Being a successful, professional fangirl is by no means easy. There is actually a lot that goes into prepping yourself to become a real fangirl. Not to mention that there are an endless amount of fandoms that exist, and finding the select few that you really identify with can be quite a challenge.
Step 1: Familiarize yourself with the definitions:
1) "Sophisticated definition:" fan*girl - a female fan, especially one who is obsessive about comics, movies, music, or science fiction. (C)(Oxford Dictionaries).
2) "My definition:" fan*girl - a female fan, especially one who is prone to creating shrines to a specific movie, owning more fandom-related clothes than normal ones, finding every excuse to insert their fandom of choice into normal conversations, and crying profusely every time she reads her favorite character's death scene. (C)(Me).
Step 2: Choose a fandom:
Star Wars OR Star Trek? Harry Potter OR Game of Thrones? Lord of the Rings OR...well, there isn't really anything in the same league as Lord of the Rings.
How do you decide between all the fandoms? Here's how you can tell which fandom is best for you:
1. Start by exploring the stories you already like: if you own the extended versions of Lord of the Rings (ahem...guilty), then why not start there? If you're the first in line on opening night to see a new Star Wars movie, then, yeah, I'd say that would qualify you to claim that fandom.
2. If you find yourself freaking out whenever you see someone wearing a specific geeky, fangirl-y shirt, then make sure to keep track of which fandoms you do that to most.
3. If you've grown up reading a favorite book series, then it may be time to explore the side culture that goes along with that series. Are there enough places to buy t-shirts to satisfy every fangirl's inner need to express their fandom? (Psst...if you can get past the emo music and overall uncomfortable feel of Hot Topic, they actually have some pretty decent clothes). Do enough people like your fandom, or are you going to be the only one in your town who really gets it?
4. If you have feelings (i.e. crying, uncontrollable hysteria, wailing and gnashing of teeth) whenever a character in a book/movie you like dies, that sounds like a pretty good fandom to stick with. If you're that emotionally involved in a story, then that is hands down your fandom.
5. If you still can't decide which fandom you want to be involved in, ask a friend (specifically a geeky friend) for help. If you don't have a geeky friend, ask one of those people whose shirt you freaked out over. They'd be glad to help you.
Step 3: Acting the Part
Most fangirls generally devote their time to one specific fandom. There is a rare species of fangirl out there that has the brain capacity to properly fangirl over 2 or more fandoms (mine are Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter...go, brain capacity!). If you're not going to do it right, don't do it at all.
Once you've found your fandom, you need to become the fangirl you were born to be. This includes, and is not limited to: dressing in fandom clothes, associating with other fangirls, reading, discussing your fandom whenever possible, reading, annoying the heck out of your family by sending not-so-subtle hints about your fandom-related Christmas presents, reading, taping quotes from your fandom all over your bedroom until it looks like a printer threw up, begging strangers for money so you can visit the places where your fandom was filmed (UM, HELLO, NEW ZEALAND!), reading, etc. You get the point.
Step 4: Don't Let it Define You
Being a fangirl is fun, but if you find yourself forever thinking about your fandom and not able to concentrate on anything else important (school, job, life), then you should probably tone it down. If that means not wearing a fandom shirt for a few weeks, then go ahead and do it. Remember, kids: it does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live. (< Yes, that is a Dumbledore quote). Keep in mind that fandoms are fictional, and those characters you love so much are, sadly, fake. Occupying your time with dreams of running away with your fandom's main character may be fun, but it won't help you better your life...unless you happen to write for Mugglenet.com.
The most important fangirl golden rule is: do NOT obsess. Nobody likes a person who only talks and thinks about fandoms. Honestly, I think even other fangirls get annoyed by each other sometimes. Be open to doing other things outside of the fangirl bubble.
I hope this guide has helped you to grasp a better understanding of how to be a professional fangirl! I enjoyed writing it, and I certainly hope you enjoyed reading it.
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Remember, never, EVER leave the house without your wand! :)