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Friday, April 7, 2017

Secondhand Fandom Syndrome

Hello, everyone. My name is Sarah. And I have Secondhand Fandom Syndrome.

Secondhand Fandom Syndrome (SFS), simply put, is a curious phenomenon in which someone who has never read or watched the focus of a particular fandom nevertheless displays signs of being in that fandom. Sometimes it's a mild condition; sometimes it's so extreme that the person is actually mistaken for a fandom member. And today, bouncing off Top Ten Tuesdays' fandom theme for this week, I'm going to detail five symptoms to help you recognize Secondhand Fandom Syndrome in yourself or your loved ones.

Friday 5s: Secondhand Fandom Syndrome Symptoms

  1. A significant number of the person's friends are in that particular fandom. This is both cause and symptom of SFS. One develops Secondhand Fandom Syndrome through constant exposure to a particular fandom. Then, once one becomes a Secondhand Fan, one tends to seek out true fans of the series (or other Secondhand Fans) as friends, which intensifies the syndrome, creating a cycle. The only ways to break this cycle? If the Secondhand Fan looses interest in the fandom or if they officially become a part of that fandom by reading the book, watching the movie or TV show, or playing the game.
  2. The person easily recognizes even not-immediately-obvious references to the fandom. There is an important distinction here. If someone knows that a Weeping Angel is from Doctor Who or that "girl on fire" means Hunger Games, that just means they have some awareness of popular/geek culture. On the other hand, if the person gets why someone else has tally marks on their arm (and denies knowledge of why the marks are there) or if they know why a dam snack bar is hilarious . . . they're probably a Secondhand Fan (if not a full-on fan). 
  3. The person attempts to make references to the fandom. This might be to appeal to their fandom friends, or to make other people think that they themselves are legitimately in the fandom. Unfortunately, these references tend to fall flat because the person making them doesn't quite understand everything behind the reference. And even if the reference was done well, others still might not get it, since they don't associate that person with the fandom in question. Such is the unfortunate plight of the overly enthusiastic Secondhand Fan.
  4. The person reads, and may actively seek out, fanfiction or fanart for the fandom of which they're a Secondhand Fan. Like the friends in the fandom, this may be both cause and symptom, particularly in the case of fanfiction. The person encounters a piece of fanfiction and reads it, possibly without realizing that it is fanfiction. They enjoy it, so when they see another piece, they read that as well. Often, they may read the fanfics simply because the stories are written by friends whose writing styles they enjoy. Eventually, the person will become a Secondhand Fan, which means they will be even more likely to enjoy fanfiction and fanart for the series. (On a sidenote: this is super effective; it's basically what got me into the PJO fandom, and why I'm a Secondhand Fan of HP.)
  5. The person actively ships or otherwise has strong feelings regarding particular characters in that fandom. This represents a very extreme form of SFS. In most cases, although the Secondhand Fan enjoys the fandom, they do not have strong feelings about it. If one's SFS progresses to this stage, one should probably just join the fandom already if at all possible; it'll be easier all 'round.
The question, of course, remains: why do those with Secondhand Fandom Syndrome stay Secondhand Fans instead of fully joining the fandom? Well, parental permissions may be a factor, but the most common reason is that we all only have so much time to read, watch, and otherwise engage with the fandom, and that means that sometimes, the series or show will just have to wait.

Are you a Secondhand Fan? If so, of what fandoms? Do you know of any symptoms I missed? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)     

12 comments:

  1. Some of this is eerily familiar

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    1. Well, Secondhand Fandom Syndrome is extremely common among people and friends of people who are bookworms, fangirls, movie-lovers, and similar. It's entirely possible that either you or one of your loved ones has SFS and you simply didn't realize it.

      Thanks for commenting!

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  2. Oh my gosh! This was so funny XD.
    I would have to say I'm a secondary fan of The Flash. I'm a hardcore Snowbarry shipper, and just because I read one of my friend's fanfictions. Although now that I've watched the first season I guess I'm part of the fandom. Also, I am a secondary fan of The Simarillion. I know everything that happens and will understand certain obscure references, but I have no intention of ever reading the book.

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    1. Glad I could amuse!
      Fanfictions are surprisingly good at making us ship things even when we don't know the couples involved . . . but yeah, if you've watched part of the show, I'd say you're in the fandom. And I quite understand not wanting to read The Silimarillion. It's interesting, but it's long, and it reads like a history book in places.
      Thanks for commenting!

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  3. *raises hand* I AM A SECOND HAND FAN...for so many things. 😂 I feel like a second hand fan of Parks & Rec these days because I have basically seen the entire show just from gifs.😂 Same with the Harry Potter movies. Not seen them. Know soooo many details about them. And I agree! Like one of my biggest reasons for not actually going to be a fan is just tiiiiime. Do not have enough of it. And other times, like, I feel i know so many spoilers and things already, what's the point of watching the show/reading the book!??😂😂

    TOTALLY RELATE TO THIS POST!

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    1. Yay! *hi5s fellow Secondhand Fan* Yeah, gifs/YouTube clips are good for creating Secondhand Fans. Though for me, sometimes knowing a lot of spoilers and stuff about the book makes me want to read it more, because I want to see how exactly all that works out (which is why I got started on Discworld).

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting!

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  4. I've been a secondhand fan before, though not often. Usually my secondhand fandom becomes a legitimate fandom for me because I'm able to get my hands on the true material. One exception is my love for Wicked the Musical. I loved that show for years, could sing almost all the songs, knew most of the characters... but I've only recently managed to watch the entire musical thanks to You Tube.

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    1. That's good for you that you're able to actually join the fandoms! I wish I could say the same for myself! I'm working on it, though . . . Thanks for commenting!

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  5. Hello :) New visitor here! LOVE this post because I relate to it so much! I'm a crazy fan of supernatural and Sherlock which automatically causes me to be a second hand fan of Doctor Who because Pinterest keeps recommending amazing pins!! I so wanna watch shows and read books because I love what I see of them in the fandom and I wanna be an actual part of it! Again, great post :)

    Uma@Books.Bags.Burgers.

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    1. Hey'a, Uma! Welcome to the blog, and I'm glad you enjoyed the post!
      Yep, connecting fandoms and pinterest are both very effective at creating secondhand fans. I hope you can actually join some of your Secondhand Fandoms!
      Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  6. I'm probably a secondhand fan in many fandoms- I just can't think of any at the moment XD But, you know, only so much you can pour your energy into.

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    1. True, true. Thanks for commenting!

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