Being a 90s girl, I'm accustomed to forming mutual bonds with people over books, TV shows, movies, music, and other forms of pop culture from that decade. To be precise, I'm a flagbearer of fandoms.
However, one thing I usually notice these days especially from people who consider themselves 'not-too-mainstream' is a sort of disdain for the whole fandom culture. Those of us fanboying/fangirling are labelled as childish, frivolous, or social media attention seekers with nothing better to do.
But why are the 90s kids so obsessed with and affected by fandoms anyway? The answer seems to lie in the fact that we, the twenty-somethings, are somewhat of a 'nostalgia generation'. This is due to the fact that we were the kids who witnessed the metamorphism from an analogue world to a tech-dominated one. The ones who saw the transition from dial up connections to Wi-Fi. We spent our younger years playing tag outside while spending our late teens on Hi5, MSN, then Facebook, followed by Instagram, Snapchat and so on. We were lucky enough to experience the best of both worlds.
Sadly, the world around us today is quite sceptical, materialistic and insensitive, exactly why fandoms still continue to appeal to us. It offers us simplicity, the simplicity we remember from childhood. There is a reason why we still binge-watch F.R.I.E.N.D.S during dinner time. It was easy, cosy, funny, silly and hardly ever required to be given much thought. It offered escape and the perfect image of a dream: living in New York City surrounded by your friends and loved ones, with everything magically falling into place - which is obviously far from how reality works. I think we have all fought over deciding who is Rachel and who's Monica and determining which was the most heart-breaking episode- the one where Rachel and Ross take a break or the last one.
Harry Potter is not just a story about wizards; it is a reminder that goodness, loyalty, and bravery can succeed regardless of odds. Mia Thermopolis from The Princess Diaries, even though some might deny, is actually all of us. An adolescent girl in quest of her family, surroundings and including herself is every girl ever! Clarissa Darling from Clarissa Explains It All was a character you could actually aspire to, somebody who was actually a decent person, not just a pretty popular one and that is a really important thing within the usually superficial realms of girls and women in kids' television sitcoms.
A good friend of mine has gone through some rough times. She was bullied, was mostly a loner during her adolescent years and during those times she would turn to her favourite books, movies, singers to fill that void. Her favourite fandoms have stood in as loved ones for her. Although, she handles these troubles with more grace and love than I could ever hope to have even on a good day, it has been a reminder to me to consider what is really important. Things that make us happy. Bollywood too is often criticised for being illogical and regressive, but only the greatest fans will know the immense joy it can provide and just the sheer amounts of friendships it can create.
Fandoms are not about frivolous things, it's about becoming a community centred on the love of, and passion for something. It's about friendship, understanding, and opening doors and pathways that you never knew existed.
Rafidah Rahman is a teeny-tiny Hulk, she's always angry and she's always hungry. A cynical dreamer and a food enthusiast, she's your everyday entertainment. Correspond with her at firstname.lastname@example.org or https://www.facebook.com/rafidah.rahman.39