On Being a Fangirl

Just a note before this post continues: the point of this post isn't to bash my brother or to insult him or anything like that. I'm just merely stating that his opinion is the thing that sparked my want to write this post. You can keep reading now!

I have an older brother, and a lot of his opinions are ones that I don't agree with. If you ask me, I'd say that a lot of his opinions are gross and ignorant (he's mostly got them from his friends). The other day, he said that the new series of Doctor Who will "hopefully separate the fans from the fangirls".

gif from Tumblr
Just, what is that even supposed to mean? And what's wrong with being a fangirl or a fanboy?

Well, let's take a look at what Urban Dictionary defines as a fangirl and fanboy (I've used the first result on each page).

Fangirl: 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 obesessions.

Fanboy: A passionate fan of various elements of geek culture (e.g. sci-fi, comics, Star Wars, video games, anime, hobbits,Magic: the Gathering, etc.), but who lets his passion override social graces.
-from urbandictionary.com

Notice something? The definition for fanboy is much nicer than the definition for fangirl. I wonder why that is... Oh yeah, it's because fangirls are girls and girls can't enjoy anything without being judged, no matter how fanatical we get.

Fair enough, fanboy is sometimes used as an insult to male fans of things who just blindly go with companies or directors (the most I see it used in this way is towards male Nintendo fans), but fanboys actually get praised for liking things so much when fangirls are criticised for liking things only because they think that actors/characters are attractive.

And even if we do, so fucking what? Everybody's done it. I'll shamelessly admit that I wouldn't have watched Thor at all if I didn't think that Chris Hemsworth is hot. This is definitely where I think that my brother's opinion is total wank. He said that he didn't like it how in the previous series of Doctor Who, Matt Smith had a nude scene 'for the fangirls'.

gif by monica-ciccona
So it's perfectly fine for women to have nude scenes or wear skimpy clothing for absolutely no reason whatsoever other than being something for the guys to drool over, but when a man is nude for a couple of minutes (whether it's actually for women or not), it's unacceptable? I can't even brain how ridiculous that is.

I, for one, don't feel insulted when people call me a fangirl because I don't see it as one. In fact, I take a sense of pride in being such a devoted fan of something that it can seep into my everyday life and be something that I can talk to people about. The thing that does bother me is that because I'm a girl, I'm not seen as being a true fan, which is something that happens a lot in the comics fandom (not necessarily online all the time, but it still does happen). I could sit and defend Superman until I'm blue in the face and I won't be taken seriously because I'm just some fangirl, and not a real fan, and I'm probably just doing this to impress the boys.

gif by pamivy

And not to get off topic, but that's another thing that pisses me off: what makes someone a 'real' fan. Y'know, the whole "you're not a real fan of ____ if you don't..." thing just pisses me the fuck off. One of my favourite bands is Everclear; a band that has never been to the UK, is unlikely to come here any time soon and the only place I can buy their music is on iTunes. Does the fact that I've never seen them live or physically own any of their albums not make me a real fan? Hell no. Here's what makes someone a real fan of something: they like that thing a lot. Being a real fan has nothing to with how much merchandise you have or how much trivia you can spout, because to the people involved in that thing you're a fan of, it doesn't matter. Fandom isn't a contest, it's a community.

Going back to the topic of being a fangirl, sometimes I think it's just a label to differentiate between how devoted people are to something. I mean, let's face it, we're all just nerds getting excited over something that we really like (even in sports, it's the same thing, just in the UK we use the word 'supporter'), so why should we laugh at or criticise certain people for getting more excited than others?

Sometimes there are parts of a fandom that I just don't want anything to do with because, to be completely honest, they embarrass me (I get embarrassed by a lot of people on Tumblr), but as a whole I'm not embarrassed to be a fangirl. In fact, it's a badge that I'll wear quite proudly. And if other people don't like that, then fuck them.

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