Boundaries of a Fan
Updated: Feb 8
Time and time again, we hear the age-old question “what makes a good idol?”. This has been tackled in many different ways, with many different answers. Such has been discussed in the very first episode of MNL48 I-School, in which the most essential parts of being an idol is simply described using four words: Inspiration, Determination, Optimism, and Lovable. These words’ initials unironically spell out the word, IDOL.
Now that we know that those words describe a good idol, how about a good fan? How could you say that you are a great fan? Are there any boundaries that you should not overstep as a fan? Well, let’s talk about that.
The unspoken rules of being a fan ultimately boils down to one simple word: respect. This applies not only to the MNL48 fandom, but to all other fandoms as well. In truth, respect actually applies to everything. In my own honest opinion, giving respect is one of the reasons why a good person is considered as good.
But of all the words in the world, why say respect? Well, simply put, respect is the due regard of the feelings, emotions, and rights of other people. It is a value that everybody must know and have, not just for themselves, but to others as well. Respect ultimately sets the boundaries one should not cross so as to avoid hurting people. The boundaries of being a fan is all fairly simple, and yet some still do not abide by these unspoken rules.
There is what we call privacy. We all value this. Some of us prefer it better than publicity. That could also be the case to these people whom we idolize. Respecting one’s privacy includes not interfering with the personal lives of anyone. Even as simple as asking inappropriate private and personal questions, or saying mildly inappropriate comments, is considered as wrong.
One taboo that is common to all fandoms is stalking. If the person you idolize lives just near you, respect their privacy and just keep out. If you see them in a public venue, do not make a scene. Most Japanese Idols obey a certain rule which says that they cannot be touched by fans. That rule only changes during events where touching is allowed, like hand shake events. So whatever you do, do not insist on hugging, shaking their hand, or even just touching them in general, if it is prohibited.
On social media, one must practice netiquette. It is simply just the proper conduct one should follow when they are in social media. Such applies to interacting with idols through the internet. In the case of MNL48, most online interaction is done via Instagram, through the members’ IG Stories, or in Facebook, through their individual pages.
Avoiding stating comments deemed as mean or insulting, as well as inappropriate, to the members should be the most basic thing one should do when interacting with their idols on social media. It is as basic as it is usual, commonly seen throughout the internet. Simple netiquette should drive you to consider the feelings of others who use the internet before making any type of comment. Remember, idols, no matter who they are, are also human, just like you.
Another taboo that is also common to most fandoms is saying very inappropriate comments to certain people, whether to a fellow fan, non-fan, or worse, to the idols themselves. This should go without saying that stating inappropriate comments to whomever needs to face the consequences of their actions. Of course, they would be banned in events, or blocked, or in worse cases, they would be given a restraining order. Such has happened to some actors in which some fans has started to do inappropriate stuff, and they had to be given a restraining order just to make them stay away.
If you are ever a fan who loves to make fan art, or buys the most expensive merchandise there is, or travelled a long way just to see them, always remember that your idols do not owe you anything. Although they notice some of the things that go their way, like fan arts or gifts, they are not really obligated to notice everything people do for them.
Saying insulting comments when you don’t get noticed is wrong. Even though what you did may have cost you thousands of pesos, they don’t have to give back something to reciprocate. They don’t have to reply to your comment on their SNS accounts, or take a picture with you. But sometimes the best thing you can have in return for your money or gifts is themselves, or maybe an electrifying performance from them.
But like I said in the beginning, every unspoken rule of being a fan all comes down to respect. Treating other people (and that includes your idols) with respect is the most basic virtue a fan could have. Remember, these people that we idolize are human, too, no matter who they are. They also have feelings and emotions, just like every single one of us. Respecting those feelings and emotions is the first step to being a great fan.
DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and does not reflect the views held by the entirety of PAKSA MNL and fellow MNLoves.