Swift isn’t, of course, the only modern-day pop star with an ultra-devoted fan base. But the parasocial relationship she has developed with her fans feels different from someone like Beyoncé, a star of similar wattage who has inspired a beehive among her fans.
“People like Beyonce make a name for themselves by being almost unattainable. They inspire something closer to worship than friendship,” said Shira Gabriel, an associate professor of psychology at the University at Buffalo who studies parasitic bonds.
“Whereas Swift shows herself as a regular person,” she said. “It gives people a sense of closeness to him, which would happen to someone who intentionally isolated himself from others.”
Jesse Gould is a psychiatrist and assistant professor at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. She’s also a Swiftie: “Ever since she opened for Keith Urban in 2009, when I was in college, I’ve seen every tour.”
While every pop star says, “I love my fans!” Gould believes that Swift really meant it; There seems to be a real closeness to them.
“The closeness isn’t on the same level as the closeness she has with her friends, obviously, but she’s always made an effort to respond to videos, send gifts or money to fans she meets online who need it, or The special things he does are his fans, like inviting them to his house for an album screening,” she said.
Gould said, “all of this validates her side of the relationship with him as more than a normal fan/celebrity status”.
He added, “She has also cultivated many fans since they were children.” “People grew up in parallel with him, even though there really isn’t much of a difference in real life very often.”