Obsessed with VIPs…If the Fan Becomes a Fanatic (Chi, June 2021)

“Where does healthy admiration for a character end and where does pathological behavior begin? Problems arise when you move from imitation to total identification. The last home of celebrities who are victims of harassing admirers” Ilaria Squaiella, Psychologist.

 

Can Yaman, the beloved Turkish actor starring in Day Dreamer, Bittersweet and Mr. Wrong, who is in the middle of a real storm these days, is well aware of this. His fanbase has literally split in two following the indifferent reaction of the actor towards some of his supporters. A group of avid admirers stationed themselves in the hallway of Yaman’s house, who – coming out of the elevator – did not deign to look at them, as evidenced by a video posted by one of the fans in question which went viral on social media within a few hours. The non-greeting sparked the wrath of his admirers who left him a letter in the elevator: “A greeting is education and respect. The greeting is from an angel, especially the people who have always supported you. Hello and thank you anyway”. In the past, the actor has always been helpful and kind to his supporters, but then fatigue and excessive interest in his private life led him to change his attitude and to withdraw from social networks several times.

 

Even Tommaso Zorzi, winner of the Big Brother Vip and opionist of the Island of the Famous, finds himself dealing with real stalking around his home and vents on social networks, telling what happens. One of his fans often waits for him outside the house and makes requests that initially Zorzi satisfied, but things then took a turn that the influencer himself defined as “not normal”. Feeling stalked and controlled, he considered it appropriate to give voice to the anxiety that these morbid attentions have unfortunately fostered and spoke about it publicly.

 

 

It is therefore natural to ask ourselves where the healthy admiration on the part of a fan ends and where the fanaticism that has absolutely nothing healthy begins. The supporter of a famous person and a person who has a passion and an interest in the VIP in question and in what he does. He often admires their behaviors, ideas, lifestyle. A fan can support all the choices of the celeb, cheer for him, for his life and his successes. He is certainly fascinated by it and tends to imitate as best he can. So it happens that she chooses similar clothes, that she combs her hair and puts on make up like her idol. [The fan] may begin to behave like him or her, to marry his causes as if they were her own. If there is a public event in which the idol participates, the fan will do everything to be there. She follows him on social media and in real life whenever possible.

 

In general, these dynamics are especially typical of the adolescent phase, a delicate moment of self-discovery, in which children try to understand who they want to become. It is therefore easy for an actor, a singer or a television personality to embody characteristics that they like and that they would like to have “when they grow up”.

 

 

It is a period that we have all gone through to varying degrees, in which reality and fantasy are separated by a thin border and everything can still happen. It is the time of infinite possibilities and is part of the search for oneself, in which even what one does not want to be is very well focused. So far, nothing strange or pathological.

 

The problems begin when admiration turns into a real obsession. It is therefore no longer a question of an interest or a passion, but of an obsession, without which one cannot live. The idol becomes the protagonist of the fanatic’s days, who spends much of his time thinking about him. A process of imitation is not triggered, but a total identification with one’s idol, about which one thinks constantly. In this case, news about him is sought everywhere, updates, even minimal details about his life and movements. Everything that concerns him becomes the object of an obsessive and therefore pathological thought, to which to pay attention because it often does not adhere to reality. Social networks have amplified these disorders, not only because they are a very appetizing stage for fanatics, but above all because they have allowed, compared to what used to happen, a direct communication with famous people. The distances that were previously felt between an ordinary person and a VIP have disappeared and these platforms generate the illusion of knowing the people who follow each other. Stories and posts allow you to spy on the life of the idols and to witness many details that once it was not possible to see because the news was mainly conveyed by magazines and TV. It should be emphasized that anyone who becomes a fanatic is a person who already has a problematic thirst and has pathological features. In extreme cases he not only identified with his idol, but wants to be him, thus endangering not only himself, but above all the object of his morbid attention. If the idol makes choices that he does not share, he feels anger and feels obliged to denigrate him, as if his life belongs to him.

 

 

In general, when a person is already an adult he should cultivate a healthy admiration for a famous person, without upsetting his daily life and, consequently, his life for him. If this does not happen, it means that something is wrong, the personality is not acknowledged and the identity is very weak, fragmented and unstable.

 

Original English Translation by Can Yaman International, June 14, 2021

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