The Significance of Understanding Adolescent Fangirls
|Source: by Syd112012 at DeviantArt|
Week two of April's A to Z Blogging Challenge has begun! And as the letter "F" comes upon us, I have decided to dedicate this blog post to fangirls (being one myself, it seemed the right thing to do). But not just any fangirls, because as you know there are a myriad of fangirl types depending on age and their fandom of choice.
Today I will be talking about the most looked down upon and criticized of fangirls: the adolescent, teen and pre-tween fangirls. The beliebers, the one-directioners, the twihards, the scary young hordes that are not below tearing anyone apart (usually virtually) who dares speak ill of their idol of choice. In short, the most misunderstood fangirls in existence, because truth be told, no one really wants to try to understand them at all.
I mentioned last week, all the way back at the letter C, that Carlos Monsiváis had written an article that had resonated with me. It was about the female youth in Mexican society back in the eighties, and really not much has changed since then.
Nowadays, in any society, in any country, which are the most insecure, body conscious group of people in existence? Who are most worried about what their peers think of them? Teenagers. That's the age when they are discovering their sexuality and who they are or who they want to be and above all, who they are told they can't be. They are moody, stubborn and confused. And it's teenage girls especially that get the short end of the stick.
|Source: wakawakawak11 at DeviantArt|
This is the time when they become uber-sexualized by society and popular culture, and not knowing any better, many try to live up to those expectations. Not much else is really expected of them yet the media recognizes them as a primary consumer. Books, movies, television, fashion magazines, they all work to hook them as an audience but rarely if ever take them seriously enough as a theme in and of themselves, to really explore (Monsiváis p.76 Misógino Feminista).
And this is where becoming a fangirl comes in to play. Why are we fans of worlds and people that are not really real (even with actors, we idealize them and take away from who they really are)? It's escapism. Escaping to a world they can understand better and accept with more ease, than the one they are currently living in. It is more exciting, more inviting and more welcoming. They are told they are loved and that they are beautiful by good looking boys and men and unlike the real men and women in their lives, they believe them.
We ridicule and shame fangirls for crying, clawing and down right stalking the objects of their affection, but we never really ask why they do it. Isn't it obvious? It's because those objects of affection, give them, in their minds, the verification they need that they are worth something more than simply being something between a little girl and a woman. Hell, we fangirls even find animated characters attractive and worth fawning over.
When it comes down to it, not all fans are created equal. It's okay to be a super sports fan and be doused in body paint to support the home team. Yet, it's pathetic to show the same enthusiasm towards a boy band. We dismiss the antics of the young fangirl as a silly phase they should get over. But why don't we try to understand why they need that phase, because ultimately, many do.
Now I know that being a teenage boy isn't a walk in the park and certain fanboys have problems of their own but I decided to write this post for the fangirls, and let's face it, many teenage boys and fanboys are not above sexualizing teenage girls themselves and looking down on them with skepticism when they try to enter their world.
What are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree? What was being a teenager like for you?
Disclaimer: I want to make clear that I am in no way shape or form a man hater, boy hater or fanboy hater. I've just decided to focus on the girls because I think they deserve their side understood as well.