I Still Support You! Fan Culture & Cognitive Dissonance

Blind faith is one helluva drug, ain’t it?

I’m almost 25, and throughout my life, I have loved, obsessed over, and blindly followed celebrities and shows and films to the point where my life had been consumed by them. It got easier and easier when the internet became more accessible, when I finally was allowed to have a computer in my room, when we could use the internet while my mum was chatting on the phone. It became easier when social media rolled out, when I got a smartphone, when I was so wired into what my faves were doing, where they were going, and who they were dating, that I could literally find out anything I wanted at the swipe of a screen.

While this celebrity obsession may have died down for me, it certainly hasn’t for teenagers and many adults across the globe. The internet is now rife with celebrity information and a new type of person who is there purely for you to adore. But of course, with an overexposure of information (and misinformation), comes nowhere to hide. Social media and the internet have created new ways in which people can clash with each other, whether that be in opinions (Twitter) or actions (Youtube). Things you might not have known about your favourite celebrity are surfaced, and thus you are faced with cognitive dissonance.

Cognitive Dissonance has been around since always, and I remember trying to learn about it during a sociology class about cults. It never truly stuck into my head until we all started having conversations about blind faith towards celebrities. Blind faith is usually linked to religion (the reason we were talking about it during a class on cults) but it can easily be adapted to celebrity and fandom culture.

Note: From now on, when I use the term “fandom”, I am not including communities who share their love of television shows, films, books, or fictional characters/couples.

Cognitive Dissonance is is the mental discomfort (psychological stress) experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values. People experience cognitive dissonance when someone they love does something that goes against their values. So, you love or ‘stan’ a celebrity. You would do anything for them. You consume all  their content whether it be music, movies, or Youtube videos. However, they then go against something you believe in; you find out they take drugs, for example. There are many that would find this behavior to not be against their own beliefs. I mean hey, it’s not hurting anyone but themselves and it’s their body. What’s the problem? You end up justifying it to yourself and continue to believe this person is perfect.

This cycle continues on for a lot of people who blindly follow this celebrity and the celebrity will notice, eventually. For many celebrities, this is as far as it goes. Nobody is perfect, despite what your brain tells you when you look at a picture of Harry Styles. But there are some who will push and push your cognitive dissonance so far that eventually your blind faith will be shattered. And to be honest? This is a minority. If you’re already following someone’s life to this dangerous degree then I believe you’re more likely to let larger things slide… say, watching your favourite Youtuber film the body of a suicide victim in the Japanese forest of Aokigahara?

Celebrity culture, fandoms, ‘stanning’, the whole thing has become a marketable way of making a shit ton of cash for your faves and their team. And while I think it’s great to find friends who have the same interests as you (e.g. I’ve found a lot of friends through blogging and our love of books), I think there is a lot of ways in which celebrities, but more commonly social media influencers, do this.

  1. A collective fan name. The Jake Paulers, The Logang, Cumberbitches, Beliebers. Some of these are created by the fans, for the fans, and that’s as far as it goes. But it’s also a clever way to create, rather than a community, a ‘popular clique that you can only get in to if you buuuuuuy….
  2. Merch. T-shirts, hats, bags. This isn’t the same as a singer who sells albums. This would be if that same musician then brought out like…fidget spinners, or biros. A lot of the time, an influencer only brings out merch because there’s a demand and fair enough. But merch is a great way to influence your fans into thinking that they are a part of this group, but only if they have merch.
  3. Targeted tweets. This one is particularly popular with male viners/music.ly stars. You know the tweets, the one’s by Jacob Sartorius that say ‘You look so good today’ where it comes across that he’s speaking to you personally. While I feel Jacob Sartorius is quite young and maybe has a team of adults who does this for him (I mean he might understand how to exploit his fanbase but I’m not sure), I feel people like Cameron Dallas, Nash Grier and other white boy names I don’t know are especially guilty of it. You can also get targeted song lyrics, One Direction songs are full of them.

So, you are a part of the group, the clique, the fanbase. You have the merch, and you have made friends who are just as obsessed as you are.

And your fave does something horrible.

Of course, being a fan of something/someone is all apart of the experience of entertainment. My dad gets excited when a new Star Wars comes out, my mum is in love with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders and even bought a coaster with his face on. My brother loves watching angry white guys scream at games and use the N and F words liberally and experiences cognitive dissonance constantly. I have had my experiences being obsessed with things and people like Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, Glee, Marvel, Disney, the cast of SKAM, you name it.

I am a firm believer of enjoying something you love. Do not be ashamed of listening to music that a lot of people hate, read that book that people have been saying is shit. But please, please be aware of the people you are a fan of. My advice? Don’t become obsessed. It’s hard, the internet is so accessible now that it’s very easy to be whisked up in the madness that is fandom and celebrity culture. But the consequences are dangerous. You’ve seen the defense against Logan Paul from his fans, the way fans of footballers and rockstars send sexual assault victims death threats because they dared speak out about their experiences. The environment is too toxic at this point and I just don’t want to contribute to it anymore.

The best thing is to remind yourself that this person is a human. It may seem ridiculous to say it, to even think it because of course you know that. Don’t talk down to me Hollie! (I know I’m sorry). But reminding yourself of this small fact is such a powerful tool to combat this blind faith.

Person is a human.

Person may say and do things I do not like.

Person is a someone I do not know. (As much as you think you know Person, you really do not know them).

You have to know when to stop supporting someone, when to identify what they did was wrong, and not to change the rules because it’s Person. I’ve started to really embrace this new way of thinking about celebrities. I used to see them for the first time in a film, and then Google them for the rest of the night. This sort of came to a halt after SKAM ended, and people started doing the same to the actors, some of whom were underage. I began to feel uncomfortable knowing so much about these kids. I didn’t want to know the names of their siblings, or what school they went to, or if they were out shopping right this second (???).

Maybe I just don’t care about it all anymore, maybe I’m not cool anymore. But I do love stuff, and I love supporting artists on Patreon and ‘liking’ Youtubers videos when I’ve genuinely enjoyed their content. I will support and enjoy being entertained by actors/musicians/Youtubers. But I cannot be a ‘big fan’ of a person anymore. And if a person who’s work I have enjoyed in the past turns out to be awful, I will remain critical and mature in my decision to stop supporting them or not.

I hope this post does not come across as a preachy way of telling you not to like things, or to stop liking someone because they’re a bit of a dickhead. Stan whoever you want, buy all the merch, do whatever makes you feel happy. But don’t fall down the rabbit hole. They see what you do, and if they truly are a horrible person, they will use your love to their advantage.


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Youtube Channels I’m Loving Right Now

So Youtube takes up a lot of my time. But hey, it’s a thing you can do while multi-tasking. I write a lot of my blog posts with Youtube in the background, and these are the channels I get most excited about when they upload!

Conan Gray

Conan has one of the most beautiful channels on Youtube. There, I said it. He uses his passion for art to make meaningful and creative content that is honestly what I love about Youtube itself. Plus, this boy is cute as a button.

Billy Maier

I’ve only just found Billy recently after the heartbreak that was SKAM ending. Thankfully, I can now live vicariously through a teenage boy somewhere in the United States. Billy is uploading videos almost daily of himself reacting to each episode of SKAM. Not only are his reactions hilarious and dramatic, he also just understands very easily what this show is about, and I love how he picks up on things quickly (because I certainly didn’t!) This video is by far my favourite because it was one of the things he got hilariously wrong.


Cheyenne Barton

Cheyenne has definitely been my inspiration for working on my bullet journal. While I’m trying to find my own style and ways I can make my bullet journal my own, Cheyenne’s flip through videos and monthly plan with me’s are great to stick on while you’re working, even just for background noise. I especially love the attention to detail to her doodles, and even just the chatty parts when she talks of memories she’s given spreads to.


Jenna Marbles

I have been subscribed to Jenna Marbles for years and I have always loved her videos, but in the last few months I have begun cry laughing at the videos she has been releasing, especially the ones that include her boyfriend, Julien. While they have slightly different senses of humour, they compliment each other so well to the point where they make each other laugh, which is the best kind of comedy.



Dark Squidge is the second channel of popular youtuber Tomska, a comedy filmmaker who is also known for animation (but refuses to call himself an animator). While his main channel videos take a considerably longer time to make what with budgets, production crews and sponsors, his side channel weekly vlogs are videos I get excited for every Monday/Tuesday and are hilarious and sad at the same time…depending on what type of week it is. He also just got a puppy!!


Share in the comments what channels you’re loving at the moment! I’m always welcome to recommendations!

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Hello, welcome to Nanowrimo week two, and the worst week of 2016.

Yes, this week has a nation divided between love and hate, and hey, it isn’t even a nation that I live in. But, considering American news is broadcast everywhere (although it is not vice versa), I am fully aware of what is going on across the Atlantic and have nothing but sympathy for the people who are already suffering, and hope you can continue to march on in protest.

So while this week has been bloody awful, I’ve actually been making great progress with my novel, and am now two days ahead of my daily goals. Woohoo! (I mean, I haven’t written anything yet today, but come 9PM I’m writing until I go to sleep).


This is due, in part, to my two day departure from social media on Wednesday and Thursday, where I’ve found that horrific news incredibly affects my mental health. I had a very similar reaction to Brexit, and even worse so, considering it was news from my actual country, and was forced to come off social media for a while. It’s a strange feeling, because you empathise with the people on Twitter who are talking about it (and also don’t want come across as ignorant and blase about everything), but you also have to remember that social media is still MEDIA, and things are still misconstrued, exaggerated, and fear mongering. Sometimes, you have to put yourself first. So, I removed the app from my phone’s homepage, deleted the shortcut from Chrome, and turned my phone’s wifi off, so I wasn’t even tempted. This really helped writing wise, and I am even debating having a weekly ‘wifi shutdown’ for a day or two, because even if there isn’t some awful news happening, it’s still quite a healthy practice.

One of the things I’m slowly reaching is the middle section, which has always been my enemy. There’s a lot of talking, a lot of moving from room to room just to have more conversations. I have some sub plots running through the main plot too, but I am worried that the main plot is going to be lost. I think, once November is over, I’ll get to writing a story plan, because this middle bit really needs revising!

And now, for distractions! So, while the US elections put me in a downward spiral of anxiety and depression, anime is what brought me out of it, but also made sure I did not get those words down.

Yep, you read that correctly; anime. More specifically, a new show about professional ice skating, called Yuri on Ice. I’m not really known for living that anime life, but YOI is so hilarious and cosy, that I binged watched the whole six episodes that are currently out, drinking a hot chocolate under the covers. Thankfully, there aren’t seasons and seasons to watch and I have to wait for one episode a week, because can you imagine what that graph would look like if I have six seasons to get through? They would be non existent.

Music Inspiration (With thanks to the Trainspotting 2 trailer):

Picture Inspiration:


How is that middle section treatin’ ya? Let me know in the comments how Nanowrimo is going (or not going) for you!

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Dear Little Me,

I’ve always wanted to write to my younger self, but I’ve never felt old enough to have enough things to say. Even now, writing these sentences, I’m struggling what to write next. Isn’t it weird, that at 23, I’m feeling old? I never thought I ‘d see it…not because I thought I was going to die, just that it was so far away, in a different decade, where kids born in the 00’s are teenagers and not babies still.

I wanted to compose a list to you, Little Me, about the things to come. Not good or bad, some don’t fall into that category, just things. 

  1. The internet is going to blow your mind. The Sims 2 is still fantastic, but just wait until dad brings home your first broadband connection. You’re gonna get your own giant computer that sits in the corner of your bedroom, and you’ll never come off the internet. I can’t begin to tell you what it is, other than it is everything. You’ll make friends, connect with old friends, and learn so much that people in the real world may not tell you. It might aid in your unhealthy obsession with Harry Potter, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
  2. I know moving homes constantly is tiring, and saying goodbye to friends is hard. But honestly, you’ll find a place that’s perfect, where the family will set up camp for life. And, before you get there, why not live in some spectacular plmeyoungaces while you’re at it? Cyprus, Wales, Weston-Super-Mare, West Midlands and finally, Bath. (Ok, maybe one of these places isn’t like the others. But you have fun in all of them.)
  3. In secondary school, please try. Becoming a teenager is the worst, you’re a mangle of emotions and everything is new and different. One of my biggest regrets is choosing subjects for GCSE that meant nothing. I didn’t choose them because I liked them, or even because I thought they were beneficial. I was told I was good at them, so I did them. Turns out, just because you’ve been told your whole life that you’re good at fine art, doesn’t mean you actually are. 
  4. While we’re at it, foreign languages. Learn them, love them. I know you do, don’t listen to teachers who say you’re not good enough. You are, and French and Spanish are waiting for you.
  5. You’re not fat. And, even if you were, you’d still be beautiful. People will still fancy you, people will still love and fall in love with you.
  6. Don’t get too upset over love. He loves you so much and will do for so long. But things change, people’s emotions change. You were good to each other, but now it’s time to move on.
  7. Yes, you do like girls the same way you like boys. No, not everyone feels that way. Yes, it’s perfectly normal.
  8. You’re parents aren’t always right. They want what’s best, but they don’t always have the answer. Just because you’re younger, just because you’re less experienced in life, doesn’t mean you’re wrong. Opinions are opinions, don’t copy theirs just because of who they are.
  9. Books are powerful. They’re slowly becoming important in your life. Just wait, just wait.
  11. University will be the best three years of your life. Bad things happen, of course, but it molds you in to the person you will become. Living alone, being independent, pushing yourself forward. It’s a beautiful thing.
  12. At 20, you’ll grieve a loved one for the first time. It’ll be hard after that, you’ll see people break down, people who you thought couldn’t. Celebrate life, maybe don’t think about death so much.
  13. Say YES more! I don’t mean to things you genuinely don’t want to do. But, say yes to that meetup, to new opportunities, to new places, to new food. People want you there for a reason, lasagna is popular for a reason, it’s fun because it is.
  14. And finally, do not make yourself small to make others feel bigger. Do not agree to make people happy, do not stay quiet so others can be louder. Support others, don’t let them stand on you to do it. What you say, how you feel, is important and valid.

Love from your friend,


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