Saturday, March 24, 2012


Part of the reason for this prior feminist dance break (there's an idea for you; Feminism: The Musical (actually, hold that thought; that could be epically awesome)) is because stage three of fangirling is perhaps the most volatile and personal. It's also the one fangirls are judged for the most and will require absolute delicacy on my part to clearly, honestly describe both empathetically and critically. So without further ado I introduce…

3. obsession“i love him so much omg what you like him too no you can’t have him he’s mine no i must collect everything relevant to him i need it all he’s mine MINE”

Already, I feel myself internally cringing. I have been here, guys and gals, I have been at the point where every moment of every day, some part of my mind is thinking about how fantastic a certain character or celebrity is. As one who is naturally inclined to daydream, I find my thoughts specifically centered around one specific person. Someone whom I've never even met.

Being a fangirl is full of obvious contradictions, no more so than caring passionately about someone you've only seen on TV, in movies, singing on the radio, or exists only in the land of fiction. The sheer amount of time spent thinking about said character/celebrity instead of work, school, or people we actually know and care about could easily be used to make fangirls look absolutely despicable. However, that's a fault all their own.

Our culture is obsessed with love; it's true (think about the number of love songs on the radio, the number of movies/books/plays about romance). But love is not so easy to find. And when you're a young, intelligent (possibly seen as nerdy) girl who's not entirely comfortable (or satisfied) with the state of her body, finding love is even more difficult. But culture is focused on love, implying that one is not complete without it, that one must be in a relationship in order to be part of the norm. If one isn't, one feels left out, ostracized. If you've ever been single on Valentine's Day (I have, every year of my life, baby) then you'll know what I mean.
There is an enormous pressure to be in a relationship, especially for high school girls. I distinctly remember my friend Ashley complaining as we were walking down one of the back stairwells of my school during freshman year about how badly she wanted a boyfriend, how much she NEEDED one. She would continue to complain about this for the next three years until she got her first boyfriend. In the short time she has been single between break-ups, the complaints would emerge and Ashley would not be happy until she was in a relationship again. This perfectly capitulates what I feel is a common theme among young girls in America and one I continually feel the pressure of myself.

So what are us single girls to do? Love songs tell us we should be thinking of nothing but the one we love. And yet we have no one to be in love with. We can relish in our singleness (hard to do at times, admittedly). We can be miserable (lame and the easy way out). Or we can fall in love with someone who we'll never meet, who will always remain an untainted ideal in our head, who represents everything we're looking for and everything we want and who we can never really lose because we never had him to begin with.

And thus, the tragic-comedic fangirl is created. Not to say all fangirls are "in love" with celebrities/characters they like/admire/etc. Being a fangirl does not necessarily directly correlate with such strong passions. But it seems those who are the most vocal, those who are the most obsessed are in love with them.

When you're constantly thinking about someone you've never met and who you'll likely never met, it's easy to get a bit carried away. Since said person of your affection is not physically in your life, some compensation is necessary: striving to bring them up in conversation, subversively trying to get your friends to watch movies said celebrity has been in, thinking about them enough to the point where you're not just daydreaming about them during the day, but they're beginning to show up in your dreams at night.

Unfortunately for the fangirl, there seems to be this little trend:

And fangirls find themselves in a dreadful circle - the more you think/talk/dream about said person, the more you fall in love with them. The more you fall in love with them, the more impossible it seems. The more impossible it seems, the more miserable you feel. And in order to stop feeling miserable... well, you really want to watch that movie with your favorite actor because it makes you feel better. Or you want to talk to your best friend about just how attractive said celebrity is in said role. And you're back at square one.

Of course, one could argue, it would be all solved up if fangirls could get out of their daydreams and get into real relationships. So simple, you say. Not so, I reply. My views on the modern world of dating aside, there's an additional caveat for fangirls, represented by this:

"Real men will never measure up." This is how it is, ladies and gentlemen, for a certain kind of fangirl. There is always that perpetual comparison between the object of your desires and the reality around you. And from what I've seen on Tumblr, none of these girls have yet been able to equate the two.

Due to factors like this, the obsession stage can get really intense, I want to share this post from Tumblr with you but I feel bad linking to something the writer wrote to a specific audience after a very bad week. I don't want to judge her; I just want a clear example of what I'm talking about. I'd keep it anonymous if I could, but I'd like to link it back to the original (and it was published on the internet; we all know the wide-reaching powers it has):

Even after saying all of this, the writer still disparages herself and calls herself nuts. It seems there discomfort in writing it all down, but a surge of pleasure and finding happiness during a bad week in doing so.

I mention this post due partly to a comment I received on another post, about real person fanfiction. These seems to be exactly that; a daydream gone too far, written down as a proposal of the best day imaginable. Though I utterly understand the reasons for writing this post, the whole thing bothers me as far as respecting privacy of celebrities goes. But where do the lines between daydreaming and such fanfiction lie? How do we define boundaries like that with Tumblr and Facebook and Deviant Art dominating the social networking world?

I dinna ken. That's all I can say: I don't know.

And I also don't know how it is that someone thought to compare a cat sniffing a hedgehog to this clip from Sherlock. I'm almost impressed by the cleverness of it... almost... ;)


  1. Wow, I never really thought about this. I came across your blog while trying to understand the "Martin Freeman is a hedgehog" and "made of kittens" since I'm fairly new to the fandom (hence I don't have a Tumblr and am commenting via anon name). Your point is amazing. I will keep a new mindset intact, one to keep my appreciation for fiction/acting separate from my emotionally linked day-to-day life. Thank you! I will definitely frequent your blog and read posts, whether about Millenials, that I just read, or about fangirls. You're amazing.

    1. Thank you for reading; glad you enjoyed it! I should add that I wrote this post a while ago and after being in certain fandoms for prolonged periods of time, I still really struggle to keep the two separate. I know it's much easier said than done but I think it's important to be aware of how we think about these things on a fandom and a personal level. Thank you so much for your kind words and welcome to the fandom!