‘a female fan, especially one who is obsessive about comics, film, music, or science fiction.’
So, despite claiming to be a Steve Whitmire/Muppet fangirl for the past, what….4 and a half years?..I got unreasonably offended when a fellow (troll) commenter on Muppet Pundit turned around and called me exactly that. I’m not going to call her out by name or anything because really, it’s not that big of a deal, but at the time, I really did take it personally.
It took me a while to understand why being called exactly what I am was so confronting in that moment. After pondering for a little while, it gradually hit me:
Context is everything.
This woman, who I genuinely question whether she is in fact a Muppet fan, actually described me as a ‘fangrrrl’ suggesting some type of American accent that if said aloud would sound sarcastic. A ‘fangrrrl’ is supposed to be air-headed, closed-minded and exceedingly shallow and is only capable of obsessing over one particular subject until she gets bored with it.
In other words, someone who should never be taken seriously.
As the accused ‘fangrrl’, I feel the need to point out that, yes, you certainly can take me seriously as what I have to say not only has personal value, but is backed up by solid evidence.
Furthermore, unless you’re causing harm to the thing or person you claim to adore, there’s nothing wrong with being slightly obsessed. I’ve stated quite clearly why I follow Steve’s journey as closely as I do: he’s the guy who introduced me to the world of Muppets and opened my eyes to how awesome puppetry can be when it’s used imaginatively. I’ve spent the last few years watching every Steve performance I can, reading interviews, listening to Muppet podcasts, reading wikis and books and basically anything else I can get my hands on.
Does that make me a crazy, obsessive fangirl? Yeah, probably, but I prefer to think of myself as a kind of Steve-expert; a ‘Whitmire Enthusiast’, if you will. His story genuinely fascinates me as a student of literature and writing and could see myself putting in the time and effort to write his biography if I was ever so lucky to get in personal touch with him.
The saddest part about this interesting little spat my nemesis and I were having was that she also threw basically any other commenter who had claimed to be somewhat pro-Whitmire under the bus with me. Suddenly I had gone from a lone loser to being in an army of sad little freaks sticking up for a guy who got kicked out of his position due to easily solvable disputes. But, of course, we’re not sad little freaks, are we? We’re just concerned and supportive Muppet fans rallying around the guy we all believe holds important knowledge about the characters we love.
When I’m on Muppet Pundit, I try to brush off the ‘fangirl’ mindset and instead read and comment on Steve’s posts with the air and concern of a friend. That’s all I’m trying to be, a friend from Australia who Steve can rely on to listen and provide some type of feedback should he ever be in need of it. While he’s on Pundit, I’m over here on the Halibut to help relay his points of contention.
Do I expect special treatment or for Steve to consider me a friend in return? No, that’s not how this thing works. Would I be happy if those things were to occur? Of course I would, but Steve is running his blog to connect with as many fans as possible in order to set facts straight and educate, not just little old me. I’m pretty sure a ‘fangrrl’ wouldn’t be able to accept that.
While I’m no longer offended about it, that ‘fangrrl’ jibe did help me set a few things straight with myself about being apart of this little community that has started to form on Steve’s blog. I’m quite content with being a part of it, trolls and all. There are even a few people on there I’m considering hitting up on Facebook to become friends. We’re all a bit different from each other, but at least we’ve all got something pretty awesome in common.
A bit like the Muppets in a nice symbolic way…