Squee! The Challenges & Rewards of Being a Fangirl

Is there still shame around being a fangirl? Or do you want to squee about it from the rooftops? Three women who identify as fangirls explore the ups and downs of being a fangirl and celebrate the community of fandom, the impact on identity development, and fandom’s effect on creativity and self expression.

Includes clips from the upcoming documentary web series ‘Squee!’

The term ‘fangirl’ has various definitions, from Merriam Webster’s “A girl or woman who is an extremely or overly enthusiastic fan of someone or something” to the Urban Dictionary’s “a rabid breed of human female who is obsessed with either a fictional character or an actor and has been known to glomp, grope and tackle when encountering said obsessions.”

Such definitions contribute to shame around being passionate about something loved; at the same time, women of all ages challenge that shame by identifying as fangirls and by participating in some form of fandom. Fangirls have spoken back to the shaming of the broader culture by celebrating their passions – by attending conventions, writing fanfiction, making fanart and fanvids, and cosplaying their favorite characters.

In this panel, three women who identify as fangirls explore the shame that still exists around fandom for women, especially adult women, as well as the benefits of being a fan. The support of the fan community in encouraging creativity, individuality, and genuine self expression, is discussed. In addition, the ways in which fandom facilitates identity exploration and development is explored.

The panelists bring diverse perspectives and expertise to the program. Hansi Oppenheimer is a documentary filmmaker ​(‘Color Me Obsessed’, ‘Squee!’) whose work deals with fandom. Her web series, ‘Squee! ’ is an exploration of fangirl culture and a celebration of fandom. Cecilia Tan is a writer, editor, sexuality activist, and founder of Circlet Press, the first press devoted primarily to erotic science fiction and fantasy.

Dr. Lynn Zubernis is a clinical psychologist and professor who has written five books on fandom and the psychology of being a fan (‘Fangasm Supernatural Fangirls’, ‘Fandom At The Crossroads’, ‘Fan Culture: Theory/Practice.’)

The panelists will also discuss the challenges facing female fans and the ways in which fans are negotiating those challenges to find fulfillment, inspiration and creative expression and entertain attendees with clips from the upcoming web series “Squee!”

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