This essay tracks how Fandom is built and maintained, and its effect on its participants, using the Taylor Swift fandom as a case study. Scholars have previously approached the topic of fanaticism with preconceived biases against much of popular culture, and I posit in this essay that much of this condescension is based around misogyny and a continual shame of traditionally feminine interests. This study is conducted through interviews. I discuss the similarities between the Star Trek fandom and the Swift fandom, largely building off of the work of Michael Jindra, who established the idea of fandom as a religious proxy. I identify parental indoctrination and the process of feminist conversion as the key entries into the fandom. In maintenance of the fan community, fandom persists as it largely fills the role of traditional religion in the younger generation. It fulfills the need for spiritual and social connection, allowing participants to expand and deepen social networks. Contrary to past studies, I posit this community and support network positively affects fans’ mental health.

Type of Work

Thesis - Limited Access

Department or Program



Hamilton College


Bachelor of Arts

Date of Graduation


Faculty Advisor

Stephen Ellingson, Jaime Kucinskas

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.