I’m happy to call myself a nerd and a fangirl, and it makes up a large part of my leisure time, and even my work. But fandom is a double-edged sword, and there will always be bad sides to it. A small portion of fans can easily ruin the entire fandom for everyone involved. This is why I often find that being a casual fan is better than being a hardcore fan. Here are a few reasons why:
- Avoiding fandom drama
Fandom is something that participants are supposed to enjoy together, yet fans seem fit to fill it with shipping wars, arguments, and overall drama over what is supposed to be fun entertainment. Casual fandom means you can continue to enjoy the work but let all this drama go on in the background.
2. No disappointment
Let’s face it, sometimes even our favourite ongoing stories take a turn for the worse. Characters fail to grow, the plot doesn’t go the way you hoped, or the network executives stick their noses in and ruin everything. This can cause rage amongst the hardcore fans for ruining something which means so much to them. But if you’re only a casual fan, you can simply say ‘that sucks’ and move onto a better story.
3. Not looking crazy
There are always a few fans whose actions make the entire fanbase as a whole look bad by association. For instance, the chaos of the mishandled Rick and Morty Szechuan sauce promotion was really only the work of a few crazy fans. Yet their actions were so insane and received so much bad publicity that it made every Rick and Morty look bad, which they definitely didn’t deserve. If you can say ‘I like that show’ and not ‘I’m a huge fan’, you will come across a little easier and avoid this bad reputation.
4. Stay away from the fandom police
Some fans care so much about their favourite work that they become almost militaristic in their devotion to it and police the rest of the fandom in the ‘right’ way to do things. They will jump down your throat for forgetting an obscure piece of trivia or call you out for a headcanon they don’t agree with. It’s hard to avoid these fans entirely, but remaining a casual fan does mean you can generally stay off their radar, and avoid their wrath.
5. Accept the good with the bad
No story is entirely perfect. They all have strengths and weaknesses. But tell an obsessive fan that and you will open up a can of worms. Some fans can become so obsessed with their favourite work that they outright refuse to acknowledge any of its legitimate flaws, often turning into the militaristic fan to deny them. By remaining a casual fan and looking at the work objectively, you can accept these flaws along with the strengths, and use them to improve your own writing or find more works that you enjoy.
6. Avoid spoilers
There’s nothing worse as a hardcore fan than accidently reading a major spoiler, or even having some dick spoil it for you. Yet while you are spending weeks, or even months, getting through a longer series, it can be tempting to peek into the social media tags or check out the TV Tropes page and accidently see a spoiler without meaning to. Casual fandom helps you to avoid this temptation and enjoy the big twists as the author indented.
7. Save your money
You’d be surprised how expensive fandom can be. When your favourite characters are plastered on t-shirts, toys, and posters, it’s difficult to avoid the temptation, even when you look into your empty wallet and weep. As a casual fan, you may buy the occasional shirt or mug, but otherwise your wallet will remain healthy.
8. Enjoy a range of interests
There’s nothing wrong with being passionate about your favourite story, yet some people seem to become so obsessed with a singular work that it almost consumes their entire identity. For me, fandom is a big part of my life, but it’s still only one thing I do. Staying in several different fandoms also allows me to enjoy a wide range of different stories, genres, and mediums. One day I might be binge watching an old cartoon and the next I’ll be riffing on a dumb movie. It gives me a wide range of interests and lots of inspiration for my own stories.