Fangirl: To behave in an obsessive or overexcited way.
Guilty. As. Charged.
We think it’s safe to say that most of us here fangirl over the Backstreet Boys. Um, c’mon, you’re literally reading this on a Backstreet Boys fansite right now… 😉
But, as we talked about on our first episode of Fangirls’ Night Out, there are different types of fangirls. From the gossip queen (Britt!) to the diehard crier (Kelsey!) and a few dozen or so more that we identified, no matter where you fall in your fangirl identity, it’s easy to get sucked into the fandom in a way that just isn’t healthy.
The world we’re living in today is LOUD. It’s loud, it’s scary and it’s really, really hard to shut off — more so than usual. From social injustices, to an election year, and a worldwide pandemic that just doesn’t seem to have a light at the end of it yet, and we’re all climbing the walls (pun fully intended) to find our escape. But, where is it…?
Normally, our escape is this fandom. But, now? Everyone has an opinion. Everyone is “right”. Everyone is tired. Everyone is stressed.
And you’re fucking exhausted.
So, what happens if you’re feeling all the feels we’re talking about here?
Before you completely leave the fandom (which we’ve seen several tweets about this week that just makes our hearts so sad!), figure out where the BIG stressor is coming from. What has your anxiety through the roof specifically within the fandom?
Remind yourself that you have control over how you react, but unfortunately, you don’t have control over how others act or what they say. When you see behavior that is inexcusable (or downright fucking WEIRD), when you comment on it, that person will likely comment back. Will what you comment change their behavior? Maybe?! But, if you know that particular fan (or wife lol) will never, ever change their behavior, opinion, or level of ignorance, it might be best to just not continuously engage, in an effort to protect your own mental health.
That being said, for us, we will never, ever tolerate racist, homophobic or hateful speech or behavior. We’ll always comment when we see it. We’ll always say something, no matter the response from that person. It’s never, ever okay.
We also know that this has been a particular stressor for so many fans lately. We’ve seen many ignorant, unkind posts that can easily make being a fangirl not so fun, to say the least.
Our best advice (and even some things that have worked for us lately!):
- We (Britt and Kelsey) will never only associate ourselves with a particular “group” of fans or “take a side”. Instead, we try to use our personal experience with each fan individually, and how they treat us, versus hearsay. And, trust us, “hearsay” is much different than behavior we’ve seen with our own eyes online (bullying in public forums) that we choose to avoid. 😉
- Allow yourself a break to breathe and just catch up with life. Remember, you don’t have to be “on” all the time! Mute people that make you feel all the UGH feels, even if just for a few days.
- Leave toxic Facebook groups or other social media spots that trigger your anxiety.
- Set expectations and boundaries for your own mental health. Talk to people that make you feel good and choose people that you’ve spent time with that make you laugh or smile.
- Remember that NO FAN is best friends with any Backstreet Boy. And, being “friends” with a fan who claims to be friends with a Backstreet Boy will not get you any “closer” to them. Tough love, but it’s true.
- No Backstreet Boy is perfect. It’s pointless to “fight” or engage with any one who claims they can do no wrong or puts them on a pedestal of being holier than thou. (Although, we, personally, think Kevin is pretty damn close… #justsayin)
- Find new fangirl friends! It might sound a little scary to do, if you’ve been in the fandom for years, but branch out. We’d love to get to know you over at Fangirls’ Night Out!
No matter what works for you, just know that this weird world (again, pun fully intended) is far from normal. It’s bringing out the beautiful in some, and the really, really ugly in others. Mental health is something that is often ignored, so if you find yourself struggling, make sure to tap into some resources that will work for you.
Being a fangirl is serious business — but don’t let it get so serious that it takes away all the fun. We love you and we’d love for you to fangirl over with us at Fangirls’ Night Out! We may spill some tea every so often, but we promise, it’s a safe place to fangirl.
We’ll leave it to the croc for the ‘toxic’ performances…. deal? 😉
That’s where I disagree with Kathleen Smith, sometimes you need to cut off people not just because they think different but because they drive you crazy.