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The Psychology Behind Fan Girls

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Kayli Beyale

on 1 May 2015

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Transcript of The Psychology Behind Fan Girls

The Science Behind
Defined as a form of expression of deep fondness, experiencing a wave of emotion comes over a person when one is stimulated by the sight, sound, or idea of the object of affection
Others define it as an intense involvement or temporary relief from psychological distress
The Psychology Behind Fangirls
Types of Fanatics
Neurologist Explains
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain's reward and pleasure centers
Chemical messenger that helps in the transmission of signals in the brain
Regulate movement and emotional responses
Low dopamine levels can cause loss of satisfaction, addictions, and lead to depression
When dopamine levels are elevated (being a fangirl) may lead to hyperactivity
The Science
A person needs to keep all their beliefs consistent to avoid mental discomfort. When that consistency is disturbed by an act that is undesirable or inconsistent/in conflict with their expectation, the discomfort they experience is called cognitive dissonance.
A person experiences cognitive dissonance as the excessive mental stress and discomfort experienced when confronted with new information that conflicts with their existing beliefs.
Example: "Directioners" believed there are 5 members, but one of the members left and caused a wave of reactions from fans
Can become intense enough to disrupt normal life and relationships
Liking may trigger an unusually high degree of wanting
Coping strategy
Driven to escape an issue that's difficult to face
Connect with others
Which ones are the worst?
The Semi-Fan really likes something but not obsessive
Standard Fan goes crazy if the obsession is mentioned, predictable
Rabid Fan has posters of the obsession on their wall, loses sleep over it, doesn't want to stray, & hyperventilates
Cognitive dissonance happens when the belief is disturbed and having to experience the discomfort
Article from Craig Jackson (Mental Health Worker) talks about fans can suffer from distraught news
"There is every point in parents being particular attentive to their children, to make sure they cope with their loss in a healthy and productive way. The accuracy of claims about the impact of boyband breakups is often disputed. I worked in child and adolescent psychology services in the North West of England..I certainly recall my workload increasing in the few weeks immediately afterwards. Many parents felt the need to refer their children (mostly pre-teen and teenage daughters) to the psychology service directly..I did get the impression that this was done by many parents in a pre-emptive way – not because their child was displaying excessive distress at the time, but in order to try and beat any queue or waiting list should such depressive or anxious symptoms develop...young people who may have felt (coerced into) the need to talk through their upset, distress and feelings of betrayal that the dissolution of their beloved pop band had caused them. That is how exactly powerful music can be to younger people and it should not be casually disregarded by us grown-ups as mere juvenilia...I am also equally intrigued by what many of these grieving fans will do as a way to cope with their loss. For some, a good cry, an emotional outburst or a period of sulking (whether they are aged 10 or 20) can be very therapeutic."
What Psychologists Say
"Don't underestimate those who chase after celebrities, their hearts are purer than anyone else, they love courageously...they symbolize peace, they don't discriminate based on race, they befriend those with the same interests from different countries, they're more passionate and warm than anyone else."

"In Defense of Fangirls"
"Zayn Malik’s departure from popular boyband One Direction last week unleashed a torrent of scorn and mockery; news anchors, bloggers and the Twittersphere groaned and made jokes at the expense of One Direction fans' feelings of loss. But isn’t it natural to be upset when your favorite band breaks up or loses a member? By brushing these girls aside and laughing at how stupid whatever they like is, we tell these young women that their interests are less important than what men like. That their feelings somehow become discredited and are not "real" by virtue of who is having them. But what’s not real about a 13-year-old girl who’s still figuring out how to express herself about things she cares about? This is troubling, given that idolization has proven to be a healthy form of growth for girls who want a safe, insular way to explore new romantic feelings and interpersonal relationships. And when you’re attempting to make sense of this, it’s only natural that the group who sings about safe, unconditional love will be an appealing option.
The continual derision of the "fangirl" is damaging, it perpetuates the idea that girls act one way, and boys another. She’s a veritable hodgepodge of misdirected, hormone-driven excitement that plays into the very Victorian idea of a "hysterical" female: the impulsive, borderline-psychotic one who lacks rationale and thinks only with her emotions. It's the root of an insulting stereotype that is still used against female senators, lawyers and presidential candidates as a way of barring them entry to positions of power and prestige. After all, "crazy" has and will always be the go-to adjective for the "fangirl," to the point where the two have become almost synonymous. It’s something that has allowed others in the past to dismiss valid passions and disappointments with a hint of sexism. It is a way of telling young girls that they should be embarrassed about what matters to them.
Coloring most of this sentiment also is the idea that the only draw for these girls are the physical attributes of these male pop idols, that they can’t appreciate the actual talent or body of work. Instead, "fangirl" is an idea that has been compounded with the idea of irrational, silly and hysteric excitement, which is reductive at least and misogynistic at worst. It makes it all too easy for people to dismiss women as false enthusiasts with no real critical perspective or stake in the music itself, despite that women are the #1 purchasers and consumers of music. So let’s stop using the word "fangirl" to marginalize women, let's not use "fangirl" to force them into enjoying what has been vetted as a suitable interest. Let’s free "fangirl" from the relegation of silly and see it for what it is: a serious music fan in the making." (Song, Sandra)
Signs of Becoming a Fangirl
Negative Effects of Fan Girls
Emotions & Reactions
Internet Addiction
Not a disorder
Not the same thing as OCD
Applies to books, movies, T.V
Common thing
Leads to new heights of an individual (stalking, blog posts, time they put in to being a hard core fan for their object of affection)
A male fan, especially of movies, comic books, video games, or science fiction
Cannot ridicule females because they are a fan of something of some kind
Less common, but may not want to admit their object of affection
Fangirl Parody
Full transcript