For the love of fangirls | Yve Blake
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For the love of fangirls | Yve Blake


Four years ago, a teenage girl changed my life in one conversation. She was 13 years old, she was a friend’s little cousin and she casually told me that she had met the man
she was going to marry. So I said, “OK, tell me about him.” And she told me that his name
was Harry Styles. (Laughter) So I laughed a little, like you, and then she said,
“I know you don’t think I’m serious, but I’m actually going to be with him. Because I love him so much that I would slit someone’s
throat to be with him.” (Laughter) And that was the moment that I became obsessed with fangirls. I didn’t know it then, but that moment would transform
the course of my life and go on to change everything
that I thought I knew about being an adult, being a woman and being truly happy. But before we get started, what is a fangirl, and what is a Harry Styles? Well, according to the dictionary,
the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a fangirl is a “girl or woman who is an extremely
or overly enthusiastic fan of someone or something.” Technically, you can have
fangirls of anything, but my specific interest
was in fangirls of boy bands. Because of their somewhat
lethal reputation. I remember, my dad had told me this story
of some Beatles fans in the ’60s, who apparently had torn
a parked BMW to literal pieces, because the band had supposedly
just been sat in it. In the ’60s, the Beatles
were the biggest boy band on the planet, but when I met this girl in 2015, the biggest boy band on the planet
was none other than One Direction. And Harry Styles was a member
of One Direction. Harry Styles was reputed
for his compassionate demeanor and perfect hair. I learn this when I read thousands
of tweets about him. I learn that he is a sweet cupcake. I learn that he is a perfect angel. I learn that one time, he vomited on the side
of a freeway in California and that within two hours, fans had turned the site of the vomit
into a sacred shrine. (Laughter) I scroll through — (Laughter) I scroll through fan-made
paintings of Harry, baby photos of him, paintings of baby photos of him. I watch videos that show me how to make
DIY love totems for Harry — for example, a lampshade
covered in photos of his face, or a key ring that states
the exact time of his birth. I read hours of fan fiction, and I fall down this specific rabbit hole of stories that actually
place me as a protagonist inside of various imagined
romances with him. So in one, I tell him
that I’m pregnant with his child. In another, we meet in hospital
where we’re both fighting cancer, and in another, we fall so deeply in love that we become fugitives who kill people. (Laughter) But then … something unthinkable happens. One Direction, the biggest
boy band on the planet, loses a member. Zayn Malik quits the band, and the internet explodes with feels. I read tweets as these girls describe
the physical pain of this loss, how they can’t eat or sleep or walk. I read them describe
how much Zayn had meant to them. And I watch videos
of 10-year-old girls crying. But, like, really crying. And then I watch as people
repost these videos but with new titles that contain words like “crazy”
and “creepy” and “insane.” And suddenly, my YouTube sidebar contains “Compilation: Fans react to Zayn leaving. Psycho alert!” Then I watch as mainstream
news outlets cover the story. I read them describe
these “young banshees.” I read one journalist say, “It’s a commonly known fact
since the age of the Beatles that there is nothing
scarier in this world than a group of excited teenage girls.” (Laughter) And then I ask myself a question
I’ve never considered in my life. Why is it that the image of young girls
screaming their lungs out with excitement for a pop star is considered crazy, psycho, scary, a bit much? But the image of young boys
screaming their lungs out for a footballer is perfectly normal? Boys crying at the footie, that’s the love of the game. Girls crying at a Justin Bieber concert? That’s pathetic. And as soon as I realized
this double standard, I realized that all
of my curiosity about fangirls had been sparked
by exactly the same judgments. I, too, had suspected
that they were a bit crazy. I’d looked at images
of girls screaming for the Beatles, the Backstreet Boys, One Direction, and the word that had come to mind
was not “excitement” but “hysteria.” And what I did not know
was the history of that word. That in the 19th century, hysteria was considered to be
a legitimate female mental disorder that could be diagnosed by doctors if women displayed excessive emotion
or difficult behavior. The word “hysterical” comes
from the Latin word “hystericus,” meaning “of the womb,” because it was thought that this condition
was caused by a dysfunction of the uterus. And so, a treatment for hysteria was a hysterectomy. Which is what we still call
a removal of the womb. And at this point, I decide to redeclare my obsession. Because I am no longer
just obsessed with fangirls. Now, I’m obsessed with the way
that the world talks about fangirls and the way that the world looks
at young, female enthusiasm. Because, I want to know, if girls grow up in a world where words like “crazy” and “psycho”
and “hysterical” are casually used to describe female enthusiasm, then how does that shape the way
that those girls get to see themselves? And if girls grow up
in a world that tells them that they are designed
just a bit crazier than the boys, then isn’t that a little bit
like telling them that they are born less capable
of rationality than men, less capable of reason and unworthy of the same
intellectual respect as their brothers. Separately, I become obsessed
with female screams. Not in a creepy way. I’m talking about, like,
those shrieks and squeals that fangirls let out at concerts. I want to know why it is that some people instinctively flinch
when I merely describe the sound, like it’s painful just to think about it. Then I meet Amy Hume. She’s a voice coach. And she blows my mind. Because she tells me
that the female voice between the ages of 11 and 13 is one of the most
interesting things to study. Why? Because there’s this research
by Carol Gilligan that says that is the age when girls begin to perform
and alter their voices. For example, adding breath for maturity, (Imitating vocal fry)
or adding vocal fry for apathy. (Laughter) But tell me, according to this research, when do you reckon boys begin to perform
and alter their voices? Now, I guessed 18, because “men mature later,” right? Wrong. The answer was four years old. Because that is when boys learn
not to cry or squeal. That those are not manly sounds. And that’s when I realized that a fangirl’s shriek
is therefore like a superpower. (Laughter) Because it’s this fearless
and honest expression of pure celebration and joy, and it’s a sound they have not forgotten how to make. I actually reckon that fangirls
have a second superpower, because they know how to do something that most of my adult friends
have no idea how to do. Fangirls know how to love something
without apology or fear. My years of researching fangirls culminated in this determination to write something that celebrates
and vindicates them. So I decided to make
this thriller comedy musical that sounds like a Beyoncé concert
meets rave meets church. I called it “Fangirls,” and I designed it like a Trojan horse. So it appears to make fun
of these young women, only to, like, smuggle them
into your heart. (Laughter) Thanks. (Applause) At one point — Thanks. At one point, a girl sings, “Why should I hide my feelings? Because they annoy you? Or because it isn’t what the boys do?” And as a former fangirl cynic, that is the question
that I want to leave you all with. Why should fangirls tone it down? Because they’re crazy? Or because our definition of “reasonable” is based on what
it is acceptable for men to do? What if we rethink the judgments
we’ve been conditioned to feel when we see young women
screaming their lungs out with excitement? What if we decided to rethink
the words we use to describe that joy, and what if we didn’t
allow ourselves to diminish girls with words that undermine
their intelligence, their interests and their capability? Because, according to my research, they are capable of building a shrine
to Harry Styles’s vomit on the side of a freeway within two hours. (Laughter) That takes some executive skills
in logistics and communication. (Laughter) If that isn’t “capable,”
I don’t know what is. (Applause) I reckon, instead of judging fangirls,
we can learn from them. We can all die tomorrow, so why not love things
while we’re still breathing? And with that, I’d like to ask you all
to try something with me. Can I get you all to stand up? Stand up if you can, stand up. Alright, so here’s what’s going to happen. I’m going to count to three and when I finish, I’m going to ask every single one of you to let out your very best fangirl scream. (Laughter) Yeah? Here is why I am asking you to do this. Because if all five-or-so thousand of you
do this and really commit, we all get our first chance
to hear that sound and to decide that it is not
a crazy sound. It is a hopeful sound. So shall we do this? I said, shall we do this? (Audience: Yes!) Alright. OK, I am going to cheat
and I’m not going to go full volume, because I’m miked
and we don’t want to hear that. But it means you all
have to go 110 percent. You ready? Take a deep breath with me. Think of someone you love, let’s go, one, two, three. (Audience screams) (Laughter and applause) You all just sounded stunning and as sane and as intelligent and as dignified as when you walked in this room. (Laughter) Thank you. (Applause)

100 Comments

  • Rejoy Panakkal

    Both men screaming for their teams and girls screaming for boy bands is evolutionary. Men doing this is a hold over from men rooting for their tribes and wanting them to win wars at all cost. Girls losing their mind over boy bands is their attraction for men who have status.

  • Mike Mitchell

    ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘ In my opinion: You are right. I completely apologise for ever negatively criticising anyone for anything like that.

  • Indeaki Rune

    I absolutely loved this. Im really happy you did a talk like this and I hope that my sister will get to grow up in a world where she feels like she can fangirl over whatever she wants.

  • TJ Tampa

    That's what I've always said about my faith when ppl chastise for my deep interest and conversation about my faith. I bring up the enthusiasm, conversation & fellowship/community that loyal fans have for their ๐Ÿˆ football teams/games (expensive and loud). But I do agree with the fact that sexism is an issue (for both genders) but not speaking in terms of LGBTQ etc.

  • John Hurley

    "Ted talk"? Sorry all i heard was "boys start suppressing negative emotions at age 4 because its socially unacceptable something girls dont even have to consider until they fall in love w nsync so F THOSE BOYS LOVE SHRIEKING PUBESCENT FEMALES YAAASSY!" Sorry just cant get on board

  • Livia Ramos

    I always asked myself this… Why do I feel that I have to hide my enthusiasm about music/performances of a group that I'm fan from people ? Probably because i'm afraid that this same people will think that I'm crazy? Less capable? Not a valuable opinion? Why do they always think this? It's sad and makes me sad

  • D Unicornsio

    I love ya,,,โฃ๏ธโฃ๏ธโฃ๏ธโฃ๏ธ letโ€™s not be afraid to be as die heart fan of this young woman who just gave this beautiful speech, for every fan girl like me๐Ÿ˜˜, love ya hundred folds

  • Denny Smith

    PROVERBS 12 : 10

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    MANS BEST FRIEND BEING CRUELLY TREATED IN MOST HORRIFIC WAY IMAGINEABLE….

    GOD IN HEAVEN HELP IS!!!!

  • Sarius The Real One

    As you see, Men are once again teached to not show feelings by the age of 4. But jeah we need more woman power. Sure ^^

  • Frances Pacete

    When you're an ARMY and you can 100% relate to this, ESPECIALLY we ARMYs are the biggest and the most active fan base right now and we are strongly and sadly perceived negatively as nothing more than "immature hysterical fangirls" just like everything she says right now by those who do not know us. If only the world will choose to see the other side of us; the side of us that has millions of people doing charity works for different circumstances under the name of BTS across many different countries and places, the side that ARMYs have proudly joined and supported BTS Love Myself campaign that aims to end violence against Children and Self-Harm, the side that ARMYs have shown immense gratitude for James Corden for treating the boys nicely on his show via having thousands immediately supporting his breakfast feeding program and so much more. But nevertheless, regardless of how much the world see us we will always proudly scream our lungs out to let the universe know that we love BTS because they've given us a reason to love ourselves when we thought we didn't ever have one and that is only one of the reasons why we are so powerful.

    Thank you TedEd for shedding some insight about fangirls on this video and breaking the stigma that fangirls are just "overenthusiastic fans" and also for letting the people know that we, fangirls (I an ARMY) are capable of doing so much more beyond what everyone can imagine. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Max Zombrex

    What is her point? Her entire argument ist based on the assumption that fanboys are accepted as normal. how can you compare avarage boys who are fans of sport to the type of fangirls she describes. I don't know a single male who is/was as fanatic about some sport or team as like 40% of female teens are about some band

  • DonDuracell

    Interesting talk that starts a bit painful to watch in the beginning but all of her "performance" is here to proof a point.

  • Necate .Youtube

    ok ok … I will stop to beat up JB fans (jk I'm a pacifist)

    but when I see someones room, and it's plastered with photos/posters of a specific person/group, than I find that creepy! regardless if a boy or girl did that …
    So – at least to me – this not a sexism caused thing, at least not 100%.

    Nevertheless, amazing talk, love her energy and outfit! ^^

  • GhastlyCretin85

    Of course this buffoon has to turn her waffling nonsense into a gender war. She should concentrate on something that actually matters. Also, boys aren't going to turn Ronaldos vomit into a shrine.

  • Kanika Gupta

    I am a part of BTS ARMY and the way we are represented by specially US media is insane. We love how BTS always stands up for us and corrects the interviewers who call us crazy to passionate. That's the accurate word for us.
    Because this passion leads us to create something beautiful like fanarts. Seriously check them out, armys are very talented. This passion gets our creative juices running and motivates young people to write, which definitely helps them learn how to do creative writing which helps them in later phases of life like college applications. This passion helps us love something UNCONDITIONALLY which I know is the problem of all of humanity. So yes, I don't understand why would people attack something that gives them a home, love, support, a sense of belonging outside of their regular lives and turn it into something derogatory like craziness, hysteria or unappealing.
    Thank you for speaking up about how wrongly fangirls are treated and our word of expression is bad-mouthed when boys do the same for sports and whatnot.

  • Dans Shade

    Worshiping the place where some young lad (with questionable merits) vomited is definitely not a matter of being 'less capable'. Just maybe only in the 'connected to reality' dept, just a very little bit. Okay, lets all just adore some kind of odd and/or stupid behavior of youngsters, they're surely know better. Love such TED talks.

  • Alichousan

    ''You all just sounded stunning and as sane and as intelligent and as dignified as when you walked into this room"
    That last sentence as a conclusion! Perfect!
    As long as it doesn't hurt anyone, why would it be wrong to be passionate about something/someone.
    I'm an ARMY, I'm 28 yo, I'm a hard worker, I'm a woman, I'm not crazy. I'm just a human being, going through life, expressing my feelings.

  • Kanika Gupta

    For the people who disagree bec she made it into a gender debate:

    What she described are the extreme cases of fangirling like the shrine! But the way fangirls are treated is not right. We are made to believe that we need to hide our love, our emotions, control what we feel to get th validation of the society, to be taken seriously, as someone intellectual and not just someone who screams when they are excited. I agree, the expression of love for boys and girls is a lil different but it's not true that boys are not dedicated fans of the sports they follow, that they will not stay up to catch the match live, or fly to contries to attend a final. But such expressions are accepted. If I told any of my friends that I went to Singapore to attend a concert, guess what, they'll call me crazy. That's where gender debate comes in. But yeah basing the entire talk on just gender difference is not an apt way to put your point. I see fangirls who have used their love for BTS into something productive like making art or creative writing or DONATIONS just bec our favs want to make the world a better place and actively participate in such things. We don't deserve to treated with respect bec boys are, we deserve to be treated with respect bec we aren't doing anything wrong in our way of love.

  • Ananya Akruwala

    Beautiful speech ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป makes me want to reconsider why I want to hide the fact that I am enthusiastic about something in a manner which is not โ€˜reasonableโ€™ to the society. There is nothing wrong in being excited about something we love and cherish โค๏ธ

  • M C

    "words that undermine their intelligence or capabilities"
    They undermine these traits by their behaviour already๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿผโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ™„

  • Maiya Goloburda

    I remember when I was in the middle school I was ashamed to admit that I liked Justin Biber songs, read stupid books like Hunger games, Divergent, etc. Because boys in my class laughed at this girls. I pretended that I liked Marvel movies, only to make boys think that I'm not like other girls.
    The sad part is that girls didn't laughed at boys obsession with minecraft and counter strike.

  • Nazlฤฑ ISIKLAR

    Yesterday i told my friend that i am (we are) so obsessed with characters who even not exist and was feeling a little bad for loving them so much. She told me that in this world if they make you happy and feel you better then why should we stop making ourselves happy by not loving them? A few minutes ago she sent me this video which define us and make us feel better as a "fangirl". Thank you so much <3

  • Axi0l

    Whilst I agree that that women's enthusiasm being frowned upon is a double standard, the fact that she can casually say she knew a girl who said they would s**t a throat to be with Harry styles, or jokingly say they built shrine over his vomit (within a couple of hours) and try spin it as "logistics skills" is also proof of a double standard…

    People may mock + laugh at this behaviour, but they are still allowed to engage in what would be considered "creepy" stalker-like behaviour for large groups of men to do, without their behaviour ever really being taken seriously, especially with consideration to the celebrity in question.

    That being said I am aware that most fangirl news stories are generally just harmless displays of enthusiasm.

    It was an interesting talk with good points and I learned some history, but if you're self professed goal is to portray something as good, you may have confirmed your bias to ignore anything toxic.

  • Peter Pan's Playground

    I think it's because of some fans' lack of respect and boundaries — that's why people have bad impressions of them which is highlighted by the media. I think some fans are really not aware that they are making their fandom look bad or toxic, therefore becoming an anti-fan unknowingly. someone said that in fandoms that are such big in numbers and diversity that it is only statistical and probable that there WILL be a number of obnoxious people within them which should not be a generalization of what the fandom represents.

  • Kyuketsuki Kitsune

    Her argument is based on a false comparison: if you were to see a girl screaming their heart out for football, you would see it as normal, as with a boy. Likewise, if you were to see a boy screaming emotionally over a band or building a literal shrine, you would think them to be as pathetic as a girl doing so.

  • Sypher God

    Hey look. Someone who went to school for gender studies and now sheโ€™s grasping at straws for a โ€œlectureโ€

  • Kanika Gupta

    Honestly, I've seen people calling fanboys crazy too. It's not about the gender, it's about the thing they are a fan of. Sports is a socially acceptable thing to support bec many adults are a part of it. But fans of bands get prejudices and called crazy.

  • Wiffo

    Yeah, I don't want anyone who makes that sound, regardless of gender making decisions for me.

    The sound is not the issue, is the bonding over reality reframing that is dangerous.

  • Fulcrumshift

    This talk took a one-sided turn. There's a difference between screaming your lungs out and admitting doing physical harm or tearing apart things. Clever intersectional gender gas lighting.

    Apparently she's never researched Philadelphia Eagles fans after a superbowl.

  • Kirtee Nagane

    Harraaahhhhhhh!!!!!! ๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜๐ŸŒ๐ŸŒ๐ŸŒŽ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’

    P.S. I'm a DIRECTIONER!!!!!

    Damn!!!! This woman literally summarised our lives!

  • Kerns Noel

    'Fan girls' are looke like that, mostly because of the extreme examples of how dangerous they get when they don't get their way.

    It isnt the capability or not, it is the blind 'obsession' that often causes several nasty problems.

    Fan girl screme only sounds as if reason goes out the window entirely… still as smart as ya where before, just a massive blind spot l.

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