Alright. So. I’m just gonna jump in about my topic. We’ll make this as clean cut as possible. No fluff. Ya gurl is Tired and has a lit review due in two (2) days.
As I mentioned in my previous field guide post, I was leaning towards and am now 100% committed to (aka like 10 sources deep in) the examination of fandom culture and obsession with a focus on K-pop, “stan,” and “sasaeng” culture. (A bit lost? Don’t worry, I’ll explain the last two in the future, along with the development of the terms and their similarities and differences.)
I had previously planned on focusing on the negative only in regards to this topic, but after some workshop discussion as well as some further research, I plan to offset these Horror Stories of Crazed Fans (of which I have many) with the story of my own journey through fandom. I don’t want to ‘prove that there are good fans out there’ or toot my own horn bragging that I’m a ‘good fan,’ but I came to the conclusion that it would be interesting to have fandom be analyzed and criticized by a member of a fandom community. My own perspective as a researcher will be completely different from that of an objective, outside-looking-in researcher based on my involvement with several fandom circles in general as well as the K-pop fandom currently.
Last week, I was asked about what ‘lens’ I can portray this through, on what can be done about it, on who it would be serving. To answer these, I will be looking at several aspects of K-pop ‘sasaeng’ culture:
- The obsessive, stalker behavior of certain fans (and the differentiation between these stalker fans and super fans, because going to several stops on a tour or buying several albums does not equate breaking into hotel rooms or selling artists’ personal contact information) and their motives behind such behavior
- The effects these behavior have on the artists
- How the industry itself perpetuates this culture and essentially does not help despite taking legal actions (though this is changing)
- How fans (actual fans) fight against this behavior
I would hope that, through my exploration of these cultures and of fandom culture and fanaticism in general, I will be able to a) give somewhat of a How To/Check Yourself guide in regards to appropriate fandom behavior, b) promote those who see dangerous behaviors like these to speak out/report the so-called ‘fans,’ and c) provide hope in the end that there are people working in favor of these artists to protect them.
(I wouldn’t say that artists need more insight/awareness into these ‘fans’… Though they stress their love for their fans… they’re very aware that not all of them are as wonderful as they say. And they have the scars and trauma to prove it.)
As for collecting sources, here are some that I have already found:
- Understanding Fandom: An Introduction to the Study of Media Fan Culture by Mark Duffett
Fans, Bloggers, and Gamers: Exploring Participatory Culture by Henry Jenkins
- “Inside the Inspiring Life and Still Bizarre Death of Singer Christina Grimmie” by Sarah Grossbart
- “Hallyu Tsunami: The Unstoppable (and Terrifying) Rise of K-Pop Fandom” by Sam Lansky
- “Exploring Consumer Fanaticism: Extraordinary Devotion in the Consumption Context” by Emily Chung, Michael Beverland, Francis Farrelly, and Pascale Quester
- (and I’m working on finding more!)
I was able to consult friends of mine who are also somewhat “mentors” to me in this fandom, and they have pointed out a documentary on sasaeng fans. I hope to find clips of it, or ideally of the entire film, to link in my final blog post.
So far, my alchemist friend and I have chatted about some of the sources, and she’s started commenting on a few of them and will continue to do so over the next few weeks. Once Euphie has an idea of this whole mish-mosh of a fandom, she’ll (begrudgingly) ask about my own experience as a fan.
Alrighty. Weekly post will be up soon. See y’all next time.
EDIT: it’s euphie, i hacked her account. and by hacked i mean she left her computer out with wordpress open. this stuff… listen, i was doing a bit of digging after masooch showed me some of the sources she found and yiiiiiiiikes there is some dark stuff here. like. is masooch okay? does she deal with this stuff every day? is this why she rage quits twitter sometimes? what the heck is a bias???