VIRAL NEWS: THE FANDOM PARADOX
A peek into the topics buzzing at Cassandra
Friday is here! So it must be time to talk about the most relevant internet news of the past seven days. Culture moves fast, and we at Cassandra try to move even faster to keep up with all the issues Gen Z can't stop discussing. In many ways, 2023 can be considered The Year of The Fan. And as fans of fans ourselves, Cassandra has been tracking the evolving nature of fandom and its impact on culture. In this edition of Viral News, we're looking at current discourse around how much control and power a fan base has —or should have— over the artistic product? Let's start with Rachel Zegler's Snow White controversy, fans speculating about Britney's divorce, and finally, the Taylor Swift enigma. Welcome to this week's edition of Viral News!
RACHEL ZEGLER'S BACKLASH
The 22-year-old actress has been the target of non-stop outrage since she signed to play Snow White in Disney's already controversial remake. Some interview clips from last year have emerged where she described her version of the princess as a leader who doesn't need a prince to save her. On TikTok, some users challenged her comments and opinions, saying that in an effort to make Snow White more feminist, Zegler inadvertently assigned antifeminist sentiment to the character. Others used the viral discourse to defend Zegler —a Latina actor who has already faced racist backlash for her casting in the remake— and highlight this case as an example of how fans are growing accustomed to tone-policing and dictating what a celebrity's opinions should be during their press tours.
Even if you don't consider yourself a Swiftie, there's no way you can escape the constant flow of information about the superstar. Did you ask for it? Probably not. Did you enjoy it? You betcha. All of this is made possible by the dedicated efforts of one of the largest and most active fan bases worldwide. From subtle Easter eggs to intricate conspiracy theories revolving around the artist's rumored feuds and romances, Swifties never rest. Forget about selling out hundreds of stadiums, true stans go way beyond attending shows. The level of dedication and meticulous attention to detail showcased by this fanbase have resulted in many incredible accomplishments. However, it also enters murky territory when fans fervently start speculating about Taylor's personal life. What began as the innocent act of monitoring social media and deciphering her lyrics has gradually evolved into scrutinizing her relationships and connections, sometimes accompanied by a sense of entitlement to more information than the artist chooses to share.
BRITNEY'S DIVORCE & PRENUP
We can't talk about fandoms and not mention the fierce and devoted group of fans that fought for years to bring to light the unfortunate circumstances that the princess of pop faced every day for 13 years under her conservatorship. But this David vs. Goliath battle against mainstream media left fans in a strange position of entitlement over Britney Spears' safety once they were proven right. So much so that when she —newly freed from her legal shackles— announced she was getting married to boyfriend Sam Asghari, controversy and distrust of her new fiance reigned over her fan base. Even conversations about how she should make him sign a prenup agreement inundated her comments on Instagram for months before their wedding. This week, the couple announced their split. TikTok is now filled with videos questioning his intentions from the beginning, speculating about him releasing damaging information about the pop star, and even challenging her attorney selection. Clearly, her fans are trying to protect her, but we're wondering... where's the line?