Why Sports Fans and Music Fandoms Are Viewed Differently

Football has always been a testosterone-driven sport that brings people together. But bands do too. In fact, many of us grew up idolizing both football stars and boy bands because sports and music always surrounded us. 

Our parents’ era had the Beatles, Take That, and Wham, to name a few. Even back then, women were being portrayed as ‘hysterical’ as if they were nothing more than just obsessive fans. On the other hand, men of all ages would find themselves at a stadium watching their teams play for a trophy, and they weren’t seen as ‘too much.’ These days, the ‘hysterical fan’ trope is very much alive thanks to the rise of fangirls, bringing to mind the peak of 2014 and its internet culture. And while some people, like myself, adopt the name with pride, others use it as a derogatory term to dismiss fandoms altogether.

My fangirl years started with Jonas Brothers when I was 12. My bedroom walls were covered with posters, and I was certain I would marry Joe Jonas one day. 

Those fangirl years were something I cherish. I loved collecting anything and everything that I could get my hands on with Jonas Brothers’ faces. Now in my twenties, I’m still very much involved with fandoms: Yes, I’m still in the Jonas Brothers fandom too. Now I’m also in BTS’ ARMY — both fandoms continue to bring me joy, and that’s what it’s about, isn’t it?

It is important to note that we are not all 13 years old — fangirls come in many ages and sizes. 

You are never too old or too young to be a fangirl of popular culture: films, television shows, music, or books. “Fangirl” is a generic term used to describe superfans, but we also accept fanboys. And fangirls adore all superfans, regardless of their gender.

Most football or sports fans consisting mainly of males are rarely criticized the same way female-dominated fandoms are. The reactions of female pop music fans are only regarded as hysterical and obsessive ramblings that must be reversed as they age. This trend is not only sexist and ageist but also demonstrates that women’s emotions are often dismissed and trivialized. Last year, England lost to Italy in the final of Euro 2020 on penalties. That result led to England football fans racially abusing their own players for missing a penalty both online and offline, including vandalizing streets. Marcus Rashford’s memorial in Manchester was defaced due to the missed penalty. In addition, ticketless supporters stormed barriers and entered Wembley stadium, breaking COVID-19 protocols due to a lack of proper measures in place.

Featured image via Joey Thompson on Unsplash

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