From Fanlore
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Synonyms: puck bunny, buckle bunny, road wife
See also: Stan, Actor Fan
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

A groupie is a term used to describe an ardent fan, usually female.

The term originated in the music and band fandom, where it was defined as someone whose goal it was to attend as many events as possible, to meet members of the band, and hopefully, have a closer (often sexual) relationship or encounter with them.

The term is somewhat interchangeable with stan, and can also be used to describe fans of sports, the space program, actors, professions such as police, BNFs [1], and even high-profile criminals.

"Groupie" is almost always used in a derogatory way to describe someone in thrall, having few morals, is silly, and is without taste or qualms. Some fans, however, have taken back the term, not unlike the term media slut and slash slut. A fan in 1997 wrote:

I spent a lot of time at ECon talking with vidders and listening to them talk, in fascination. Vidding is not an art form I expect I'll ever get into, but I like vids and want to learn to understand and critique them better. I'm considering asking whether the new vidder list will let me join as a groupie. [2]

A common topic of fannish conversation: what are the differences among "groupies, "actor fans", and simply "fans"? While the term may not be specifically used, where do these labels fall in the geek hierarchy?

From more, see Groupie at Wikipedia.

Encouraged by Culture and Journalists

The idea of female fans offering themselves sexually to celebrities was one promoted by journalists. One example is a 1976 article about the actor, Paul Michael Glaser, who portrayed David Starsky:

Was the possibility of becoming a sex symbol a part of his fantasy?

He smiled at the question (he has a smile, incidentally, that could melt a warden's heart), fixing smokey blue eyes on the reporter who asked it. He knows all about his eyes and his smile, and uses them as enticingly as a stripper swinging her tassels.


It's interesting to watch him with female fans. The contact is always sexual, no matter how subtle, and there’s no question that he responds. Yet he keeps the playfulness within a certain boundary and the fans don’t attempt to step beyond it. There’s an underlying dignity - call it privacy - about him that discourages attempts at overt seduction, even among the boldest of the ladies. They sense one of them won’t be going back to his hotel room that night, and they're right. [3]

Some Examples of Use


There is something about Harlan Ellison that defies description -- a quality of PRESENCE in both his writing and his personality. Most people are effected [sic] by Ellison in one of two ways; they either love the man and his works or, just as vehemently hate him. There is very little middle ground. But despite the side chosen, the initial reaction is one of involvement and what I call "The Ellison-on-the-Brain" phenomenon.

Speaking for myself... Young ladies, you say, just another personality, 'the groupies syndrome'. No, I repeat, NO. At the same con, I had numerous opportunities to encounter the other named STARS and the feeling was different both in the crowd and in the people themselves.

The Ellison-on-the-Brain is the reaction following the first immersion in the works of Ellison. [4]


Most Trekkies are literate people who enjoy other speculative fiction. We are not groupies from the Space Age. [5]


... here are those who go into cardiac arrest at being deferred to as "Trekkies", preferring "Trekker" as they feel "Trekkie" is too close to the despised term "Groupie", and they consider themselves seriously. "Trekkie" does sound rather like a little girl clutching a Spock doll, but that's no reason to have a heart attack. Trekker, on the other hand, also sounds a trifle stupid. The 430-odd people of the USS Enterprise are trekkers, they are going somewhere. The rest of us who sit on our bums and watch them are trekkies, recipients of their trekdom.... When you use the word "Trekkie" you make someone sound like a freak-type groupie. On the other hand, when you say "Trekker" you allow the person a little dignity and pride. [6]

Tis true, for Trekkie has come to mean a type of gum-chewing groupie fan who isn't interested in the cerebral aspects of the show but would prefer to faint at the feet of Shatner or Nimoy. Trekker has come to be associated (at least in my mind) with the hardcore dissecters of the who who analyse every aspect of the show and argue amongst themselves about everything. There's no intermediate title for the fan who like a mule is neither one nor the other but a combination of the two... [7]

For the first time, last weekend, I was ashamed of being in fandom. I saw us, as we have always resented being labeled by outsiders, a bunch of flakey groupies, hot-crotching it after our favorite stars. I don't wish to be associated with that kind of movement. [8]

Somebody else I will not name because she says she doesn't like to argue says that if I want anyone to take me seriously I ought to downplay the Star Trek fans in the Newsletter. Personally, the Star Trek fans I know — (and I admit I mean the ones who write fiction and publish magazines, not the teen-age groupie kids who line up three hours to get a fifth or sixth autograph of Leonard Nimoy) — are charming and intelligent people, and I am delighted to claim them as my fans too. But tell me, you fans out there, how DO you classify yourselves? [9]


When Bill Shatner came on set he certainly was nervous. (Wish someone would tell the man Trekfen aren't going to bite! Nobody can guess the behavior of trekkies, but this scene was a thank you to the fen and the fen don't act like groupies.) Somebody handed him a bullhorn, and he made a rather baffled welcome-to-the-Enterprise speech. I honestly think he didn't know what to make of us at all. [10]


I couldn’t agree more, the term [groupie] is derogatory in the same way trekkie now seems to be. ‘Fan’ is still the safest term for those who still have their heads screwed on the right way. [11]

No twits write in about FACETS with 'golly-whiz' comments but rather thoughtful and direct befits fen of higher intelligence. This leads me to the hypothesis that Harrison Ford is obviously a magnet for the 'thinking' fan rather than mere groupies. Maybe it's the lingering aura of the former philosophy major about him ... [12]


One aspect of fan writing about Vader that we can hardly avoid is the Dark Lord's relationship with the opposite sex. While Han Solo is more superficially 'sexy' and has been pursued by hordes of fannish MarySues, Darth has his share of groupies as well. His appeal is more ambiguous, both attractive and threatening; composed of such heavy-handed but effective sexual-fantasy images as his shiny jackboots, symbolic saber, swirling black villain's cape, air of power, and resonant voice, not to mention Prowse's nice broad shoulders and muscular body. [13]


Okay, I'll admit it gets out of hand a lot. Sturgeon's Law — 90% of everything is trash — holds as true in fannish circles as in pro. Much of fan fiction is mediocre to poor, but a lot of everything is. So many of the bad Mary Sue stories and other garbage do tend to make the genre as a whole look pretty poor. Lousy artwork and over-zealous groupies don't help, either. [14]


Let's hope we have gotten rid of the 'groupie' element in S&H fandom and we can completely repair the damage they've done. [15]


Brian did a question and answer session each day, and also signed his way through two lengthy autograph bouts. He demonstrated endless patience; I should imagine all the B7 cast are rather tired of being asked the same questions by different groups of people. I think he also showed remarkable restraint in not thumping the two people who persisted in acting as if they were groupies rather than intelligent adults. [16]


Okay, I'll admit, I've seen certain groupie-sorts become persistent to the point of obnoxious, but not all of them have been fans of the media. The disease is present on both sides. No area of fandom has remained untouched, and the spread of the virus is sad to see. It's slowly strangling and killing something that was once a noble effort, something was proud to be part of. I'm not proud anymore. [17]


During the last panel, all three of the guys were playing drop that name, dropping a saucer onto the stage every time they mentioned knowing other actors. I've been dropping saucers all over the place. Saturday night I started worrying about the insidiousness of the groupie thing. It suddenly hit me that when I arrived on Thursday, I was happily anticipating seeing my friends and how we'd go to the panels and have fun together, maybe get the guys' autographs...and by Saturday night, I was subconsciously keeping track of my points, constituted by time units spent in the company of celebrity guests. That doesn't mean I didn't have an absolutely wonderful time [at Visions], as always, with my friends, but in addition there was this competitive thing going on. At some level, it became a contest and it worries me a bit...I came this close to taking my room for another night just to hang around. That scared me. On the other hand, I racked up a hell of a score and the groupie thing would probably be bothering me a lot more if I hadn't. [18]


"Groupies" were among the first Mary Sues. Female fan fiction writers who had planet sized crushes on William Shatner and/or James T. Kirk would create an original female character, loosely (or not so loosely) based on themselves, and put them into a fling with Kirk. Considering the rate Kirk went through women, this isn't difficult to accept, but the obnoxious nature of many of these characters made one think that even Jim Kirk should show some discretion once in a while. More recent versions include the amorous young Centauri girl who boards Babylon-5 and gives loveable, lonely Vir Cotto a taste of passion and love. Or the suave, sophisticated older woman who breaks through the shell of stoic Jean-Luc Picard. The Groupie is just the author projecting himself or herself into the love life of a character, and on the whole these Mary Sues are harmless. Annoying, but harmless. She is often used in erotic stories. Doctor Who fan fiction is full of these, in the form of original companions for each of the eight different versions of the Doctor. Since the Doctor has been played by eight different actors, all of which appeal to different kinds of people, new variations of the Groupie crawl out of the TARDiS on a regular basis. [19]


Fans have always done strange things. Otherwise sane adults build shrines to Elvis in their garages. The hysteria of Beatlemania, now quaint, eventually begat stalkers. And don't let's get started on groupies - especially not the deaf girl willingly covered in raw meat for sexual kicks in Marilyn Manson's autobiography. No, especially not her. Wherever there is celebrity, it seems, there are fans doing preposterous, often lurid things in the service of their devotion. [20]


I think the trouble started when he got his own groupies and started suffering from cock-in-the-henhouse syndrome at conventions. It has ruined better men. [21]


Beatlemania kind of kicked off the arguments about fandom that continue to this day - that is there are SERIOUS (men) critics and EMOTIONAL (aka undiscerning, aka uneducated, aka uncritical aka female) fans or groupies, and I think THAT is the form in which it 'predates' fic/creative fandom. [22]


The groupies. Right, well, let's just say that I don't like fanatics of any kind, be they a fannish groupie or a religious zealot. I have no use for any of them. If you could eliminate fanaticism from the world, the world would be a much nicer place. And that applies to fandom as well as to any other area of life you, you care to choose. [23]