Monday, December 12, 2011

On Fangirls

As a female gamer, I am accustomed to being the odd one. I don't expect others to all like the same things I like, or be excited about the same things I am, or agree that something is as awesome as I think it is. Most people who don't follow the mainstream or pop culture are used to this concept. When we stop by a Burger King while still dressed up and on the way home from a medieval reenactment event (think Ren-Faire garb), we expect a few weird looks. When we talk Warcraft with some non-MMO friends, we don't expect all the others to be interested in how we pwned Deathwing last night.

This is why I've been a bit amused and baffled at my mother in law, recently.

She's a grandmother. A teacher. An all around warm and good woman. Enjoys historical fiction. Greatly disliked that my husband and I lived together before we were married. Had a few wary things to say about Harry Potter due to the "witchcraft," years ago. Very conservative.

When she became a fangirl to a pop-culture band, I was surprised: I certainly hadn't expected this out of her.

Trust me, when I say fangirl, I mean fangirl. This is an obsession, and she is way out of the targeted market but she's had an opportunity to meet them and write to them and be active on their facebook group and show very vocal support for them. It's certainly not the first time that fans have existed outside of a targeted demographic, but I certainly hadn't expected this one.

I don't think it's a bad thing. She's happy, she has something to be excited about and look forward to when getting home, and it's honestly helping fight depression. With economy as it is and socialization flowing more and more to an online setting (and she lives in a rural area), she has embraced a very positive way to have an interest.

Her choice isn't my personal cup of tea, but I am happy for her.

The problem?

She has not yet learned that it's okay for others to not be excited and infatuated about the same thing. That it's okay and quite normal for not everyone else to be waiting with bated breath for a movie release, or think that the movie is the best thing that has happened to the world.

All those years of her sons being excited over a new comic book or video game release, that perhaps she didn't want to hear about endlessly? The connection doesn't seem to have clicked. Whether it is us, as her family, or the strangers that she was approaching across the town to promote a release and beg they all come and see and agree with her and become huge fans themselves. She was crushed when some came, saw the movie, and said they didn't really think it was that great. As fandom does, some did agree, of course. But others didn't. And it is confusing her.

It's interesting.

I don't intend to post the actual topic she is fangirling, as that is irrelevant. It could be ponies or singing vegetables or a rap group and it wouldn't make a difference. I'd still have to be explaining to her over facebook how to take a screenshot on her computer and upload it :D

I support her being a fangirl for the joy that it is bringing to her life, even if I myself am not a fan. I just hope that she will make the connection that it's okay that we're not all as excited on the topic as she is, and that she'll learn the methods that the rest of us do when talking about our obsession with disinterested people: generally keeping in short and to the point, and understanding that they don't HAVE to like what we like, or understand WTF l334 5p34k is.

I do, however, find it infinitely amusing that my mother-in-law is an obsessive fangirl.

It's suddenly a whole lot easier to shop for her for Christmas ;)

(as a random note, I heard someone's grandparent was told that WTF stood for "Welcome to Facebook." I'm sorry, but that's just cruel and going to result in a LOT of confusion!)


Anonymous said...

Come on its Justin Bieber and his movie. Sorry I had to open Pandora's little box.

Kae said...

If it was, this post would simply be a scream.

Theladas said...

WTF 1334 5p34k?! Leea is knew to meeeee