Fangirls: The Music Industry's Biggest Market

When people think of fangirls, they often visualize tear-streaked prepubescent girls screaming about the latest boy band. In actuality, the term "fangirls" just describes the passionate ladies behind an artist's inclining career. Fangirls, as the word describes it, are simply fans who happen to be young girls and women. Despite this casual definition, the term fangirl tends to carry a heavy connotation that implies "emotional" or "obsessive."

To the surprise of no one, the connotation comes from misogynist roots, as young girls are rarely taken seriously in the music scene. Their opinions in music are often seen as "juvenile," and when they express an interest in music that their male counterparts listen to, they're often told that they're "frauds" or "not real fans." It often demotivates young girls to share their interests when they know they’ll be wrongfully judged for whatever they say. However, while their opinions in music are often undervalued, they hold a heavy presence in the music industry's market. Moreover, marketing executives tend to brand their artists or bands to reach a younger female audience, knowing that it's where they'll receive the greatest exposure.

And it's not as if fangirls have appeared out of nowhere. Fangirls are what make the foundation of historically significant artists such as Elvis Presley, The Beatles, or even the infamous band that is currently reappearing in the charts, the Jonas Brothers. Credit should be given where credit is due: fangirls have an intense passion for their interests in music, and they are what make artists so successful today. Without the typical fangirl, who knows if The Beatles would have gotten the exposure they needed to become a worldwide household name? That being said, the perception of a fangirl simply being a crazed teen with no life is completely unfair. They’re only perceived this way because their infatuations tend to create a buzz and spark conversation.

Considering the connotations that the word fangirl is given, it's strange that NFL fans have the same intense passion towards their favorite teams, and yet they don't receive the same criticism of being "crazed" and "obsessive." In fact, there have been cases in sporting events where fans have led to violence or destruction over the successes and failures of their teams, but they still don’t receive the same ill-treatment as dedicated fangirls would.

It begs the question: Would judging crazed football fans for their passion make their teams seem less significant or less bearable to watch? Why do young women tend to be judged for showing a passion in their interests more than older men who watch football religiously? Why don't we critique men and their interests in the same way that we critique young women?

The answer is simple: underlying misogyny is what leads people to believe that because a band or artist has a huge following from young girls, it isn't "good" music. Instead, fangirls are seen as a heavy signal to the general population that a song or artist lacks quality or depth. So should we shame the interests of men in the same way we shame young women’s? Or should we unlearn the way women’s opinions are often invalidated or brushed off?

Young women should be allowed to be as dedicated and excited about their interests as everyone else, especially with music. Music is an interest that can be so personal, and tearing down young women for their tastes just creates a sense of anxiety and pressure. We should be encouraging young women to be proud of their interests and not be ashamed. So next time you’re feeling insecure about your music taste, put up that poster you’ve been hiding and turn up One Direction’s Made in the A.M. on blast because you’re a vital part to the entire music market.

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