Have you ever been a fan?
Have you ever loved a show, movie or a book so much that you just couldn’t wait to find out what happens?
Okay, so why is the term “Fangirl” (or “Fanboy”, I don’t judge) such a derogatory term?
I am a fangirl. I say that proudly. There are TV shows, movies and books that I love with all my heart. There are characters and “ships” that take up my imagination, my tweets and my writing time. I will talk to my friends, coworkers and my family about it.
Is it an obsession? No. I have a life outside of fandom. A family and a full-time job.
On the other hand…
Are there people out there that take it too far? Absolutely.
I have seen some vile things from “fans” of shows. Death threats to actors and other viewers, racism and homophobia, sexism and harassment (Looking at you, some members of SoapTwitter). Some rabid fans even went so far as to send Robert Pattinson vials of their own blood (I mean.. you know he isn’t really a vampire, right?).
I have also seen wonderful things come from fans. I’ve seen millions of dollars go to charities donated solely by fans for their favorite actors and actresses. I have seen fans campaign to save actors who have been fired and actually succeed (Looking at you again, SoapTwitter).
I’ve seen shows saved by fan campaigns (Looking at you, Chuck and Timeless fans!).
Only a fandom could get a multi-million dollar chain like McDonald’s to release a special sauce. Szechuan sauce was released in 1998 for a limited time to celebrate the opening of Disney’s Mulan in theatres, but thanks to a throw-away joke in season three of Rick and Morty the chain re-released the sauce for one day only. Needless to say it sold out.
Can anyone really remember a fandom world before May 25, 1977? Star Wars is in the DNA of the whole damn world. Imagine a world without a walking carpet and a scoundrel. You don’t even have to watch the movies to know who those iconic characters are.
I have seen people form real and lasting friendships that transcend liking the same shows. I have gotten to know people who are simply amazing, people I speak with every day, video chat with at least once a week. I know their stories and their families. We talk about our real life struggles and our real life hopes. We are friends. I can say that without a shadow of a doubt.
I say all of this because somehow the term “fangirl” is still considered negative. So here is my question for those who like to make fun of hard working people who try to find a little enjoyment in fantasy: Why?
In the world of #MeToo we live in now, who didn’t need to see a bad-ass Wonder Woman on the big screen?
The world we live in is hard enough. Between the daily violence on our streets and the politics that govern our country, why are we not allowed to find an escape to enjoy? Why does it bother people so much that others find enjoyment in reading and writing fan fiction? Why does dressing up in cosplay cause others to lose their minds?
Why is it any of your business?
San Diego Comic Con is one of the biggest things in the world for television, movies and comics. In 2011, the estimated economic impact to that area was 180 million dollars.
Think about that before you start putting us down.
And just remember, whether you are seeing someone face to face or are behind a keyboard, kindness breeds kindness.