You are a fan and you don’t own your idols.
I am not addressing this to the entirety of the population of fans out there, but just to those who seem to be confused about what being a true fan really means.
The Cambridge Dictionary says a fan is someone who admires and supports a person, sport, sports team, etc. The Oxford Dictionaries defines it as a person who has a strong interest in or admiration for a particular person or thing. None of these definitions says a fan can dictate what his or her idol should do and who that idol should be.
You don’t have the right to because you don’t own them; like how you don’t own Taylor Swift, the favourite love-and-hate talk of the town. If you’re a real fan, you’re not one of those people telling her to stop dating men she likes, stop writing what she feels and what she thinks and just stay being America’s sweetheart when clearly she’s done being your good little girl. Recently, Swift released her long-anticipated and most biting album yet, Reputation, and along with it is a note to the fans talking about how it has been being in the public eye and mentioning how ‘her mistakes have been used against her, her heartbreaks have been used as entertainment, and her songwriting has been trivialised as oversharing.’ She has been in our lives since she was 15 that some of us may feel like we own part of hers. But then again, we don’t. No one can control any other people’s lives but themselves; like how Finn Wolfhard has the control over his life on his own and his alone. The 14-year-old Stranger Things actor was recently called out by fans for not greeting them outside his hotel. As Game of Thrones actress Sophie Turner puts it, it does not matter if he’s an actor, he’s a kid first before that and he should be able to ‘grow without feeling like he owes anyone anything for living his childhood dreams.’
Every one of us, whether you are an actor or not, feel like we need space at some point and we should all be understanding enough if that’s what the person wants. We all have our own selfishness and actors are not an exemption to that. They would want to be away from the screaming and flashing cameras from time to time and no one should ever criticize them for wanting that just because they are public figures. Yes, fans put them to where they are right now and are the reason why they are able to do what they want and earn money at the same time. We as fans buy their albums, concert tickets, stream their shows online and or pay for other merchandises that they put out. However, we should be reminded that it is their art/work, which they have invested in so much, that we are buying and not them nor their lives. We should not act like we can demand to interfere in their personal lives, and if not allowed, we criticize them until they are emotionally drained and are in ruins. If you want some of their time, then go to their fan meetings, shows, and or other official guestings instead of waiting in front of their hotels to invade their privacy. If you are arguing that you don’t have money to buy tickets to shows, matches or what, then that’s your problem. That’s reality and you should work hard to earn some money and see them in their official public appearances if you really want to.
It is time for fans to stop caring too much about the personal lives of their idols. I understand that it is unavoidable for their personal lives to be before the public eye but fans should start it in themselves to realize it should be something we can muse about but not interfere with. We do not know them personally and so we should not bash them for things we may be ill-informed about. Sometimes, I even think it is much better for fans to just care about nothing more than their idols’ work or art. It will be better not only for your idol’s peace of mind but for yours as well. Think before you say or do something that could eventually affect these public figures and most especially do not start a fight and hurt other fans. Before being celebrities and fans, we all are humans first, and as humans, we should always try not to hurt one another.
We should shatter the idea that these are the consequences of being famous and that it comes with their jobs because it isn’t and it shouldn’t. This issue has been around for a long time already and this is definitely not the fault of the advent of the internet, but this problem has obviously been magnified by the social media age. This is bullying and you are not a bully, you are a fan, and that should be enough reason for you to use the power of the internet in reverse to call for a change.
In my own definition, being a fan means supporting your idol in their public endeavours. The key word is support and not bring them down. The word public draws the line between your relationship with your idols. If you want to be beyond that line, then go earn yourself a spot as their friend or what. But if not, then again for those people in the back I will repeat, these public figures’ private lives are something you can muse and be happy or sad about as a fan, but it should never be something you can interfere with. If you still cannot understand this boundary, then maybe you should reassess yourself as a fan and or eventually stop calling yourself as one, if you aren’t really one in the first place.