Fangirl (n) A female who has overstepped the line between healthy fandom and indecent obsession – The Urban Dictionary
When you see a Fangirl online, what do you think? Your mind instantly conjures the negative stereotype that we all know. Those obsessive, screaming, sequin t-shirt making twelve year-olds at a One Direction concert, and the ones who “just can’t” because they can’t get tickets to a Justin Bieber show. Who even goes to Justin Bieber shows anymore?
We all get a pretty bad rep and frankly, it’s a little insulting. Your typical bystander will think we’re fueled by obsession. The problem is that people expect us to grow out of it, but why should anybody be encouraged to let go of something that gives them joy? We find happiness in unlikely places, and whether that’s with our nose in a tomb of a novel or in the make believe world of yet another movie, we should hang on to every inch of it.
Happiness can be a little difficult to find, especially in our twenties. Everyone is telling us to grow up, which is why they expect us to be a little more mature with our fandoms- but we just can’t do it. This is the one area where we haven’t dulled our excitement or mastered a poker face, and that’s really important because we have really learned to repress so much.
Yes, I’ve had “all the feels,” and needed someone to “send help” because “asdfghjkl.” This usually happens with season finales of my favourite TV shows, or the first listen of a new Taylor Swift album. Okay, so I admit to being completely in love with my favourite girl Taylor. This is because since I was 16, her albums have coincided with major life events. And they’ve helped me grow, because I’ve shared her experiences.
I feel like Taylor Swift is that woman who everybody fangirls over since the Red album, and other fans will know how it feels to be ousted by basic bandwagon fans. It’s all good though, because we’re all sharing and connecting over one thing. That’s pretty magical, when the world is so full of people clutching at any opportunity to tear someone down.
TV is an art form, music is art, books are art and so is love. When people let you down, art is constant. It’s comfort. It ignites our passion and fuels our distraction from pain, stress or sadness. We reach for it when we’re searching for answers.
There’s this simple theory within media studies. It’s called the Uses and Gratifications Theory, and it suggests that instead of being passive media consumers, that we seek out media texts for our own personal identity, personal relationships and surveillance. I’m a believer of this theory, because it’s pretty clear. I don’t watch Game of Thrones because everyone tells me to as it’s simply not my cup of tea. I search for things that I know will gratify me. It’s not as simple as squealing on Tumblr about our favourite things, it’s finding something that we need to watch, read, or consume.
Don’t you have anything better to do? Probably, but this is what I want to do. I want to sit down and watch something that will provide me with an emotional crutch to lean on when I need it. Chuck Bass from Gossip Girl, I’m looking right at you.
I love a lot of things. I’ve often had people comment that I cannot just “like” something, I have to love it. That’s half true. There are some things I just like, but don’t go out of my way to follow. But there are a lot of things that I love, if they meet my desired criteria. My love started with Buffy the Vampire Slayer (I was eight years-old, and I still wish Rupert Giles was my mentor in life). It’s gone from there and extended itself to love of other TV shows, like Grey’s Anatomy, Gossip Girl, House of Cards, and Pretty Little Liars.
Like I said, we don’t grow out of it. There’s a comfort that comes with finding a new love, albeit unrequited. We find whatever we’re looking for in series finales, cliff hangers, new album releases and final installments. Human beings will always find a mutual love between one another, and will find comfort in finding even one person that loves the very same thing they do.
Fangirling isn’t just teenagers posting GIFs or crying when a character dies. It doesn’t mean having posters pinned to your walls anymore. It’s an expression of people forging an organic connection, rather than being faced with forced conversations and social awkwardness. It’s a common ground, and it’s where you’ll find some peace. Unless your love is a Shonda Rhimes TV drama, in which case you will never find any peace because she’s one of those “life ruiners” we all keep chattering on about.
There are some that will never understand what it is to find love in something or someone that we don’t even know, or something that doesn’t even exist. But they’ll always be a little bored, with no one to share elaborate theories or excitement with. At least we’ll always have the internet.