On the deeper? side of fangirls


   I don't know about you, but I've never really liked the term fangirl. And in this post, I'm going to tell you why.

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  I suppose that the reason I don't like the word 'fangirl' is because the stereotype that comes along with it. The official definition for fangirl is:

fan·girl
[ˈfanɡərl]

NOUN


  1. a female fan, especially one who is obsessive about comics, movies, music, or science fiction.

VERB


  1. (of a female fan) behave in an obsessive or overexcited way:
    "I'm still fangirling over this casting"

RELATED FORMS


fangirl(noun)
fangirls(plural noun)
fan-girl(noun)
fan-girls(plural noun)
fangirl(verb)
fangirled(past tense)
fangirling(present participle)
fangirled(past participle)
fangirls(third person present)
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Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying I don't like fangirls, because then I would be the most two faced liar ever. I am a fangirl, but I guess my point is I'm also sooo much more!!
 
Drinking tea from pretty tea cups brings out my lighter side!:
 
   I feel like when people hear someone talking about fangirling, their first response is a negative one... I feel like the general idea of fangirls is that we are just crazy, teenage girls, who are obsessed with Tv shows, comics, movies, books what ever, because we have no other interests, or because of that one 'really hot guy' or some other vain silly reason. I know I've gotten that a lot.
 
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And you know what? Maybe for some girls, that's true. That is why they are a 'fangirl' and that's okay, but I feel like there is so much more to those girls people call fangirls.
 
  Of course, we all have crazy silly moments that are purely ridiculous. Moments where we just let ourselves be crazy and excited and emotional because we just love those stories, those characters, those ships soooo darn much. Those moments are fun. Those moments are good. Those moments are us. Those moments are me, and I can't try not to have them. (because when I do try to hold it in, I end up sounding like a dying seal, or a suffocating dragon with asthma.)
 
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  But I think the real reason we love those movies, or shows, or books so much is not because we don't have a life, or have nothing better to do with our time then become obsessed, but because we really, truly, and deeply have connected to those stories, and stories in general. We understand, and know the value of stories, and their real and wonderful power to impact people.
 
Always have time for books:
 
   Because stories are so powerful! Whether it be through written works, or film, or drama, they impact us, even if we don't realise it. Because when we watch a wonderful movie, or read a wonderful book, we learn things. Maybe we remember a quote, and it ends up inspiring us later on. Maybe we meet a character who we can relate to. Maybe we feel inspired when we see acts of valor or bravery or honor. Maybe we are allowed an escape from this heavy and sad reality. Maybe our standards for our friends and the people around us are lifted, for the better.
 
 :
 
  So in those moments when we are curled up on our beds, clutching a book to our chest and crying because a character died, or sitting on our couch screeching like a demented raven because our OTP FINALLY kissed, it's not necessarily because we don't have a life, but because ours is being enriched, slowly. Because maybe that character dying will help us to hold on to our friends, or that couple kissing will remind us that true love really is possible.
Maybe that time Gandalf told Bilbo not to kill Gollum, (because true courage is not about being able to kill someone, but having the courage Not to,) opened our eyes. Or  maybe that time Aslan whispered 'Courage dear heart' gave us courage when we couldn't take it anymore. Maybe hearing Cinderella singing 'A dream is a wish your heart makes' reminded you to keep dreaming bigger and to keep embracing those dreams.
 
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Quite frankly, sometimes our label of 'fangirl' has given us stereotype to hide behind. It justifies all those times we go a bit to crazy, or become a bit to obsessive. Those times where we start missing the little lessons in the stories, or stop viewing movies or shows or books as a way to learn. Those times when deep down we know that we have missed the point of why we love stories, and why the Lord gave us that love. Those times when you feel ashamed for loving those stories for so much, because you have been loving them for the wrong reason.
 
And why do I think this? Because I've experienced it. Because it's a problem I struggle with constantly. Because I know that there is a fine line between society's idea of a fangirl, and the real one. And because I constantly find myself on the wrong side; the side where you let your 'fandoms' get in the way of the Lord, and your family, and the other important things in life.
 
And I don't want to be that kind of fangirl.
 
mail:
 
  So that's why I don't like the word fangirl. Because not only has it helped us to stray from the important things in stories, and in life, but it also helps society only see the crazy side of us. The side of us that should only be temporary.
 
 So I propose an idea. What say you to finding a new name for ourselves? To finding a name that embodies who fangirls really are, and should be: Girls who deeply love and appreciate stories because of the impact they have made on us. (And who may or may not occasionally at random times very excitedly rant about said stories.)
 
 
What say you??  What say you to spreading this idea/challenge, and coming up with a new name?
 
-Abby
 
 
 

Comments

  1. WOWO!!!!! Abby this is the best thing I have ever read!!! It exactly expresses my thoughts on the subject and also SOOOOO much more!!!!! Wow!!! I am definitely linking this post on my blog and joining in the search for a new name!!!

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    1. Huzzah!! I'm so glad that you feel the same way!! It's something that's been on my mind for ages, and I finally posted about it. It's nice to know that there are other girls who feel the same way, and want to change the standards. Thanks so much for this comment, it was really encouraging!!

      Please do share the link, I would love to spread the world around blogger. I might even do a Pinterest post type thing.

      Thanks again Erudessa!! :)

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  2. Abby--this is wonderful. Truly. You are most definitely "wise beyond your years" to have thought this all through, and I really appreciate your sharing it.

    Okay, so this idea just popped into my head: Why don't we call ourselves "Story Girls"? You know--like the girl in LM Montgomery's story? (Which I have not read. Shameful. But I have HEARD of it, and I thought it sounded like a lovely name :-) )

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    1. Thank you so much for the encouragement!! I'm glad you enjoyed it, I hope it was inspiring! I'm the type of person who, when I have something on my mind, will think it through until I have explained/ logically organized my thoughts on the matter. It can either be a great blessing, like in this case, or a huge curse; like when I just need to stop over thinking, and trust the Lord.

      Oh. My. Word. I seriously love that idea. I am equally shamed, because I have no real idea of where this came from. None the less, I really like the idea, and will mention it when I do a follow up post thingy. :) And it is a lovely name.

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    2. I do that too--think things over in my head a LOT, sometimes too much. Usually it's a good thing, though :)

      Oh, thanks--glad you like it! Yeah, I've never read those particular books, but I've read enough LM Montgomery to have kind of an idea what the "Story Girl" is about. Mostly, though, I just think it's a pretty name! ;-)

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    3. Story-girl. I like it!! I haven't read anything of L.M. Montgomery's, though I am a fan of the Anne of Green Gables web series.

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    4. It does have a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

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  3. Most of my comments here start with an exclamatory sentence, so I'll refrain from that today. ;)

    Okay: what a lovely post, Abby! Please excuse the following rambliness. :)


    For the most part, a fangirl is...me. You know; I squeal when my book is at a good place, and sing musicals all day every day, and stand in front of the mirror mouthing out the words to The Phantom of the Opera while it blares on the iPad, and spend more time on Blogger than Facebook. :D Finding a word like "fangirl" which hundreds of girls also use makes me feel a little less weird. And feeling less weird can be a good thing. But at the same time, there's depth(or at least there SHOULD be) behind my squealing and ecstasies.

    All those things are fun, but they should be grounded in and purposed towards "real" life. Because God didn't put me here so I could live in books and iTunes. I want my fandoms to contribute and complement my life here and my duty as a Christian.

    Anyways, I'm not sure that any of the above made sense, but it's been on my mind a lot lately, too. So thank you for giving me the opportunity to comment all this. :D Again, good post!!

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    1. Hee hee, no problem. I rather have problem with exclamation marks to. :)

      Yes!! I can't help it! I am a fangirl, I love the stories, the books, the movies, the shows. The Lord gave me this passion, and I want to embrace it.

      I agree with the finding a word to call ourselves, and fitting in thing, I really love that there is something that we can all call ourselves! It's really a nice feeling, but I've found that name has started to sterotype us. That's what I don't like about the particular word fangirl.

      Exactly. Those things are good, but we can't let them get in the way of the great story teller, the one who gave us these passions.

      Oh it did make sense, and I totally agree! I'm glad to find others who agree.

      Thanks for the comment!! I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

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  4. I LOVE this post. SO MUCH. <3

    The end.

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  5. Intriguing post! I admit I hesitate to label myself a "fangirl" for the simple reason that I'm 35. Not a girl. Instead, I call myself... a fan. It's what I called myself before the terms "fangirl" and "fanboy" existed, and it still works quite nicely.

    I do once in a while refer to myself as "fangirling," however, by which I mean jumping up and down and squealing (at least, inside -- but sometimes literally) over some fandom thing that has me excited.

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    1. Thank you!!

      I can totally understand that!

      Hee hee, I don't think we ever out grow that: the squealing and jumping up and down, I mean.. :)

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  6. YES!!! This is so exactly how I feel!!!!! Seriously, I'm underlining every. single. line you wrote with a stroke of agreement. :)

    And I'm brainstorming... so I'll let you know if I come up with anything halfway adequate. ;)

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    1. Aww, I'm glad you agree!!! Thanks so much, I'm glad you enjoyed it!!

      Oh goody.. Thanks so much! We need all the ideas we can get! :)

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  7. Such a great post!!
    Before the term "fangirl" appeared I just used to say I loved (insert book/movie/tv-show).
    Finding a new name sounds like a gallant quest;) We should be able to find a word that is more fitting.

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    1. Thank you Rose!!

      Yes, me to! Although it gets a bit much to go through every different "fandom" :)

      Oh good, I'm glad you agree!! Yes, we are all brainstorming right now!!

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  8. I loved this!! I would definitely appreciate a different name :P I really like Jessica's suggestion of "Story Girls." It fits really well!

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    1. Thanks Rosie!!

      Good, I'm glad you agree, and will join our little quest!! I really love the idea Story Girls to. It's so poetic and whimsical. :)

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  9. I found this post from a link on Heidi's blog...this is my first time on your blog and, I must say, I'm predisposed to like you! :) I agree with EVERYTHING you said in this post!!! I never liked how the term "fangirl" conjures up the idea of someone absolutely and unhealthily obsessed with some show or movie. I believe it's perfectly fine and fun and acceptable to LOVE certain stories-but not at the expense of your relationship with God and your relationship with your family.
    I too like the name of "story girls". Although...would we then say we're "story-girling" instead of fan-girling? I guess it would work! :)

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    1. Aww, thanks so much!! :) Welcome to Castles in the Air. ;)

      Totally, that's what I hate about the term fangirl. Because even though it's fine to enjoy and love these stories, we shouldn't have the level of obsession society thinks we have.

      And story-girling would actually work! It totally sounds more poetic. :)

      Thanks for the comment Natalie!!

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  10. DAAAAH. WHAT.

    Abby, this is incredible. Wow.

    I don't even know where to start, but I'll just mention dying seal, dragon with asthma, and demented raven because of reasons <3

    What you mentioned here: "Those times when you feel ashamed for loving those stories for so much, because you have been loving them for the wrong reason." That hit me really hard because I CONSTANTLY (it seems like) struggle with where to draw the line. The Lord has really been helping me, thankfully, but sometimes it's so hard because I do think that stories consume me too often. To an unhealthy extent. But the last part of Psalm 139 really encourages me: "Search me, O God, and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." It's helpful because even if I don't know "how far is too far" with my story-love, God knows. And what's more, He WILL help us to see and understand, and give us grace and strength to back away when we need to, and peace to enjoy the blessings He has given us when we need to.

    Anyway. I REALLY LIKE THIS POST AND I THINK IT'S PRETTY DARN GOOD.

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    1. Thank you!!

      Hee hee, I think we all can relate. :)

      YES! Me to. All the time, daily even. It is so hard!! I'm always thinking about how much I love these stories, and when am I loving them to much?? It's hard, but hallelujah praise the Lord, he's there.

      That is such a good Psalm!! I just had a funny thought... I remember how I used to look at that verse in Psalm 139, and feel scared, like "I don't want God to search me and show me my faults!!" And now, it's almost like we need him to search us. Huh. (Sorry, that was really random, but I thought I would mention it. ;)

      But it is great to find that you feel the same way, and relate!! It's so refreshing to find someone who understands, and who will stand by you.

      Thanks so much for the comment Olivia!!

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  11. Oh! This is such a beautiful post! You've expressed yourself so well, Abigail. I found your link through Natalie's blog and after reading this post I just had to comment.

    I agree. The word fangirl does have rather negative connotations. I've never liked to refer to myself that way, even though I'm probably more of a fangirl than I'd like to admit. ;) What you said about the deeper meaning of stories and the real reason that we like them, was so good, though. And an excellent reminder not to get off focus. Stories are VERY good things, but they certainly shouldn't be the central focus of our lives, and I have admit that too often they do become rather consuming to me. I've definitely struggled with that over the years--worrying that I'm idolizing stories and living too much in other worlds, you know? But I do think there is a place for stories, and like you said, as long as we don't let them take our focus off of the Lord, and our family, and other important things in life, then I think we can enjoy them fully.

    "We understand, and know the value of stories, and their real and wonderful power to impact people." Ahhh! I LOVE that! And it's so true! Stories really can impact people for good.

    I like the reference you made to Gandalf and Frodo. That is such a powerful statement of Gandalf's, and an excellent example of the good impact stories can have. In my opinion, The Lord of the Rings is an excellent book--not because it's a fun adventure story--but because it contains so many powerful truths.

    Anyway. Sorry. I feel like I'm rambling a bit. :/ Just want to say, thank you so much for this post, Abigail! It was excellent!

    ~Miss March

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    1. Why thank you! I'm glad you liked it. :)

      I totally agree: I constantly struggle with this... I'm always wondering when is to much, and all that jazz.... We can be passionate about stories, but they can't become our life.

      Yes! I know I have been so impacted by many stories!!

      I love that statement. (I love Gandalf to) It is such a wise saying!! That is why I love the LOTR... It is an epic tale, and each time I learn something new.

      Don't be sorry!! I love long comments. :) Your so welcome, I'm glad you agree. Thank YOU for checking out my blog! :)

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  12. Honestly, up until this point, I was okay with being called a fangirl, but now that I've seen the true definition, well wow...

    Gandalf's advice to Bilbo on when you should spare or take a life is very profound to me. I think about it once and a while when I'm writing because it makes a lot of sense.

    Thanks for pointing this out. I definitely don't want to be viewed as a nut job that can only obsess over things day in and day out. Because if I'm a "fangirl", then how can my Christian peers see me as a Christian??

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    1. Hi Mikaela!

      I know right? I really didn't like the definition when I read it....

      Isn't it? And the thing about that quote is it applies to SO MANY AREAS OF LIFE! It's relevant in so many ways....

      Exactly! I mean, there are times, quite frequently actually, where we are crazy and nutty, but then again beneath all of that we are deeply feeling, strongly loving individuals...

      Thanks for the comment!!

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  13. Okay, so yes, this is late, but I just read this and I must say YES! For some reason, I never thought that saying "I'm a huge fangirl about_____" was a great thing to plaster all over the place, and now I know why. :)

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