Wanderers, it goes without saying that we’re quite fond of the people we’re fans of; it kind of goes with the territory. For whatever reason, we consider them worthy of admiration, and it can be disconcerting to find that others don’t feel the same way.
We’ve been asked, recently, whether we feel that defending someone we’re a fan of against unfair criticisms or misleading rumours is a good or a bad thing. So, as is our habit when asked thought-provoking questions, we’ve only gone and written a whole article about it. That’s this one, by the way.
The first thing I want to point out here is that you don’t have to have a crush on someone you’re a fan of to feel immensely protective of them. Wanting to stand up for someone doesn’t mean there have to be any other feelings besides respect involved, and it’s wrong to assume that you know how somebody feels towards a celebrity just based on their reluctance to accept unfair things being said about them. Whether someone feels a bit of a flutter in their heart when they look at someone is irrelevant to the point they’re making, and irrelevant to everyone but them anyway. Having a crush on an unreachable celebrity is hard enough without being teased about it whenever one opens one’s mouth.
Now, to the actual standing-up-for-a-celebrity thing. It can be pretty upsetting when someone’s saying nasty things about your favourite actor, or spreading rumours about your favourite singer with no evidence to back them up. We don’t claim to be the ultimate authority on fandom, but the general consensus in the office is that it’s fine to speak out in these situations, in a calm and respectful manner. Directing someone to a reliable source to support your reasoning can be a great way of correcting a misconception they may have. Even if you don’t have a source, you can always put forward your own interpretation of whatever it is they’re discussing, as long as you don’t present it as fact and acknowledge that that’s just how you read the situation.
However, it’s also important to look after yourself in these situations. Hurtful as some of these rumours and bits of gossip can sound, the chances are they will never reach the person you’re a fan of, or make any real impact on them. Yes, it would be lovely if people would stop saying unkind things about people and situations they know very little about, but if someone is saying such things, you need to consider whether standing up for the celebrity who’ll never hear about it is worth the effort of getting involved in defending them. Usually, it’s worth rebutting someone’s points once or twice, but after that the stress and hurt tends to build up, and things can get personal, or friendships can be damaged. Consider how sure you are of what you’re saying, and how upset you risk getting about it, before you decide to continue the discussion. It’s quite acceptable to agree to disagree!
Most people would try to defend a friend if they heard something cruel or misleading being said about them; it’s quite acceptable to do so for someone you admire from afar, too – just don’t let rumours about someone you’re a fan of ruin your life. The chances are, they’re not taking the gossip too personally, if they’re even aware of it – so you don’t have to either. Look after yourself, Wanderers, even when you’re looking out for someone else too.
Eleanor Musgrove (doesn’t like rumours, but doesn’t like falling out with people either)