Shrieking fandom and other artificial nonsense
Saw one of those Facebook “suggested for you” things which was some lame TedX talk by some woman whining that when men cheer for a sports team that’s cool but when females do shit like build a shrine to Harry Styles’ vomit it’s “hysterical” (and apparently that word alone is “muh problematic” now, lol… so say the hysterics) and thus she was complaining about “muh sexism” and “muh misogyny”.
I was gonna share the link with a comment to point and laugh in the comments but then my interweb glitched for a few seconds and it disappeared. Oh well.
No, lady, building a shrine to barf is fucking psycho behavior. I presume there are plenty of girls who go to a Harry Styles show and like his music and are comparable with the majority of sports fans and who do not want to sample his puke. Calling out the lunatic fan girls is not sexist, unless you’re saying there’s something inherently female in psychotic obsessive behavior, in which case I dare say you’re the sexist misogynist.
And then makes a false comparison between the most extreme sportsfan behavior like rioting when your team loses to mildly silly fangirl behavior like screaming at a show or putting up posters of your favorite singers. Apples to oranges… if you want apples to apples, then the puke shrine compares to riots, I guess, but even there it’s a different sort of insanity. (And I say that as a former Vancouver resident, where Canucks fans have rioted at least twice when the team lost in the playoffs.)
Oh, and she seems to think loud shrieking at shows or when meeting a celebrity is a natural female behavior. It’s not.
It started with maybe a couple crazy chicks obsessed with Frank Sinatra back in the day and then his PR team started spreading that as part of the buzz, then it was amped up even more for Elvis and then the Beatles and I’ve heard rumors that initially girls were paid to scream for the Beatles on camera. This then got into the news reports and thus became normalized behavior and here we are now 60+ years later. There were famous opera stars and other pop singers before then and their female fans didn’t shriek. And it’s probably changed in recent years but I still remember hearing as late as the ’80s that it was a bit weird to play Japan because the fans would sit quietly and LISTEN to a band like the Stones play and then just clap, never scream… so if screaming was natural female behavior, why didn’t Japanese women scream for bands until very recently?
Obviously a lot of my work such as The Nick White Show touches on toxic fandom (as well as toxic star behavior) and obviously I myself am a hardcore fan of several bands and have been since I was a kid… and I get the irony of me calling out whining about being criticized for crazy fan behavior considering shit like that high school sketchbook of Trent Reznor I posted about and my U2 memorabilia collection and the Bono Mouse sketchbook project, etc. Believe me when I say that when I see kooky fangirl shit posted even jokingly in the U2 fan groups, or see some video where Bono is quickly signing autographs on his way in or out of a show and someone is insistently calling out “I love you” over and over again, it’s inevitably females doing so (while there are certainly men who hang out in autograph lines or get excited about a chance to fist-bump Bono or the Edge or get a selfie, for the most part the male U2 fans seem more interested in owning every single pressing of every single single from every single country on the planet and the like, while the females want to travel to the south of France and hang out by Bono’s vacation house gate until they get a chance to touch him). And the U2 fans are very mild compared to the shitshow of menopausal insanity that is Duran Duran’s fanbase… especially the John Taylor fan brigade.
And the most embarrassed I’ve ever been for someone else was in 2000 in Vancouver in the post-show autograph line for Nine Inch Nails where Trent signed a few autographs whilst sitting on the steps of the tour bus. The chick in front of me latched onto him with the strength of a baby chimp clinging to its mother lest it fall out of a tall tree, crying and rubbing her face in his neck while he froze and waited for it to be over, finally giving the tour manager the “please help me” raised eyebrow look. Clearly adept at handling such things, the tour manager very gently coaxed her off of Trent, explaining that there were a lot of others wanting autographs and the bus needed to leave shortly, and eventually she released the poor bastard from her death grip.
My turn up next, I then mumbled something about “great show, been a fan for years” while I got my autograph. I did give him a quick peck on the cheek as it seemed to be the done thing, but I sure as fuck didn’t want to act anything like the other girl, especially since I’d seen how uncomfortable it had made him.
Then as I was stuffing my CD in my bag, Trent asked the tour manager for a new Sharpie as the one he had was running out of ink. Without missing a beat, I said, “Oh, I’ve got one, here ya go, see ya!” and handed one to Trent from my bag. I heard him call out “Thanks” as I walked away… after waiting a beat because Lord knows he was probably used to fans wanting something extra in exchange for a 75 cent marker.
As I waited for my mother to come pick me up from the front of Rogers Arena, other fans saw me and recognized me and said hi. True to my hypothesis:
Girls, without exception: “Oh my god, you touched him!”
Guys, without exception: “Dude, why didn’t you trade him for the dead Sharpie?!?”
LOL… because I already had a drawer full of dead markers at home and who the Hell would believe me that there was anything special about this one particular dead Sharpie?
Then there was the time in high school when I went to an all-ages Marilyn Manson show, right before he got famous with Antichrist Superstar. A few of us hung out for autographs, and I got the rest of the band’s signatures on a poster I swiped off the wall of the venue, but Manson was taking his time. Most fans left, and there was just me and 2-3 other girls.
He comes out, finally, and waits for the tour bus to open up and let him on, and the tour manager tells us he’ll go on the bus, then come back out to sign autographs. OK, cool.
There’d been a flu going around, Madonna Wayne Gacy told us earlier they were all sick. Manson had a weird look on him like he might projectile vomit at any second. We locked eyes as he waited for the tour manager, I again said something inane and polite about “great show” and how much I liked the debut album.
Then he went on the bus, the tour manager again told us he’d be right back out, and as the door shut, 2 of the other girls started cackling like witches and one said “he’s got a great ass!” and gestured miming grabbing it… and sticking her fingers up his asshole through his leggings.
That’s why he had a weird look in his eyes. He was getting sexually assaulted by a psycho fan.
And that was pretty much my earliest experience meeting a celebrity, and it involved really gross and inappropriate fan behavior… from a woman.
So fuck you and your “criticizing fangirling is misogyny” fucking bullshit.
Later on when I worked on the fringes of the music industry, I heard even more tales of gross behavior from fans, a lot of them female. Yeah, some dudes in the business are OK with putting up with it so long as they get paid and the sales are there and especially if they get their dicks wet on tour.
But that doesn’t mean we should view all fan behavior as innocent when it comes from women and girls. Toxic behavior is toxic, period.
I’ve also been in situations like quilting workshops of all places and women in their 60s start trading stories about brief celebrity encounters and bragging in an “aren’t I so sassy and daring” way about the clumsy and inappropriate sexual remarks they made to some movie star who had the misfortune to share an elevator ride with them in Tokyo or be seated at the table next to them at a restaurant in Sydney… now, I’ll grant that I have no way to verify that they actually did sexually harass Aquaman that one time the way they bragged about, but either way, it’s fucked up that they’d deem it something to brag about having done/said to a complete stranger and that the other women would cheer for that shit. (Bonus points if earlier in the day the stories traded were about the time they went to HR because some dork in accounting asked them out to a movie… so if you’re keeping score: dork asking for a date: not OK. Chick who reported dork for asking for a date bragging about making much more explicit and inappropriate sexual remarks to an actor: totes awesome, you go girl!)
And yes, male fans can be shitty, too. And creepy. I quit putting out music in part because I had a couple psycho fans, one of which announced that he’d moved from Toronto to Vancouver on the spur of the moment and messaged me saying he needed a place to stay (this was after a bunch of crazy messages in which he tried to dictate to me what kind of music I should be making, no matter what it was I actually wanted to make. Right down to what instruments I should and shouldn’t use. I told him to check Craigslist for roommate ads.)
But again, that doesn’t mean females should get a pass.
Naturally, the comments on that Facebook post were full of harpies screeching about mean men and their “sportsball” hating on them for (insert toxic fandom lunatic behavior here). And if men dared say shit in the comments to them, then they shrieked that the men were “triggered” lol… And then when sane women commented that the behavior is psycho or even just silly, the harpies dogpiled on them proclaiming “muh internalized misogyny.”
Tell me who’s triggered now. These chicks really can’t handle any criticism of their shitty behavior.
Which is a major problem in our culture now, not just with women of course, but anyone who behaves like an idiot or a psycho expects to be lauded for it and even the most mild pushback on it is some sort of -ist or mis- attack. And whine that the mere suggestion of toning down their behavior is some sort of personal attack… were these women raised by wolves or something? Because the whole point of living in a society is that some forms of behavior are inappropriate and frowned upon. Grow the fuck up.
Or don’t, but then don’t whine that other people think you’re fucking weird or silly (or psycho if you have a shrine of Harry Styles’ barf, or Trent Reznor’s dead Sharpie… and don’t even get me started on the lunatic who hung around a Duran Duran press conference to snatch the garbage bin with John Taylor’s used Kleenexes from when he had a flu and then stuffed them in her nose so she could have his germs inside of him and then told him about it when she hunted him down on the next tour… true story according to his autobiography.)
Welcome to the fall of Rome, I guess… where women used to go crazy trying to fuck the most famous gladiators, too. Same shit, different millennium.