THOUGHTS ON CRAZY FANGIRLS AFTER VIDCON
Here at Vidcon—a convention for Internet people—I got to really know fangirls, the screaming, crazy ones that cry or faint when they meet that guy whose videos they watch and seem to worship them blindly. I watched some people get chased, some creators get mobbed into a corner, and I listened to the conversations after and before. 💁🏻🙇🏼👀:
- •It's not right to call what seems like an obsession "crazy" or "unhealthy."It's not crazy and they're not a generally crazy person for being a hardcore fangirl. They are people and they have a lot of passion and often times a story about why they support this person they do.
- •That's not to say there aren't "blind" follower fangirlsIn their eyes, the person that they are fangirling for can do no wrong, and they will follow anything they say or do (luckily within the YouTube community most creators are amazing, great people who would never manipulate the fans), and sometimes, they have no deeper meaning or appreciation for who they are following
- •But most fangirls are not just fangirls.Sure, maybe we've met people who are so totally obsessed with a celebrity and (especially in the social media world) it seems as though their lives revolves around them. It doesn't. People are much more complicated and you haven't seen them in every light.
- •Fangirling makes them happyScreaming girls/boys may annoy you. People who faint and cry may annoy you. You may think "they don't even really know this person!" And you're right. But high chances are they are really enjoying themselves and so let them have their fun. There's maybe chance they don't get to do this often and have a shitty life otherwise.
- •Having crazy fangirls can be dehumanizing to the creator, but also dehumanizing to the fangirl.There are youtubers who really don't like their fan base. They just simply can't handle it. There are some young (often attractive male) creators who seem to relish and take advantage of having screaming girls. Either way, the creator/celebrity stops seeing the fans as people also. They quit appreciating them and see them less as people.
- •The majority of fangirls don't mean any harmSome of the startling and intimately personal things they seem to know about the person they love can be creepy. But usually when something goes wrong, like someone getting mobbed or chased, it's the result of a groupthink and being surrounded by other fans and really excited.
- •Parents often fuel the dangerous fangirl behavior.By the simple act of spoiling their children. There is a difference between supporting their interests vs supporting over indulgent behavior because they want to see their child like them and not cry.
- •Over the top fangirling is not a mental illness.Don't assume the people who fangirl like crazy are using it to fill some void in their life or as a compartmentalization tool or some shit like that. Insane fangirling has existed for a long time—it is not a new thing.
- •On the same not, often the fangirl will look so much up to their "idol" to where they seem to worship them, and as I watch that happen, I see mom or dad in the background and I think "there's the person that you should idolize" (if anyone)I'm not a parent so I don't actually know how one would balance allowing them to have people they're fans of vs allowing them to be really obsessed with something vs allowing them to worship a human being they don't know, but it's something I thought about
- •Often the media and paparazzi fuel fangirl behaviorI don't feel like I need to explain this
- •They are passionate people and as they grow and maybe become less obsessed with that boy band/Tyler Oakley, they will be able to concentrate that energy on something really cool and possibly more constructive.Be patient. Sometimes the passion can be very misguided, like in the case of stalking, but remember this is rare and they can move on from this
- •Often the biggest flaw with crazy fangirls is a simple lack of self-awarenessThis is the biggest thing I learned. They don't consider the way they are dehumanizing the person they celebrate by acting like they have a legitimate crush on them or seeing no wrong in what they do. Sometimes when wrong is done, like a celebrity is rude when they meet them, they don't consider the pressure they're under but just get angry and abandon them.
- •Crazy fangirling is an example of the way men can be unfairly sexualized.This is the most dangerous thing about over the top fangirling. And yet people often don't acknowledge it. Sure, maybe there's a general idea of "yeah, that's kind of creepy" but it's not thought of as bad. Also, it seems like for men who are obsessed and fangirl over women celebrities, there are lines drawn of going too far. For young girls, it simply isn't there.
- •When will we say it's not okay to spend egregious amounts of time openly fantasizing about your life with that male celebrity?I don't know everything, but it doesn't feel right.
- •It's an odd dynamicAnd this whole list has been very odd and doesn't really define the line between what is acceptable fangirling and what is dangerous, but I'm not sure I even know how to.