So…I kind of think I’m a fan girl.
Scratch that. I’m pretty much a fan girl I just didn’t realize it till my most recent fan girl obsession (more on that later). Strange thing is I’m coming to realize I’ve always been one. I’m actually the type.
Before starting this post i did a shallow browse to see what internet oracles Google, Wiki and Urban Dictionary said about fan girls and fan girlism. I wanted to have an idea of just what I was confessing too. I must say, it wasn’t pretty at all.
The term fangirl is mostly used in a derogatory manner and fan girl culture is largely derided. For some reason, maybe because of where i was looking, a lot of people seem to find the term inseperable from Twilight Culture and the teens that ascribe to it.
I don’t want to defend fangirlism. I just want to say why I am coming to terms with the fan girl in me.
I first started showing traits in my tweens which I suppose must be typical. What is interesting is I remember even before I fixated on my first boy group how much I wanted someone or something to love in that passionate yet giggly way. I wanted to be able fantasize with my girlfriends at sleepovers. I wanted to hunt down pictures and paste them up declaring my absolute allegiance to the world even before I found anything to obsess about. I wasn’t all that into real boys and I’m pretty sure I was already reading too many romance books.
Then I discovered the group ‘Take That’ (Mark Owen in particular) and my fan girl history began. My obsession with them was not entirely satisfying because, Nigeria doesn’t really foster fan or hobbyist communities and this was before internet so there was no one to love them with and maybe that’s why that first love faded (though there is still a lingering warmth for them. So happy they released an album again:))
Since then, over the years, I have nursed devotions to various personalities or groups including: The Beatles (very delayed beatlemania, lol!) Robert De Niro AND Al Pacino, Michael J Fox, Sharuk Khan, Dave Matthews Band, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Ikuta Toma and most recently Jang Geun Suk.
Yes. Most recently. All these years down the line. I’ve been working for years now and I’m still reading “comics,” watching “cartoons” and fangirling. There’s a word for people like me in Nigeria. It’s “Agbaya” and to sum it up I would say it’s what you call someone that is – er – maturity challenged?
I don’t know what makes me fan girl. I just know that sometimes I admire something or someone so much that it gives me the uber happies which leads to portrayal of fan girl traits: taking in all their work repeatedly, hording images and information, refusing to obey the laws of grammer or even express intelligibly, being totally shocked when anyone doesn’t like them and looking for other people doing the exact same thing so we can do it together.
Sick and sad? I don’t know. To be honest, I believe it can be. There is a thin, almost invisible line between fanning and stalking and there’s a dark place where reality can blur with fantasy and one constantly hears of fangirls who wander into this limbo never to return again. This is where non-fan-people believe we already dwell. That’s why they look at us with that particular *look* when they stumble unto our image collection/fan fiction bank/shrine (I kid, I kid! U should have seen tour face when u read shrine).
The thing is, I also think there are positive aspects to fan girling. It’s true we speak a strange language and use way too many emoticons and punctuations in general. But my experience as a fan girl makes me wonder does it matter how we communicate if we are communicating? Isn’t it great to be able to get on like a house on fire with someone from the other side of the world because of a shared passion? And isn’t it wonderful to be able to let yourself be passionate and not be ashamed to be so?
I think it’s great to be able to crush like the teen girl I still am inside (I really am an agbaya!) and to have friends who help me laugh at myself because they do the same thing. I think sometimes our devotion is important to the industries they tend to rise around. Our support can sometimes push our stars to new heights which makes us even happier. Also sometimes our admiration influences us positively to do greater things with our lives like learn languages, write or just try harder in life. There’s so much more I want to say about positive aspects of fan girl culture but this post has gone beyond epic. Gotta round up!
I do wish all fan girls could be the healthy type that respect as well as love their idols and keep fantasy and reality in their respective compartments. I wish they could be like the fan girls I have met so far who prioritize mutual respect and organisation above all in creating the communities through which we relate. Fan girling to me is supposed to be about pure, girl-centric fun. But I don’t run the world. I’m just a fan girl who deliberately chats with typos and shamelessly uses terrible japanenglish/Hangulenglish with her OL friends.
I should know better. Actually, I do, I just happily ignore it.