“What did they smell like?”: Fans creating intimacy through smell and odor
Keywords:Cultural capital, Embodiment, Morality, Scent, Stigma
Traditionally, fan studies have relied on two primary senses when examining the ways in which fans engage with fandom: sight and sound. Given this limited perception, recent attempts have been made to expand the literature to a larger array of senses. The following paper offers a new lens to study fandom by marrying fan studies with scholarship on smell to explore a common fan question: What did he/she/they smell like? Despite its relative frequency in fandom, the topic of smell and smelling is often looked down upon, considered transgressive, or dismissed as unimportant. This paper unpacks fans' interest in odor through three main themes. The first examines the reasons behind the perception of smell as a pathology and its relationship to the conceptualization of the so-called bad fan. The second theme explores questions of morality concerning smell and smelling, with a particular focus on 2021's Showergate controversy. The third discusses the positive role of smell in building a sense of intimacy between fans and celebrities and contributing to the fans' cultural capital.
Copyright (c) 2022 Neta Yodovich
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