Here’s a roundup of the benefits of fandom stories that might be of interest to fans:
- Blogger Suzanne Lahna wrote recently about things she’s learned from fandom. Concluding that “Fandom is important, and I think the why needs to be told,” she lists a few benefits from the immediately practical to the lifelong. “Fandom taught me how to make a fight scene work like a fluid thing. Fandom taught me that present tense is actually okay, and can be used well in the appropriate scenarios…Fandom taught me how to write boldly, without shame, without hesitance.” She writes, “Fandom has given me hope. Fandom reminds me that there are no limits to what we can write about, what we can do, only the limits we place on ourselves.”
- The Atlantic looks at soccer fans and finds much the same thing as Lahna. “Trying to rationalize fandom can be a complicated, even futile process. But studies by psychologists have shown that identifying yourself with a sports team can have profound implications. According to Daniel L. Wann, a professor at Murray State University, and a pioneer in the field of sports psychology, the more passionate your fandom, the more positive the impact is on your psychological health. Based on surveys of American sports fans over more than two decades, Wann has categorized fans in relation to the degree to which they consider their team an extension of themselves. He describes the more ardent fans, the ones who consider their team to be an important part of their lives, as ‘highly identified’ fans, and the ones who follow their team more loosely, with a sense of detachment, as “weakly identified” fans. He says, in the case of the highly identified fans, the social connections that are formed through their fandom—the camaraderie that comes out of following games with a group of people—plays a significant and positive role in their lives.”
- A piece on sci-fi cons in The Seattle Times came across the same opinions yet again: “‘It’s a community,’ Katrina Marier, editor of Westwind, the magazine of the Northwest Science Fiction Society, said. ‘People in fandom care about each other. We’re excited to get together.’ She said when someone gets sick, people visit with casseroles and offers of help just like in any group.” Indeed some ideas should spread outside of fandom. “‘Some [people] you’ll like and some not. Some you’ll agree with and some not,’ she said. ‘You all can occupy the same space for the course of a weekend. That is very important, and we could use a lot more of that in our national discourse.’ That’s reason enough to be involved. Besides tolerance, Marier says, fandom has solidified some other good traits. ‘Fandom has encouraged my tendencies to both be open to new ideas and to think about them critically, and to ask questions.'”
- Indeed a story in The Advocate stresses the ways in which fandoms and society can be intertwined with their feature on a comic book store wedding. Various comics shops honored the marriage of characters Northstar and Kyle with fundraising events and receptions, but Midtown Comics took it a step further when they hosted a wedding in-store. The groomsmen featured in the story “were selected from more than 50 applicants because ‘they really stood out as super-fans,’ said Thor Parker, Midtown Comics’ social media and events director. They met online and had one of their first dates at a comics-related event.”
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