Described (rather harshly) in Urban Dictionary as “a rabid breed of human female who is obsessed with either a fictional character or an actor. Have been known to glomp, grope, and tackle when encountering said obsessions.”
The concept of the modern fan girll tends to have negative connotations, in an era where boy band obsessions in young girls sprout fake social media accounts, bizarre rants on YouTube and all manner of art shared far and wide. Surely more extreme than when we were young, right?
But is today’s fan girl really so different from us? We had the same obsessions, just without the means to so rapidly (and thoroughly) obsess over our idols via the internet.
One woman challenging the perception of fan girls is filmmaker Jessica Leski, whose latest project is a feature documentary called I Used to Be Normal, which explores the phenomenon in Australia and internationally, and crosses the generations from Beatledom to 1D.
The project came about when Jessica, aged 31, quite unexpectedly found herself in love with One Direction. “I hadn’t liked a boy band before, even though I was at school during Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block and Hanson. So it took me over in way that was surprising to me.” Her favourite member? “It was Harry Styles”, she says, giggling.
So how do you know if you were actually a fan girl? If you relate to a few of these, then chances are you were. (And maybe deep down somewhere inside, still are…)
- Your bedroom resembled a merchandise stand.
Posters, doona covers, magazines, dolls, anything else? Serious and dedicated fangirldom expresses itself through innate objects paying homage to the Object of Your Affection. You had at least three of these in your room at one time? Fan girl.
These days if fan girls don’t connect to merchandise on offer, they often create their own. Take Nadia (@cyrilliart on Instagram) who creates such amazing portraits of One Direction, she’s amassed over 75 thousand followers, and now has her own fans.
- You wrote a letter to your idol.
Ok, hands up who’s guilty of this? You took the time to write a (detailed, over the top) letter to your idol and actually posted it. The choice of stationery was important. There may have been a spray of perfume involved. Yep. Fan girl.
- You could only talk to certain friends about the object of your affections.
Jessica explains that when she first discovered her penchant for One Direction, she was restricted to speaking to a few friends about it, as they ‘understood’, and perhaps others didn’t or might have judged her. Did you find yourself sharing your obsession with a select few for fear or exposure?