Here’s to the fangirls.
Because fandom isn’t really an exclusive club which is entered only on the permission of other fans. And even if it were, what business does anyone else have to exclude you?
Because being a fan is about liking something. Not knowledge, or ability to afford merch or go to conventions, or whether or not you happened to be born long enough ago to remember the beginning. You just have to like the thing. That’s it.
Because female fans, especially teenage girls, are policed at every turn. But how many comics haven’t you read? How much trivia are you not yet aware of? People will try and trip you up.
They’ll assume you’re straight, and then they’ll assume you only like the thing because you like some attractive man that’s involved. Like everything a woman thinks revolves around men. Like it’s not possible to simultaneously like a fandom and be attracted to a person anyway. It’s usually only ever heterosexual women’s attraction to men that’s used to literally try and kick them out of the fandom. For instance, I didn’t see or hear a single remark from a teenage girl (or anyone) that Peter Capaldi was too old to be the Doctor, but the Internet was full of people attacking teenage girls for this allegedly predominant opinion.
They’ll tell you that you’ve just jumped on a bandwagon, you’re too late, if you weren’t there right at the beginning, you shouldn’t be there at all. Astoundingly, Whovians under 50 exist. They’re everywhere. If you’re reading this on the day it was written, that means you’re online today and THAT means you’ve probably already heard from several. Not many fandoms can claim to have existed for that long, so it’s probably not a fair example. But still, again, why does it matter when you started? You’re here now, and nobody can take that away from you.
You’ve probably heard “Are you really a fan or are you just wearing the T-shirt?” “Are you really a fan or are you just pretending?” And some of you will even be pop-quizzed on the fandom. Again, people will look to catch you out. People will presume you’re fake, something they would never presume of a man or boy.
For what? What do people gain from this, other than shutting women up and keeping them out?
And it’s often coupled with remarks about boybands and other fandoms dominated by teenage girls. These fandoms are constantly mocked and ridiculed. The “Tumblr-speak” often used by teenage girls online is mocked and ridiculed. Teenage girls in general are mocked and ridiculed. For being girls. “Fangirl” has almost become an insult.
Sadly, this fan-policing and general fangirl-hate can often come from other female fans trying to prove their own worthiness, trying to gain entry to this exclusive club by distancing themselves from this hated group; it’s for the same reasons that “you’re not like other girls” is seen as a compliment. “Not like other girls” is synonymous with “an actual human being”, and clearly there’s something massively wrong there. I get it, I’ve been there, but instead of competing for male approval the way we’ve been taught to, how about we challenge the rhetoric that’s led to this competition and elitism in the first place?
So here’s to the fangirls.
Whether you’re spending today being excited about the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special, the One Direction livestream, or anything else in between.
With every “I CAN’T” and “MY FEELS” and “I SHIP IT”, you are finally making your presence known and inescapable.
Better yet, you can challenge the bullshit “feminists v fandoms” rhetoric by fighting for representation and respect from within the fandom.
And don’t you ever, ever, ever let yourself believe that you’re somehow not a worthy fan. Because you are.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to dash to an appointment with the Doctor…