Recently, the power of the fangirl has been seen as having potential economic power, especially with the huge opening of New Moon. And regardless of one’s own personal feelings about Twilight , these fans have power in through sheer numbers.
I’m not sure why this is a sudden revelation, but it likely has to do with the more familiar “hiding in plain sight” fangirl of the comics, gaming, sports, music, etc. variety, considering that in *all* of those areas, the stereotypical fan is a dude.
Jezebel has an interesting post on this “chicks spend money on entertainment!” phenomenon:
“New Moon explodes the myth… that fanboys hold all the power,” Pamela McClintock writes for Variety. … Women buy movie tickets, and we’re interested in great stories with women in the lead roles. And! Fangirls should be taken seriously. As Women & Hollywood’s Melissa Silverstein writes for The Huffington Post:
… I’m not trying to say that all women’s films will be as successful as New Moon because that’s silly. These kinds of movies come along rarely cause Hollywood hardly makes them. But this weekend’s number indicate that they should make more of them.
But not all women like gender-specific (or directed) fandoms — and sometimes girls and women are looking for non-sexist, non-racist material regardless of whether there is female representation (as a edit to the Bechdel rule).
But there are often different ways in which women and girls approach fandom, in economic and other ways:
- What does the crazy fangirl plotline on Supernatural mean?
- Why is there a wave of hardcore bands with female-centered names with no female members (Daughters, Baroness)?
- Why does so much of Genghis Tron merch seem appropriate to decorate the room of a small child?
- Was the way the Doctor decided what happened to Donna an assault?
- Which reboot, Star Trek or Sherlock Holmes, better lives up to its slash potential?
- Is the new Powergirl powerful or sexist? Or both?
- What is the reason there has not been a mainstream popular girl-focused manga/anime series in the U.S. since Sailor Moon?
- Will wizard rock and twi-rock find mainstream success, considering nu-goth?
And these types of questions are more important in connecting with female fans as a big opening weekend for one movie in a popular book series because (secret here!), the next girl/women-focused movie isn’t going to do as well.There are still plenty of ways of energizing female fans — but figurine washing laundry and contests to ComicCon that don’t allow female fans just aren’t going to cut it in this brave new fandom world.