm of fanfiction/fanart. While fanfiction is lovely, since it allows fans to share tales of the characters everybody in the fanbase knows and loves, right from the fan’s own imagination, without having to publish a great big novel, it can be a minefield of dangers if you don’t know the difference between “het”, “slash”, and “gen” fics (heterosexual romance, homosexual romance, and no romance, respectively). Consider that your official warning. Another wonderful invention of the internet is some websites where you can view TV shows for free that you would otherwise have to pay for (presumably this is legal).

There you have it, and introduction and overview of the world of fandoms. I personally am a fan of many things, being a complete nerd, some of which are rather obscure fanbases. Thanks for reading!

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5 comments on “Fandoms for Dummies

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