Fandom Sociology: The Mechanics Behind the Beast

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Title: Fandom Sociology: The Mechanics Behind the Beast
Creator: Princess Twilight
Date(s): early 2000s?
Medium: online
External Links: Princess Twilights essay, Archived version
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Fandom Sociology: The Mechanics Behind the Beast is an essay by Princess Twilight.

It is one of many essays at Octaves, a Buffy and Angel website.

"A tongue-in-cheek look at the who's who of the fandom."

The Labels

  • Diva (aka BNF)
  • Wanna Be Divas
  • The "Artist"
  • Ahhh, Freak!
  • Grouch
  • The Sheep


The online fandom is a unique form of socialization. The majority of the population in the world doesn't have this added area in their life. Behavior is largely learned from family, friends, school, work, and by a higher power (government, officials, etc.). But then there are the few of us who deviate from the mode of behavior by getting caught up enough in what the rest of the world sees as simple entertainment that they leave behind after the credits roll.

To us, it's not as simple as entertainment, but a form of escape. Especially with shows such as Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel the Series, Alias, Firefly, Lord Of the Rings, and Stargate SG1 (the list goes on...) where the primary draw is fantasy, horror, amazing abilities, things we do NOT have in our own lives.

That doesn't mean the basic rules of sociology don't apply to us, but we have special circumstances created by the computer revolution that allow us a certain anonymity that we've never had before. We're not necessarily held accountable for our actions --- so there are other forms of sanctions. Exile, gossip, rumors, pointed fingers, flamers, outright hostility and constant monitoring... we've all seen this in our lives and it takes on an added dimension when THEY (those who apply the sanctions) are anonymous themselves and you're nothing more than text on their monitor in their mind. Which is why we all divide into sections inside of fandom.

Sections can be easily labeled as subcultures. There are the shippers who separate themselves because of their one true pairing, and there are those who think they are above shipping, who discuss the intellectual aspects of the show. Some are purely there to be entertained.

A few of the main personalities: