Fangirls: We Come in All Shapes and Sizes

oldfashionedfangirl

I’ve never really thought of myself as a fangirl. I have always had an intense love of books, and there have always been books that I have loved more than any book before. I have so many favorite books, the ones that make my heart ache, make my sides hurt from laughing so hard, and make me grind my teeth in suspense-all at the same time. And yet, I have never created fanart, fanmusic, fanfiction or fan-anything. I don’t really proclaim my love of my favorite books to everyone and anyone. I have never worn a fandom shirt. I have never even considered myself to be in any fandoms.

Then I realized that the word “fangirl” is not a solid definition. It is malleable and conformable, and it changes from person to person. 

A fangirl doesn’t have to create fanfiction, fanart, fanmusic or fan-anything. A fangirl doesn’t have to incessantly rant and rave to the world. A fangirl doesn’t have to buy all the fandom merchandise. And another thing a fangirl doesn’t have to do? A fangirl doesn’t have to love the same books others do. 

Another problem I had with being a fangirl was enjoying a lot of books that not a lot of other people loved. I love Jane Austen’s books, but is there even a fandom for that? I love Charles Dickens’ books to no end, but is there a fandom for that? I love To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, but is there a fandom for that? Heck, could there even be a fandom for a solo book? I love modern books, too, but that’s besides the point, because there are usually fandoms for modern books. (The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer = Lunartics and The Tales of Goldstone Wood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl = Imps)

Then I realized a fangirl doesn’t need to intensely enjoy the books that others enjoy. A fangirl can also intensely enjoy books that don’t even have a fandom behind them. A fangirl can be old-fashioned.

I am giving myself permission to be a fangirl right now. I shouldn’t worry about the cliches that go with fangirls because at its core, the definition of being a fangirl is to intensely love a piece of fiction, and I think that’s where the definition ends. Being a fangirl can mean someone who is loud and ranty about their favorite books, or it can mean someone quieter like me who’d much rather silently write reviews on her blog and devour the pages of her favorite books quietly. Different fangirls have different methods of fangirling, and that’s okay. This is not a competition, and there is no reason to divide ourselves.

All this to say that I am starting a new feature called Old-Fashioned Fangirl. It’s a feature that will allow me to express my love for my favorite books in my own way. A lot of those books will be old-fashioned classics, and that’s okay, because that is how I fangirl. However, never fear my non-classics readers, for I might also be shedding some light on my more modern favorite books such as The Lunar Chronicles and The Tales of Goldstone Wood. I will post a new feature post every Monday, so do check back for updates on my journey into the world of the old-fashioned fandom. For now, though, feel free to share your comments about what the word “fangirl” means to you.

What kind of fangirl are you? Have you ever been bothered by the cliches associated with fangirls? What fandoms are you a part of, or what books do you absolutely love? What does the word “fangirl” mean to you?

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63 thoughts on “Fangirls: We Come in All Shapes and Sizes

  1. I adore this post, because until recently I never was the one who would rave loudly – I never really had someone to fangirl to. And at the core, a person is a fangirl whether she loves YA to sci-fi to classics and so on. Especially as I never wrote fanfics – I preferred making up my own rules, unless that piece of fiction was REALLY REALLY good 😄 And I can’t draw for all the chocolate in the world…

    The new feature sounds amazing and unique ❤

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    1. I have so many fangirls around me, but not a lot of them enjoy the books I do. The one exception is The Lunar Chronicles, which is awesome. I’m not a big fan of fan-fiction because it confuses me and I’d rather stick to the book, but I can see how people would enjoy it.

      Thanks!

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  2. I think fangirls are unique in their own way and every fandom has fangirls… they may just not be as dominant as some other fandoms.

    I think the new feature is a great idea for your blog and I look forward to those posts. 🙂

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  3. I’m the fangirl that likes the things I like. Some of them are really mainstream, like Harry Potter and Doctor Who, and some of them are not as mainstream, like board games og MMORPG’s.
    I agree with you on a lot of what you say about fangirlism. For instance, I don’t really like Sherlock, and everyone always assumes I do when my nerdiness shows – for instance on my T-shirts.
    I’m not sure I’m really a ‘fangirl’. I just like some stuff and dislike other stuff. Also, sometimes I’m scared of calling myself a fan, because sometimes when you’re say you’re a fan of something, people expect you to know EVERYTHING about it, and if you don’t know exactly who made the original song that ‘Here come the drums’ from Doctor Who has been sampled from, YOU’RE NOT A REAL FAN! I hate that ‘real fan’-crap. If I like stuff, I’m a fan. I don’t need to know everything about it – and I definitely don’t need other people’s opinion on whether or not I’m a fan.
    Do you ever feel like that?

    – Love, Felicia

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    1. I think it’s fine to love both mainstream and non-mainstream things, as long as it floats your boat. I used to hate calling myself a fan because of that same reason! I hate it when people think that it’s okay to quiz me about the most minuscule details to find out if I’m truly a fan or not, and then go on to say how only true fans would know “this or this”. As long as you love something, you are a fan.

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  4. I’m not as fangirly as some people but in the past I have made fanart, fan fiction, etc. Still, I love this post! I think it’s great that you want to do this, and I think the feature will definitely inspire me to start reading some older books. Awesome post!

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  5. I’m the sort of fangirl who quietly fangirls over things nobody would. Well, also over some more popular “fandoms” like LotR or Star Wars. I do have a couple pieces of Hobbit merchandise, and I have written a fanfiction, but that’s as far as I’ve gone. I don’t rant to the world or anything. I don’t “ship.” I don’t have OTPs.
    Therefore I suppose I will join your throng of “Old-Fashioned Fangirls.” *hoists banner high* 😉

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  6. So true! I don’t like being attached to the usual fangirl image, but I do like the term, and use it often – for me it just means that you absolutely enjoy something. That’s it. I’m rather outspoken about it, but I’m not usually prone to traditional fangirl things – my outlet is mostly flailing over books, haha. But I do enjoy my Doctor Who and Sherlock and anything Marvel and yes, Downton Abbey, and, well, lots of stuff. xD

    I think this new feature of yours is a great idea, and I’m super excited to see it! I’m a fan of a lot of older books too. But really, just this post. I love it. 😀

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  7. I really love this post!

    It’s definitely something I’ve never thought about before. I feel like fangirls are a broad way of saying that I’m a fan of … something. Like how Paramore fans are called Parawhores and One direction fangirls are called Directioners. Fangirl is kind of a unifying word because even if I don’t like 1d but I like Paramore, I’m a fangirl. And vice versa.

    Plus, you can fangirl over anything. I fangirl over old music that people have forgotten about all the time. It’s just such a really nice word.

    And you’re so right. There is no SOLID definition of a fangirl. Whenever I thought of fangirl, I would think of a crazy girl who’s really giggly but I know that that isn’t right. I mean, i’m a fangirl and I’m not even close to doing that.

    Such an interesting post <33

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    1. The word fangirl definitely is a unifying word because anyone that really loves a piece of literature or film or music is a fangirl. I’ve always hated the cliches that come with the word “fangirl”. People seem to think that all fangirls are the same and that they’re all giggly and obsessive, but that is so not true. Hopefully we bookish people can dispel that notion.

      Thanks!

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  8. I never considered myself a fangirl because of all the stereotypes. However, I completely agree with your definition. I would definitely consider myself an old-fashioned fan-girl. All the books you mentioned? Yah, those are all favs of mine. I actually wrote a blogpost for The FanGirl Initiative recently about great Russian classics: http://fangirlinitiative.blogspot.com/2015/01/5-reasons-you-should-probably-give.html

    STEREOTYPES BE BOUND!

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    1. I hate, hate, HATE all of the stereotypes associated with fangirls, which is why I was afraid to call myself one. Fortunately, I have now chosen to ignore all those stereotypes and hopefully, with the help of this feature, show the world that fangirls are all different. Yay, for another classic lover! I saw that post, and loved it! It only solidified my reasons for starting this feature.

      HUZZAH!

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  9. I like this idea of fangirls. I have never considered myself a fangirl by any stretch of the imagination before. Like you, I don’t do fanart, fanfiction, or any other fangirly activities. But I do love my books, especially my old ones. I think that old-fashioned fangirls sounds like an amazing idea and I’d be proud to call myself one!

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  10. I consider myself a fangirl, especially because I fanart. But I somewhat dislike how the stereotype has almost restrained me from being the kind of fangirl I want to be: crazy but somewhat professional. I would love to go crazy, but it’s hard to incorporated that into my blog?
    This sounds like a good idea!

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    1. I love seeing fanart. 🙂 I want to be crazy but also maintain a professional kind of air, which is why I don’t like the full-on obsessiveness and full-on craziness of the stereotypical fangirl. I think fangirls should do whatever they want to do, and I think no matter how you incorporate your fangirliness into your blog, it will be fun to read about.

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  11. Hehe. This post is cute. I never really thought about what kind of fangirl I am….I don’t write fan fiction, nor do I read it, really, but I love fan art work & fan graphics & t-shirts that combine fandoms (like tee turtle). & I do a feature on my blog where I “fan cast” books. I agree with everything you said–you can be a fan, and there are NO RULES. Excited to see some of your posts on fangirling old classics. I’m a legit period drama fangirl…hardcore….hahaha.

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    1. I’m not very into fan fiction, either, because I’d rather read the original book and oftentimes other versions make me confused. Each to his/her own, I guess. I love fan art, though. It’s all so pretty! Ooh, that sounds like a cool feature, and one that lets you express your fangirliness without conforming to any nonsense fangirl stereotypes. I haven’t seen many period dramas, but I often love the books behind some of them.

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  12. This is funny, because the first post in the “related” category was titled “I’m not really much of a fangirl”. IRL character development, anyone? 😉

    You’re so right, though – fangirls do come in all shapes and sizes, and you don’t have to conform to any one definition/stereotype of what a fangirl is “supposed” to be! I can’t wait to see what this feature turns out to be… I’m eagerly awaiting Monday so that we can do the first instalment. 😀

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    1. Hehe…um…yes…IRL character development…That was a post exploring how I was sick of the fangirl stereotypes. I still am sick of fangirl stereotypes, but I have now chosen to ignore them. I hope you didn’t read that post, because that was one of my very first ones, and probably really horrible. 🙂

      Yay, I’m glad you are excited for the first installment. Except it actually might be the Monday after next Monday because I’ll be doing My Hero Monday next Monday.

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  13. I love being a fangirl, it is the best. So much fangirling… Yes, yes, yes. 😄 Not your cup of tea, I understand, but I still enjoy the fandoms. And, for your information, YES, there is an Austen fandom, although I’m not sure about the others. Dickens is a little tricky to get through since he was paid by the word, which doesn’t make for the most brief of writing—so I personally cannot blame people for giving up. Of course, I don’t mind any of the cliches that come with being a fangirl, except perhaps the one about being vapid. The fact that I’m enthusiastic doesn’t mean that I’m empty-headed, and just because it’s a thing mostly made up of teenage girls doesn’t discredit it, either. Of course, that’s why people don’t like YA in general…

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    1. Fangirling is kind of fun no matter how you do it. I never liked the fangirl stereotypes, but now I fangirl in my own way, and it is fabulous. Hmmm…I wonder what the Austen fandom is called. I feel like there’s this population that really loves old literature, but I don’t think they really have a name, and it doesn’t have a fangirly type of feel. Still, that’s the kind of fandom I like.

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  14. Wow, Ana I completely agree with you, I have never done any of those fandom things either, and yet I definitely DO consider myself a fangirl – however a lot of the books I love and relate to have huge fandoms and are pretty modern. Great post!

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  15. You know what, I’ve never thought of any cliches associated with fandoms, although I kind of know what you mean because rabid fangirlism around Twilight got a bit insane and it became embarrassing to associate myself with them. But then these days I think of fangirling more than loving a book in your own way, like you said. Love the sound fo the new feature, great discussion Ana!

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  16. Sometimes there is some bad stigma around fangirls and most people outside of the bookish community tend to use the word ‘fangirl’ in a bad way. I think because of things like Twilight or Justin Bieber, fangirls forever became viewed as screaming 13-year-old girls who only care about shirtlessness and turn rabid if anyone insults their leading man.

    But if you look inside the bookish community, you’ll see people use fangirl as a way to express how much they love something and I’ve never known any negative connotations of it in this space. It means so many things and incorporates so many people and I love that! It’s quite an inclusive term in these parts.

    Shame it’s not the same outside of the bookish community!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s why I was so hesitant to call myself a fangirl before. I didn’t want to be associated with that insanity that came with the fangirl cliche.

      I so agree that the term fangirl has a much better meaning in the book blog community. Anyone can be a fangirl over any type of books and everyone can have friendly bookish discussions without being too insane. I mean, it can get insane, but not as crazy as the cliche outside of the bookish community.I feel so much more comfortable calling myself a fangirl now.

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  17. You’re completely correct! I think that being a fangirl, fanboy, or any kind of fan is merely about liking something a lot, too. The ways people express how they like things will vary, and also the things they like.
    I do consider myself a fangirl, but I don’t really make fanart or fanfiction. I do tend to rant about the stuff I like, though…
    And fangirl cliches sort of suck, because from my experience, they’re really not all that true.

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    1. Yes, I have come to realize that more and more as I’ve come across more fangirls. It’s just a term to express how much you like something, and we all express that in different ways. Fangirl cliches are horrible, hence my previous aversion to the term. They really aren’t all that true.

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  18. I’m just like you and I don’t fangirl like the rest. I don’t exactly have the time to create graphics or write fanfiction, but I like to push books that I love on others in hopes that they will fall in over with it as well. Looking forward to your feature, I think it’s great to be showcasing more classics xx

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  19. There are fangirls who create fanart and fanfiction and all that stuff I look at on Pinterest. I am not one of those people. I consider myself a fangirl, even though I may not be making ALL THE THINGS like some. Every fandom needs us, y’know? The people to buy the merch and read the fanfiction [although I don’t…]. Everyone is a different fanperson.

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  20. Great post Ana! A ‘fangirl’ can be defined as whatever you want it to be, and that’s the beauty of it. Can’t wait to see what else you post with this idea 🙂

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  21. There definintely is a fandom for Jane Austen fans. I think they call themselves either “Janeites” or “Austenites.” EIther way, I’ve come across plenty of girls who are every bit as obsessed with Jane Austen as other girls are with Twilight, The Avengers, or what have you.

    I’m sort of a fangirl, but like you, I tend to get more excited about older works (To Kill a Mockingbird being one of them!). I do blog about them and preach about them to people I know and people on Twitter, but I’m usually a quieter type of fangirl (except yesterday when I found out about Go Set a Watchman. I was plenty loud about that. 🙂 ).

    I’m really looking forward to your “Old Fashioned Fangirl” posts. I adore classics and would love to see what you think of them!

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    1. Oh, well that’s good to know. I’m sure it’s very different from some other fandoms, which is how fandoms go.

      I’m a quieter type of fangirl, too, but like you, when I heard about Go Set a Watchman I was loud. I’m so excited about Go Set a Watchman that I feel like I’m living in a bookish dream. I just can’t wait for it.

      Thanks! Hopefully we’ll be able to have lots of discussions about some much loved classics.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. I think when people here the expression ‘fangirl’ a certain stereo-typical image comes to mind. Even I do sometimes when I here that expression. Yet I agree with you about how we can fan over what we love. I also feel we can express it or even internalize it. I have never been the accessory collector or the squeeling fan, or the artist for a fandom, etc but I do, love certain books, daydream (or even regular dream) about them and ponder the what-ifs of the story, i do read the book multiple times, etc. While my expression of how much I love a book or series is sometimes mild, it does not mean my love for it is mild at all.

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    1. I hate the stereotypes that come with the term “fangirl”, so hopefully I can help dispel those stereotypes with my feature posts. Like you, I don’t really do all of the extra fandom things like making fanart or writing fanfiction, but I definitely do a lot of rereading of my favorite books. It’s pretty awesome. That last sentence of your comment is pure genius. So, so true.

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  23. THAT’S SUCH A GOOD IDEA FOR A FEATURE! I’m not a big reader of classics, but I want to be, SO YAY FOR YOUR POSTS! And I definitely agree with what you’re saying, anyone can be a fangirl really. There’s no rules to it hahaha.

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  24. So true, the stereotypical image that you think of when you hear fangirl isn’t really what a lot of fangirls are like. Personally I’m a somewhere in between, I don’t read fanfics or obsessively buy merch but if I find someone who is a part of the same fandom as me I can talk about it for hours.

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  25. This is such a fabulous discussion post, Ana! :)))) I call myself a fangirl but I think I’m more of a bookish fangirl then anything else. I don’t fangirl over celebrates or people as I think that’s kind of silly, but that’s just me. 🙂

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