How to Find Your Tribe as a Fangirl

Although female fans have unfairly earned a reputation as “rabid” and “crazy” participating in fandoms has a surprisingly positive effect on people’s livelihoods. It fosters creativity (think fan art and fanfiction), encourages critical thinking and – most importantly – offers a sense of belonging. 

Finding fellow fangirls and forming these kinds of friendships with those who obsess over the same things plays an important role in discovering and exploring our sense of identity. It provides a safe space for self-expression where we can be completely uninhibited and authentic.

The internet has proved to be a useful tool for fans to bond over and share their love for their favourite artists, TV shows and movies. However, as websites like Tumblr fade into obscurity and online communities become a thing of the past, it is more difficult than ever to find your tribe as a female fan. How exactly can we find this sense of community and belonging again?

Put yourself out there – online and in person

This shift away from communities on the internet is particularly troubling as most of the socialising we do nowadays is online. Whilst social media has become more insular and it has become much harder to make new friends in person (particularly as an adult!), it is still possible to find your fangirl tribe if you are willing to leave your comfort zone and put yourself out there.

That said, this is still something I find challenging, especially since I have graduated from university and am no longer in full-time education. The easiest way to do this is to go online, despite it being harder nowadays to find these spaces. It’s still possible to find digital communities – you just need to know where to look! Good places to start include Facebook pages, Reddit forums and following fan accounts. The key is to not be a passive consumer of social media; you’re much more likely to make progress if you actually reach out to people or make posts yourself – so you could even create your own fan page! 

It is also possible to put yourself out there in person. More recently, concerts have become a place to connect with your fellow fangirls. For example, Taylor Swift’s concerts foster this sense of community with a culture of trading friendship bracelets. Concerts and gigs are generally a good start to finding people in person, and I know several people who have made friends with people they met at a live venue. 

Be True To Yourself

Before taking the practical steps to find your tribe, it’s important to make sure that you’re approaching it authentically. Being yourself will ensure that you find the perfect people for you. However, it’s hard out there for us fangirls! We’re a demographic that has historically been taken less seriously, as traditionally “feminine” interests are often mocked and deemed “embarrassing” or “frivolous”. 

Unfortunately, to find those fans you really gel with, you will likely have to deal with dismissive and unsupportive people who may belittle your interests in order to feel superior. Growing up liking things like “Twilight”, which was endlessly made fun of, was a humbling experience to say the least. However, the past few years has seen many fangirls embrace liking “girly” things again – take the recent “Twilight Renaissance” on social media, for example. Ultimately, unashamedly loving something and being openly passionate may not be easy or come naturally at first, but it’s well worth it. I personally think it actually makes a person more interesting. Other fangirls will too, and will naturally gravitate towards your enthusiasm!

Avoid Toxicity

This should go without saying, but it’s important to avoid the toxic side of fandoms when finding your tribe. Whilst the perception of fangirls as “crazy” is greatly exaggerated, there will always be a few outliers in a community that take things a bit too far. Take the recent events regarding Nicki Minaj fans (or Barbz) doxxing social media users who criticised her during her feud with Megan Thee Stallion. Loving an artist intensely is not a bad thing, but doxxing, bullying and death threats are (obviously) unacceptable and unfortunately are a small part of many fan communities.

Despite this, I have actually observed that (for the most part) partaking in fandoms often encourages critical thinking. Being a RuPaul’s Drag Race fan was an interesting experience for me, for example, as many of the queens and fans are uniquely self-aware and not above criticising the show, the audience or even RuPaul himself. Personally, finding fellow fangirls who are enthusiastic but can acknowledge faults in their fandom and the media they follow is essential. We can talk about artist’s and media’s limitations (after, these are often very powerful people with a lot of influence) whilst unashamedly fangirling over them.

Similar Values And Interests

On a similar note, finding those who share your interests is great, but it’s also important to find those who share your morals and values. As previously mentioned, I value holding bad behaviour accountable, even regarding celebrities and artists that I love. I have also noticed that there are often smaller communities within fandoms – for example, certain fans may overlap with LGBTQ+ or neurodiverse communities, which is another great way to gain a sense of belonging.

This also relates to another benefit of finding those who like the same artist as you; it means that it’s likely they will share other interests. For example, if you like queer artists like Renee Rapp, you’re also likely to be a fan of other similar queer artists like Chappell Roan. It might be useful to look for fangirls who have multiple interests that overlap with yours, but even if you don’t, it means that you can get some good recommendations and broaden your horizons.

Finding your tribe as a fan isn’t as hard as you might think. At gigs, you’re already surrounded by people who have something in common with you – just reach out and say hey – chances are, people will happily chat to you. Online, head out into the news feeds and reply to other fans. Start some conversations and put yourself out there. But remember, stay true to yourself and your tribe will find you. You just have to be open to it.

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