What It’s Like To Be A Fangirl


Your heart’s racing. Your thoughts are disorganized. Can’t figure out if you should scream, laugh, cry, or all of the above? You’re probably fangirling.

Oxford Dictionary describes a fangirl as “an obsessive female fan (usually of movies, comic books, or science fiction).” But this description seemed slightly limiting.

You see, Oxford has limited their definition to a noun. You can only “be a fangirl” so far; Oxford as yet does not condone the verb “fangirling”. By now you may be asking what the big problem is if Oxford keeps the term as a noun instead of adding it as a verb.

First off, it limits the act of “fangirling” to the female gender. That suits me just fine, but I know of many men and transgendered people who fangirl daily. To fangirl isn’t limited to a specific gender or sex, it is an expression.

Secondly, the examples are very restricting as well. I have personally never fangirled over comic books or movies, but I fangirl over new books on a weekly basis and I know of people who fangirl over new scientific theories or over the newest exercise craze. Fangirling isn’t just for “nerds” anymore. As the idea grows, so does the variety of places that we find fangirls.

And finally, by limiting the definition to an improper noun, Oxford is willfully ignoring the various stages and emotions that come with the action of fangirling. Yes, we obsess. But it’s so much more than the psychological condition; it’s mentally and physically draining. We spend hours in line, waiting to get the next book or video game so we can be part of the first group of people to see it and explore its depths. We analyze every minuscule detail, and try and find covert connections to past or future references.

Do you remember not being to fall asleep Christmas Eve as a child, and then waking up before dawn with your brain screaming at you in excitement? That’s a fangirl feeling.

My first real experience of fangirling came with the release of the final Harry Potter book. I impatiently awaited its delivery to my house for two full days after its release, and then read the entire book that night. I barely remembered the details; all I remember was being completely connected to this fictional world and living it as though it happened to me personally.

Fangirling is the process of giving a part of yourself to something, be it related to school, sports, books, or anything else that you may have a passion for. Fangirling is the unbridled excitement over one particular piece of entertainment or mastery. It is the ability to explore the extent of one comic book or football game without worrying about other tasks that need to be completed. It is the need to forget one’s self, and simply enjoy. Appreciate. Savor in. Devote a part of your life to. These are all synonyms for one thing. Not obsession, as Oxford would have us believe.

These words are synonyms for love.

That is the simplest way to describe the feeling of fangirling — to love something deeply. Unconditionally. At times, it feels akin to loving family and friends. But this is a unique love, because this love is one-sided. You give so much of yourself to this one thing, and receive nothing in return. And while most one-sided loves are tragic, this one is comforting and refreshing. We never want to stop giving in to this one-sided love, even though we may have our hearts broken time and time again. We are always able to return to that baseball field or book series and give it another try. And it will always feel the same way — sweet and satisfying.

Whatever it is that you fangirl over, Queen Rowling has described it best:

“Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”

The same goes for anything else you love with all your heart.

featured image – r.nagy / Shutterstock.com