The Science Behind: Fankids
omggrhgieugheigherghiegheurgieurgugrgeg. I CAN'T belive that happened. ghoregeigheigegu.
To an average human being, I just attacked my keyboard, but to a fangirl? I've just spoken their language.
By definition of Google, a fangirl is a "female fan, especially one who is obsessive about comics, movies, music, or science fiction."
The male version is a fanboy, and the gender-neutral term is usually fanby, or fankid.
As a fangirl myself, I've spent many hours on boy bands, books, and the music industry.
As any of my friends would know, "ahhhhghrguheirgahhhguh is sometimes my way of expressing my feelings.
Some people consider fangirling a mental disorder! Saying that it takes people to an alternate reality, and then they get addicted and never want to return.
However, like many psychologists, and my fellow fangirls would argue our obsessions sometimes help us escape mental disorders. Samantha Smithstein, the co-founder of Pathways Institute for Impulse Control in California says, "Fanatics may be driven to escape an issue that's difficult to face." Fankids find comfort in knowing that during dark times they have their favorite books to read, movies to watch, and music to listen to.
Not only does being part of a fandom help you escape your mind, but it helps you find friendships. The most popular fandoms in history have millions, if not more, fans. Feeling like you belong with a group of people is almost always a path to getting better for victims of depression.
According to Dr. Laurel Steinberg, a psychotherapist, and professor of psychology at Columbia University: “Belonging to a fandom group helps adolescents connect to other like-minded youths on social media throughout the year, as well as at concert events. Feeling like you are part of a group can help one define his/her identity and give a sense of purpose to what might be an otherwise routine lifestyle.”
Being part of a fandom and doing things with those people gives makes you feel important, and most importantly wanted.
So being part of a fandom, and loving something with all your heart, and using it to escape reality is not a bad thing. Until you get addicted to it. Especially, with fictional characters, and fictional worlds, it easy to want to live in that world.
How does our brain get addicted?
The brain's mesolimbic system functions as a support between the part of the brain that controls liking and the part that controls wanting. This system was evolved to liking food, originally, but now there are other factors too.
When we hear a song or read a book we really like, our brain wants more of it. Then we discover the artist that sang that song and start to go through their discography. Or we find the sequel of the book or different books by the same author. Either way, our brains are wired to want more of something we like. That's what leads to addiction and obsession.
People sometimes use that obsession to avoid doing other things- for teenagers that might mean avoiding schoolwork, and letting your grades drop.
Like everything, and anything- fan kid life is a double-edged sword.
It can help you or ruin you depending on which direction you let it go in.
So Keep Calm and Fangirl safe. Of course, as a fan, there is no calm involved but that's, not the point.
Until next time...
Stay Curious ;)