Since the internet, we hear about them more than ever. They pop up on any and all broadcast network specials on a certain show, during interviews between a certain famous actor and a well-rounded reporter, even when you’re shopping for clothes at Target. You’ll hear them. They have loud gasps of excitement and a squeal that goes on for miles. Often times they wear quotable t-shirts or memorabilia from the show, comic, or movie they’re obsessed about.
If you’ve never seen a Tom Hiddleston fangirl, then you should know you’re lying to yourself. They are everywhere, and the internet has only made it that much easier to become a fangirl or fanboy. There isn’t a special club or a certificate of completing a course in knowledge over whatever the medium is you obsess over; all you need to do is claim you’re a part of their group and the deed is written in blood. If you’ve ever gushed about a certain person or thing to the point where you might have changed the background of your laptop to their face/their logo or even so much as argued the merits of a television show with another viewer, congratulations; you are one of them.
Now, there are extremes and then there are the relatively normal ones. Fangirling is the act of having that wave of emotion come over you when you see, hear, and think about that person you idolize. This article written by Haley Pereyo actually gives a pretty decent representation of an internet-driven fangirl, which can often times be the worst out of the bunch. They livetweet television shows or interviews. They have inside jokes with other fangirls the outside world would never understand (see memes on google). They have ‘feels’, a shortened expression for ‘feelings’ or emotions towards how much they love what they’re a fan of. If their favorite celebrity tweets back at them, chances are they will put the screencap in a gold plated frame. Together they’re considered a fandom (ex: Potterheads, Directioners, Fannibals) and their organization is somewhat equivalent to an armada.
If you’ve never obsessed over anything, then it’s hard to understand why these young men and women spends hours upon hours writing, researching, and sometimes screaming over their favorite things. But the media and entertainment outlets have been more than inviting to these fangirls. They’ve catered to their desires and dreams of these fangirls in some of their shows — television programs like Supernatural and Sherlock are notorious for breaking the fourth wall and dragging their fans into the center of some of their episodes. Why? Viewership. Fangirls want to be noticed. If you cater to their requests, then they will follow you to the end of the Earth and beyond. They will band together in order to keep your show afloat on a network, sign petitions to keep you on the air, and will buy the ever-living crap out of your merchandise. It’s the dedication that makes them so unique and admirable.
So if you’re in the business and you want to make a show that lasts longer than one season, embrace the fangirls. Without them, you’ll be a leader without a loyal army.