There’s no such thing as an “unproblematic fave.” People — and the things that we create — are informed by the world around us, and we can be exposed to some pretty problematic environments that are hard to move away from. And if people, especially ones we admire, are going to continue making both positive and negative choices, then what actually matters in fandom isn’t finding some mythical angel celebrity who never does anything wrong. Rather, it’s unpacking our own responses. What do we do with the realization that someone responsible for our fandom happiness in some capacity has been careless, or made a mistake, or been intentionally cruel or predatory?
What Do You Do When Your Fave Screws Up?
A) I forgot to link to this article last week when it went up! My bad! Things have been very busy!
B) As with the majority of my work, this pulls from experiences I’ve had within fandom and how I had to fight off the knee-jerk response to go “no that person couldn’t have done that”. I mention it in the piece (and have mentioned it elsewhere, I’m sure) but I used to be a huge BIGBANG fan. My bias wrecker was the rapper TOP. My bias… was Seungri. My nieces and I listened to his solo stuff regularly and we thought he seemed cool… until I started seeing threads on Twitter about the Burning Sun nightclub scandal and the extent that he was… very much not cool.
Instantly, I cut him off. I took the BIGBANG songs out of my playlists, deleted his solo songs from my phone, and resolved to never say a nice thing about him again – a thing made that much easier by the knowledge of the things he’s rumored and confirmed to have done. We don’t speak his name in our house and he’s basically dead to us.
But that sort of merciless pruning isn’t the norm. We link so much of ourselves to the celebrities that we love that sometimes, when our favorite public figures are accused of something minor to majorly awful, we look for reasons to keep on moving. We look for excuses to explain away the minor-to-major bad thing our person did. Sometimes, as seen in multiple fandoms and especially in the case of Seungri and his still-active fanbase, we hurt others over the situation rather than acknowledging the harm done by this public figure.
But we don’t have to. We can see when our favorites do bad things – whatever they are – and decide on our own how we’re going to handle it without defending them or hurting someone else in their name.