Toxicity Brews within ‘Supernatural’ Fandom

credit: CW

credit: CW

Being in a fandom is great, and it’s incredibly toxic which only adds to the fun. For many years now, I have considered myself a part of the “Supernatural” fandom. A fandom consists of a group of fans who come together via social media to collectively freak out over the TV show or topic of common interest. This one fandom has led me to great opportunities, friends, and relationships. It has also led me to heartbreak, toxicity, and bullying. 

The television show “Supernatural” is ending with its 15th season this year. The stars have preached love and acceptance for years. Most of the fandom adheres to these standards and collectively raises money for charities. Star Misha Collins has created a non-profit organization called “Random Acts” because of the fandom. “Random Acts” has assisted in many different causes, one big one being when they helped to build an orphanage in Haiti from the ground up. Fandom can be great for sharing ideas and working to get things done. 

So much good has been accomplished because of the love the actors have for their fans, as well as each other. Sadly, this love doesn’t hide the ugly side. Fandoms of all kinds have many different issues, but in the subculture of fandoms, the “Supernatural” one has been known as one of the most problematic – which is crazy when you think about all the great things that are accomplished through fandom. At the end of the day though, fandoms are simply just glorified high school cliques.

I have a personal experience with this fandom in particular and I want to chat about how damaging this could be for others. There is a band called Louden Swain that belongs to a part of the “Supernatural” fandom. The lead singer, Rob Benedict, was on the show, and his band plays at the TV show’s convention. I was 17 when I first decided to participate in the convention fandom. I witnessed grown women fighting each other to line up first-place so they could be front and center for the Louden Swain concert. I happened to be at the front of the line, and for the three hours waiting to be let in, I was being negotiated with to give my spot up. I was being manipulated to move for a multitude of reasons, until I began crying and my mom had to step in. 

Now that I’m older and have a bit more experience than I did then, I find that night so appalling. I was fine; unharmed emotionally, but any other person in my shoes could have given in to that terrible abuse; abuse to a teenage girl that was coming from an adult stranger in front of her mom. I am not trying to shame them for their ages, but they should have known better. Nowadays, this abuse in fandoms happens daily, especially online, constantly.

To be cool in a fandom, you can never get too much acknowledgment from a star. That is a very dangerous behavior. We as a society put celebrities on pedestals, which is crazy, but now our peers as well, based on twitter interactions? Young teens and adults feel pressured by fandoms to be in the “in-crowd” and then damaging abusive behavior continues.

What happened to me was wrong, and no one involved cared. They justified their actions. People do that every day and it only gets worse online. I think the more we acknowledge famous people as our equals and not better than us, the more we can handle the stupidity of cliques. All of this being said, I don’t hate fandoms and I love the “Supernatural” fandom. I love the good sides. I love meeting friends who understand why this show means everything to me. I love being a part of something that makes a difference. I even love arguing with the other fans, who care about it as deeply as I do, about our diverse opinions. At the end of the day, we are all one big happy family. 

I do wish that the negativity would dissolve, but I hope we can all be better equipped to handle it when it does happen. I also encourage you all to check out “Supernatural” and even the fandom.

Join the SPN Family.

“Family don’t end in blood.”