For the love of fangirls | Yve Blake

For the love of fangirls | Yve Blake


Four years ago, a teenage girl changed my life in one conversation. She was 13 years old, she was a friend’s little cousin and she casually told me that she had met the man
she was going to marry. So I said, “OK, tell me about him.” And she told me that his name
was Harry Styles. (Laughter) So I laughed a little, like you, and then she said,
“I know you don’t think I’m serious, but I’m actually going to be with him. Because I love him so much that I would slit someone’s
throat to be with him.” (Laughter) And that was the moment that I became obsessed with fangirls. I didn’t know it then, but that moment would transform
the course of my life and go on to change everything
that I thought I knew about being an adult, being a woman and being truly happy. But before we get started, what is a fangirl, and what is a Harry Styles? Well, according to the dictionary,
the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a fangirl is a “girl or woman who is an extremely
or overly enthusiastic fan of someone or something.” Technically, you can have
fangirls of anything, but my specific interest
was in fangirls of boy bands. Because of their somewhat
lethal reputation. I remember, my dad had told me this story
of some Beatles fans in the ’60s, who apparently had torn
a parked BMW to literal pieces, because the band had supposedly
just been sat in it. In the ’60s, the Beatles
were the biggest boy band on the planet, but when I met this girl in 2015, the biggest boy band on the planet
was none other than One Direction. And Harry Styles was a member
of One Direction. Harry Styles was reputed
for his compassionate demeanor and perfect hair. I learn this when I read thousands
of tweets about him. I learn that he is a sweet cupcake. I learn that he is a perfect angel. I learn that one time, he vomited on the side
of a freeway in California and that within two hours, fans had turned the site of the vomit
into a sacred shrine. (Laughter) I scroll through — (Laughter) I scroll through fan-made
paintings of Harry, baby photos of him, paintings of baby photos of him. I watch videos that show me how to make
DIY love totems for Harry — for example, a lampshade
covered in photos of his face, or a key ring that states
the exact time of his birth. I read hours of fan fiction, and I fall down this specific rabbit hole of stories that actually
place me as a protagonist inside of various imagined
romances with him. So in one, I tell him
that I’m pregnant with his child. In another, we meet in hospital
where we’re both fighting cancer, and in another, we fall so deeply in love that we become fugitives who kill people. (Laughter) But then … something unthinkable happens. One Direction, the biggest
boy band on the planet, loses a member. Zayn Malik quits the band, and the internet explodes with feels. I read tweets as these girls describe
the physical pain of this loss, how they can’t eat or sleep or walk. I read them describe
how much Zayn had meant to them. And I watch videos
of 10-year-old girls crying. But, like, really crying. And then I watch as people
repost these videos but with new titles that contain words like “crazy”
and “creepy” and “insane.” And suddenly, my YouTube sidebar contains “Compilation: Fans react to Zayn leaving. Psycho alert!” Then I watch as mainstream
news outlets cover the story. I read them describe
these “young banshees.” I read one journalist say, “It’s a commonly known fact
since the age of the Beatles that there is nothing
scarier in this world than a group of excited teenage girls.” (Laughter) And then I ask myself a question
I’ve never considered in my life. Why is it that the image of young girls
screaming their lungs out with excitement for a pop star is considered crazy, psycho, scary, a bit much? But the image of young boys
screaming their lungs out for a footballer is perfectly normal? Boys crying at the footie, that’s the love of the game. Girls crying at a Justin Bieber concert? That’s pathetic. And as soon as I realized
this double standard, I realized that all
of my curiosity about fangirls had been sparked
by exactly the same judgments. I, too, had suspected
that they were a bit crazy. I’d looked at images
of girls screaming for the Beatles, the Backstreet Boys, One Direction, and the word that had come to mind
was not “excitement” but “hysteria.” And what I did not know
was the history of that word. That in the 19th century, hysteria was considered to be
a legitimate female mental disorder that could be diagnosed by doctors if women displayed excessive emotion
or difficult behavior. The word “hysterical” comes
from the Latin word “hystericus,” meaning “of the womb,” because it was thought that this condition
was caused by a dysfunction of the uterus. And so, a treatment for hysteria was a hysterectomy. Which is what we still call
a removal of the womb. And at this point, I decide to redeclare my obsession. Because I am no longer
just obsessed with fangirls. Now, I’m obsessed with the way
that the world talks about fangirls and the way that the world looks
at young, female enthusiasm. Because, I want to know, if girls grow up in a world where words like “crazy” and “psycho”
and “hysterical” are casually used to describe female enthusiasm, then how does that shape the way
that those girls get to see themselves? And if girls grow up
in a world that tells them that they are designed
just a bit crazier than the boys, then isn’t that a little bit
like telling them that they are born less capable
of rationality than men, less capable of reason and unworthy of the same
intellectual respect as their brothers. Separately, I become obsessed
with female screams. Not in a creepy way. I’m talking about, like,
those shrieks and squeals that fangirls let out at concerts. I want to know why it is that some people instinctively flinch
when I merely describe the sound, like it’s painful just to think about it. Then I meet Amy Hume. She’s a voice coach. And she blows my mind. Because she tells me
that the female voice between the ages of 11 and 13 is one of the most
interesting things to study. Why? Because there’s this research
by Carol Gilligan that says that is the age when girls begin to perform
and alter their voices. For example, adding breath for maturity, (Imitating vocal fry)
or adding vocal fry for apathy. (Laughter) But tell me, according to this research, when do you reckon boys begin to perform
and alter their voices? Now, I guessed 18, because “men mature later,” right? Wrong. The answer was four years old. Because that is when boys learn
not to cry or squeal. That those are not manly sounds. And that’s when I realized that a fangirl’s shriek
is therefore like a superpower. (Laughter) Because it’s this fearless
and honest expression of pure celebration and joy, and it’s a sound they have not forgotten how to make. I actually reckon that fangirls
have a second superpower, because they know how to do something that most of my adult friends
have no idea how to do. Fangirls know how to love something
without apology or fear. My years of researching fangirls culminated in this determination to write something that celebrates
and vindicates them. So I decided to make
this thriller comedy musical that sounds like a Beyoncé concert
meets rave meets church. I called it “Fangirls,” and I designed it like a Trojan horse. So it appears to make fun
of these young women, only to, like, smuggle them
into your heart. (Laughter) Thanks. (Applause) At one point — Thanks. At one point, a girl sings, “Why should I hide my feelings? Because they annoy you? Or because it isn’t what the boys do?” And as a former fangirl cynic, that is the question
that I want to leave you all with. Why should fangirls tone it down? Because they’re crazy? Or because our definition of “reasonable” is based on what
it is acceptable for men to do? What if we rethink the judgments
we’ve been conditioned to feel when we see young women
screaming their lungs out with excitement? What if we decided to rethink
the words we use to describe that joy, and what if we didn’t
allow ourselves to diminish girls with words that undermine
their intelligence, their interests and their capability? Because, according to my research, they are capable of building a shrine
to Harry Styles’s vomit on the side of a freeway within two hours. (Laughter) That takes some executive skills
in logistics and communication. (Laughter) If that isn’t “capable,”
I don’t know what is. (Applause) I reckon, instead of judging fangirls,
we can learn from them. We can all die tomorrow, so why not love things
while we’re still breathing? And with that, I’d like to ask you all
to try something with me. Can I get you all to stand up? Stand up if you can, stand up. Alright, so here’s what’s going to happen. I’m going to count to three and when I finish, I’m going to ask every single one of you to let out your very best fangirl scream. (Laughter) Yeah? Here is why I am asking you to do this. Because if all five-or-so thousand of you
do this and really commit, we all get our first chance
to hear that sound and to decide that it is not
a crazy sound. It is a hopeful sound. So shall we do this? I said, shall we do this? (Audience: Yes!) Alright. OK, I am going to cheat
and I’m not going to go full volume, because I’m miked
and we don’t want to hear that. But it means you all
have to go 110 percent. You ready? Take a deep breath with me. Think of someone you love, let’s go, one, two, three. (Audience screams) (Laughter and applause) You all just sounded stunning and as sane and as intelligent and as dignified as when you walked in this room. (Laughter) Thank you. (Applause)

100 comments

  1. ''You all just sounded stunning and as sane and as intelligent and as dignified as when you walked into this room"
    That last sentence as a conclusion! Perfect!
    As long as it doesn't hurt anyone, why would it be wrong to be passionate about something/someone.
    I'm an ARMY, I'm 28 yo, I'm a hard worker, I'm a woman, I'm not crazy. I'm just a human being, going through life, expressing my feelings.

  2. For the people who disagree bec she made it into a gender debate:

    What she described are the extreme cases of fangirling like the shrine! But the way fangirls are treated is not right. We are made to believe that we need to hide our love, our emotions, control what we feel to get th validation of the society, to be taken seriously, as someone intellectual and not just someone who screams when they are excited. I agree, the expression of love for boys and girls is a lil different but it's not true that boys are not dedicated fans of the sports they follow, that they will not stay up to catch the match live, or fly to contries to attend a final. But such expressions are accepted. If I told any of my friends that I went to Singapore to attend a concert, guess what, they'll call me crazy. That's where gender debate comes in. But yeah basing the entire talk on just gender difference is not an apt way to put your point. I see fangirls who have used their love for BTS into something productive like making art or creative writing or DONATIONS just bec our favs want to make the world a better place and actively participate in such things. We don't deserve to treated with respect bec boys are, we deserve to be treated with respect bec we aren't doing anything wrong in our way of love.

  3. Beautiful speech 👏🏻👏🏻 makes me want to reconsider why I want to hide the fact that I am enthusiastic about something in a manner which is not ‘reasonable’ to the society. There is nothing wrong in being excited about something we love and cherish ❤️

  4. "words that undermine their intelligence or capabilities"
    They undermine these traits by their behaviour already🤦🏼‍♂️🙄

  5. Yesterday i told my friend that i am (we are) so obsessed with characters who even not exist and was feeling a little bad for loving them so much. She told me that in this world if they make you happy and feel you better then why should we stop making ourselves happy by not loving them? A few minutes ago she sent me this video which define us and make us feel better as a "fangirl". Thank you so much <3

  6. Whilst I agree that that women's enthusiasm being frowned upon is a double standard, the fact that she can casually say she knew a girl who said they would s**t a throat to be with Harry styles, or jokingly say they built shrine over his vomit (within a couple of hours) and try spin it as "logistics skills" and be met with an applause also indicates a double standard…

    People may mock + laugh at this behaviour, but they are still allowed to engage in what would be considered "creepy" stalker-like behaviour for large groups of men to do, without their behaviour ever really being taken seriously, especially with consideration to the celebrity in question.

    That being said I am aware that most fangirl news stories are generally just harmless displays of enthusiasm.

    It was an interesting talk with good points and I learned some history, but if you're self professed goal is to portray something as good, you may have confirmed your bias to ignore anything toxic.

  7. I think it's because of some fans' lack of respect and boundaries — that's why people have bad impressions of them which is highlighted by the media. I think some fans are really not aware that they are making their fandom look bad or toxic, therefore becoming an anti-fan unknowingly. someone said that in fandoms that are such big in numbers and diversity that it is only statistical and probable that there WILL be a number of obnoxious people within them which should not be a generalization of what the fandom represents.

  8. Her argument is based on a false comparison: if you were to see a girl screaming their heart out for football, you would see it as normal, as with a boy. Likewise, if you were to see a boy screaming emotionally over a band or building a literal shrine, you would think them to be as pathetic as a girl doing so.

  9. Hey look. Someone who went to school for gender studies and now she’s grasping at straws for a “lecture”

  10. Honestly, I've seen people calling fanboys crazy too. It's not about the gender, it's about the thing they are a fan of. Sports is a socially acceptable thing to support bec many adults are a part of it. But fans of bands get prejudices and called crazy.

  11. Yeah, I don't want anyone who makes that sound, regardless of gender making decisions for me.

    The sound is not the issue, is the bonding over reality reframing that is dangerous.

  12. This talk took a one-sided turn. There's a difference between screaming your lungs out and admitting doing physical harm or tearing apart things. Clever intersectional gender gas lighting.

    Apparently she's never researched Philadelphia Eagles fans after a superbowl.

  13. Harraaahhhhhhh!!!!!! 😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘🌏🌍🌎💖💝💖💝💖💝

    P.S. I'm a DIRECTIONER!!!!!

    Damn!!!! This woman literally summarised our lives!

    I absolutely love HER!!!!! 😍

  14. 'Fan girls' are looke like that, mostly because of the extreme examples of how dangerous they get when they don't get their way.

    It isnt the capability or not, it is the blind 'obsession' that often causes several nasty problems.

    Fan girl screme only sounds as if reason goes out the window entirely… still as smart as ya where before, just a massive blind spot l.

  15. I am a fangirl and am proud! However, there is lines to be drawn with being a fangirl or boy, if it goes past the point of obsession and turns into harm that’s where I draw a line. My self rule is that I do not fangirl real life people, because the line between fantasy and reality can be blurred very easily. I knew fangirls and boys that would stalk, rage, and turn very violent when someone would bring up their obsessions. Which is why I never ask a fangirl about it, because if I personally don’t like it, I wouldn’t want it shoved down my throat lmao.

  16. Football is considered a religion in America but I've never heard of a football riot or football gang of hooligans. I have heard of Canadians rioting for hockey games though.

    Any dude who thinks he needs to torch a bus is just as crazy as a group of girls who strip a car.

  17. My inspiration of my Life is BTS …. And my objective is to be a part of that ocean of army waving army bomb ….. I love them because of their passion….Even though I am unable to understand them but some how my heart just can't stop beating ….. as I hear their voices filled with passion ….. Their songs fill me with enthusiasm to study even more harder so that one day…

  18. Hello I’m looking for happy fangirls, that feel understood and represented by this amazing woman! What fandom R U a part of? No juging.
    At the moment, for me it’s KPOP.

  19. 1. don't know the band, but nowhere as good as the Beatles, I don't like modern music.
    2. overly fanatic people need serious therapy, everything you described is not healthy, immoral behavior, dangerous, relationship ruining, and disturbing. don't applaud fanatics. there's nothing wrong with enthusiasm, passion for something you like is great, but a lot of these examples were extreme.
    3. it's the opposite, it's inappropriate no matter who is screaming over what. fanboying over footballers is just as unhealthy as fangirling over singers. we need to teach younger people not to waste their lives with obsession. (in my head I'm comparing fangirling to being an alcoholic, where moderate drinking is fine, but excessive drinking is deadly). because you're right, the double standard is wrong, but instead of normalizing obsessive behavior, it needs to be toned down equally. (side note, another "treatment" for female "hysteria" was how the vibrator was invented).
    4. your right, people shouldn't casually throw around words like crazy, it's just as damaging.
    5. shrieking can damage the ears, and it's obnoxious, again, no matter who does it. also harsh on the throat.
    6. your an adult, grow up. you should know better than to encourage destructive and disruptive behavior when impressionable children see this.
    7. obsession is not love.
    8. I'm not saying to hide your feelings, just don't let them consume you.

  20. "Why should I hide my feelings? Because they annoy you? Or because it isn't what the boys do?" (9:20) As a woman, sociologist, and fan, this hits hard.

  21. to be honest, I never get why people think being a fangirl is cringy and stuff… I'm 18 and I'm ARMY for 2 years now. and I know that there too many kids and teenagers who act maybe a little bit different when it comes to their fandom just as much as the mature ones. but I also see people who are really going harsh on them on the social media. the thing i don't understand is.. why would you hate a girl who is just 10-15.. this won't make her better. going through puberty in a century like this is totally something different.. and these girls are just in the process of finding themselves. of course they will do crazy things in this process. everyone does.. we just need to understand them and kindly help them "if they are dong something wrong." if they just love their idols so much then why would we care? why do people have so much hate in their hearts that they hate people too easily on the internet. to be honest, being a fangirl is the best part of my life. because I learned how to love.

  22. does anyone remember how Emery Bingham in one of her videos said that when she met Ariana Grande (she had a VIP ticket) Ariana said that someone was screaming really loud during the concert and then emery said that it was her and she was very ashamed of it. Now seeing this video I’m at truly sad

  23. Egh, idk where it comes from that fangirls are less inteligent than any sportsfan. They seem to be same level to me. Calling someone crazy does not mean someone must be less inteligent. :/

  24. Why can't both the fangirls and the male sports nutters be called crazy and even pathetic? What happened to "everything in moderation"?

  25. Lol Boy gets judged too depending on what they like to. It's more about what people go crazy over not a gender issues.

  26. Boys dont dreamup a fake love live with a footbal player. An boys dont want to smell the cloths of them ether so no fan girls are crazy af

  27. I WAS going to marry Joey from New Kids on the Block. I had 5 fish named Danny, Donnie, Joey, Jordan & Jon. I at 41 years old look back at that time and smile. I just wish I knew where my pillowcase with a huge photo of Joey wound up .

  28. I'm wondering and I'm pretty sure because of her example since women really are smarter than men they ,enjoy singing like it is like a sport to them.I can see that if the music is good they wim.their team wins.Huh,wow,I never figured this in before.Maybe.I'm pretty smart too I know the Psychiatricks of Psychiatree I see Eden need too much and t-r-ee is Pi-r-square forgery. Huh.Whoda thunk.Peace out sunny People.

  29. I'm also a fangirl. An enthusiastic fangirl of the biggest boyband in the world, BTS. People have been always wondering why I never hesitate to let out my voices, fangirling every chances that I got and some of them called me as "crazy" and "obsessed". To me, fangirling is a something that's very healthy and as the speaker have said, it's not an annoying sound if you listen carefully but it's a "hopeful voice" a hopeful screaming. This screams that we all let out during the concert is a something which is looked as giving our boys hope. They need our scream so they could change this world. They need us to be with them so we can gather this positive screaming into something bigger and for that, I'm very grateful. I have never hesitate to scream my lungs out for them as my screams, along with other armys out there, it's giving them a big hope for them to continue. We can do many things, we can change the world to become a better place. I hope people can learn something throughout this and get rid of the perceptions of calling us "crazy". Some might not gonna do it but I believe we all need to change that.

    Although there's dark side of it, obsessed fans who can go farther and do things beyond imaginations, it's all possible in any kinds of fandom. It's inevitable. It's all depends on ourselves of how healthy you wants your fangirling way could go, how it impacted your lives, the way you want them to be seen by non-fangirls in your daily lives or even on the social media. There's the bright sides of it and also the dark sides of becoming a fangirl. As for myself, I found fangirling was one of the ways that I did in my every day life to escape from the busy schedules, school works and assignments and etc. They helped me a lot. I'm thankful for that.

  30. The Beatles were on the Ed Sullivan Show around 1964. They showed all the girls screaming in the audience. Even at 8 years old I thought their screaming was ridiculous.

  31. I legit miss the early TED days. You know, back when it was about science, physics, history, and astronomy.

    Not fangirling. Witaf

  32. I was 13 years old at the peak of Duran Duran's popularity. I remember the passion I felt like it was yesterday. They're still my favorite band–35 years later.

  33. I started crying listening to this because honestly it does get so old having to hide enjoying something because of the people around you just labeling you as a psycho

  34. It's exactly how I felt when my first bias left boy band. She's right. I think I can love them all my life. And if I meet my idols at the concert, I will cry and scream. It's wonderful to be a fangirl. I know my dream never comes true, but I never stop dreaming about them. I'm EXO-L, NCTzen, Carat and Wannable

  35. Not sure if this has been said or not, but I also find it interesting that boys modulate their voice at age 4. This is an example of how patriarchy is bad for men as well, and why men should be feminists as well. Well said.

  36. I would call that an obsession and I think that writing fanstories (sidenote: do the things you love) is a little creepy because you are planning and publishing a fiction story imagining it would be real with other real persons involved not asking if it was okey for them… I dont know how do they feel if there goes a story about them public which they dont want to. Fpr me this isnt a genderthing, boys screaming at their tvs at football/soccerplayer are creepy aswell

  37. Despite of the content that I have 0 interest in it, she's amazing. Her speech , body language.. was perfect!

  38. So wetting yourself and the concert venue seats and floors with fangirl excitement is something to be commended? Ask the cleaning ladies how they feel about it.

  39. I've watched it several times and every time I finished with tears. That fangirling scream is touching deeply in my soul

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