I don’t really consider myself a “fan girl.” Mostly because I don’t like the term. It conjures in my mind images of people that I don’t like. I also don’t do a lot of the things that “fan girls” do. I can even, when I “ship” something I have to make a trip to the post office, and I have no idea how to properly use photoshop. I’m not even on Tumblr (I was for about 10 seconds in college but it was making me hate people that I like in real life so I quit).
However, I would consider myself a nerd girl or, to stop perpetuating unhealthy stereotypes, a nerd. I have to make a distinction between being kind of nerdy and being a “fan girl” because I believe that they are different. I like “nerdy” things; I like reading (especially fantasy and science fiction), I like super heroes, I like knowledge and the act of creation which all fall into that nerd and geek category. Honestly, with nerdy things suddenly being cool and teen girls over-running the internet with memes and fanfiction and other internet things that I feel too old to know about I just don’t know where I stand anymore. All I know is that I don’t want to be called things like Potterheads and Cumberbitches and whatever other fandom names there are. That still feels like teasing to me. And also that feels like the person’s whole life revolves around that which is unhealthy and not how my life feels. Yeah, I’m excited about Avengers: Age of Ultron and I’m going to go see it when it comes out (several times) but I’m not freaking out about it. I can wait and while I am waiting I will dedicate my time and brainpower to something else.
I don’t know. I just think that with Pinterest and Tumblr and all of these other things people are too defined by what they like and then by what they know about those things they like.
Oddly enough the differences between “nerds” and “fan girls” was not what I sat down to write this blog about. I sat down to write a blog about the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and how important fiction can be (even if reading that fiction makes a person a nerd). So here goes.
After having to wait and completely losing interest in the Inheritance “trilogy” (it was supposed to be a trilogy) I have a hard and fast policy about not reading a series until all of the books have been released. This means that I only just started reading the Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan a few weeks ago. While reading it I have thought a lot about the Percy Jackson book series, which Heroes of Olympus spins off of and includes many characters from. Specifically it has made me think of a little boy I met a few years ago (after I had read all of the books). See, I liked the books a normal amount. The story intrigued me, I liked the characters and the narrative, and I liked the fact that it was a modern day Clash of the Titans story. This is where my earlier distinction becomes important, I liked and was drawn to those books because I am super nerdy and I like nerdy things like that but I would not have placed myself into the “Camp Half Blood Fan Girl” category. Even now that I am reading/loving the new series I wouldn’t put myself into that category.
(You might be looking at my Pinterest account right now and saying “but you have a Pinterest Board titled Camp Half-Blood. You must be a Percy Jackson Fan Girl.” Well I would just like to point out that I also have a Pinterest Board dedicated to my hair and another one dedicated to Cats.)
After reading the series I spent a lot of time working with a boy who was about 11 years old. Just to give you a feel for why this was important I’m going to give you a little information about this kid. He had serious ADHD, he was a little dyslexic, he did not know who his father was, and he was always asking questions about scenarios in which he could possibly be a hero of some kind. I smell a half blood. So I brought out of my library my copy of The Lightning Thief and lent it to this kid to read. He devoured it. It was a book about someone who was like him and who had been mostly counted out but could still be a hero and could still be important. Meeting Percy Jackson gave that boy I was working with some hope.
That’s why I think that having these fan things is so important (even if I don’t identify with the idea of being a “fan girl”). Everyone has that book or character that has helped them through things. Reading or nerding out isn’t just meant for escaping our regular bring lives. It’s something more important than that.
So maybe I personally don’t identify with fandoms but it is nice to know they are out there for when you do need them.