It's no secret that current generations are hugely passionate about the things that they enjoy. From television shows to movies to sports teams and athletes, many millennials devote themselves to dutiful observance of a practically religious nature. 

This phenomenon has slowly eked its way into larger cultural study, as evidenced by the emergence of the term "fandom" into sociocultural and anthropological discourse. One trend that has arisen as a result of this intense level of devotion is the fan tattoo. More and more commonly, fans of a form of media are inscribing their devotion onto their skin in the form of tattoos meant to represent fictional characters, athletes or any number of other popular pieces of entertainment media. While not likely to show up in any sociology textbooks, these increasingly popular tattoos can provide an interesting window – albeit, perhaps, a stained glass one – into the enthusiasm and motivation of the capital-f "Fan."

Understanding fandom
When discussing this emerging trend of extreme fandom, it's important to distinguish it from casual enjoyment of a form of entertainment. As The Week pointed out, such casual enjoyment is usually passive, whereas the fervency with which fandoms are followed makes them very much active endeavors. In fact, more often than not, membership to a fandom can comprise a not-insignificant part of an individual's sense of personal identity, as they don't merely like something, they identify as a fan of that thing.

Taking ownership
For some, it seems that no lengths to which they can go to express their love and appreciation for a form of media is enough, and many diehard adherents to one thing or another have gone under the needle in what is perhaps the ultimate display of devotion. From sci-fi movies to books to sports stars, it's increasingly common these days to find a devotee sporting ink from his or her favorite pastime, whatever it may be. Of course, these fan tattoos are not always instantly recognizable as such. While some enthusiasts go as far as to get portraits or emblems etched into their arms, others prefer more subtle marks of devotion – a choice quote or a favorite athlete's jersey number, for example. Regardless of what form they take or what example of popular media they represent, the one common thread that binds these tattoos together is deep personal significance to the recipient.

While some instances of fan tattoos may inspire chuckles or even appreciation, others may be slightly more suspect in their motivation and longevity. For example, fan tattoos of favorite book quotes are one thing, but other choices are a bit more esoteric. As ABPLive reported, one Argentine soccer fan emblazoned his back with "Messi 10" – the name and jersey number of a favorite player from the team. Similarly, Deadspin told the story of a Philadelphia basketball fan who inked "76ers 2015 {2014?} NBA Champs" onto his rear, presumably in hopes of predicting the next season's outcome. This may be understandable, though seeing as how it was San Antonio and not Philadelphia that claimed the 2014 championship title, his attempted prophetic gesture is likely to lead to nothing other than an embarrassing case of tattoo regret.

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