Fandoms bring people together through interests

Lilly Ludwig, staff writer

What do Doctor Who, Harry Potter, and One Direction all have in common? According to sophomore Carolyn Levi, they share a widespread following made up of people connected by their common passion, also known as a fandom.

“It’s this community,” said freshman Anna Bundy, who identifies with several fandoms including Doctor Who. “You just have this universal love for one thing. It brings people together.”

Bundy explained how she got into Doctor Who after a friend suggested they watch an episode. She said that after the first one, she was hooked, and ended up watching 13 consecutive episodes.

“It has some powerful messages that are necessary in the world,” said Bundy. “The female characters in Doctor Who are portrayed strongly, which I appreciate, because a lot of the time in TV shows, it’s not quite like that.”

According to sophomore Ann Isaacs, who also considers herself a part of the Doctor Who fandom, the themes and messages from the show are what make it worthwhile. She agreed that it contains elements that the majority of young adult media is missing, such as the theme of good prevailing over evil, and winning by means other than violence.

“I like the theme [of] winning because you’re clever, or winning through compassion and kindness as opposed to ‘I beat you in battle’ sort of thing, which seems to be the common theme in a lot of [young adult] literature,” Isaacs said.

However, TV shows aren’t the only forms of entertainment gaining fandoms, according to sophomore Carolyn Levi. She explained that the aspect she finds most interesting from her fandom, Harry Potter, is the enormous fanbase it has, even after the publication of all seven books.
According to Levi, her passion for Harry Potter increased, so much so that she traveled to a week long, overnight, Harry Potter camp. She explained that activities included making butterbeer and playing fake quidditch.

“[The best thing was] just being around people that didn’t think you were so bizarre for making really obscure references,” Levi said. “Being around people who would get the references you were making was great.”

Isaacs agreed that fandoms have a way of bringing on new experiences. She explained a time at a Doctor Who convention where she was able to meet one of the actors from the show. According to Isaacs, people had been paying money and waiting in lines to meet the character, but when she and her friends saw the actor in the vendors room, they took advantage of the opportunity.

Along with powerful TV shows and books, music has brought fandoms together as well, according freshman Maggie Flowers, who identifies with the One Direction fandom. Flowers explained how her love for One Direction lead her to being featured on One Direction’s 1D Day, a seven hour long live-stream hosted by members of the band.

“My friend and I made a poster, and you were supposed to download it into a Google group,” Flowers said. “[Our poster] ended up being on the show.”

According to Flowers, one of the best parts of being in a fandom is the way it brings people together. She explained an experience where one of her friends gave her the phone number of a fellow One Direction lover who she had never met before.

“I had no idea who she was, and I was talking to that girl on the phone for probably four hours, over One Direction related stuff,” Flowers said.

Senior Regina Anderson, who identifies with several fandoms including Doctor Who, has also experienced fandoms bringing people together. She explained how just by carrying around a Doctor Who-themed lunch box at school she is able to connect with complete strangers.

“Sometimes I’ll get these random compliments from people in the hallway, from people I’ve never even talked to before, probably never even seen before, but they’ll just be like ‘hey! I really really like your lunchbox!’,” Anderson said. “It’s just really cool to connect with someone that you don’t know through a medium that’s close to both of your guys’ hearts.”

Despite their difference in fandoms, all students who identify with a fandom agree that it has a way of bringing people together, creating friendships, and making a bond between strangers.

“It’s kind of this cool thing where, as individual as you are, you’re part of this huge thing,” Flowers said. “I just think it’s the coolest thing in the world.”