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Monday, August 11, 2014

Fictional Character Crushes: How Far Is Too Far?

Harry Thor Loki Luke Percy Leo Seamus garret fang...... I'm going to die alone book and movie characters have ruined everything for real guys
There's a subject that's been heavily weighing on my mind and heart these past few days, and since it's somewhat related to period dramas and other things that I post about on here, I figured I should write a blog post about it to clear my head, and maybe offer some help/encouragement to you, my lovely followers.  This evening, I'll be discussing crushes on fictional characters/celebrities and when to back off from a character/fandom.  I don't consider myself a mentor or expert on these subjects in any way - these are just my thoughts and observations.  If you disagree with any of my points, the comment box is open.  Just be polite.  I love a good debate, but not a flame war.  I'm writing this post mainly to other teenage girls like myself, so if you're not a fangirly teenage girl, this post probably won't really apply to you.  Just sayin'.

To begin...

love fictional characters even though others don't believe that they're real
they aren't real.
I think this issue first came to my mind when I was randomly browsing the Internet, and I decided to see what other people had to say about the whole 'crushes-on-fictional-characters' thing (I didn't find much) which led to a curious search on whether or not anyone had ever 'married' a fictional character.  And I found this website...and basically exploded.  Not on the outside, no (I'm not really the kind of person to rant out loud about stuff like this) but on the inside I was a mixture of shock, anger, and a feeling of disgust.  Marriage is an incredibly special institution, created by God, and that website completely cheapens the whole thing by letting people 'marry' their favorite fictional characters and celebrities online.  That's just sick (on a side note, I have no idea why Jack Sparrow of all people is the number one most 'married' person) and I think most of us will agree that it's completely wrong.  Right?

AKA I'm in love with my fictional characters...
yeah, well...
But what about normal fangirls, like me?  We pin oodles of pictures on Pinterest, of all different things, but some of our favorite pins are pictures of awesome fictional characters (almost always guys) or celebrities.  We gush over how handsome, cute, brave, funny, heroic, and epic a character is and read fan-fiction about said character.  We make gifs and watch videos of them on Youtube over and over again.  We think about them during the day, and dream about them at night.  We can't imagine our lives without all these amazing characters, the ones who bring colour and interest and awesomeness to our sitting-in-front-of-the-computer-with-no-adventures-happening-anywhere existence.

And you know what?  That's fine.  It's fine to pin pictures and watch videos and chat with friends about fictional characters.  I do it all the time, and I consider myself to be a well-adjusted teenage girl who has a healthy relationship with her family and friends (both real-life and online) and many interests outside of fictional worlds/characters.  But I'm still a fangirl.  I still lock my caps on and keysmash and send unintelligible gibberish through my chat bar when I'm too excited to type straight.  I even have a few crushes on fictional characters, up to the point where I think it would be totally awesome to meet some of my favorites.  Am I ashamed of that?  No.  Am I worried that I've lost my emotional purity?  No.  Then what problem do I have (besides the whole 'website where you can marry your favorite fictional character' thing) with crushes on fictional characters?

It's when things are different.  Much different.

The fate of loving fiction characters
this is meant to be funny, but it's EXACTLY my point.
And by different, I mean obsessive.

Suddenly, you're no longer content with pinning pictures and reading fan-fiction.  You start to fantasize about actually marrying such-and-such fictional character and living your life with them to the point that you begin to exclude everything (and everyone) else.  You spend endless hours on the computer, researching everything about that character and/or the celebrity who plays him.  Maybe even reading, um, the not-so-nice fan-fiction (or, even worse, writing some).  You become so obsessed with said character that you don't notice the real guys that could be in your life, maybe even one who's really meant to be with you.  And all because you're 'in love' with someone that doesn't even exist, has never existed, and will never exist.

{I'm using the pronoun 'you' just because it's simpler...I'm not trying to condemn my blog readers here}

Unless we're talking about celebrities, which opens up a whole new can of worms.

It’s okay to love fictional characters.
a little crush, yes.  'real' love, no.
Basically, my thoughts on celebrity crushes are as follows: every celebrity has a public image.  Doesn't matter how down-to-earth, funny, polite, or kind a celebrity is, it's almost always a public image.  They're real people, yes, but many of them aren't nice people.  And that's the simple, sad truth of it.  I definitely don't think any celebrity can be held up as a role model, and I don't believe we should be crushing/'falling in love' with them.  Girls with celeb crushes drive me crazy, actually, partly because of the reasons I just outlined, and partly because I hate the way they go on and on about how they're going to marry said celebrity someday.  I doubt many (or any) of those celebrities would give them the time of day, let alone date or marry them.  It's giving all your attention, obsession, whatever you want to call it, to someone who doesn't even know you exist.

It’s okay if you’re in love with a celebrity or fictional character.
no.  no it's not.
I think my final thoughts on this can be summed up pretty clearly.  Being interested in a fictional character is perfectly fine for a fangirl.  Even having a little crush on them (which I freely admit I have my share of) is fine, in my opinion.  It's when you cross the line from interested to completely obsessed that things get complicated.  And you know what?  You'll move on.  You will.  In a few years, you'll probably look back and think "Why on earth was I ever obsessed with that character?"  Especially if you're engaged/married/what-have-you.  So it's not worth getting tattooed with 'I Love Tobias Eaton' (I doubt anyone's ever done that, but it wouldn't surprise me).  Trust me.  Plus, in ten years, these celebrities won't look the same as they do today when you're in the middle of your fangirl stage (of course, people could take that to mean - 'enjoy it while you can').  They won't be as 'cute' or 'hot' and by that point you'll probably be disillusioned by some dumb thing they did.  Maybe you've already reached that point.

*heavy sigh*

Wow.  This blog post was definitely longer and rantier than I'd imagined it would be.  Please don't take anything I said here personally.  Even if your fangirl life fits every single one of the points I made.  I'm not accusing anyone individually, I just wanted to get these thoughts out of my brain and onto my blog so that they don't bug me 24/7.  What are your thoughts on this subject?  Despite all my thinking about this, I've probably missed some obvious points, so I'd love to hear what you guys have to say.  Honestly.

And since I always like to finish blog posts off with a picture, I'm going to share with you a photo of my current favorite fictional guy character. (no, it's not defeating the purpose of this post - it's perfectly alright to fangirl, as long as you don't overdo it)  Because I love this picture and I have a little crush on this character (fueled mostly by this book) and I think we could all use a little break, right?  Right.  So here it is...



Maribeth B said...

You know what I absolutely hate? When people get mad when they find out their "celebrity crush" already has a significant other. They're offended because they feel like THEIR chances with this person are obliterated forever. Umm, excuse you...your chances of being with that person were probably NIL to begin with, and if you're not wishing So-and-So and his Lady Love all the best, then you're acting like a selfish brat. Grow up.

Hehe. Okay, sorry. Getting off my soap box.

This was a great post and I can relate to it SO much. Yes, I have my fictional crush. Ahem. You know that, I didn't really need to say it. But it's interesting to compare me and my fictional crush at 22 years old, with me and my (different) fictional crush when I was 12. Because THAT fictional crush, when I was 12, went into that more dangerous, unhealthy territory you were talking about. Looking back on that situation I can see where I could've/should've stepped back and been much more...clear-headed.

Now, ten years later...yeah, I have my one, major fictional crush. Am I going to gush over his outstanding character qualities aaaaaand his Stunning Good Looks with my sister? Um...yeah. Am I going to go "AWW" over something nice that Certain Actor did for a little six-year-old fan and go "EEEP" and clap my hands like a retarded seal when he shows up at Comic-Con? Yes, hello, I'm a Single Unattached Human Female, of course I'm going to EEEP. But I'm certainly not going to marry that character and I'm not going to marry the guy who plays him either. Which, sadly, is a far cry from the nonsensical way I felt about my character/celebrity crushes when I was 12.

Oh well. Thank God for grace and for the maturity that comes with age!

Also, a personal plus in favor of SANE fictional crushes: I've realized that the type of character I've always been attracted to is also the kind of Real-Life Man I'm attracted to. (Good thing I don't fall in love with villains, LOL.) But I do have something of a standard for noble and kind-hearted manhood, and while I realize that Real-Life Guys are going to be flawed human beings just like me and do things you don't always see Fictional Guys do, I still think admirable characters are important to look up to. And it's nice to know what you like and what you don't like, personality-wise ;)

Una Mariah said...

First of all: awesome post. You made some really good points! Actually all of them were good points. ;)

I don't really get crushes on celebrities. As you pointed out, celebrities are rarely the way they show themselves in public/in interviews/on camera. And I think the celebrity who is even 99 percent truthful about who they are...well, they're the exception rather than the rule. Frankly, I don't want to "fall in love" with someone, and then later uncover a nasty bit of information about them. It's not worth having an imagined relationship with someone and then being crushed by something they do, which shouldn't affect you at all.

What I /do/ get is "aesthetic crushes". Basically it's a desire to look at someone and appreciate their appearance. "Wow, your face is beautiful/cute/attractive. I want to just sit here and look at you." Sort of like with Tully Pettigrew. c:

Some fans take things to a whole new level when it comes to fictional character/celebrity crushes. It's not cute or funny any more. It's creepy and obsessive. Stalker fans really freak me out. If you claim to love someone, have the courtesy to allow them to keep their personal lives separate from their public lives, and leave. them. alone.

(that comment was a jumble of random thoughts. I'm sorry it didn't make more sense.)

Elizabethany said...

I agree with you!! Having a few--very few--fictional crushes myself, I think it's okay up to a point. Just don't get obsessed. I also like what you said about noticing the real guys in our lives. We don't always know who the best person is for us.
Anyways thanks for the post!:-)

Bethany Morrow said...

Great post Eva!
(Tobias is epic isn't he!)
I totally see where you are coming from.
I totally agree with you about the "public image", first and foremost we have to remember actors ACT! They can still be awesome, genuine people but that doesn't make them perfect.
I see so many girls basing their opinions of male celebrities on what is really just their "idea" of a perfect man.

Kiri Liz said...

Thank you for such a wonderful post, Eva!! I realize how difficult of a topic this is to write about, but you made everything sound so nice.

I don't mean to offend anyone, but I'm really not the type of girl who gets crushes. That's just me. Personally, I get annoyed with fangirling way too easily as most fangirls gush about a certain celebrity/actor/character until all I see online is that particular person. To be honest, the fangirling ruined Thorin and Richard Armitage for me. Again, not trying to sound mean, but we should also be careful about how much we obsess over these things. Are we getting to the point where our crushes and fangirl moments consume our whole lives? I'm in love with good books and movies just as much as anyone out there, but there's still so much more to life than just fiction. I feel so sorry for girls who let their fangirling grow into obsessions because it's like they have nothing else to live for. A little innocent fangirling is harmless. It's just when it gets out of control that it becomes dangerous.

Anywho, I unintentionally got on my soap box. Sorry, Eva. I tend to think hotly on subjects like this one. :) But this was an excellent, thought-provoking post. Well done.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I kind of definitely wrote a similar blog post to yours...

But perfect points, thanks so much for being honest. (Run away so those hoards of fangirls don't get you, dear!) :)

Anonymous said...

Actually, no, I will not look back in a few years and wonder what I was thinking. I've had a crush on Luke Skywalker for 17 years (I'm 23). It's not just his physical appearance in the movies but who he is as a character: he is selfless, disciplined, passionate, honest, and sees the good in others. My friends and I are praying that I will find a boyfriend with those qualities I admire in him. (Ability to wield a lightsaber is strictly optional.)

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