Not too many years ago, I think I would have been offended if someone had called me a fangirl. My image of a fangirl had always been of a thirteen year old girl screaming at the top of her lungs trying to get the attention of her favorite boy band member. Yeah, that’s not me. However, if you define a fangirl as someone who may be obsessed with a TV show, movie, book or character, you might be talking about me. I have been known to watch shows over and over, to actively seek out every little tidbit of trivia, to memorize dates, and episode order. I think it’s safe to call me a fangirl and now, it’s a label that I proudly claim.
Thankfully, I seemed to have passed that fangirl gene on to my daughter. She’s the baby and the only girl in the family and has been our princess from day one. So, it was only logical for us to introduce her to the Disney princesses at a very young age, probably before her first birthday. As she grew older, she became more and more obsessed. If it had a princess on it, she wanted it.
By the time she was ten or eleven, I tried to introduce her to my first fangirl obsession – superheroes. She absolutely refused to give my favorites a try. She was starting to move on to more video game fandoms – Pokemon and Harvest Moon. Even though she repeatedly shot me down, I still tried to get her to watch just one movie with me, convinced that she would love X-Men or Superman or The Avengers. She steadfastly refused.
At least she did until this past winter. Over Christmas break, I found the perfect gateway to get her interested. I am a huge fan of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. It took a little arm twisting, but I got her to watch season one. After a few episodes, she was completely hooked. She quickly buzzed through season one and caught up on season two. When the show came back from hiatus in March, she was parked on the couch with me and my husband, ready to see what would happen next with Coulson’s team. From S.H.I.E.L.D., it was a short hop, skip and jump for her to start watching the Marvel movies leading up to Avengers Age of Ultron.
Last night, we saw Age of Ultron. She had been doing a daily countdown for a week or two. She was so excited to see it with the rest of the family, instead of playing catch up. The movie did not disappoint. We all loved it. For me, the best part might have been the ride home. The four of us were talking about the movie, sharing theories about this aspect or that or what could happen in the next movie. Why was that my favorite part? Because instead of sitting back and letting the conversation flow around her while she was lost in her own thoughts, my princess was right there with us, part of it all.
That’s one of the things I love about being a fan or a fangirl. It’s the shared interest that can bring us together, whether within a family or a fandom, which are often like families. Some of the people I ‘talk’ to the most are online friends who I connected with because of that shared interest. I think that alone is reason enough to put away the negative fangirl connotation.
By the way, my daughter, who is fourteen now, is still a Disney princess fangirl. She has just let it evolve. She is now one of Once Upon a Time’s biggest fans. She writes her own fanfiction for the show, although she shares it with no one. It’s just one more reason I’m glad she’s a fangirl. She’s the real writer in the family and this is a way to let her stretch her writer’s wings. That is never a bad thing.