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Why Are Women Criticized For Being “Fangirls”?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PSU chapter.

Something I will never understand about society is why, when women are fans of a singer or actor, they are ridiculed for it? The term “fangirl” has such a negative connotation and is, often times, used as an insult towards women.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a “fangirl” is “a girl or woman who is an extremely or overly enthusiastic fan of someone or something.” I find it strange how there is rarely any mention of a man being a “fanboy” when they can express the same amount of interest a woman has into something.

Men will support their favorite sports teams or player in this way, for example. You can find them walking down the sidewalk wearing their favorite player’s jersey and nobody bats an eye. On the other hand, when I think about wearing the merchandise of some of my favorite singers, I find myself becoming embarrassed over the fact that people may make fun of this support that I show for the artist.

I’m incredibly tired of the stigma surrounding women who are fans of a person, show or whatever the interest may be. At this point, it’s just shaming someone for being excited over something in their life.

In this TED Talk, Yve Blake explains the negativity surrounding fangirls to a tee.

Blake says, “Why is it that the image of young girls screaming their lungs out with excitement for a pop star is considered crazy, psycho, scary, a bit much? But the image of young boys screaming their lungs out for a footballer is perfectly normal? Boys crying at the footie,that’s the love of the game. Girls crying at a Justin Bieber concert? That’s pathetic.”

This double standard is what needs to be called to attention. People should be able to express their feelings towards the things they enjoy freely, without being spoken poorly of and downplaying their emotions.

I should be able to wear a hoodie correlating with one of my favorite singers. I should be able to say that Taylor Swift and Harry Styles are a couple of my favorites without having to brace for the impact of silence or pensive stares. I should be able to be a fangirl without experiencing the negative emotions surrounding the word.

I think that the term should be transformed into something more positive. To be a “fangirl” is not someone that is psychotically obsessed with a person, but a supporter of their craft and what they do for a living. It’s not something that should be seen as embarrassing or silly, especially when men do the same thing.

In the end, why not let people enjoy what they love and get excited for new songs or projects that the person is a part of? Everyone only lives once and life is too short to jeer at someone’s interests and tell them they’re being dramatic over something.

If you cry over an artist, let the tears flow. If you hear a song of your favorite artist in the grocery store, don’t conceal that excitement. Let fangirls be fangirls!

Shannon is a junior from East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in sports studies. She loves La La Land, rom-coms, and the music industry (Taylor Swift). Follow her on Twitter @shantanczos!