Parasocial Fans

Just as Disney+ is starting to see a decline in viewers and the Star Wars fan base is possibly losing steam, Author C. Brooks writes about how fandom can be detrimental to your happiness. He begins by telling the story of his boyhood crush on Farrah Fawcett and explaining the concept of parasocial bonding.

The term parasocial interaction was introduced in the 1950s by the social scientists Donald Horton and R. Richard Wohl. It was the early days of home television, and they were seeing people develop an intimate sense of relationship with actors who were appearing virtually in their home. Today, the definition is much broader. After all, actors, singers, comedians, athletes, and countless other celebrities are available to us in more ways than ever before. Forming parasocial bonds has never been easier.

I remember being in the 8th grade and dating multiple girls that year who were absolutely obsessed with New Kids on the Block. I never understood it. Setting aside the utter banality of the group, they were just dudes on a stage. Their image wasn’t real. I never spent my time pining over some overproduced facsimile of a person. I always directed my interest (romantic or otherwise) toward actual people.

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