Forget the pictures that cross your mind when you hear the word fangirl, it’s probably of rabid beliebers or directioners or way back when Twilight was famous of those #teamedward or #teamjacob fanatics.
To me the word filled every gaping hole in my personality that I could not place or define. It completed me. I remember when I was 10 and I found Archie comics in a quiet classroom, they were all I cared about. I wanted to sit and dissect and discuss every aspect and facet of the universe with my friends, my parents and the Internet which I wasn’t really allowed to use quite yet.
When I was 12, and I’m shy and will probably deny this now, I found The Vampire Diaries and to say I was obsessed would be an understatement. If was also when I got my first laptop and found the rest of the fan community. I subscribed to newsletters, stayed up to catch a glimpse of promos, rewatched fan compilations and shared every irrelevant thought I had. I was alone in this new world, my friends and family didn’t understand my excessive interest and I was often teased for the wealth of knowledge I had.
Next came 14, so young so tender and a cringe worthy directioner. Louis was my favourite, video diaries were in abundance and I finally had friends who felt the same way I did. My heart skipped beats every time a band member tweeted and I was hopelessly devoted (deep down still am).
Late in life (also 14) I also began to read more and fell in love (like many others of my generation) with the words of JK Rowling, Rick Riordan and so many more. Their words enveloped my entire being, literary worlds merged with that of my own and I was happier to have found them.
Since my early dalliances, this world, the many fandoms I belong to have expanded. YouTube, Anime, Comics, you name it and a fandom exists with a flurry of their own both unique and shared vocabulary. Shipping and OTPs are words that have even reached the mainstream. It’s strange how just the word fangirl could summarize so very much, it gave me a sense of place and something to identify as. Rainbow Rowell even decided to dedicate a novel to our kind, a truly beautiful and relatable novel. Some other great videos that made me giggle and admire are by the incredibly talented OnlyLeigh, any Fangirl would love her quirky mashups and honest insights into our fandom ways.
“To really be a nerd, she’d decided, you had to prefer fictional worlds to the real one.”
To whoever coined the term, I thank you for the impact you’ve had on me. For giving me all the feels, fan art, videos and even fanfiction beyond my wildest dreams. We are human, we are problematic, and we are multi-faceted fangirls.
Author: Faatimah Essack