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

Looking at the interaction between Swifties and fans of American football as a result of the whirlwind romance between Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce has inspired me to think about how these two fandoms are perceived differently. It’s normal for a man to sit around the TV with beer and his boys every Sunday night and to take his fantasy league insanely seriously. I personally see no problem with this – everyone has forms of entertainment they enjoy and can use to either unwind or get excited. Where I take issue is the juxtaposition of these sports-enjoyers with young women who are passionate about anything from musicians to movie stars. The language surrounding female fans versus male fans is jarring. A “fangirl” is hysterical, obsessed, and wastes her time and money on people who “have no idea who she is.” The amount of times I’ve heard that phrase is obscene. I know that Harry Styles doesn’t know who I am, but he makes me happy. Why should I be ashamed for enjoying someone’s art? I think it’s also important to note that even if a girl is a big sports fan, she may be looked down on as a “pick-me” or not respected as a real fan by men in her circle. 

I think it’s time we have a conversation about how society looks down on young girls for what they enjoy. There’s an image of the “fangirl” that pops into all of our heads– screaming, crying, and being generally ridiculously enthralled with one person or group of people. But why? Why can’t we simply be girls who also happen to be fans and supporters? Why ridicule people for what they love? 

Part of this stems from the idea that women are overly emotional, and men are not. The patriarchy will do anything to uphold this idea, including pushing images and discussions in the media about women going crazy over celebrities while avoiding mention of men losing their minds over sports games or other interests. 

The Swift-Kelce discourse has also made me think about how a lot of musicians whose primary audience is young women, intentionally or otherwise, struggle to be taken seriously in the music industry. Think about the phenomenon of One Direction – millions of girls worldwide loved (and still love) the band and stream their music religiously, but music critics didn’t think highly of 1D because it was a band that made music that resonated mainly with young girls. The rest of society didn’t get the “hype” and therefore looked down on both the band and the fans. To people outside the One Direction fandom, boy bands couldn’t possibly make actually good music. It was just silly songs to appease girls who crushed over the band members. 

Harry Styles said during an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, “How can you say young girls don’t get it? They’re our future. Our future doctors, lawyers, mothers, presidents, they kind of keep the world going.” So ladies, whether you’re a Swiftie, a Directioner, or anything in between, don’t let other people’s opinions stop you from having fun and enjoying music, art, and looking up to positive role models.

Maddy Kern

West Chester '27

Hi! I'm Maddy and I'm an English major at West Chester University. I'm interested in lifestyle and wellness as well as pop culture. I love writing, animals (my favorite is a sloth), and going to the beach. My favorite thing to do is snuggle up with a cup of coffee and a good book!