Come along, you belong, feel the fizz...

Artwork by Matt Plotecher

Rangerphiles are an assorted lot. The small community boasts members from around the world, with all sorts of varying viewpoints and opinions. It is worthwhile to view statistics on the group, however, to see any common trends in the community, and what they have in common, both of which may help explain the bond this community feels.

Any analysis of data on this community must be viewed skeptically; the group is relatively small, with a generous estimate from the Rangerphile Directory claiming 114 members. Even if half these members answered a survey, the results could easily be skewed. However, the use of two data sets whenever possible may help ensure accuracy.

This page uses two data sets, both self-selected. The data set which will be focused on here, is a survey conducted from April 21st through April 26th, 1999. It was advertised on Julie's Rescue Ranger Page and the Acorn Cafe, and 42 responses were received. This data set will be referred to as Ranger Survey data. When applicable, the findings from this survey will be contrasted with statistics from the Rangerphile Directory, as analyzed on April 22, 1999. This is a directory where all self-proclaimed Rescue Ranger fans may enter in their personal information. It has 69 entries, although not all of them were suitable for analysis in all fields. This data will be referred to as Rangerphile Directory data. All percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

 Age: (all data in years)  Ranger Survey data Rangerphile Directory data
Average age of a Rangerphile 23.9 23.3
Oldest Rangerphile listed 44 50
Youngest Rangerphile listed 13 7
Median age 22.5 --
Mode age 19 --

For contrast, an April 1998 survey finds that the average age of an Internet user is 35.10 years of age (GVU). So the average Rangerphile is several years younger than the average Internet user. Since the program "Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers" premiered about ten years ago, the average Rangerphile was just entering his or her teen years when the program came out. The program, thus, can be associated with nostalgia, or, alternately, escape from an unhappy childhood. The fact that there are many older fans of the show may be because the show has elements that appeal to all ages (such as comedy on several levels) or just because some adults like cartoons.

 Gender  Ranger Survey data Rangerphile Directory data
Female 12/42 (28%) 15/65 (30%)
Male 30/42 (72%) 50/65 (70%)

The majority of Rangerphiles online are male. The general Internet users survey cited above finds that 61.3% of Internet users are male, but about 70% of Rangerphiles online are male (GVU 1998). Thus, Rangerphiles on the Internet are slightly more likely to be male than the average Internet user. This could show an inherent bias in fan communities online, or simply in this particular community. Since most Internet users are male, perhaps fan communities such as the Internet Rangerphile community become male-dominated, making females hesitant to participate. Or the male bias may be due to the action/adventure aspects of the show, or the fact that the program only has one strong recurring female character (Gadget). The fact remains, however, that this particular fan community is predominantly male, which contrasts with Jenkins's findings that most fan communities are female-dominated (1992).

One interesting thing to consider is whether the posts to the message board are predominantly made by males or females, since that is one measure of how active the members are in the community. The following is an assessment of the posts on the message boards (ten days' worth) as analyzed on April 29, 1999. The Acorn Cafe is the main message board for Rangerphiles on the Internet; the Off-Topic Message Board is for personal messages and those which don't apply to the Rescue Rangers. Worth noting is that both major Rescue Rangers message boards are maintained by females.

Message Board Postings by Gender Acorn Cafe Posts Off-Topic Message Board Posts
Female 69 (25%) 71 (41%)
Male 206 (75%) 102 (59%)
Total 275 173

The fact that females actually had more postings to the off-topic board than to the main board could be indicative of the 'feminine fan gossip' Jenkins cites (1992: 80-81) but the fact that there is less female posting to the Acorn Cafe than the gender numbers above would indicate (assuming members made postings proportionate to their percentages above) shows that fan gossip about the show, at least, is not a predominately feminine trait. Also of note is that a lot of the Acorn Cafe posts in this particular survey strayed very far off-topic, and some were conversations between two or three males; when talk is about the show, or welcoming a newcomer, the posts are not so gender-biased.

 Country  Ranger Survey data Rangerphile Directory data
United States 34/42 (81%) 55/66 (83%)
Other countries 8/42 (19%) 11/66 (16%)

Almost all Rangerphiles online are from the United States, with other Rangerphiles in the Ranger Survey and Directory hailing from Russia, England, Scotland, Malaysia, Sweden, Mexico, Latvia, Australia, and Uraguay. I have been told there is a Russian Rescue Rangers community, but most of them do not have e-mail or Internet access (Ruslan, message board posting). As the show premiered in the then-Soviet Union in 1991 (Aiva, survey response), I don't doubt this.

The GUV survey finds that 84.4% of Internet users are from the United States; this corresponds closely with the findings above.

I said in the introduction that I suspected most Rangerphiles would be conservatives, so I asked a question about it.

 Political Stand Ranger Survey data
Conservative 17/33 (52%)
Liberal 9/33 (27%)
Other 7/33 (21%)

Most Rangerphiles who answered this question placed themselves as conservative. Nine respondents did not say what their stance was, or chose 'none.' The finding that most Rangerphiles who answered the question are conservative fit my hypothesis, although, since nine people did not specify a political stance means that less than half of Rangerphiles who took the survey actually called themselves conservative.

. Generally, when a controversial topic such as abortion, gun control, or religion in school comes up in the Off-Topic Message Board, many Rangerphiles steer clear of them altogether, and several post responses along what could be seen as fairly 'conservative' lines. A few other Rangerphiles often respond to these posts in a more 'liberal' manner; these replies are sometimes left alone, and sometimes refuted. In general, however, the community does not have drawn-out arguments on most issues, probably cultivated, in part, by the 'St. Valentine's Day Massacre,' as well as the need for unity in a small community.

The last personal question asked about Rangerphiles on the Internet was what their religion was. This could be a difficult question to get responses to, since it is so personal, but only seven people omitted it.

 Religion Survey data
Christian* 26/44 (59%)
Other 6/44 (14%)
None 3/44 (7%)
Omitted 7/44 (16%)

*Included in Christian are, in descending order, those who called themselves Christain, Catholic, Southern Baptist, Methodist, Evangelical, Evangelical Presbyterian, and LDS.

Several Rangerphiles have expressed a gratefulness that the Acorn Cafe messageboard has a lot of Christians on it, and, whenever something bad happens to a Rangerphile, or the world in general, there is usually a string of posts with people offering their prayers. This leads to what feels like a supportive environment for Christians, although it may cause non-Christians to become frustrated or turn away from the group. One informant who did not answer the survey and who does not consider himself a member of the Rescue Rangers online community expressed a concern that the current community is too 'prudish,' as there have been movements against Rescue Rangers erotica, and a general negative feeling about non-wholesome Rescue Rangers fanfiction among most (if not all) Rangerphiles. This very intolerance, however, may draw the group's members closer together through their moral views.

Next, we will examine the works of this Internet fan community.


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