If you’ve ever been part of a fandom, you’ll know it can be one of the places you feel safest. Whether you Stan the same boyband, artist, actor or TV show, it’s an amazing way to meet like-minded people and create new friendships and lifelong relationships. Whether you meet at a live show or via online communities, these are some of the people who know you better than anyone.
To celebrate the release of Ava Eldred’s ‘The Boyband Murder Mystery’ we spoke to some United By Pop followers about what fandoms mean to them. Can you relate to any of these stories?
I am mainly part of the One Direction fandom and the solo fandoms of the five boys. I made friends in different ways, it mostly happened after I helped someone or because they helped me; after that, we started talking and chatting. So it all happened unplanned. I came into the 1D fandom because of the pandemic. I searched for music and people that inspire me, that motivated me and that I can look up to. I found all of these in Harry, Louis, Liam, Niall and Zayn. Each of the boys represents at least one thing that is important to me or that I want to always keep in mind and act like (for example: Treat People with kindness). They give me comfort and I feel safe. The people that I met because of the five are truly amazing! Whenever the real world seems broken or lonely I can come on my Twitter page – my virtual safe place. I really hope to meet my friends one day, one of them and I planned to go to a Louis concert together but it sadly didn’t work out.
Being in this fandom means acceptance to me. Being freely and truly me. Respecting each other and being there for each other. Sadly I got some comments about this “girly” behaviour of liking a boyband but I started to accept the fact, that a lot of people won’t look further. I have my personal reasons for supporting them and no one else has to understand that.
I have been a part of the One Direction fandom since late 2011 and it’s been my best decision yet. I’ve met two of my best mates through that in an Instagram committee where we can talk about everything about the boys and life in general, also private on a further personal level.
Being in this particular fandom means the absolute world to me. I wouldn’t know what to do if I didn’t discover them back then. One Direction protects tons of lives including mine with their spirit, beautifully written lyrics, they’re sweet, kind, calming, and simply incredible people that you feel 110% safe with. They have taught me what the definition of “love” is, how to gain a memorable friendship, being just a little nicer to each other, and put people in a great mood (Even tho reality can make it difficult to achieve). I admire them to the fullest and wouldn’t live in a world without Harry, Niall, Zayn, Louis, and Liam, never.
The fact that others within the fandom obviously have the same interest as you helps a lot with developing new friendships as well. It’s a great conversation starter for nervous/shy people like myself.
Have you ever felt like people underestimated you because you’re part of a fandom?
I feel like society who can’t associate or aren’t in a fandom themselves can come across as a bit disrespectful with their way of speaking about something or someone referring to that certain fandom. In my experience, you can get bullied because of it. My entire school knows about my obsession and ALWAYS makes fun of it. “Why can’t you grow up and be normal?” they occasionally ask me “Why can’t you make friends in real life and not online?” (The list goes on). That part makes me super sad about this – they seem to ignore what drives me to One Direction, why I’m such a loyal and dedicated fan… One Direction make me happy and is the only thing in the world that keeps me going. So when a troublesome comment like that enters, I barely can’t with that person. One Direction is my world and nobody will ever take that away from me. It’s not a phase rather a lifestyle.
Thank you for sharing your story @Theamariendal
I started as a Directioner back in 2011. And when the 5 boys went on to start solo careers, I stanned them all individually as well. I had a couple of friends back in school, but that was it. And they weren’t really as into everything as I am. But then I joined Twitter and that’s where I found all the incredible people I can call my friends now. They’re the best people I’ve ever had, with all the qualities of an incredible friend and wonderful humans. I’m really so glad to have them and I would only thank the boys, if not for them I wouldn’t be here with these people.
Being a part of a fandom is absolutely fantastic. For me, it’s the only place where I can be myself without fearing judgement. There are so many wonderful people out here, always kind, encouraging and extending a helping hand. The fandom(s) I belong to, and the artists of course, bring me lots of peace and comfort. And it feels more like a home than any other place. There’s a sense of understanding and acceptance here that is mostly hard to find. And everyone is welcomed, no matter your age. I’m always super glad to be here. The artists I stan are responsible for making this all a part of my life. And I’ll forever love them for it and I’ll forever be grateful to them for it.
I mean, naturally, people always underestimate teenage girls for following boy bands. There were many instances where friends kinda did put me down for being ‘boy band obsessed’ or whatever. But it’s something I’ve gotten used to, I don’t pay it much attention now. To be honest, Harry, Louis, Liam, Niall and Zayn have taught me love, patience, strength, passion, acceptance, kindness, laughter, freedom and much more. They make BEING an easier task. And I owe them all. There’s this line from one of my favourite song by One Direction, “there will always be the kind that criticizes, but I know, yes I know, we’ll be alright.” I just live by it, and never forget to thank them for the lifestyle they’ve given me. Being a part of a fandom is marvellous, and especially mine is undoubtedly the best fandoms ever.
Thank you for sharing your story @defncelssfLoWeR
We still have a way to go, but slowly people are starting to understand not to underestimate a fandom. US K-pop fans’ hit the big-time media when they rallied together to disrupt Trump’s Tulsa rally – and that’s just the start of their power.
In Ava Eldred’s ‘The Boyband Murder Mystery’ it’s refreshing to see fandoms portrayed as strong communities that can rally together and get to the bottom of anything! Fancy reading it and finding out more yourself? It’s available to purchase everywhere now, here.