Are fangirls dangerous?

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Come on, just admit it - we're all fangirls or fanboys of something. Whether you're a closet One Direction addict or just really love Breaking Bad, we'll all part of a fandom of sorts. As a self-considered expert of this crazy, expanding world, I have always been interested in the psychology behind it all. What is it that makes me wait 20 hours in line, just for a Chris Colfer book signing? What is it about girls who spend $700 to $800 dollars on concert tickets? Being heavily involved in a fandom is a testament that you are not alone in your escape from reality, but surely there's a psychological pull that allows us to get attached to these celebrities we'll never meet or fictional characters that will never exist.

According to psychologist and Columbia professor Dr. Drew Ramsey, in an interview with Vulture, he said that he has seen many patients whose marriage is suffering because they are too addicted to watching football. "I believe in leisure, but we've swapped out something that is supposed to be pleasurable and leisurely and replaced it for an intense involvement," Ramsey said in the article. He continues to describe in the article how people place their hopes and dreams upon fictional characters, but that it is simply an act of displacement, or temporary relief from psychological distress that you are projecting onto something less vulnerable than yourself. 

Besides the theory of displacement for being wrapped up with fictional characters, what about those celebrity twitters we stalk or the idols we secretly aspire to be or worship? There is actually a coined term of it, and it called Celebrity Worship Syndrome. According to this article, psychologist James Houran conducted a study with 600,000 participants and coined this term, also forming a scale with a level of severity, and defined it as the "obsession with the lifestyle of  the rich and famous." From the level of "entertainment social", or casual conversation about celebrities, to "intense personal", or deciding you have a personal connection with that person, a third of the population has this syndrome to some degree.

While any level of fascination with a celebrity or a tv show or a sports team doesn't initially strike as a problem, there are examples of extreme cases where people are literally out of their minds to fulfil their obsession. Take "Stalker Sarah" for example. At just 17 years old, she has over over 6,200 pictures of A-list celebrities including Justin Bieber, and Kim Kardashian. She even has her own fan base for being in touch with so many famous people. It's that kind of commitment and dedication to have a nickname 'stalker' attached to your name, considering she's been doing this since the age of 12.

What do you guys think? Do you think being obsessed with a something or someone is a psychological problem, or do you think it's just associated with being young or boy bands? Do you think they play a destructive role in society? 

1 Comment

Hello Kelly, I actually live with an insane Glee fan girl who has the most sensitive hearing with anything Glee (last week she faintly heard through her earphones someone playing Lea Michelle singing Jar of Hearts in another room..... talk about psycho). I do believe that there is a psychological aspect when it comes to fandoms, them being that whatever is being fanned over has a firm grasp on a special memory/experience (mine being Harry Potter since I grew up with the series and was hooked since day one), a guidance in life (role models such as my number one idol Demi Lovato) or just to fit in with the rest of the world (such as the whole #CuttingForBieber frenzy that occurred over twitter last year due to a prank started by 4Chan to see of Bieber fans would cut themselves to get their 'idol' to stop smoking weed....... seriously?!). It basically depends on the person that is fan girling/boying and which fanbase they go to since there are many levels of insanity/obsession when it comes to celebrities. Twilight, Gleeks, and Bielibers are the top three insane fandoms that I know of. But seriously...... how amazing is it that JK Rowling is adding on to the Harry Potter series but not really Harry Potter related?! CANNOT WAIT (please excuse my fan-girling, back to the real world now).

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