The Shame in “Fangirling”: Let’s Learn to Celebrate Joy

Fangirls+smile+at+a+One+Direction+concert%2C+dressed+in+the+boybands+merchandise.+The+girls+excitedly+wave+at+the+camera+during+the+event.+Fangirls+receive+significant+criticism+and+are+often+degraded+for+their+likes.+Its+time+we+stop+associating+female+joy+with+shame%2C+and+learn+to+celebrate+excitement.

Photo courtesy of Eva Rinaldi

Fangirls smile at a One Direction concert, dressed in the boyband’s merchandise. The girls excitedly wave at the camera during the event. Fangirls receive significant criticism and are often degraded for their likes. It’s time we stop associating female joy with shame, and learn to celebrate excitement.

Nikki Iyer, Feature Editor

Crazy. Hysterical. Psychotic. 

In the entertainment industry, fangirls are constantly degraded for their choice of music.

I’m a fangirl, and in the past have felt as if the word needed a defense to it. Truth is, I am your stereotypical, die-hard fangirl, and this should not take away my dignity or intelligence. 

However, when a group of teenage girls come to appreciate a musician, both the musician and girls lose credibility. Why is it that teenage girls’ opinion on music is immediately dismissed?

Society seems to think a scream of excitement from a teenage girl is disgraceful. The sound is mortifying, and the girl behind the scream is thoughtless. Too often, female joy is met with shame.

It is completely acceptable for men to scream out their lungs at a football arena, or even through a silver screen. Their love for football does not take away their credibility, or diminish their intelligence. 

Why is it acceptable for men to scream at a sports game, but unacceptable for girls to scream in a concert stadium? Why is the idea of rationality based around what’s acceptable for men in society? 

Fangirls make the music industry go ‘round. They buy their favorite singer’s album, merchandise, attend their concerts, create fan art, so just as fangirls cannot exist without their idol, their idol cannot exist without their fans. They are the most cultivated fans. Undeniably, a few fangirls have crossed the line, but let’s not diminish the bigger picture, that fangirls deserve to be treated with respect.

Demonstrating joy should be celebrated, not degraded. By shaming girls on this, you tell them their likes, their dislikes, and their opinions are not important. Young girls are our present and our future, and their opinions should be valued as much as their male counterparts. 

Why is it acceptable for men to scream at a sports game, but unacceptable for girls to scream in a concert stadium? Why is the idea of rationality based around what’s acceptable for men in society? ”

In an interview with Rolling Stone, pop icon Harry Styles even commented on the matter to defend his fans. 

 “How can you say young girls don’t get it?” Styles said. “They’re our future. Our future doctors, lawyers, mothers, presidents, they kind of keep the world going.”

From 2010-2015, boy band One Direction dominated the pop music industry, and despite having the “cheesy cookie cutter” boy band reputation, they went on to win numerous awards, sell out stadiums, and gain the admiration of listeners all over the globe. Their fans, “Directioners” were frequently portrayed in a negative light. In 2013, there was major backlash over the documentary “Crazy about One Direction,” where fans were portrayed in an extremely negative light. Allegedly, 42 Directioners committed suicide following the release of this documentary. This isn’t a singular case. Over Twitter, Reddit, and Instagram fangirls are constantly disparaged. When you are constantly called crazy and psychotic, you start to believe it. 

The thing is, there is no true “it” factor that makes one genre of music better than the other. Music is subjective. For instance, Indie music is not better than pop, and pop is not better than indie music. Rock is not better than pop, and pop is not better than rock. Music is a personal preference, and there is no “best” genre. 

“Who’s to say that young girls who like pop music — short for popular, right? — have worse musical taste than a 30-year-old hipster guy. that’s not up to you to say. Music is something that’s always changing. There’s no goal posts. Young girls like the Beatles. You gonna tell me they’re not serious?” said Styles.

Fangirls deserve the same respect given to rock lovers and indie enthusiasts. Let’s stop degrading girls, and begin to uplift them. Let’s learn to celebrate joy, passion, and excitement.