Read an interesting piece on Fangirls by Deborah Standish, the coeditor of Chicks Unravel Time: Women Journey Through Every Season of Doctor Who. She talks about fangirls in the context of the recent casting of Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor* and how there were some people were rather vocal about their hope that there would be a fangirl exodus as a result.
She talks about how the term fangirl has moved from being a term for a female fan, and has taken on the connotation of overly obsessed young female fans, who follow the show purely due to the hotness of the male characters involved.
Standish says that the reason for this is a combination of fandom gatekeeping, and the systematic belittling of women’s, particularly young women’s, opinions in fan culture. She argues that
"Geek culture is riding high on the wave of pop culture approval at the moment, but that wasn’t always the case. For years, fans of both genders had to scramble for respect as terms such as “geek” and “nerd” were tossed at us with a sneer. We rose above that by finding our tribe, regaling each other with facts and quotes and bootleg VHS tapes. To be fair, male fans had a harder time of it. Socially it was okay for girls to be enthusiastic about movies or books. Gendered expectations were that it wasn’t quite on for boys to lose themselves in fictional worlds once they outgrew G.I. Joe. They countered by becoming experts within their chosen hobbies, creating their own geek hierarchies where the only currency that mattered was knowledge, and advancement in the ranks had everything to do with intellect rather than how they handled a ball. They built magnificent clubhouses with intricate rules for inclusion and all was well. They made gatekeeping an art form. But now, those social barriers are crumbling, the once obscure things they loved are now cool and hip and — horrors — accessible to everyone. Even to girls who persist in doing it wrong. These ARE the fake geek girls. They haven’t paid their dues, they’re too irrational, too emotional, and not able to comprehend anything more significant than pretty actors. Not the fans who happened to be girls mind, just the fangirls."
Read the rest here: http://www.apex-magazine.com/fangirl-isnt-a…