The Empowerment of Fangirls

This is a great blog about the power of fandom, and that as usual the role of women in fandoms is always downplayed. And let’s be real, the fangirl label is a double-edge sword. I will admit I have thrown it out there as a derogatory comment, but I have learned that is not fair. Because I am too am a fangirl. There is the stereotype of the half illiterate, quite uninformed, im speak, squeeing teen girl that has her attention deficit lens turned to sharp focus on a fandom or celeb, and two weeks later is squeeing in delight over something else, but if you cross her bias of the moment, beware! There are the Korean sasaeng fans and netizens that pretty much make everyone shake their heads. We witness the influence, and as some people feel, intimidation factor, of the Cassiopeia Fan Club. I participate and read various commentary on blogs and pages of fandoms I enjoy, and it always bothers me when some young and clueless type of the fan girl squees a little too loudly and gets jumped by other older, smarter, more educated commenters, who often like to throw out that derogatory, “stop being such a biased fangirl” comment. There are some such commenters on some boards that I feel intentionally lay in wait, waiting for someone to make a certain kind of comment or hit on one of their pet peeves, so they can “school” the unknowing fangirl on why their bias sucks or why they are blinded by their fandom. These ambushes seriously annoy me, because these people seem to forget that THEY too are fangirls, or they would not be there to start with! Wow, that turned into a bit of a rant. My point being, we all have our opinions and fandoms, and fangirls are a big friggin deal, and as this blog by The Collective points out, why are we not using that power to make changes in how women are portrayed in our fandoms? Maya Angelou said, “I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels.” For example, why are we Korean Drama fans not demanding smart, capable, female lead characters that own their sexuality and their lives? Let us get out there and write the kind of female characters we want to see in our fandoms.

The Collective

There are some things that women just have to learn to accept.

The first (and perhaps the most difficult) is that we are women. The second is that we have been taught since childhood that only men have the power to define what a woman can or cannot be.  Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, and I’m not writing of a particular person or populace, but of Western society as a whole. And, as a whole, we’ve done a good job of recognising that women are capable and should have rights…and we stopped there. Yes, we’ve come a long way since the Dark Ages, but there is still one thing we aren’t.

We are not seen. We are not heard. In a world that feeds on the entertainment industry and social media, we are the consumed and not the consumers. Hollyweird has turned us into a formula: long…

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Caitlyn
    Sep 02, 2013 @ 06:26:46

    Yeah, I call myself a fangirl because that’s what I am, but I always feel like I should say “but not one of the crazy ones” after it, lol. I feel sorry for the fans of any SM group, because they get the worst label. It’s a generalisation, but SM groups really do get the worst of the worst fans.

    Reply

    • randomsoju
      Sep 02, 2013 @ 15:33:02

      Yes, I almost requires a disclaimer sometimes, I agree! One of my favorite things about Josh Whedon is his whimsy-
      Interview:
      (Fred Topel: What should fans do now that they’ll have an extra hour free in their schedule?
      Joss Whedon: What should they do with that hour? Write fan fic)
      And I love the people that make Supernatural, they were totally smart and made the fandom part of the plot, So funny.

      Reply

      • Caitlyn
        Sep 03, 2013 @ 07:04:14

        Sometimes I think Supernatural went overboard with the fandom bits, but I loved it at first. They actually mentioned Wincest! That made me laugh. My mum, who didn’t understand what that was at all, didn’t find it nearly as funny. But as someone who understands that kind of fandom, I really appreciated it. I’m always amazed at the amount of fanfics around. I don’t read them for the most part, but there are a few authors that I follow that are so talented, I don’t know why they’re not writing published novels!

        Reply

        • randomsoju
          Sep 03, 2013 @ 15:11:10

          I thought it was all hysterical, and I love that it still continues through the reoccurring character of Charlie played by fan cult favorite Felicia Day. Well I can imagine that your Mom didn’t find it funny-if you don’t get the reference, stuff isn’t funny! I used to read fan fic years ago, and wrote a bit. Then I realized, all my stuff was not ff, not following canon, it really just original work with visual inspiration from actors. So I rewrote my favorite works to remove any links to the fandom. Which was so easy it was scary. There are many talented writers in ff land. it is very difficult to get published. The best I can figure, you have to have the money to promote yourself and go to conferences and stuff for your genre. I did a stint of submitting to lit agents and publishers,, and some very prominent lit agents gave me good feedback and constructive crit, but never loved my work. And yet I can pick up a book at Barnes and Noble and think how did this vile drivel get published? I was writing vampire stuff well before it became the it thing. i have a friend that wrote screenplays and even worked for the BBC in production. She was told by multiple movie people that her work was way too dark. And yet you see the crazy stuff that gets produced.

  2. Caitlyn
    Sep 16, 2013 @ 08:21:35

    I have read several novels and wondered a.) how did it get published and b.) how did it spawn sequels! lol. Sometimes I’ll read a book and seriously think it was written by a 14 year old. And hey, there are a probably a lot of talented 14 year old writers, but I shouldn’t be thinking that when I’m reading it.

    Reply

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