Urban dictionary defines fangirl thusly:
“A rabid breed of human female who is obsessed 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 obsessions.”
Which actually sums it up very well.
I’m always amused when people think of a fangirl as a modern idea. My Mum has an attic full of posters, magazines, badges and the like concerning a certain floppy haired dreamy eyed pop star, and when this certain young floppy haired dreamy eyed pop star posed for a racy picture, my Mum tells me the shop actually sold out of it, such as all the dribbling fans went to grab a hold of it. I had posters of Boyzone all over my room as a youngster, and then when I got older it was posters of Suede and The Smiths. Fangirling has always been around.
I am a fangirl. I say it with a hint of pride and a hint of shame. I suppose we all take our fandom to different levels. I prefer to keep mine on the quiet- I don’t tweet about it (too much) or run a forum or a Tumblr account; I am just a fan of certain people. I like to read about them and following a fangroup on Twitter can tell me when they’re going to be on television or supply screenshots or Youtube videos if you missed a television spot- I like this as its really helpful. Fangirls range from the politely sincerely admiring to the deeply obsessive.
It is funny how groups of fans will actually have fights amongst themselves. Let’s just say there’s an actor called Tom Smith. Tom Smith might have two fangroups- the Smithies and the Smittens. Now, the Smithies will be a certain type of fan group- politely, sincerely admiring. Most groups of this ilk have a disclaimer saying that they do not wish to discuss the actors personal life, will not post any pictures of them out with their families and will not tolerate any form of abusive messages against new girlfriends etc. The Smittens are the other type of fangroup- they’ll have picture galleries dedicated to the actor’s neck or hands, will freely discuss what they’d do the actor if they ever got him alone, and will freely say “Why is he dating her, she’s hideous!”
Believe it or not, this will cause tension between the two groups- because both groups think they’re doing it right. To be honest- only one person can tell you if it’s right or not, and that’s Tom Smith. I have seen arguments between fangroups before when people say “If he ever read that I’m sure he’d be appalled!” Oh, and you know that do you? You’re a close personal friend? No. So shut up.
Obviously, the cause of your devotion deserves respect. I personally don’t post things that I feel are inappropriate- I wouldn’t remark on a new girlfriend or post a picture of them doing something personal. But if you want to do that, I have absolutely no right to stop you. Some people would say you were being disrespectful, but I think that we all show our fandom in different ways.
Listening to a comedy show recently, I heard the line “Well done. Usually when faced with a fan, most people would smile politely and say thank you. But you let the b*stard have it with both barrels!” Which I feel really sums up this situation very well. Yes, it must be very weird if you’re ever perusing through Tumblr to find screenshots of just your hands or something like that- but if people admire you, they admire you. If people think you’re beautiful, then they do. Who could ever object to that? Having a fan, in any sense, is a marvellous thing. It means you’re doing what you do extremely well, and people want to praise you for it. Yes okay, fan fiction and the like is sometimes a little weird- but people only do it because they like you, and they think you’re wonderful. It must be flattering, even if you do find it slightly odd. To be honest, what kind of successful actor or pop star or whatever has time to sit around all day Googling themselves and reading the results? I doubt they ever do.
Fans do what they do because they sincerely admire the person they’re dedicated too. I’ve met some really lovely people through the medium of fandom, including a trip toLondonwhere we all stood around and giggled and got books signed by our cause of devotion. He was lovely, in case you’re wondering. Fan fiction, drawings, fan mail, Tumblr accounts and all things like that- its just peoples way of showing they really like you. That can only be a good thing.
It must be so hard to remain polite and friendly all day. When I met all of Duran Duran and Mark Ronson (oh yeah, I’ve done that, no big deal) they were all lovely, lovely, lovely. So charming, so polite, and Mark Ronson is extremely good looking in person. Is it warm in here? Anyway, I have nothing but respect for those who are kind, generous and thoughtful of their fans. It’s the mark of a true professional, I think.
Having said all of that, fangirls can be dangerous territory. Please do not think I am saying to tar them all with the same brush because that is not fair. When I was a lot younger, I was browsing through the internet looking for a picture of my favourite actor (he was mostly in theWest Endin musicals) and I came across a forum that had a big note explaining why it had been closed down. The fans of this actor had sadly got a hold of his parents telephone number and had been ringing at all times of the day and night trying to speak to the actor, leaving bundles of cards, flowers and presents outside their house and generally disrupting their lives. The actor had actually given his permission for this forum to be run regarding him and then had asked them to please shut it down as it was causing too many problems. This is a very sad tale. Obviously, this strongly overstepped the mark of polite fan to obsessive stalker. I personally wouldn’t ever do this.
We all have the right to be a fan of whoever we like and we all have the right to express it however we see fit. It may come across as odd to others, but I think you should carry on at will. There are some screenshots on Tumblr I definitely don’t object to. Wow.