The Art of Being a Fan: How Fan Culture Affects Mental Health Topic: FAN CULTURE AND MENTAL HEALTH


November 10, 2022


Writer/s: Marie Nicole Ingrid Lusterio, Jasmin Cyrille
Researcher: Marie Nicole Ingrid Lusterio, Jasmin Cyrille
Editor: Richardson dR Mojica
Graphics: Billie Fuentes, Jacklyn Moral, Krystle Mae Labio
Tweet Chat Moderators: Richardson Mojica Tobey Fhar Isaac Calayo
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Are you a fan of something? Is it a book series that you really like? K-drama? Actors? Artists? Music? We are all fans of something at one point in our lives, and many might relate when we say that being a “fan” is probably one of our most extraordinary eras in life. Being unconditionally happy because of something or someone is a different experience. They said being a fangirl is a wild ride. It’s like stepping into a different world, knowing different people, and experiencing different emotions all at the same time. 

With the age of technology, the widespread use of social media intensified the fan culture across the globe. It started to conquer social platforms with Western idols, Korean waves, Japanese anime, Filipino love teams, and many more. Because of these, fandoms are created and expanded. It paved the way to create spaces on the internet for fandoms to express their support for their respective chosen entertainment (Napier, 2006). 

Being a Fangirl/Fanboy 

On the surface, we can define “fans” as people who like particular stuff. Inverse interpreted “fans” as audiences that construct their own culture [10]. Being a fan allows us to also discover ourselves more:

  1. Self-understanding – We can get a greater understanding of our emotions, actions, and motivations by engaging with other fans and relating to the people we idolize [11].
  2. Self-expression – For some people who may not identify with typical “social norms,” fandom or being a fan provides a safe place where “weirdness” is not only welcomed but celebrated [11].
  3. Self-creativity – being a fan gives us the inspiration to create and foster art in many forms to express love and joy over the people or things we like. This gives us the opportunity to discover ourselves more.

Being in a Fandom

Fandoms are formed by a group of people who admire and support a certain popular culture. With the help of their idols, different people are connected and gathered with common and shared interests. Consequently, many friendships were strengthened and built by stanning celebrities. The networks of different fandoms expressed this sense of belongingness as they welcomed everyone to their group. Psychotherapist and psychology professor at Columbia University, Dr. Laurel Steinberg, explained the positive effects of belonging to fandoms on individuals’ socioemotional health. The connection and family-like will produce this feeling of security and will help the fans to establish this sense of purpose. Additionally, it is healthy for an individual to engage in activities that will make her/him move, think, and interact [5]

Beyond cheerings, kiligs, and happiness, the stan culture expands its definition and influence among its fans. Through the great influence of their idols, their fandoms are dedicated to giving philanthropic causes, from donating monetary assistance to providing help with humanitarian hands to the marginalized section of society. To address their idols’ advocacy and promote their campaigns, different fandoms make efforts to offer help to the world [1]

Being a Groupie – effects of fan culture on mental health such as positivity, happiness (emotions), coping mechanism 

Being a fan allows us to love someone or something without conditions and rejoice over the little things. It gives us chance to have fun and be happy with a community that connects to us with the same feelings. 

However, just like many things, being a fan has its limits. Obsession and true ardor are two different things. Obsession generally interferes with one’s quality of life and confuses fiction with reality. The difference isn’t necessarily who is more passionate; rather, it’s whether or not people can maintain healthy boundaries while supporting and being overly obsessed that we perceive fiction as reality [12]. In the K-Pop fandom community, this kind of fan is called a “sasaeng”. Sasaeng is defined as an obsessive fan who stalks or engages in other behavior constituting an invasion of the privacy of celebrities. When becoming a fan we should also make sure we keep appropriate boundaries for both ourselves and the individuals we admire [13].



What fandom/s do you belong to? 

Ex: EXO-L, Blinks, Potterheads, DonBelle, A’Tin 


  1. What made you a fan of something/someone? What changed when you became a fan?
  2. How did fandom/fan community engagement help you? 
  3. How do we maintain healthy boundaries as a fan?


Share your unforgettable and happy fan stories with us. 



  1. De Cartagena, A. (November, 2021). Beyond Just Stanning, See How These Filipino Fandoms Have Been Giving Back.  Nylon: Pop Culture.
  2. Jang, W. & Song, J. E. (2017). The Influences of K-pop Fandom on Increasing Cultural Contact [Thesis, University of Seoul]. National Research Foundation of Korea.
  3. Liao, Z. (2021). Fan Culture under the Influence of Media Development. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 9, 88-93.
  4. Steig, C. (August, 2019). Stanning A Celeb Or TV Show Can Be Fun. But Is It Good For Your Mental Health? Refinery29.
  5. Wiest, B. (July, 2017). Psychologists Say That Belonging To A Fandom Is Amazing For Your Mental Health. Teen Vogue.
  6. Hrebenak, M. (n.d.). Supernatural: The Power of Fandom for Mental Health. Progressive Counseling Services.
  8. Vinney, C. (June 2022). What Is the Effect of Long-Term Fandom? VeryWellMind.
  9. Napier, S. (2006). The World of Anime Fandom in America. Mechademia, 1(1), 47–63. doi:10.1353/mec.0.0072
  10. Sloat, S. (2015, October 16). Science Explains. . . Why Being a Fan Is Good for You. Inverse.
  11. Hrebenak, M. M. S. (2020, November 16). Supernatural: The Power of Fandom for Mental Health. Progressive Counseling Services.
  12. Wiest, B. (2017, July 20). Psychologists Say That Belonging To A Fandom Is Amazing For Your Menta. Teen Vogue.
  13. Sasaeng fan. (n.d.). Google Arts & Culture.


How do you feel about this?

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