Saturday, February 18, 2012

Fanboys

For one brief moment, I'd like to consider fanboys, a sort of parallel to fangirls. Here's how Urban Dictionary defines them:
A passionate fan of various elements of geek culture (e.g. sci-fi, comics, Star Wars, video games, anime, hobbits, Magic: the Gathering, etc.), but who lets his passion override social graces.
In contrast, here's how they define fangirls (or, at least in one of the hundred - and less offensive - ways):
A rabid breed of human female who is obsessed with either a fictional character or an actor. Similar to the breed of fanboy. Fangirls congregate at anime conventions and livejournal. Have been known to glomp, grope, and tackle when encountering said obsessions.
Okay, honestly, I don't know what livejournal is; either this post is outdated or I'm not as internet savvy as I'd like to think (honestly, probably the latter). But regardless, you get the point - they're pretty similar. So why am I focusing just on fangirls and not fanboys?

1) I happen to be a fangirl, so a more personal angle doesn't hurt.
2) There's more overlap between fangirls and fanboys than these pretty little definitions give way to. Many fangirls are both obsessed with video games and sci-fi as well as obsessed with a fictional character. Like me. Some fanboys are probably obsessed with fictional characters too. However, I don't see a lot of fanboys on Tumblr talking about how awful their lives are like fangirls do. So, while they might have a lot in common, I don't think fanboys show their problems he same way fangirls do. Or at least, if they do, it's to a lesser extent than fangirls.
3) Plenty of people have talked about geek/nerd/fandom culture referring to men. Like in American Nerd. And countless other places. But have there been too many reflections on girl fandom culture? Not that I know of. And while I am focusing in on a really specific instance of fangirls - girls obsession with actors, okay, with British actors - I feel like much of what I'm considering could be applied to other facets of fangirling. And even for fanboys. And while I'd really like to talk about fanboys more (as I feel like they get a lot of stereotypical portrayals of their sort), I've got to place limits or I'll be talking about everything and anything and this will be messier than it already is.
4) Gender roles are a big part of culture. I'm a CSCL student - we talk about this a lot. And while we'd all like to act like sexism is a thing of the past, it's not so much. I am a feminist (which is not a bad or crazy thing, by the way) and I'd like to take a look at how issues regarding sexuality, gender norms, and beauty ideals. Among other things.

So I'm sure I'll mention fanboys at some point again. I feel I kind of have to. But for the purpose of this cultural "meme" of a sort, I'll be focusing on heterosexual girls. Not because other fangirls/guys aren't important but because I need somewhere to start- and that's where it starts. With heterosexual girls. So let's get down to business.

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