[Photo: source Frazer Harrison / Coachella]
It’s 2016, and we’re all social media crazy. We all want to know who Taylor Swift’s latest boyfriend is, we all spend hours flicking through Kylie Jenner’s Snapchat, and we all want to know what matching outfit Rihanna and Drake are wearing next, but somehow, there is still a stigma around being a “fangirl”.
Urban Dictionary defines Fangirl as the following:
“A rabid breed of human female who is obsessed.”
“A female who has overstepped the line between healthy fandom and indecent obsession.”
“A female fan, obsessed with something (or someone) to a frightening or sickening degree. Often considered ditzy, annoying and shallow.”
So, when did the word ‘fan’ translate to all these derogatory terms, and most importantly, why?
I’m a self-certified Fangirl. Ever since my first concert at the age of 7 (which was the late, great Michael Jackson, may I add), I have been obsessed with music. I fell in love with live shows, albums, music videos, everything. As I got older and my mother wasn’t taking me to see Steps anymore, I was off on my own with black eyeliner wrapped around my eyes wishing Avril Lavigne would wave in my direction. A year - or even month - hasn’t passed where I haven’t been to a gig, and I am proud of my dedication and love to music. However, if your dedication and love is voiced to a certain extent, it is somewhat frowned upon?
[Photo: source Brilliant Social Media]
Lets take One Direction for example. Their fans were literally described as a “breed”. A couple of documentaries appeared on television about extreme fans, and suddenly every single 1D fan is branded a “stalker”, “weirdo”, and writing the next Larry fan-fiction. Whilst i’m not a reader of fan-fiction myself, who is it really hurting, lets be honest?
If these teens have found a passion for something, let them explore it. Music is great, writing is great. These girls could grow up to be incredibly talented novelists. Who are we to judge them so negatively? Yeah, okay, maybe it is a little strange that 14 year old Sarah from Liverpool wants Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson to be in a relationship, but let the girl live. She’s writing fiction, she’s being creative. She’s loving something.
The thing is, this craze is no different to Beatles Mania, the only difference is we have this little thing called the Internet for the whole world to see it.
[Photo: source Meg Meyer]
I love The 1975 and that’s no secret. Although I don’t write about Matty Healy seductively glaring at me from across the room, I do run a 50k followers strong fan-blog for the band on Tumblr. I’ll reblog photos, share music videos, link to interviews, answer questions, and generally just be part of a community who all share the same love. I have gone to live shows and met followers of my blog, and more so i’ve met some of my best friends because of our love for this band. We have all found music we are passionate about, and we are invested in this band in various different ways.
For me, it’s all about the experiences. I have travelled around the UK to various cities to see the 4-piece perform, meaning i’ve seen parts of the country I maybe wouldn’t have seen if I hadn’t gone to these shows. I even had the opportunity to interview The 1975′s honorary fifth member of the band John Waugh, combining my passion for the band and my love for music journalism. I’m doing something I love. So, why is it such a bad thing to be a Fangirl?
I’m twenty-six years old. I’m an adult, I have bills to pay, I have responsibilities. But I also have this love for a particular band. The same way you love football, makeup, art, movies, gardening, Star Wars, baking or Disney - I love this band, and that’s okay. It doesn’t make me any less intelligent, or any less of a person.
I guess what i’m saying is, if you want to scream at the top of your lungs at a Justin Bieber concert, you scream louder than no Belieber has ever screamed. If you want to cry when Ed Sheeran replies to your tweet, you cry like you’ve never cried before. It is completely within your right as a fan to do so.
We don’t know what got that individual to where they are today, and we don’t know how that artist helped that individuals existence. When you really look at it, fandom’s are really beautiful thing, it gives that person a sense of acceptance and belonging. Passion is not ugly - but disrespecting someone for their passion is.