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Do fandoms encourage bullying?

11th-18th November 2022

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Total votes


5-11 votes


11-16+ votes

Fandomonium or Community?

Do you Stan?

Do you know what a stan is? Named after Eminem’s song about a deluded fan, stans are a part of a culture of fandom.

Perhaps you don’t obsessively follow the latest K-pop group. But there are all types and levels of fandom that exist out there in the wide wide world. And there are positives and negatives to being a part of them.

There are dark sides of being involved in fandoms which involve actions on social media. Or it can drift away from online spaces to real life. But whatever the venue, there is a distinct possibility to slip into toxicity which can sometimes take the form of bullying.

To mark Anti-Bullying Week, our voters considered the role of fandoms and whether they encourage or discourage negativity, primarily in but not limited to, online spaces. A fandom can be described as a community of fans of a particular person or thing and the rise of social media has strengthened their ability to communicate as a collective.

Our youngest voters discussed the role of the individual in different scenarios and whether it is difficult or not to stand up against bullying.

What did our students have to say?

young child holding a laptop and smiling

Primary school

"Having a lot of passion for the celebrities can lead to bullying because you are sometimes too passionate and feel the need to be mean."

teenager smiling

Secondary school

“Although I’m a part of many fandoms, some people are quite toxic and can’t enjoy others opinions, but most people are incredibly nice and are great people to share your views with.”

teenager looking confused


“Particularly within social media, maybe influencers need to be more considerate of the content of their posts and how these can often 'spark' comments which can lead to bullying and harassment online."

just 4% separating our 'Yes' and 'No' vote with 11-16 year olds.

  • The vote was incredibly close this week!
  • 'Yes' edged out in front in all age groups but the closeness of the vote and the comments we received shows their isn't a consensus on what constitutes 'bullying' within a fandom.
52% of 5-7 year olds said it is difficult to stand up against bullying.

  • Our 5-7 VoteTopic was equally close.
  • We asked them "Is it difficult to stand up against bullying?" and whilst 'Yes' had the higher vote count, there weren't many votes in it.
Student comment. "It can - it's only bullying if it's invading someone's personal life. Otherwise, it's passionate support."

  • The almost tie appears to be because of two reasons: the definition of bullying and that the negativity in fandoms comes from a relatively small pool of the overall fandom.
  • The negative energy that can occur in a fandom wasn't collectively viewed as 'bullying'.
  • For some, this meant that fandoms do encourage bullying as they provide a platform for people to spread hate.
  • For many, fandoms bring community and warmth and our 'No' voters believed this positivity was a more dominating force than the pockets of bullying, or negativity, within.

Fanfare for the results...

This week's doughnut results.