A few days ago, I came across an interesting post here at Awkward Adults called ‘Fangirl: The Nerd Unleashed?’ about the difference between being a nerd and being a fangirl. It really got me thinking because I’d label myself as both those things, but they aren’t the same.
Fangirl is a new word. It’s hardly a real word. I’ve tried explaining the term to my parents and they don’t fully get it. But I am one. If some posts on this blog aren’t proof enough, I can tell you that I politely stalk actors and celebrities on Twitter and I look forward to days when my shows air with the utmost eagerness and I literally shake with excitement at trailers/promos and I feel things in my heart when my favourite characters do things. I’ve used the fangirl terminology ‘OTP’ and ‘feels’ and various long ‘ahhhh!’s.
One thing I’ve always prided myself on, though, is that I’m a very mature fangirl. I’m never rude or crazy and I can express myself well. So it’s unfortunate that I am still grouped into the same category of people who are the crazy obsessive whiney fangirls who can’t handle themselves online or in public. It’s old news, folks, all fangirls get a bad rep.
But is that different than nerd? For me, nerd always was for really boring science-y hobbies. Oh, you like math? Nerd. You’ve reprogrammed a computer? Nerd. I didn’t assign that meaning to it, society did. And then there’s the whole comic/superhero side to it. It’s the whole basis that allows The Big Bang Theory to survive. Those guys are nerds. Wholly dedicated to a thing that society deemed as nerdy and lame. They enjoy it and support it and don’t necessarily need other people to do so (whereas fangirls group together like wild animals and feed off each other’s excitement…it’s fun!).
I never considered myself a nerd. But recently, I’ve thought about how I grew up playing Pokémon religiously and how I enjoyed other things like Yu-gi-oh and Beyblades and how now I love Marvel and some DC things and even blogging (sorry guys, society’s call, not mine!), though I never really was a fangirl for them (okay, maybe I was for Pokémon)…. I’m a nerd, you guys. And I’m proud.
So what’s the difference then? How can I be both? Do I lean more towards one side? Where do the lines blur?
I’ve been thinking about it and I’ve come to two conclusions.
One: Fangirls are a stage. I mean, you don’t see 50 year olds jumping up and down when they read a spoiler for a show. But you do see a faithful 50 year old in the theaters seeing Avengers on opening day. Being a fangirl is about the actions. It’s about what one does as a fangirl. Utilize social media, adapt the thing, scream about the thing, cry about the thing. But eventually they grow out of it, y’know? They may still love the thing, but they’ve moved on, and eventually they won’t be considered a fangirl anymore. Case in point: all those girls who, once upon a time, were screaming about The Beatles, are now our moms and neighbours and friends. They’re normal people. I guess it’s easier to be a fangirl these days with all our access to social media. And I’m not saying that everyone does grow out of it. There are older fangirls, and I think that’s cool. I hope I’m as happy and dedicated as they are when I’m older.
But nerds, they’re lifelong. I have uncles and I’ve had teachers who are genuine nerds and have been for ages. It’s really great because they’re so set in their ways and so knowledgeable because they’ve been at it for a long time. You can grow out of being a fangirl but one doesn’t leave the nerd life so easily.
Two: it’s a matter of the topic. No one is a nerd for a band….like, Directioners aren’t nerds, they’re fangirls. But Star Wars fans can be. There’s no clear decider, but I think society just knows.
As for where the lines blur…I think I am delicately balancing on the edge. I am the blur. Think about Agents Of SHIELD, a show I completely love. It’s a nerdy show, as anyone can tell you, but I watch it with a fangirl’s eye. And I like the mix. I like how I can enjoy the many sides of the show and its following, and I like how I am able to do with other shows and movies and whatnot.
I guess in the grand scheme of things, nerds and fangirls aren’t that different. They’re both titles for people who love things, and that’s awesome. Though it’s the topic and the time that separates the two, they’re both looked down upon by society (to some extent). There’s no shame in being either and I am proud to be both, even though I lean more to the fangirl side. Whether you’re one or the other or both, be proud and keep on loving what you do!
What’s your take on the topic?
That’s all for now!
(Thanks to Awkward Adults for writing such a thought-provoking post!)