Henry Jenkins (2010) refers fandom to the social structures and cultural practices created by the most passionately engaged consumers of mass media properties [insert young girl crying at the sight of prepubescent pop star].
I have found it extremely difficult to come to the fact that young girls, globally, will say and do anything to get a slight grasp of their teen idol, be physically or virtually. Thankfully I skipped the crazy, psychopathic, aggressively passionate fandom of Belieber’s and 1 Directioner’s, however, I’m constantly surround by a miniature cult created by my nieces and nephews. Whether it’s the Niall doll, 1 Direction towel or the Justin Bieber hair cut, they all want it. At least it makes birthday and Christmas presents an easy choice.
As quick as a Pop star can rise to fame they can also fall. Justin was caught earlier in the year smoking marijuana, leading to a fan out cry on Twitter. Anonymous trolls convinced young fans to deliberately harm themselves in the pop stars name (Shepherd 2013). The trolls began trending on Twitter the hash tag #cuttingforbieber. This outrageous act from the fans has created a stigma of cult like behaviour. Moral panic’s are created by this and parents fear for their children’s safety with girls self harming and fainting at his performances. One direction fans seem to take it that one step further with reports that distraught fans are committing suicide (Ruddock 2013). Please do read this article if you are as shocked as I am.
Multiple celebrities reacted to the tweet, ironically Miley Cyrus chimed into the hype saying “Cutting is NOT something to joke about. There are people who are actually suffering from self-harm, this is so disrespectful” (Shepherd 2013). This girl really does need to focus on her own problems, and incased you missed it, here is a link to her VMA performance… brace yourself. And as a previous fan of Hanna Montana I am not impressed.
History has shown us that boy bands have and will always have a loyal following of young girls, take Beatlemania. However the eternal propensity for teenagers to swoon is sharper, because the heartthrobs can touch you through Twitter (Ruddock 2013). Likewise, Jenkins (2010) states that web 2.0 has broadened and diversified the participatory culture.
Do you think technology convergence has changed the way fans react and communicate with their idols?
Jenkins, H 2010, Fandom, Participatory Culture and Web 2.0 – A syllabus, Confessions of an Aca-Fan; The official weblog of Henry Jenkins, viewed 03/09/2013, http://henryjenkins.org/2010/01/fandom_participatory_culture_a.html
Ruddock, A 2013, That’s what makes them beautiful: why One Direction fans are smarter than you, viewed 03/09/2013, http://theconversation.com/thats-what-makes-them-beautiful-why-one-direction-fans-are-smarter-than-you-17186
Shepherd, T 2013, Cutting for Beiber becomes trend in wake of pop star’s alleged drug use, viewed 03/09/2013, http://www.news.com.au/national-news/cutting-for-bieber-becomes-trend-in-wake-of-pop-stars-drug-use/story-fncynjr2-1226549411210