If you’re not a fan, have never been a fan and would rather drink a glass of spit than be called a fangirl in public – this isn’t for you. Please see yourself out. If, on the other hand, you remember your childhood as a poster-clad dream of boybands, ponies or football teams, you’ve explored more than you’d care to admit of the crossovers stories on fanfic.net, or your social media feeds are 50-75% fan accounts – welcome. This is about us. This is about fangirls, and how fangirls are revolutionary cyborgs.
The amount of hate and mockery fangirls face for taking up space and expressing their enthusiasm and love is 100% related to the idea that girl = weak. Also, showing appreciation and dedication fangirl style seems to make people think you’re a sheep without any agency or ideas of your own. Obviously that’s bullshit, but still kind of interesting: when girls, (and by girls, I mean girls of any gender/s), choose each other, people just can’t seem to contain their rabid word vomiting.
Girl is something we’re supposed to leave behind. Growing up is told as this straight, chronological narrative where the Girl becomes a woman by surviving and arriving on the other side of teen girl. But girl, teen girl and woman aren’t chronological phases that happens upon you whether you like it or not; they’re more like clusters of specific accessories, accomplishments and add-ons. What defines adulthood isn’t just age, but having a steady job, wearing sensible clothes, supporting yourself, having a place to live and a monogamous long-term relationship.
Fangirls are girls because they’re rejecting these suggested womanly, grown-up add-ons. They direct their desires towards a collective fantasy, a person that belongs to the fandom, someone they may never meet away from keyboard and someone they share with thousands of other fangirls. The girl in fangirl refuses to ‘move on’ from fantasy and sci-fi books, pop music, tv-series and other cultural expressions that are considered trashy, cheap and vapid. The fangirl chooses other fangirls over monogamy, over adulthood, over leaving girl behind and becoming a woman. A super important thing about being part of a fandom is that you’re not just staring blindly at an idol, you’re also turning to the people next to you in the crowd and reflecting each others identities as fangirls. Even though the person on stage doesn’t see you, you see your allies – in pictures, in forums, in tweets.
Cyborgs are creatures that fuck with chronologies and choose their own survival over what has been laid out for them by patriarchal authorities. The cybernetic organism says, ”fuck u”, to imagined borders between here and there, real and virtual, organic and technologic, body and machine. Virtual space, virtual reality, is reality. There is no point in talking about IRL – its all real. You may turn your machines off from time to time, but honestly, how many hours before you retweet or comment on insta? The boundary between the ‘real’ and the ‘virtual’ is irrelevant. The fangirl is a cyborg, she’s already moving on.
The fangirl-cyborg uses her instagram, facebook, vine, twitter, tumblr as alternate universes. The fangirl gives birth to herself in the baptism of enter username. Internet and cyberspace can be the place where you become who you want to be, where you give yourself a body and a name, choose your families, express your desires and desire each other.
The fangirl has realised life has not provided her with the objects she wishes to worship, the rituals of desire she fantasises about. She has broken the line, said, “fuck this shit” and started checking her phone for something that she can identify with. She found Beyoncé, Nicki, Rihanna – and most importantly, she found other fangirls.
Words by Vilja Willpower
Illustration by Charlotte Colin