Don’t get it twisted, respect that: In defense of fangirls


When people ask me about my life plans or career goals, I have one answer: I’m going to fangirl professionally.

As a potentially aspiring entertainment journalist (was that vague enough?), my dream job is to write about all the things I’m overly obsessed with every day. It’s a fairly extensive list, and anyone who has ever had a conversation with me knows how dangerous it is to mention anything or anyone on it—not because I’m defensive but because once I start, I never stop.

Merriam-Webster defines a fangirl as “a girl or woman who is an extremely or overly enthusiastic fan of someone or something.”

In a similar but maybe more telling interpretation, Urban Dictionary defines a fangirl as “a rabid breed of human female who is obsessed with either a fictional character or an actor.”

I won’t go into the disgusting gender bias in both of these definitions due to lack of space.

But the negativity surrounding the term has given the fangirl a stereotypical disposition of being constantly hysterical and nearly psychotic without the ability to control her emotions.

When Zayn Malik announced his departure from One Direction, hundreds of the boyband’s super fans expressed their devastation all over the Internet. Videos of young fans crying and photos of memorials flooded social media as fangirls mourned the loss.

And they were justified in doing so. Yeah, their reactions were a little dramatic, but the average One Direction fan is 13-14 years old. They have found something to love, just like we all did at that age and at this one, and expressed their sadness.

Their love for the group and its members is no less valid than whatever adult fans decide to love. And there is no shame in finding such enjoyment in an artist or actor or sports team because that is the point of entertainment. We are supposed to be obsessed with these things.

Of course there are the extremes. Worldwide Twitter trends of #cut4zayn or #skinfor1D made headlines as the most radical One Direction fans used self harm as a way to express feelings of loss or disappointment with the group. I am by no means condoning such behavior.

But there is something that can be said for the guts it takes to lose all inhibition and allow oneself to give in to his or her inner (or outer) fangirl, whatever form that may take.

Personally I tend to tweet, like a lot.

But the moral of the story is to learn to embrace the feeling of almost painful excitement as a beloved artist, actor, chef or football player releases new content, gives an interview or poses for a photo. And don’t judge the hysterics of another person as he or she unleashes his or her inner fangirl.

What makes the editors fangirl?

Codi: Pentatonix

Megan: Circa Survive

Jessi: Hillary Clinton

Jocelyn: books

Krista: Big Sean

Shannon: John Mayer

Andrea: Wizard of Oz

Codi Mohr can be contacted at [email protected].