Fan girls

Briony Hannell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary


While fans have been widely studied within a number of disciplines, fan girls remain largely overlooked as the subject of scholarly attention. Adolescent girls are a rarely studied media audience. Participation in fan culture is a dominant girlhood trope and an integral part of the coming of age of preteen and teen girls in Western culture, and girls’ fandom has a long and rich history across a variety of popular cultural formats dating back to the late Victorian period. By virtue of their age, gender, and performances of (hyper)femininity, fan girls are often subjected to the most derogatory stereotypes about fans by both cultural commentators and within fan culture more broadly. These stereotypes align fan girls with passivity, conformity, and triviality, and subsequently reinforce the patriarchal dismissal of girls’ media cultures and forms of cultural consumption. However, a range of scholarship, particularly from feminist cultural studies and youth studies, challenges these understandings of fan girls as passive consumers of popular culture and instead emphasizes the role of girls’ fandom as a pleasurable site for public expression, identity negotiation, sexual agency, friendship, community, and cultural creativity for girls.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe International Encyclopedia of Gender, Media, and Communication
EditorsKaren Ross
ISBN (Print)1119429102
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2020

Publication series

NameICAZ - Wiley Blackwell-ICA International Encyclopedias of Communication Series


  • fan culture
  • fans
  • Girlhood
  • girls' studies
  • Femininity
  • cultural production
  • media audiences

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