“your average fangirl, despite the implication of the name, is a grown-up”
“I’m still fangirling over this casting”
A fangirl can be your typical teenager who buys teenybopper magazines for posters of BTS. A fangirl can be your college student who still loves that band that won her heart when she was a little girl. A fangirl can be an adult with a job and life who loves an artist, movie franchise, group, or sports star with all of her heart.
Kathleen Smith, who wrote “The Fangirl Life” said, “A fangirl is simply a lady fan.”
You can’t get much simpler than that.
Being a fangirl has come with a bad connotation over the years. For instance, that Urban Dictionary description above. Rabid breed. Obsessed. Grope. Tackle.
That’s not what a fangirl really is.
Being a fangirl to me, means to not only be able to vibe or enjoy the music your favorite artist releases, but to also feel connected to other fans through music and social media! I’ve been a fangirl for about 10 years, and I have been able to connect and meet with so many people! Being a fangirl is being supportive and helping others and lastly, it doesn’t mean who has the most money to go to all the shows it’s the ones that support the artists through streaming!
Alexis, 20, North Carolina, US
Hannah Ewens wrote in “Fangirls,” “They’re the ones at the helm of fan practices that the public have a vague awareness of: Tweeting their favorite artist incessantly, writing fan fiction, religiously updating devoted social media profiles, buying ‘meet-and-greet’ tickets and following the band around to various shows.”
That’s who fangirls are. And there should be no shame in being a fangirl.
Scouring the internet, the term fangirl could have came from two separate places.
Some believe the word “fan” comes from the word “fanatic,” which is derived from the Latin word fanaticus, meaning “insanely but divinely inspired. It pertained to a temple or special place, which, if you think of it, kind of makes sense. As a fan, our fandom is our special place.
It is also said that the word “fan” comes from the word “fancy.” For example, “Do you fancy that guy?” It means that you really like something and even dates back to 1545. Saying that “fan” came from “fancy” does sound a little less dramatic. They believe the modern term came around the 19th century according to EtymOnline.com.
“I fancy Nick Carter” back then would now be, “I am totally a Nick Carter fangirl.”
Being a fan girl means not just being an obvious fan of the boys and supporting their endeavors. To me it also means being part of a community of fans who support and encourage each other like family. I can’t think of being a fangirl and not think of experiences related to the boys that I have been able to share with dear friends! It makes being a fangirl that much more special.
Miranda, 43, Alabama, US
When it comes to boy bands, Backstreet Boys, New Kids on the Block, 98 Degrees, Boyz II Men, Take That, and every other boy band from the 90s and early 2000s fans are usually in their 20s or older. The vast majority are what one would call an adult fangirl, or professional fangirl. Even the Jonas Brothers fans are now adults who, for the most part, pay their own bills, or are in college.
Wherever you look, you will always see various types of fangirls. Some websites list them out, from calling one “The Banshee” to “The Crier.” I could possibly come up with my own list of different type of fangirls, but I won’t get into that right now. The girls over at Fangirls Night Out did a pretty good job, especially when it relates back to musicians.
You may find yourself relating to more than one type of fangirl and that’s okay. I’m several of them all put together in a crazy, spirally ribbon bow.
We will be discussing this all more in-depth during a future “class.”
Being a fangirl is an escape from reality and it is also being the truest version of myself all at the same time. It’s a feeling of weightlessness in a world determined to sink me. It’s dancing in confetti, staying up all night, traveling the world, smiling until my cheeks hurt and living without regret because I absolutely bought that concert ticket. Being a fangirl means making memories I’ll never forget with friends who have become my family.
Jenni, 39, North Carolina
The art of fangirling is quite simple – have fun. If you’re a fangirl and you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong. Something about your fangirling ways is not working because that’s what being a fangirl really is. It’s having fun, loving whatever it is that you’re a fangirl of. It’s about being with your fellow fangirl friends. It’s about
People won’t always take us seriously and that’s okay. They think all fangirls are 15-year-old girls, but that’s not how it is at all. Even Harry Styles thinks so.
Harry spoke to Rolling Stone in 2019 and gave his opinion on fangirls:
“They’re the most honest — especially if you’re talking about teenage girls, but older as well,” he said. “They have that bullshit detector. You want honest people as your audience. We’re so past that dumb outdated narrative of ‘Oh, these people are girls, so they don’t know what they’re talking about.’ They’re the ones who know what they’re talking about. They’re the people who listen obsessively. They fucking own this shit. They’re running it.”
That’s pretty much true. Look at people such as Yvette Nicole Brown. She is an actress, writer, comedian, and TV host, but she is also a major fangirl. If you’ve been a fan of “The Walking Dead,” you’ve probably seen her on the show that follows it that is called “The Talking Dead.” The girl keeps a notebook and takes notes while watching the show. Tell me that isn’t fangirl material.
Then you have fangirls like the girls at Fangirls Night Out. They are all involved in marketing and they have incorporated pop culture in their branding for personal endeavors and joint projects.
Many fangirls have begun their careers by writing fan fiction and have moved into normal fiction, even getting published and movies made from their books. (“After” was originally a Harry Styles fan fiction, and the “Fifty Shades of Grey” series was originally a “Twilight” fan fiction.) We will get more into fan fiction later in another class.
There are two books that I feel like all Fangirls should read. I like to refer to them as my “fangirl Bibles.” I will relate back to both books throughout this whole process.
It means everything. Backstreet Boys mean everything to me. I’ve been a fan since the start I suffer from depression and an anxiety disorder. Listening to them helps me get though.
Sofia, 35, UK
Other Fangirl Reads:
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