There’s been a lot of focus on bullying recently, from campaigns like “Stand Against Bullying” and others around the country, which focus on bullying amongst teens both online and at school.
Yet they fail to mention that bullying also happens in fandoms across the entertainment industry, and not just to teens but to adults as well. Some fandoms – like anime, foreign music, and manga – have a unique dynamic in which most of the people who join said fandoms either have very little voice in their immediate community because not many people in their country/state/city have the same passions for their interests, or they just want to connect with more like-minded people like themselves and not have to explain why they love what they love. These individuals hold their fandom very dear, and with some, it’s the only thing keeping them sane.
Unfortunately, in these fandoms there resides what most refer to as “Elitists.” These members make it known that they are the best there is, best there was, and best there ever will be in the fandom, and if you don’t know what THEY know, you’re simply not worthy. Some just ignore new members (called “n00bs”) yet there are those who resort to downright harassment and trolling. It’s these infidels that cause fandoms to not only fade, but cause the artists undue harm as well.
There are artists who’s sales and popularity have often suffered because the fan’s reputation for bullying (both online and in general) – people don’t want to go to lives, don’t want to buy merchandise, and certainly don’t want to join any official fan clubs. Let me make this perfectly clear: it doesn’t matter how talented an artist might be, if their fans are so out of control that others are concerned about being harassed at a live or for wearing their merchandise, then that artist will suffer financially and all the Elitists have done is ultimately hurt their cause, which, ironically, is to make their fandom the most popular fandom there is.
Yet there is an even more ominous issue to this problem.
Quite often, someone will become a fan of an artist (in these cases it usually focuses on musicians) because they were touched in some way by their works. These people have gone through a traumatic time in their lives and this one song, this one lyric, pulled them through that, and they feel quite literally that they owe this artist their life. These fans are the most sensitive, and seem to have a permanent target on their backs, especially coming in new to a fandom. These individuals have a strong emotional attachment to the artist, and as such take it the hardest when being harassed and bullied, up to and including experiencing severe depression or causing self-harm. Elitists take any opportunity to target these individuals, attacking them if they receive a reply either via email or Twitter from the artist, if they say something about the artist they find “lame,” or making a mistake when speaking about the artist’s life or works. They can go from being exited, elated that their favorite artist acknowledged them, to having feelings of inferiority and self-loathing, thereby killing their love for the artist with thoughts they’re not good enough to be a fan, so why bother?
The mission of this blog is to bring this situation to fore, to provide support and resources for those who have been victims of this sort of bullying, and to shine a light on those who have overcome their issues in the fandom to rise above and become a voice for those who’ve been silent.
We hope you’ll join us with your comments, your stories (which will remain anonymous) via email, and anything else you might find useful in ending this senseless act.