One of the best things to happen to anime fandom has been the rise of the fangirl. Back in the 80s, when the popularity of anime subculture was growing and fans were beginning to organize themselves around clubs on university campuses — this was before Akira, also known as “the first anime movie a guy could maybe discuss with a girl” — anime was a very male-dominated affair. As the medium hit the mainstream in the 90s, several key innovations brought in female fans by the truckload, including “hybrid” series like Sailor Moon, which appealed to fans of all sexes and ages, and Gundam Wing, which compelled female fans to spend hours debating the comparative hotness of Heero x Duo and Trowa x Quatre online. Neon Genesis Evangelion was a groundbreaking series in many ways, not least because of the character Kaworu, who created a renaissance in yaoi doujinshi that brought fangirls in for years. The “BL” revolution of the 90s launched a generation of female fans who are now called fujoshi, a word originally meaning “young miss” but written with characters that mean “rotten girl” (the term is somewhat self-mocking, not unlike our “I Like What I Like so Get Off My Back!” yaoi girl’s T-shirt). Of course girls who like the bishounen character design style but not the yaoi content can explore otome games, another popular girl-centric genre that a lot of fans enjoy. Fandom today is an incredibly rich and complex world in which everyone can find something worthwhile no matter what they love, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Fandom is a much better place with fangirls in it, don’t you think?