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Discussion: An Ode to Fangirls and Fandom Culture

I don’t think there was a defining moment for when I became a fangirl. Specifically someone who is a fangirl for books, movies, and TV shows.

It’s also difficult to surmise this because I sometimes mute or turn down the volume to this side of me in the real world. Part of the reason why is because it’s almost taboo to love something so wholeheartedly especially when it comes to anything fictional. But I’m really proud of the way fandoms have grown over the past years. I think it’s definitely more accepted now. I’m sure my fellow fangirls/boys (raise your hands in the air proudly) have joined an obsessive fandom at least once in their life. Whether it be One Direction, Justin Bieber. And I think nothing really compares to that sense of anticipation and suspense, that sense of bonding and community that only being part of a fandom can give you.

I like to attribute the start of my fangirling journey to when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out and I just had to go to Barnes and Nobles at midnight to get it. My parents thought I was craaaazy and they said let’s just come back tomorrow (ugh lol) so I came back right when Barnes and Nobles opened and proceeded to read the last book for the next 24 hours, no breaks. I think the first couple I ever really remember shipping was
at the start of my high school career, Chuck and Sarah from the show Chuck. Rewatching clips of them never gets old. And then of course, my fangirling moved on to The Hunger Games and then the movie. I remember getting so excited over the very first promotional stills from The Hunger Games and the 10 second teaser with Katniss running through the woods with fire in the background..

How can one picture make me so old but so nostalgic at the same time??

But this 10 second teaser was honestly the shit on Tumblr and the internet back when we first found out it was going to be a movie. But it was awesome because the fangirls/boys on Tumblr understood what it was like to feel excited over a simple teaser like this. What it feels like to have your one of your favorite books finally make it to the big screen. But we were not only united because of that, we were also united over our frustration with people calling Catching Fire, “The Hunger Games 2” or people who were more into the “Team Peeta” and “Team Gale” than the actual story. I bonded with people over press photos and press releases and actor interviews. There is nothing too small to bond over with fangirls. And then of course, it was a plethora of things, some of which include Sherlock, Merlin, City of Bones, Percy Jackson. It might sound crazy if you’re reading this as a nonfangirl/fanboy of fictional worlds. How can someone be so deeply involved and in love with fictional characters and a fictional world that actually do not exist? How can a TV show like Sherlock inspire countless variations of Johnlock fanfiction, photosets, gifs, memes, crossovers, cosplays, fanmeets and hours upon hours of posts analyzing a single look between John and Sherlock? I’m not as obsessed now with Sherlock now but when I was, the simple truth was that I loved these characters. Who wouldn’t want to solve mysteries with the enigmatic Sherlock played by Benedict Cumberbatch? Who wouldn’t want a partner-in-crime like John? And most of all, who, who, wouldn’t want a friendship like theirs? It’s a friendship that doesn’t really exist in real life but yet we, at least I loved it because the Sherlock with a heart of stone and sociopathic tendencies has a soft spot for John. Because the truth is sometimes we wish for the things that only fictional characters can give us. How could I not love the close bromance of Merlin and Arthur? How could I obsess over that underwater kiss between Percy and Annabeth? It’s kind of like your ideals are manifested into and shoved into a character. It’s a weird analogy but these characters are simultaneously your bffs, your lovers, and your precious children all in one..

Being a fangirl has not only let me become closer to many people in fandoms but it forced me to reevaluate the media I consume and really forced me to look at how women, LGBTQ+, and people of color are represented in books, movies, and TV. Because fangirls are never willing to settle for one narrative. Hint: Look at the fanfiction. And as devoted as fangirls are to these characters, they are always willing to look towards change and always willing to give a voice to the people who have not been represented in media. I remember when The Legend of Korra came out and people were shipping Korra and Asami left and right (I’m personally a Mako/Asami shipper shhhh)  but I really think it had a hand in something that happened at the end of the series finale..

What I also love about fandom is that it’s a world of possibility and creativity. That any story is possible. I remember looking at gifs of alternate wizarding schools and thinking to myself, wow that is really cool and it should be canon.

and I never knew there were so many ways and situations you could use this Ron Weasley gif

 

I mean I won’t be the first to tell you that fandoms can be toxic because they can be. But I’m here to celebrate fandom culture. And the best thing about fandom culture, hands down, is the way they understand me as a fangirl. They understand why you feel the urge to watch a kissing scene again 10,000 times a day or how exciting is to reblog pictures of episode promos, and the great excitement of going to conventions and cosplay events. Basically they know what it’s like to revel in something that you love and that to love something wholeheartedly is rarely a bad thing.

I’m sorry if this post was a tad overdramatic and rambly. I kinda made this post on a whim and I think I have a tendency to sensationalize. But let me know if you are a fangirl/boy, what you are currently obsessed with and your experiences with fandom!

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14 thoughts on “Discussion: An Ode to Fangirls and Fandom Culture

  1. Wow, the definition of me in one post. Although sometimes my obsessions don’t even last very long, this is literally me. I think the real fandom thing for me started when I started to binge watch Avatar the Last Airbender on Putlocker throughout summer or winterbreak or something.
    NOOO KORRASAMI. Don’t even remind me, it hurts as it is. SRSLY. why couldnt they just let all of the Krew enter through the damn portal at the same damn time, then my fangirl heart wouldn’t have been crushed as much. That also reminds me of that really instalove thing that blossomed between Dorothy Gale and Ruby in OUAT. Did you hear about that? ugh pls.
    I heard that there’s going to be an LGBT thing that might happen in Finding Dory and Frozen 2. I’m kind of interested in how they will show that?
    Anyways, being a part of a fandom is awesome shtuff. Nice post. It’s hella relatable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah most of the time my obsessions just go away..
      LOL what, dorothy and ruby?? That show has gone downhill..
      Really? I heard about that in Finding Dory..I’m interested in that.
      Thanks!!

      Like

  2. Being apart of any fandom is awesome. Sure it has its ups and downs, but at the end of the day finding someone who gets excited as you about your favorite book, musicians, TV shows, and movies is great. I’ll admit some of my fandoms for the most part have been phases like when I was super into “High School Musical” during my middle/high school years, but for the most part I’ve stuck with a lot of fandoms. My current fandoms are J-Pop/K-pop, Anime, Sherlock, Doctor Who, and Adventure Time just to name a few. I’m always finding new content through the internet to become a fan of. Thanks for writing this fantastic post Carolyn! You summed up the feelings of fangirl’s heart. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! It truly is!! LOL surprisingly I was never a part of that High School Musical fandom probably because I didn’t have cable :/
      And it’s great that you’re a part of those particular fandoms because those fandoms are so huge, you’ll never run out of content to look at which is the best. It’s the worst feeling to be in a fandom with only like one piece of artwork and like 5 other dedicated fans lol. And yeah, other fandom stuff makes me want to join it and watch it, it’s like a reversal lol

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “Being a fangirl has not only let me become closer to many people in fandoms but it forced me to reevaluate the media I consume and really forced me to look at how women, LGBTQ+, and people of color are represented in books, movies, and TV.” Yes, girl, yesss. I’ve gained much valuable knowledge and insight because of being such a fangirl.

    And, to be honest, my dad has always joked that my love for Jem and Yixing (the Exo member I adore) has kept me from boy trouble and relationships throughout all these years. So technically he’s indirectly told me that he’s proud of me being a fangirl. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh my, Carolyn dear. This post defines my whole life. And it’s true, fandoms are definitely more accepted now than before. People actually used to see fangirls and fanboys as irrational and immature, especially when it comes to books, book characters and tv shows! Celebrating being a fangirl with you! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m a fangirl too. It’s not a bad thing as long as you don’t become a stalker or anything. Right now I’m fixated on the Outlander series. I first heard about the series when it premiered on STARZ last year. Now I can’t put the books down.

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  6. Part of the difficulties of fandom cultures is that once their beloved fictional character (or actually actors by proxy) transition into other works, can they break out of that precedent of “Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson 4eva OTPPPP #1”? And oops, I totally meant Katniss and Peeta. (Or did I?) It’s almost like a one trick pony scenario for television and film media in particular (cartoons and anime etc. not so much because they’re static by design).

    Even now, for Me Before You, I’m excited to see/ship Daenerys Targaryen and Finnick Odair LOL. IT MAKES NO SENSE BUT IT’S LIKE HOW CAN I SEE THEM ANY OTHER WAY?!

    And jow come I was unaware of Asami and Korra ship/influence? I mean…I guess the ending makes sense to me over the progression of the story but it was kind of open-ended in that regard to also NOT be that outcome as well? I still don’t think Korra should have been with anyone from a relationship standpoint though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OMG that reminds me of when I watched Woman in Black and it was the first Daniel Radcliffe movie I watched since HP7 and I literally could not stop thinking of him as Harry Potter. I kept telling him to use spells on the creepy stuff in the house and I kept thinking hooded people were dementors LOL it’s so true, it’s hard to separate them from the movies I originally loved from them
      And I’m glad I don’t have that problem cause I’ve never watched Game of Thrones but I do keep thinking of Sam as Finnick and his horrible death…
      Ok, to be honest, it didn’t make sense to me, I just thought the Korra/Asami thing was so, so random, like they literally had few to no interaction throughout the last season and then this? But yeah, I would have been fine with her being in no relationship too.

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