How fangirls are unfairly judged
What comes to your mind when you hear the word "fangirl"? A teenage girl crying hysterically about how she loves Harry Styles? Or a BTS fangirl going crazy about how Jimin looks in a music video?
Regardless of whatever we picture in our heads, we describe a fangirl with crazy, hysterical and any other intellectually demeaning word you can think of.
This is becoming more relevant as we see the rise of K-pop craze in Bangladesh. The rapid shaming of this enthusiasm extends to arguably everything that is the interest of teenage girls and thus, is deemed to be largely, a "feminine and superficial" enthusiasm.
This trivialisation is primarily rooted in sexism. While a teenage boy screaming at his screen during a football match is considered to be "passionate," a teenage girl shouting lyrics at a One Direction concert is considered to be "manic" and "obsessive."
It's not that it is only fangirls who are looked down on. Any art, be it a film or music, that society assumes has a major female fan following is ridiculed by the masses and often not taken seriously by critics. It is even assumed that fangirls simply adore musicians because of their appearance and appeal, which is statistically improbable.
Even if the general appeal of an artist or celebrity could be a factor that plays a role in a fangirl's enthusiasm, to dismiss the entirety of a fanbase because of a gross generalisation is simply illogical and can only be attributed to misogyny.
This form of gendered characterisation of enthusiasm isn't only confined to interests that are socially perceived to be "feminine".
Women who express interest in otherwise traditionally masculine things like sports and superheroes are frequently dismissed. They are often accused of liking these to seek attention or are said to be seeking validation from their male counterparts, and unless they are able to explain what an offside is or are able to go through a slew of other irrelevant trivia, their interest is deemed superficial.
As a fellow university-going fangirl, Tahziba Ahmed, explains, "I once shared my love of K-pop at a presentation and was booed by the whole class. I've even had to take down a Facebook post about a K-pop band I liked because everyone told me how 'uncool' and 'lame' it made me. I suspect they said worse behind my back."
To ridicule female enthusiasm is to diminish the mental faculty of a whole gender, and dismiss a whole genre of art because it has a female fanbase, you imply that a woman lacks the intellectual capacity to judge or understand art. Even more than that, when the shaming of fangirls is so culturally normalised and widespread, it teaches young girls to be constantly vigilant about their behaviour, and to never show their excitement to escape this ridicule.
Isn't that truly sad?