Defining a fangirl

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A FANGIRL is not just an ordinary fan of a television show, book series, or actor or actress—a fangirl will not only skip homework to watch their favorite television show, but will also follow the social media accounts of the cast. While some may view this as a personal hobby, others believe it to be an unhealthy obsession that not only wastes time, but money.

The label “fangirl” has been given a negative connotation within today’s pop culture. The love that many girls have for their favorite TV shows, actors or actresses, and musicians have been deemed “over the top.” Many women find that they are unfairly targeted when it comes to their level of fangirling, whereas men, who might show an equal amount of passion for activities like sports, are not as reprimanded. Thus, the term fangirl poses yet another roadblock to equality, especially women that identify as both fangirls and feminists.

Senior Vanessa Lau states, “Whenever I am on social networking sites or even attending events for the things that I like, I will always hear or see people belittling the actions that I’m doing.”

Junior Victoria Harris expands on why she thinks there is no term created to label the male counterpart of fangirling, stating, “I think there probably isn’t a specific term for guys being so passionate over something just due to the fact we don’t really associate emotions or just feelings with guys. Girls are always known to ‘overreact.’ As a result, girls are seen as more expressive in general just because of certain things, while guys are taught not to really show feelings, hence the term: ‘boys don’t cry.’”

Sophomore Khalil Foster explains his view, stating, “In my opinion, fangirls are given this bad reputation due to the fact they like boy bands or certain celebrities, things considered ‘girly.’ However, there isn’t a term used for boys or men that are obsessed with a certain brand or sport. They are just fans.”

Students find that discrimination towards fangirls can prompt young women to feel as if they should not be pursuing their hobbies. Instead of going out into the world ready to embrace and share their passions with others, girls are more likely to hide their interests because they fear that someone is going to scorn them.

Vanessa, like Jessica, has experienced issues with others telling her that voicing her interests in public and online are not acceptable. Vanessa continues, “If I am being told to constantly hide my interests then shouldn’t everyone else hide theirs? The things that people are interested in makes them them.”

Sophomore Dahianna Murillo expresses her views as a feminist and fangirl, adding, “One of the main reasons why I consider myself to be a feminist is because of the ideals that people push upon me because I label myself a fangirl. Is there are problem liking a band to the extent where I’ll go to their concerts? No. Yet society makes it seem like there is.”

Freshman Amrin Rahman simalarly comments on the negative impact of bias towards fangirls, saying, “It is hard enough for women to share their opinions about controversial issues without being judged. Now, since we are being judged for our music taste [and] TV shows we watch, it might be even more difficult to voice opinions in the future. It may even result in some women feeling like their opinions don’t matter or that they do not have a voice in the world.”

Junior Agata Turula concludes, “I guess it’s just society that enforces these ‘rules’ on what girls and guys should like. That’s how it’s always been. I think we can change it, though. If more and more girls and guys start trying new things, we can change the stereotype.”