Urban Dictionary defines fangirl as “A rabid breed of human female who is obesessed with either a fictional character or an actor. Similar to the breed of fanboy. Fangirls congregate at anime conventions and livejournal. Have been known to glomp, grope, and tackle when encountering said obsessions.”
This definition very much reflects the public opinion about fangirl. Most commonly, “fangirl” is a synonym for a hysterical teenager obsessed with a celebrity or a character. The fangirl has no grip on real life; as such, the only thing to do is to try and bring her back down to earth, with a fair bit of cynicism and a patronising attitude. Because after all, how else would she learn how delusional she is?
Interestingly enough, a man deeply invested in sports – buying merchandise, going to every game, meeting other men to share that passion and so on – is a perfectly normal phenomenon, very much encouraged by society. Even gaming and geeking over film and TV shows – once considered abnormal – are now “cool”, as long as men are leading the conversation. But when it comes to completely- or mostly-female communities, the same behaviours are regarded as hormone-driven, delusional or simply crazy.
After all – argue the “grown ups” studying the fangirls with a mixture of pity and disapproval – what else can they be?
Well, they could just be fans.
Anyone who’s ever had anything to do with any fangirl community knows that that’s exactly what they are. Fans. Not teenage girls whose lives revolve around that one actor. Not delusional women believing they’re going to marry their idol. They wouldn’t think of doing anything inappropriate or disrespectful if they met the actor they love, and they most certainly wouldn’t stalk that actor or try to get close to them. Because that’s what most fangirls are – your average next-door-neighbour, with a job and relationships and a life, with an extra hobby.
As anyone who bothered diving into these communities before forming an opinion would tell you, they are, in fact, very similar to any geek community. Yes, there’s a fair bit of admiring one’s smile or abs, but there’s a hell of a lot more of intelligent discussion, creativity and humour. That’s the beauty of those communities: you can find detailed analysis of an actor’s latest work, hand-drawn artwork, intellectual discussion, fanfiction, silly jokes and adoring posts, all in one space. You can find just about anything in those communities, from tear-jerking posts, through clever deductions and creative works, to admiring one’s appearance.
Because in the end of the day, that’s what it is: admiring. Fangirls are passionate, often creative women who admire a certain actor (or actors) and want to celebrate that with other women who share the same passion. That’s it. It’s neither childish nor crazy; it’s just like any fandom out there.
And that is what being a fangirl is. It’s about passion and curiosity and creativity and humour and friendship all coming together. It’s about admiring and adoring and sharing those experiences with others. And it’s all done respectfully, with genuine love and care and looking at those actors we love as humans, just like us. And if occasionally we seem a bit crazy, it’s because we’re all allowed to be crazy every now and then, and most likely, we’re just being cheeky or silly or just having fun.
For the most part, that’s just what it is. Fun. Just because some people insist on showing it as anything but truly caring doesn’t mean it’s true. And to quote this wonderful post, “As always, some people are still holding their age-old prejudice tight against their chest because it makes them sleep better at night. But one thing is certain: we fangirls are not the ones who are delusional here.”
That’s what we’re here to change. It won’t be easy, but if the current approach towards geeks shows anything, it’s that it is possible to change the public approach. All it takes is time and effort.
Now a few words about us. We are Ann and Caroline. We are two fangirls who became best friends thanks to this shared passion. We love going to conventions, to the theatre or to the cinemas. We also love books. We decided to create this blog because we are proud to be fangirls and we would like to change people’s vision of fangirls.