I’m sure everyone has heard of stereotypes like “the crazy cat lady” and “the boy-crazy fangirl”. While stereotypes like these have become a normalized part of our society, they’re harmful, sexist, and completely objectify women and their interests.
Starting with the “crazy cat lady”, “it represents a sad and lonely [single] woman who uses felines as a substitute for both lovers and children”. Through the media, the crazy cat lady is always portrayed as this mentally ill woman who is either angry at the world or simply content with herself and her cats. The first large problem I recognized when thinking about this issue is that because women gain pleasure from something unrelated to romantic relationships, marriage, or children, it’s heavily attacked and criticized. It promotes this idea that the woman’s end goal should be marriage and children, and not with something they gain joy from, like their cats. But when a man and his dog are living the single bachelor life, it’s okay because a dog is a “man’s best friend”. Nice!
Next, something near and dear to my heart, the “crazy boyband fangirl” stereotype. More specifically to me, “the one direction infection”. I was the crazy fangirl. I was the one making posters depicting my love for them, crying at their concerts, and begging my mom to buy all their merch. But what makes my interest in one direction different from any kind of male interest in a sporting event or team? I wasn’t burning down cities and flipping cars after their concerts, so what makes it societally acceptable for men to do this after sporting events? A scholarly journal from The University of Texas at Austin writes about “Teenyboppers”, a term used for female fans, and how they are “’repeatedly pathologized and derided by the media’ because of their emotional reactions to artists, resulting in them being depicted as crazy, hysterical, freakish, and infantile”. Through the media, women are always seen as overemotional and unstable in any sort of way. So it makes sense that we would have our own term to describe something as simple as love for a musical artist(s). Just because we are passionate about things, doesn’t make it fair to hold it against us in a negative light.
Since not everyone falls under stereotypes like these, there’s still an objectifying ideal that comes with a woman who is different from the others. The girl who “is not like other girls”. The girl who is seen as cool and maybe even “one of the guys”. She goes against these feminist interests and separates herself from other women, which means she has to be cool. This idea argues that traditional feminine interests are inherently wrong, and it’s better to have those masculine interests in order to fit into society and be seen as equal. While this could be contributed to a woman’s internal misogyny or her simply not aligning with some traditional feminine interests, the issue of seeing women as below men because of their hobbies or interests is still extremely sexist.
A major part in perpetuating these stereotypes is the media’s incessant use of them. The crazy cat lady is a trope that can be found in The Simpsons, Harry Potter, The Office, and many more. Even in the One Direction Movie, This is Us, they had a doctor try to explain girls’ obsession with the boyband and what happens in their brains. We don’t need a doctor to try to explain our interests or passions.
I feel like I speak for a lot of women when I say that I’m sick and tired of these stereotypes. I am that crazy fangirl. I f*cking love one direction like men love their sport teams (probably more than them honestly). I’m not afraid to admit it, but I can’t help to think about my younger self and the judgment I felt because I was seen as “just another crazy fangirl”. And I understand the crazy cat lady, I LOVE my cat so much and literally want 15 more. Overall, society needs to do better for younger girls and women in supporting their passions and not scrutinizing them for being who they are.
3 thoughts on “The Crazy Cat Lady & The Wild Fangirl”
I really enjoyed your article! I have always thought about stereotypes. I hate how so many women especially are just ‘labeled’. Whether its ‘too big’ or ‘too small’ or she can’t be this because she looks like that. I appreciated your take and dislike for these as well!
LikeLiked by 1 person
I have seen this one TikTok a few times that your post got me thinking about, where someone edited different times men have questioned a womans interest, starting by asking one woman if women, in general, have hobbies. It’s extremely sad the box we put on both genders. How unrecognized women go in being sports fans or men who enjoy boy bands (or even things as small as My Little Pony- bronies). For women specifically though, most that I have met or even in my own experience feel like we have to defend our interests before proclaiming them because we will be met with, “Do you even know a song from that band?” or “Name their quarterback, you do not watch football!” Interests are over gendered and it’s exhausting (although because of social norms, activities will still be more common in specific genders).
LikeLiked by 1 person
I am too a lover of One Direction and had been since I was a preteen. I have been a called a crazy fangirl before and honestly after reading your blog, I am a little more offended than I was initially. The argument of men flipping over cars and setting things on fire during a sports game and getting no backlash really had me sold because why are women seen as crazy for simply just screaming over the sight their favorite artists?