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?