You can’t take a fangirl out of the fandom

November 6, 2010 — by Deborah Soung
Soung Deborah 10 105003

Sophomore Deborah Soung

It disappoints me that Microsoft’s spell check does not recognize “fangirl” as a correctly spelled English word. It is the word that my life has revolved around since I discovered the volatility of the Internet in middle school, and it sums up who I am in a neat seven letters.

I would describe fangirling as extensively burying oneself in an area of interest casually referred to as a fandom (also a non-spell-check-recognized-word), usually via Internet on a laptop. My particular territories of intense obsession cover Harry Potter, British rock bands, and manga, or Japanese comics. Unfortunately, my parents and a few of my friends seem to think that “fangirling” is hardly a good use of my time, and the amount of time I spend on my laptop and the internet is probably considered unhealthy by most. I, however, believe that the stereotypical ideas that fangirls have no logical priorities, kill precious time without good reason and stay disconnected from the rest of the world are largely misleading.

To my parents, “the Internet” translates to “the seed of all evil.” They allow me to dote on my laptop when I tell them I need to use it for schoolwork, but otherwise, they try to limit my time with my mechanical lap-warmer as if it were a flea-ridden alley cat and I were a child exceedingly susceptible to disease. But my laptop is my precious kitten who perches on my stomach and keeps me company during the cold winter days. More importantly, my laptop is the portal into my fandom, which has undoubtedly shaped me greatly over the years.

My love affair with writing stories has only grown deeper since I began writing fanfiction (yet another word plagued by red squiggly lines from the evil nemesis spell check), or works of fiction by a fan containing characters from a published work. I believe fanfiction has helped me improve my writing, especially in the area of structuring short stories. Also, fangirls belonging to the same fandom usually share a tightly-knit community, especially if they blog on the same website. We also beta-read, or proofread, each others’ stories, which helps me practice my grammatical skills.

Though my parents acknowledge the English practice I get and that my grades are far from below average, they still believe I spend too much time on my laptop (4-6 hours per day), limiting my awareness about the real world where people grow old and not every boy has perfectly drawn, sparkling eyes. I know I log more hours on my electronic kitten than most people my age, but that hardly means I am clueless about what goes on outside of my room.

The Internet is the largest breeding ground for current news and opinions on it, so I do keep up with major news, though I may not recall exactly how many votes Prop 19 lost by or the current unemployment rate to the nearest hundredths place. Furthermore, I even have opinions on the news and politics I process; I just choose not to speak of them because they usually do not fall into the category of happy and encouraging statements that I enjoy speaking aloud.

Therefore, despite how much fangirls may seem like a strange females partially disconnected from current events and school life, we do have rational priorities. I can only spend as much time as I do on the computer because I have learned to finish my homework efficiently. I really do care about the world I live in, but sometimes I need to escape into a different, happier world to relax, so my performance in the real one does not deteriorate.

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