I heard on the radio the other day that Lorde isn’t interested in naming her fans. She thinks that labeling an entire community just because they support your music is her choosing to define her fans. (From what I gather… admittedly, radio celebrity news is really poorly fact-checked and generally from extremely questionable sources.)
It’s just a bit of an interesting idea though me, because…since when have celebrities been the ones naming their fanbase? Granted, I can’t pretend to know the history of fandom development, especially the seemingly more celebrity-driven communities of bandom.
Some celebrities do name their fans – Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, to name a few. For a counter-example, however is David Krumholtz (of fame from The Santa Clause and Numbers) whose fans dubbed themselves the S.D.K.G. – the Slobbering David Krumholtz Groupies. Benedict Cumberbatch, whose fans have made a name for themselves through being particularly committed to creating online content, have named themselves Cumberbitches, which is a name that has the misfortune of making Benedict so uncomfortable he has refused to use the term in conjunction with his fans.
It’s just that a community of fans is…a community. As a community, there is a desire to have ingroup/outgroup distinction. That’s how people work. The way we feel included is by holding specific knowledge or shared experience that can only be understood from the viewpoint of someone on the inside. “Us And Them” can be a very alienating phrase, but the antithesis of that alienation is inclusion and belonging.
I think it will be interesting to watch this develop, because currently, being a fan of something can carry a great deal of weight when it comes to personal identity. I understand why a celebrity would not want to name their fans, but in this case, when the celebrity has made a clear statement about the intentions behind that decision, now the question is “how will that affect the fandom identity?”. Will they go a route of attempting to honour her position, or will the fandom take the single most basic step towards identity by creating a name.
Oh, internet. You’re so full of interesting things.