Over its thousands of years of existence, mankind has come up with a large collection of insults. However, out of all these words and phrases, the words “fake fan” seem to sting a lot these days.
This phrase can often be seen on YouTube comment sections and certain social media posts, and it can also be heard being muttered by disgruntled spectators at sporting events. Even if you've never been called a fake fan, you can definitely imagine how much it'd hurt. No one wants to have people thinking that their passion for something is nothing but a cry for attention. So, how do you avoid being a fake fan?
Music: Everyone loves music and has a list of favourite musicians and groups. People think they are entitled to call themselves “fans” if they enjoy listening to a few songs by a particular singer/band, but this is a total misconception. To be a true fan, you must have listened to (and liked) every single song by an artist. Not only must you memorise the lyrics, but if there is a backstory, you must also know that. Don't embarrass true Swifties by claiming to be one of them if you don't know which celebrity Taylor Swift is throwing shade at in each of her songs.
Sports: First and foremost, don't be a girl. You will be barraged with questions until you get one wrong which will only make the opposite sex reaffirm their beliefs that two X-chromosomes are a sure sign that you know nothing regarding sports. Secondly, trivia is necessary when it comes to supporting specific teams or athletes. On which years did Real Madrid win each of their Champions League trophies? What were the terms and conditions of Tiger Woods' divorce? How many times has Arsenal finished fourth in the English Premier League? Last (and the most obvious one) of all, you are required to know every rule in a certain game. It doesn't matter if you understand the basics of cricket and can name a few players apart from Shakib Al Hasan and Virat Kohli. You either know every single fielding position, or you don't know cricket at all.
Celebrities: If you don't know when a celebrity was born, when and how each of his/her achievements were made, what he/she had for dinner three nights ago, or his/her grandfather's middle name, please stop thinking of yourself as a fan. Please. You're not allowed to call yourself a Cumber-anything unless you have a shrine dedicated to Benedict Cumberbatch and unfinished drafts of questionable fanfiction about him.
TV shows: A genuine fan of a TV series knows the names of all the characters. It's that simple. You need to know the exhaustive list of people Cersei Lannister has sworn to take revenge on. You need to know names and details of each character who has been killed by Walkers on The Walking Dead so far. You need to know that Twilight Sparkle is the name of a character from My Little Pony, not the name of a particular shade of lip-gloss. Only then can you avoid allegations of being a fake fan.
After reading through all of this, you might be wondering, “Why can't a fan be someone who simply enjoys a few songs, or someone's acting skills, or a competitive match with a good display of athleticism and sportsmanship?” Well, the thing is, that would take the aggressiveness out of the whole being-a-fan thing. Also, being unnecessarily aggressive and easily offended is a trend, and since 2016 is almost at its end, it's high time you go with the flow of things. Do your duty to make fandoms great again.
Despite being a hopeless fangirl, Marisha Aziz lives under delusions of awesomeness. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org to give her another excuse to ignore her teetering pile of life problems.