Be a Fangirl

You've discovered something that you love and you want to share it with others, be it a film, t.v. show, a sports team, book, anime, a music artist or a band! Being a fangirl means having fun and engaging passionately with the sources of material!


Getting Involved with Fandom

  1. Pick a fandom. This part is easy. A fandom is a collective group of people who are passionate about a specific thing, literally a group of fans. There are 2 types of fangirls, real-life and fictional. Real-life consists of sports teams, music artists, and bands, while fictional refers to any fandoms that are not real. Ex., games, tv shows, movies, books, even plays/musicals. Even though these types of fangirls seem very different they are both fangirls and gather in the same places, tumblr, wattpad, pinterest. And do the same things, fanfic (RPF) and cosplays to name a couple. Real and fictional fangirls tend to ignore each other instead of arguing so there are no full-out fandom wars, even if either side receives hate from the opposite once in a while. (While a fandom can be anything, they tend to focus on t.v. shows, movies, books, actors, a sports team, and musicians. So figure out what you're passionate for and start the hunt for others like you.
    • A few popular fandoms are Star Wars fans (fans of Star Wars), Whovians (fans of "Doctor Who"), Sherlockians (fans of the BBC "Sherlock;" Holmesian seems to be more for fans of the original Arthur Conan Doyle stories), Potterheads (fans of "Harry Potter"), Directioners (fans of the musical group, One Direction), 5sos Fam (The fans of the musical group "5 Seconds Of Summer"), Swifties (fans of the pop star Taylor Swift), Demigods (Percy Jackson Fandom), Phandom (fans of Amazingphil, Phil Lester and Danisnotonfire; Dan Howell) Youngbloods/Overcast Kids (Fall Out Boy fans), Marzipans (fans of Marzia; Pewdiepie's girlfriend), Sprinklerinos (fans of Sprinkleofglitter), Bro Army (fans of Pewdiepie), Tiny Planet Explorers (KickThePj), Phandom (Dan and Phil; Danisnotonfire & Amazingphil; DanandPhilGames; Dan Howell & Phil Lester), The Fault In Our Stars Fandom, Lushies (Matthew Lush), Tributes (The Hunger Games Fandom), Trekkies (Fans of "Star Trek"), R5ers / R5 family (Fans of the band "R5"), Gladers (Fans of The Maze Runner), Fairy Tailians (Fans of the anime Fairy Tail), Fallers (Fans of Gravity Falls), and Bronies (fans of "My Little Pony", usually referring to older males). Some fandoms even combine (eg. Wholock [Doctor Who and Sherlock], SuperWhoLock [Supernatural, Doctor Who and Sherlock]), you don't have to remain loyal only to one.
    • Don't be afraid to join into a fandom when you're starting out. It may seem like there's a lot of ground to cover in the beginning, but don't worry, you'll get the hang of it the more you're involved.
    • You should only pick something that you're passionate about, because it will make you want to share that passion with others!
  2. Meet people who share your interest. You will want to find people who share your enthusiasm. The internet has made this particularly easy, but also overwhelming. There are a variety of places to start.
    • A lot of fandoms are sustained by the internet. They can be found on places like Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, Archive of Our Own (AO3),, Wattpad, Quotev, Quizup, Younow, YouTube, or even Livejournal (that old dinosaur).
    • Look for the so called "fandom leaders" the people whose posts, artwork, and fanfiction is most popular. Paying attention to them can be a good way to get a feel for how things work in your fandom. It's also a good way to find other fans, in the people who are connected with or follow the most popular participants.
    • Fandom predates the internet, of course, with Star Trek fanzines, people writing letters to the original Watson as if he were real, and the enduring cultural phenomenon that was Star Wars.
  3. Learn fandom terminology. If you learn the language before delving in too deep it will help when you start getting further involved. Fandom, like anything, has evolved a language of its own that will seem incomprehensible to outsiders.
    • "Canon" is one of the most important words to learn. Canon is a term writers of fan fiction use to describe something that is aligned with the original storyline. For example, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger are canon.
    • "Headcanon" is a mini-story of an event or ship. It is not real, but could happen. i.e. Draco Malfoy and Hermione Granger romantically together, or Dramione, could be told in a story in a few paragraphs or less as a headcanon.
    • "Fanfiction" is where fans write stories about the thing they are passionate about. There is fanfiction about celebrities (called RPF or Real Person Fic), alternate version of a book or movie. A lot of fans contribute to fandom by writing fanfiction and posting it to Archive of Our Own, Wattpad, or on their personal tumblr blogs.
    • "Feels" are feelings that have gotten out of hand according to fans. These extreme feelings (usually sadness, heartbreak, or overwhelming joy) tend to come about during a particularly intense/upsetting/wonderful scene or performance in a book, movie, or television show. At this point many fans are moved to incoherency by the moment.
    • In fandom the term "meta" (possibly short for meta-analysis), means to analyze the source material in terms of character psychology, motivation, authorial intent. Meta can even be used to examine the fandom itself in these terms.[1]
    • "Theories" are fan-made ideas. Such as ideas about the next generation, someone is a vampire, or an analysis on hidden secrets. Many fans come up with theories and you can too. Some are clarified by authors some are not. But choose what you want to believe.
    • "Fan wars" are when two fandoms fight over which one is better. ex. Harry Potter vs. Twilight is a classic. You can choose to contribute or not. If you do chose to contribute though, try comparing characters, plot, story line, meaning, etc.
    • Speaking of fan wars, check out the Supernatural vs. Beliebers war. The Beliebers were totally out of their league, because Supernatural has all of the other big, bad, scary fandoms to back it up (SuperWhoLock, Harry Potter, Hannibal).
  4. Learn what shipping is. In many fandoms, you’ll see everyone talking about ships. No, they’re probably not boat enthusiasts. Ships (also seen as “shipping”) are pairings of characters or people in real life that fans would love to see become romantically or platonically involved. There are a variety of terms associated with shipping.[2]
    • Poke shipping is the shipping of two characters in Pokemon games/tv show. Ex: Ash & Misty.
    • Slash shipping is arguably one of the most popular and vocal parts of certain fandoms. It means the romantic pairing of two characters of the same sex, usually male (femslash is the term for female). The term slash is supposed to have come from the Star Trek: Original Series fandom with Spock and Kirk because of / in Spock/Kirk.[3] One theory for slash fiction's popularity is the lack of queer narratives in popular culture.[4]
    • The term OTP means One True Pairing and means that this is a person's number one ship, usually regulated to one fandom. Fans of different works can have numerous OTPs. These pairings are not always canon.
    • The term NOTP (pronounced No Tee Pee) means the opposite of OTP and means that this is a person's least favourite ship, or a ship that they hate eg the 'NO' part of it. Fans of different works can have numerous NOTPs. These pairings are usually not canon as that would be disrespectful (especially if they are real people) but can be. For example 'Ugh i hate Danrific, that is my NOTP!'.
  5. Research your specific fandom. Most fandoms have a lot of resources that contain information about the thing you're passionate about and the older members may not enjoy having to explain the same things over and over again.[5]
    • There are a variety of fansites to utilize: Tumblr, character and plot wiki pages, Livejournal,, Wattpad, AO3 has a wide variety of fanfiction, fandom forums.
    • For example, if you’re into LOST, there is an entire online database that includes everything remotely related to the show. For celebrities, fan-made blogs and websites are the hotspots for the latest pictures and information.
    • It helps to hang out in the background of your chosen fandom for a bit to get to know the ropes (so to speak) before jumping in. So hang back while you're learning.
    • Read Fanfiction (most fans will do this on the app wattpad)
    • Get merch.

Being a Part of Fandom

  1. Contribute to fandom. Once you've gotten the hang of how things work in your particularly fandom, get to work contributing. It's a great way to participate and to get to know other people.
    • Participate in discussions about your fandom circulating the internet. Across a wide variety of social media you can talk to like-minded fans and discuss and chat about your fandom. You don't have to be Tumblr famous to talk to people or have them listen to you.
    • Phrases such as OMG SIHAFOHSAUFOASH should do well.
    • Write fanfiction or meta and post it to AO3 (there's an application process to this website that you should learn about before trying to make an account there). There are things like spoiler tags, trigger warnings, and age ratings on fanfiction. Pay attention to these and make sure to tag your own things so people know what they're getting into.
    • Join a roleplaying forum for your favorite fandom. Roleplaying is when you act out a role from your source material. If you can't find one in your fandom, why not start one!
    • Make .gifs (Graphics Interchange Format) which is a format for compressing files and capturing scenes from your favorite movie or TV show.
    • Make YouTube videos about your ships, your favorite sports team, your favorite moments in a character's development, or parts of an interview with your favorite celebrity.
    • Make edits!
  2. Be critical of your fandom and its source work. Just because you love something doesn't mean you should ignore its flaws or become offended when someone points them out. Being a fan means understanding what's good about the thing you're passionate about and what needs work.
    • Call out problematic behavior. Fandom isn't free of the problems that plague society, so when you see problematic behavior (like sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia) explain to the perpetrator why such behavior is problematic. Be aware that they won't always listen and could react negatively. An example: the creators of the podcast, Welcome to Nightvale, have explicitly stated that the scientist character, Carlos is a person of color and yet a certain subset of the fandom persists in portraying him in art as white, or white-passing.
    • If it's canon itself that's problematic, writing meta about it or fixing it through fanfiction is a great way to deal with the problems it presents. Again, remember that not everyone will agree with you that the problems you see are problems and will argue with you.
    • Try to have civil discussions about problems in fandom and in source material. Shipping Wars are some of the worst offenders in this regard. The small and typically polite Due South fandom was almost torn apart by the Ray Wars (one which was a better Ray, Ray Kowalski or Ray Vecchio, and who should be shipped with the main character, Constable Benton Fraser).[6]
  3. Be respectful. Frankly this is a good rule of thumb for life, but it will also serve you well in fandom. This means being respectful of opinions you don't agree with among the fans who share your fandom and being respectful of the privacy of the people who created the source material.
    • Respect the people who are participating in fandom with you, even if they do not share your opinions, your ships, or your ideas about canon. People are allowed to have different views from you. Just remember, no one has the right to be mean to you (to call you names, pass around gossip about you, make comments about your appearance/your life).
    • Being respectful towards the people/person who created your source material is also incredibly important. Many fandoms have that one fan who took their passion too far and made the rest of the fandom look bad. This means allowing celebrities their privacy, not asking invasive questions, asking celebrities for a photo instead of just taking one. Criticism is fine, being rude is not. Criticism is telling someone how they can improve, being rude is telling someone everything that is wrong with them. There is a difference.
    • Respect the people you fangirl/boy over. If they are real people or the creators of a fandom, they have feelings too! Don't shove hate in their faces. The same goes with shipping, if it isn't canon, the people involved may not be comfortable with it so don't directly tweet them or tag them in things that might make them uncomfortable. The last thing you want is to force a ship so hard that it makes the people involved less close.
    • Never insult a fandom! This can make you look bad, and really offend some people who are attached to this fandom.


  • Make friends in the fandom
  • If they don't notice you it's okay, because they may be busy (A LOT)
  • Remember that no one can tell you what a true fan is and isn't. If you decide you're a fan of something, that makes you a fan. If someone asks you to prove you're a fan just know that this is a person not worth wasting your time on.
  • Experimentation with other fandoms is always accepted, so find more than one fandom to be part of.
  • See what people who share your fandom are also interested in. You could find your next fandom from them!
  • Don't try to join a fandom you're not interested in.
  • Making a fan account on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook works well. Get a Twitter account. Follow all your fellow fangirls, and who or what you're fangirling over! Twitter and Instagram is a haven for fangirls, and the platform gives you a chance to both be yourself and express your feelings for your fandom. Also follow your fellow fangirls on Pinterest.
  • If you are allowed, cover your wall(s) with posters of your favorite bands or other famous people.
  • Twitter is one of the best places to get noticed.
  • Don't say or do anything offensive to other fandom members.
  • Shout out to other people in that fandom's accounts on social media.
  • Also create an account on the official Fanfiction website and post there.
  • If you can, go to events that they hold like tours or events, or even better, conventions like Summer in the City or Vidcon for YouTube fangirls or Cons so you can meet not just one of your faves


  • Don't insult fandoms. Some fandoms are protective and you should be, too.
  • Some fandoms may or may not like the fandom you are in. Be careful. Some fans are really hurtful.
  • A good balance is always healthy. Balance your real life concerns with your fandom concerns and you'll do fine.
  • Remember that once you join a fandom, chances are, you're not getting out. Be careful when you join one; make sure the fandom doesn't get in the way of your real-life relationships or anything like that.

Related Articles

  • Fangirl on YouTube

Sources and Citations

  3. Bacon-Smith, Camille. "Spock Among the Women." New York Times Sunday Book Review, November 16, 1986.
  4. Weaver, John A.; Karen Anijar, Toby Daspit (2003). Science Fiction Curriculum, Cyborg Teachers, & Youth Culture(s). US: P. Lang. p. 84. ISBN 0-8204-5044-8.

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