"You're not a real fan"

Has anyone ever used this phrase? How about had it used on them? I've admittedly used it and had it used against me and now, I rather dislike it.

Where did this phrase even come from anyway? I have a theory on that.

For some reason being into things like Comics, Star Wars, Star Trek, the Lord of the Rings, and other such things is frowned upon and labeled "nerdy", "dorky", or "geeky." In the recent years though since the LOTR, Batman, Marvel, and Star Trek movies, more people have accepted it into modern culture and enjoy it. So now it's acceptable to where a Superman hat or a Batman t-shirt and to talk about how hot Chris Evans is.

So I guess we've turned it around saying "You're not a real fan" because they never read the books or the comics or know such and such. So really it's just us being snobby back. Should it really matter if they can name every single thing in every single issue? Instead of "nerdy" versus "popular" shouldn't we be more focus on a mutual enjoyment of something despite how much you know about it?

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Posted by batshrine

I agree, I support any Batman fan, regardless of how much they know. But when someone comes up to me and says they know more about Batman and just site the movies, thats when I got an issue :-P.

Posted by akbogert

When I read this title, I expected something a bit different, which I'll address in a moment.

But yeah, there seems to be a huge push lately for calling people (and particularly girls) "fake fans" or "fake geeks." It's borne out by the couple bad eggs who actually are, for reasons beyond anyone's comprehension, feigning fandom for the purposes of popularity. And though the gut reaction is to say "that's ridiculous, and I refuse to believe that people like that actually exist" there are enough personal experiences to prove that, somehow, they do. But like I said, that's a rarity, and is vastly overrepresented as if it were normal. No one likes vapidity, but the idea of having to prove one's worthiness to be a fan of something is just ridiculous.

That said, I tend to be pretty careful when I use the word "fan." There are a lot of characters I find interesting or attractive but admittedly don't know much about, so rather than adding them to my list of favorites I've created a separate list that acknowledges I'm curious but ignorant. Some people would just say they were a fan of those characters. Do I outright accuse them of not being fans? No. But I acknowledge that they would fail to meet the criteria for fandom I use to judge my own affinity for characters. Some would argue that's the same thing, but oh well.

I walk on eggshells when trying to appraise another person's fandom, but inevitably I offend people. I recently, in an albeit rather tongue-in-cheek discussion, told someone that if they wouldn't be bothered by a certain character being killed off, they didn't qualify as a fan of that character. I was told this was offensive, because who was I to know how much they liked the characters or had read the story or whatnot. They were more offended by their legitimacy as a fan being questioned than by the permanent death of the thing they were ostensibly a fan of.

So I guess my point is that we have different understandings of what being a fan means, and naturally some people will or will not qualify based on those differing standards. There's really no way to dispute another person's self-conception or subjective definition of fandom, so beyond saying "well, you're not a fan in my book," there's not really anywhere those debates can go. I think it's more important to acknowledge passion and interest than arbitrary labels, but maybe that's just me.