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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Fandom (from the noun fan and the affix -dom, as in kingdom, dukedom, etc.) is a term used to refer to a subculture composed of fans characterized by a feeling of sympathy and comradeship with others who share a common interest. A fandom can grow up centered around any area of human interest or activity. The subject of fan interest can be narrowly defined, focused on something like an individual celebrity; or wide, encompassing entire hobbies, genres or fashions. Fandom as a term can also be used in a broad sense to refer to an interconnected social network of individual fandoms, many of which overlap. While it is now used to apply to groups of people fascinated with any subject, the term has its roots in those with an enthusiastic appreciation for sports. The Oxford English Dictionary traces the usage of the term back as far as 1903, with many of its documented references referring to sports fandom.

Contents

Types of fans

Fanboy

Fanboy or Fanboi is a term used to describe a male who is utterly devoted to a single subject or hobby, often to the point where it is considered an obsession. The term originated in comic book circles, to describe someone who was socially insecure and used comics as a shield from interaction, hence the disparaging connotations. Fanboys are often experts on minor details regarding their hobbies, such as continuity in fictional universes, and they take these details extremely seriously. The term itself is often used in a derogatory manner by less serious fans of the same material. Nevertheless, self-labeling usages of the term have been noted; in the songs of the fannish parody musician Luke Ski, many characters proudly consider themselves fanboys. The term is usually applied to people in their teens or 20s. Within this group, common objects of deference for fanboys are TV shows, movies, anime, cars, video game consoles, video games, Music, operating systems and in earlier decades home computers, MMORPGs, ISPs and software companies. Similar to the term fangirl, fanboy is commonly used in a derogatory sense to describe a male's obsession with something, most commonly a cartoon, videogame, female video game character, or an aspect of Japanese pop culture.

Fangirl

The term fangirl can be used to describe a female member of a fandom community (counterpart to the masculine "fanboy"). Fangirls tend to be more devoted to emotional and romantic aspects of their fandom, especially shipping. However, it is commonly used in a derogatory sense to describe a girl's obsession with something, most commonly a male teen idol or an aspect of Japanese pop culture.

Fangirl behavior can vary in intensity. On one end of the scale are those that, while harboring a crush on a particular actor or character, are perfectly capable of understanding that the fulfilment of the crush is never going to happen. On the other end are the girls who are said to be obsessive in their claims on a fictional character, even fighting with other fangirls over who 'owns' the character in question. Fangirl behavior can fall anywhere in this spectrum, but the closer someone is believed to be towards the obsessive end, the more derogatory the use of the term 'fangirl' to describe them is perceived to be. Fangirls of all persuasions are believed to be the largest contributors to fanfiction websites, sometimes disregarding the canon storyline of their fandom or altering it to fit either their own favored romantic pairings; or themselves into the continuity (termed self-insertions or Mary Sues).

Teen idol fans

These fans will commonly hold a crush on a major star, athlete or celebrity (common examples include Madonna, Orlando Bloom, Brad Pitt, and Britney Spears (see teen idol)). This can range from a simple crush to the complete belief that the celebrity is either madly in love with the fan, or will fall madly in love with the fan once she or he lays eyes on him/her. In extreme cases, this can lead to stalking behavior.

Otaku

In Japan, where the term otaku originates, it is applied to fans of almost any topic, including anime/manga, the military, trains, etc. The term in Japan is derogatory (at least to those outside the otaku subculture), but with such works as the popular Densha Otoko, this may be changing. In English, the term Otaku has been adopted almost exclusively to describe fans of anime, manga and related materials. It also lacks the derogatory overtones it has in Japan.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Fandom" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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