Why Were We Obsessed With Dystopias in the 2010s?

Let’s talk about the wave of dystopian fiction in the 2010s today.

“Dystopia /dɪsˈtəʊpɪə/
An imagined state or society in which there is great suffering or injustice, typically one that is totalitarian or post-apocalyptic.”

When I was a teenager, which is basically, the majority of the 2010s, I and everyone around me was obsessed with consuming books, movies and tv shows set in dystopias. Think Panem from The Hunger Games, the post-World War 3 Illéa in the Selection, the alternate universe ‘Chicago’ in Divergent, the post solar flare world of The Maze Runner, or the setting of countless Zombie movies. What was with that? Why was everyone in the 2010s into reading about a world that was ending? Why was every girl I know having a zombie apocalypse phase? Why were we, as a generation so interested in consuming fiction set in a world in chaos?

Cut to 2020, where we have pretty much been living in the plot of a poorly written dystopia ourselves, and it has not been half as fun or exciting or as high stakes as the movies or the books made it seem. That was how I started thinking about this particular interest of mine in the first place and how my genre of interest as a teenager was Dystopia or Young Adult, which also indirectly meant dystopia in the 2010s. It wasn’t even just me. It was a hugely successful trope; hence the mass production in it, right? That explains the wide variety in it. But, the question still remains: why would we ever buy into all this apocalyptic tragedy, pain and suffering?

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Some of it definitely had to do with the “escape” factor associated with reading or even watching movies. Most people, myself included, enjoying consuming fiction that is set in a different world altogether so that you can escape into it. This is the entire allure of the fantasy genre, and I might even argue, period genre if you go back far enough. Maybe, dystopia can be thought of as a chaotic, apocalyptic sub-genre of fantasy with vestiges of its escapism, and hence people like me, who had grown up on Harry Potter and other fantasy books were only happy to get an escape again, even if it was to a world that was absolutely messed up.

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There is also the fact that while Dystopia as a genre might appear to be very superficial and simple, many of its classic examples are quite deep. I recently reread The Hunger Games, and I was quite surprised by the fact that the book is a great commentary on society, on politics, on war and on trauma as a whole. I was quite young when I first read it and thus, those subtleties were lost on me. As an adult, however, the more I read into it, the more I realise, that many of these were actually brilliantly written tales of caution, of what could happen and thinly veiled depictions of what already is happening in the world. Looking back, reading these books and watching these movies, intentionally or unintentionally made me more open-minded, brought to the fore the importance of equality and ended up making me quite sensitive to prejudice and discrimination. Helping me develop a strong moral compass was also, due in some part, to the fiction I consumed and for that, I am extremely thankful.mr-top-143407-1280x0

As far as the fascination for zombie apocalypses is concerned, I don’t think that its just a 2010’s exclusive thing. Since time immemorial, humans believe in the idea that we as a race are our own worst enemy and that humankind would be the one to end humankind, and zombies seem to be one of the ways we externalise that idea. Even books like A Song of Ice and Fire, or as it was popularly known, The Game of Thrones toyed with the zombie idea. This can be a separate post altogether and I can go on for ages so I’ll try to keep it short. I too had a zombie apocalypse phase, and as someone who has been through it, I can tell you how I think this surge in the popularity of the undead happened. The late 2000s brought us the cultural phenomenon that was Twilight with all its vampires, werewolves and whatnot. This increased interest in young adult fiction set around similar mythical creatures and I think the zombie fiction just rode in on the heels of that Twilight wave until it became a phenomenon itself.

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At the end, where it came from, where it went, we can only guess. All that I am sure of is that for the greater part of a decade, young adult fiction was ruled by stories of the world ending, and it developed values and moral systems in the adults of today. I don’t see it coming back soon, you know, what with all of us pretty much living through our own apocalypse plot in 2020(I’m pretty sure anyone who has ever wished to be able to live in one of these books, no judgment, has some regrets now) but I think we should prepare ourselves for there being future apocalypse fiction inspired from 2020. I’ve always wondered, and I’m sure more people have, what I’d do if there was an apocalypse and the answer is unsurprising as well as humbling: nothing, just sit at home and live life as normally as I possibly could. Oh well. Not all of us can be 16-year-olds navigating romance and saving the world from doom at the same time.

THIS POST’S QUESTION: What was your favorite Dystopian fiction from the 2010s? Comment below with what you think about it,I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

 

The Thing with Book to Movie Adaptations

Let’s talk about Book to Movie(and TV show) adaptations today.

Imagine this. You read a great book and it is now one of your favourites. Once you’re done with it, you looked it up. You find that there’s a movie(or TV show, just assume I said TV show even if I don’t say it explicitly here on out) based on it and excitedly you clear your schedule and decide to watch it. Things can only go two ways from here.

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The first scenario is this: You watch the movie, it rocks your world and it was the best thing ever to see what was, till now, in your imagination come alive. It was exactly as you imagined and you were crying-laughing after. You recommend it to everyone you know and thank whoever you believe in for its existence.

The second scenario is this: You watch the movie and it is such a travesty to watch what you love and cherish so much be tarnished this badly. It is devastating and you swear off the movie and let everyone who will hear you know that the movie does not count.

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And in case you’re wondering, there is no middle ground. If you’re passionate enough about a book, you’re either obsessed with the movie or hate it, there is no in-between. The polarizing nature of the subject that is Book to Movie/TV adaptations is what makes them a bit of a controversial topic. It is also why we’ll discuss both the case for and the case against Book to Movie adaptations today and maybe if all goes well, you’ll at least have an understanding of the other point of view. Let’s begin with the case for Book to Movie adaptations and talk about why they such are a great thing.

The case for them is easy to get. You have a story, which is already written, already loved, already structured and broken down and already has a fanbase. All you have to do is adapt it to your medium. Not everyone likes to read or can read in the language of the original book, but movies and TV shows are a universal medium and subtitles can solve all those problems. If done well, it brings new fans to the books and brings a resurgence and major growth to the fanbase of the series. It allows for sequels and if you put in the effort, the people making it can earn a lot of money and fame and the fans can find a lot of gratification and joy, so everyone’s happy. If you make a great adaptation, the fans will keep the movies alive, elevate them to ‘cult’ status and make them a part of the ‘pop culture.’

I think the best example of a book to movie adaptation that has achieved this is the Harry Potter movies, which are not perfect but made people realise how lucrative this could be and paved the way for many future book adaptations. Other great movie adaptations are The Hunger Games movies, the Maze Runner movies, The Chronicles of Narnia and in a bit of an unpopular opinion, the Twilight movies. (I think they were great adaptations, I just don’t think they were that great books, Sorry Stephenie) The best TV adaptation that I have to mention is of the Song of Ice and Fire books,i.e Game of Thrones. (but only the initial seasons when they were actually adapting from the books, not what happened after)

The case against might either be very obvious to you or not obvious at all. (Depending on what adaptation you have watched, oops.) Adapting a story for celluloid or for a TV show is hard. You might have to modify structuring, add scenes or delete scenes and it is effort. There is also quite a lot of pressure because the books already have fans and those fans have certain expectations. If you do it wrong, those fans will let you know. it will be rejected, will tank and will earn hate and notoriety. It might even drive away fans; the movie might be so bad that people develop the wrong opinion that the books too, are not good and might end up missing out on what was a perfectly good book. Also as a reader, you develop a very personal relationship with a book and sometimes there’s a bit of possessiveness in that. You don’t want the book to become a ‘mainstream’ fanbase because it is yours and almost too sacred to be touched so you don’t want it to be adapted.

I think the prime example of a book to movie adaptation that has proved this is the movie adaptation of the Percy Jackson books, which was an utter and complete tragedy and only ever gave us Logan Lerman. (Thank god, they’re making a new TV show for the books now because the movies were just disrespectful) Other such movie adaptations are the Divergent books and the Mortal Instruments books. (I’ve heard the show is better but I’ve outgrown the series honestly, so haven’t watched it myself) The best (or rather actually worst) TV adaptation that I can think of is Thirteen Reasons Why. It was a thought-provoking, decent book which spoke of mental health and it ended up as a very dramatic social issue exposé which was just traumatising and attention-seeking.

So, by now, either you’ve picked a side or found more material to fuel your already set opinion, or hopefully, just understood both sides better. The bottom line with adaptations is this; if you do it well, a Book to Movie adaptation is a great, amazing thing but if you do it badly, it is disrespectful and sad. It’s all about finding the balance and bringing great stories to more people because stories are important and wonderful and in the words of Joan Didion, “We tell ourselves stories in order to live”.

THIS POST’S QUESTION: Are you for or against Book to Movie/TV show adaptations? Comment below with what you think about it,I’d love to hear from you!

Up In La La Land.

Let’s talk about La La Land today.

” So bring on the rebels
The ripples from pebbles
The painters, and poets, and plays

And here’s to the fools who dream
Crazy as they may seem
Here’s to the hearts that break
Here’s to the mess we make.” 

-Audition, La La Land.

Today we are discussing a cinematic marvel, a masterpiece of the celluloid and my favourite movie of all time, La La Land. I’ll talk about how and why I love the movie so much and am dedicating this post to this brilliant movie and the affection I have for it.

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I’ll discuss the movie in depth so if you haven’t seen it already, go change your life and watch it now! (A minor hyperbole, but no really.) Go, watch and then come back and we will discuss it and you can marvel about the movie better. In any case, be warned. Some spoilers ahead.

La La Land is a 2016 Academy Award Winner gem of a movie. It is a burst of colour on an otherwise usually bleak landscape(A.K.A. Hollywood), literally, as the movie is as colourful as it is picturesque. It is a work of genius and Damien Chazelle has absolutely outdone himself. The elements of genius shine everywhere, even the title is a play on both the moniker for the city of dreams, Los Angeles where the movie is set and the musical as well as the dream-like aspect of the movie.

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I first watched La La Land while I was on a 6-hour flight from Rome to Dubai, in the summer of 2017. It was love at first watch and I was impacted so greatly, it took me time to snap out of it. I last watched it yesterday to refresh for this post. It still takes me time to get out of the frame of mind the movie puts me in.

It feels like and is, a modern blast from the past and that’s one of the things I really love about it. Filmed on Cinemascope, it has the old-timey feel, with the bright colours, the inspirations from old iconic movies, the old Hollywood vibe of the entire movie and of course, the many parallels such as the one from Rebel Without A Cause and Griffith Observatory.

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La La land is a treat for the eyes. Right from the superbly colourful opening sequence on the highway, the beautiful popping colours, the stunning visuals, and the creative cinematography make you feel like you’re within a dream and yet, it is just a different view on ordinary, real, everyday things. The colours vary with the season and the mood of the film and symbolism has been used well throughout. All in all, this makes La La Land a beautiful piece of art to behold.

 

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I have a special fondness for musicals and this is an exceptional one. Music is, in my opinion, the third lead character in this movie and possibly the strongest one. The power the music holds, with Mia and Sebastian’s theme or the music setting the mood for the season in which the scene is set, the dancing, the songs and their placement makes the movie a visual as well as an auditory delight. I am also very fond of jazz and this movie is quite literally, a homage to it. This movie brings old, pure jazz to the spotlight and thus, the music in La La Land is a work of genius in itself.

The acting and the direction only raised the pedestal the movie was already on higher. The raw, poignant emotions of the characters amazingly executed by Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in line with Damien Chazelle’s vision, of course, made this movie extraordinary and makes me more invested in the characters, the story and the movie itself, each time I watch it.

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I can’t, of course, appreciate the movie without appreciating the wonderful story that it brought to life. The story was one beautifully written, with many many gorgeously written songs and quotes throughout, that I, as a lover of words, have to appreciate. It is an extremely quoteworthy movie(Like the quote I started this post with, for instance) and words have been honoured throughout the movie. The story was unique, dreamy yet real, hard-hitting and honest. The juxtaposition of reality and fantasy, of dreams and the truth, of the way life is magical yet not perfect, is what makes this movie special and is probably my favourite aspect of the movie. The heartbreaking ending sequence, the what-if, really drives the idea home and as much as I hate it, I love it more.

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In conclusion, La La Land is my favourite movie because I feel fortunate to have seen it come out in my lifetime and honoured to have witnessed the beauty, the genius and the magic that is La La Land.

THIS POST’S QUESTION: Have you seen La La Land? How did you like it? Comment below with what you think about it,I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lessons I’ve Learnt From Disney.

Let’s talk about the things I’ve learnt from Disney today.

For me, a major part of my childhood was Disney movies. I grew up watching them, getting attached to them, loving them and learning from them. I’ve learnt many life lessons from these animated, seemingly children’s movies that I, as an almost adult, still love a lot. So, without further ado, here are lessons I’ve learnt from 7 of Disney’s animated movies. I hope, it goes without saying that if you haven’t watched the movie, you may find the below to be full of spoilers.  Here, I’m excluding the Pixar movies as they can quite easily comprise a post of their own. Here we go.

  1. Alice In Wonderland

    Alice In Wonderland, a movie I watched as a 5-6-year old and absolutely loved due to the fact that it shows you, quite literally ,a wonderland. At that young age, seeing Alice interact with everyone from the White Rabbit to the Mad Hatter I learnt that everyone was equal and you didn’t need to see or talk to anyone differently just because they were not what most people would call ‘usual’ or ‘normal’. It was a great lesson in equality and not discriminating that has always stuck with me.                                                                       mv5bmtqymdk4odmwn15bml5banbnxkftztcwmjg4ndg1na-_v1_sx640_sy720_

  2. Beauty And The Beast

    Beauty And The Beast, my favourite musical and most awaited live action Disney movie currently was also my absolute favourite Disney animated movie for the longest time. I loved Belle, different from other girls in her village, a reader like me,(I talked about this in my previous post, click here to read that) and the fact that in the Beast and Belle’s love story, looks never mattered. It was a great message in loving the person and going beyond how they look to understand who they really are to learn as a child. This movie also holds a special place in my heart for it has one of my most favourite Disney soundtracks probably ever.                         beauty-and-the-beast

  3. The Lion King

    The Lion King is a movie associated with so much nostalgia and so many memories as I first saw it with a group of my childhood best friends, when we were children, all huddled around a laptop. The movie,which shows Simba’s journey to being king of the jungle is, in my opinion, really a journey for everyone who watches it. It taught me to believe in myself and my beliefs and to hold on to them no matter what. Simba learns it the hard way and  I learnt it with him.                                  the-lion-king-wallpapers-06

  4. Mulan

    Mulan was a movie way ahead of its times. It was a movie set in Ancient China, with an exceptionally headstrong girl who was ready to go to any costs to defend her family and country and fight in the war, even though girls aren’t really allowed to. She becomes a boy and takes her father’s place in the war as he is quite elderly without batting an eyelid. It taught girls everywhere, like it taught me, to be strong and independent and never consider themselves weak. It truly is one of the most underappreciated Disney movies.             mulan-1998-09-g-the-disney-character-with-the-highest-body-count-ever-is-jpeg-244134

  5. Tangled

    Tangled was the movie that crashed Beauty And The Beast’s favourite animation movie spot and took it instead. A rather morose original tale brightened up with lanterns, literally, and the most believable teenager princess. She wants to see the world, she hits guys in the face with a frying pan and she simply yearns to understand who she is and what she’s destined for. Rapunzel was a lesson in optimism as in spite of being trapped in a tower all her life, she has hobbies , passions and dreams and is as lively as you can get. Her inner goodness is not influenced by Mother Gothel’s negative influence either. Add to that Flynn Rider’s transformation and it makes for an almost admirably inspiring movie.                             tangled-rapunzel

  6. Frozen

    Frozen took Mulan’s feminist message and conveyed it its own way. It showed me that you don’t need a man to rescue you and that true love can exist between sisters just as much as it can exist between lovers. It also taught me to not take anybody at face value, to not be so naïve, as Anna takes Hans and that true love doesn’t always happen in a day. It’s important to get to know a person before you simply consider them as your soul mate, get engaged and decide to marry them all in the matter of a day. Oh, Anna.

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  7. Zootopia

    Zootopia, Disney’s most recent animation venture was a wonderfully adorable movie. It taught me to believe in my dreams no matter what anyone says, to not conform to stereotypes,to never let who I was born as define me, to never consider anyone inferior as Judy, Nick and Ms. Bellwether (being a wolf in sheep’s clothing, amazingly) taught me. It’s a heart-warming movie and a must watch if you haven’t. (Take this a little request/ task.Let me know how you find it later.)maxresdefault

    THIS POST’S QUESTION: What is your favourite Disney movie? Comment below with what you think about it, I’d love to hear from you!

Captain America:Civil War-Movie Talk.

Lets talk about Captain America: Civil War today.

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Yesterday, I got to watch Captain America: Civil War, which as a huge Marvel Universe fan I’d been looking forward to since months. And, the verdict? It lived up to all the anticipation and was so much more.

First, I’ll attempt to give a completely spoiler free comprehensive review for those of us who haven’t watched the movie yet. And then, we’ll launch into a full fledged spoiler infused discussion or as I would like to call it, a Movie Talk on it.

The plot summary is that, due to the loss of innocent lives in past Avengers’ missions brought to fore by a recent one the governments of the world want to install a system of accountability and certain control over the collateral damage the Avengers cause. This proposal ends up dividing the Avengers with Captain America and a few others of the belief that superheroes should remain free to defend the people without the government’s interference and Iron Man and a few others believing that a system of check is quite necessary and is a good idea. This debate is soon a feud and escalates into a fight bigger than the like of which the Avengers have ever seen before because this time, they’re fighting themselves.

My rating: 4.5/5 stars

What you should know: Look forward to some great superhero action, amazing superhero introductions and brilliant characterisation. Oh, and there’s two after the credits scenes.

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Final Remark: Definitely watch it, unless hard-core action is not your thing.

This is your cue to leave if you haven’t seen the movie yet. Watch it, come back and read the rest.(Unless you like spoilers, in which case, please enjoy your stay.)

WARNING: Spoiler-full Movie Talk ahead. Proceed with caution.

Now, lets talk about what actually happens in the movie. The leading up to the fight, the characters , the action and the final showdown was so wonderfully out of this world, I can’t even begin to describe it. If you’ve watched it, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

The new characters, Black Panther, Ant Man, Spider Man and even Vision(Though not new but relatively unknown.) were nailing it. Especially Spidey. His fight sequence was so true to the comics and so funny and similarly Antman was such a big(Do you see what I did there? Do you?) surprise trapped in a tiny little body. Black Panther’s introduction was amazing and his character development, perfect.

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I felt Iron Man’s pain and my heart broke especially at the “So was I”.(And the shield drop.)I felt the injustice at Bucky’s framing and could feel Captain’s thought process.Peggy’s funeral was a nice addition and added to Captain’s character hugely. I loved Black Widow’s action sequences and the moment she asked Hawkeye, ” So, wait are we still friends?” and he replied with “Depends on how hard you hit me.” I loved the sequences with Vision and Wanda and the character development they got. Rhodey  , that poor guy. That hugely looked forward to and very anticipated airport fight sequence was just everything Marvel stands for.

On a concluding note, that uncharacteristically attractive and un-Aunt like Aunt May though. This movie was a new achievement for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and you can see how it was majorly built up for, over the years. I can’t wait for Avengers: Infinity War now.

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The Beginner’s Guide To Understanding Fangirls.(2)

LEARNING THEIR LANGUAGE
Let’s talk about the language the fanboys and fangirls speak today.
For the previous post in the series,click here.


It is believed that speech was created for man’s need to socialise.Fangirls,though they may seem like aliens are humans too and hence the first step in socialising with a fangirl/fanboy is learning to talk his/her language.This segment of this series is aimed at exactly that.Today we will be decoding and translating the quirks in the language of a fangirl or fanboy.
Here are some of the more common features of a fangirl’s language.
1. Speaking what may seem like gibberish.
Ever heard or received text looking like,asdfghjkl or qwertyggyuj or another random collection of letters?
This comes under very normal fangirl speak and simply means that the fangirl/fanboy is simply undergoing too many emotions and simply not in the position to think coherently and type actual words. Usually an appropriate response would be to aassdfsgsjdkdld back at them and be happy with them ,because after all what do you lose being happy?

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2.Using words which seem to imply something completely different or are unheard to you before.
Some of the countless such words are defined below.

  • Fandom : Shortened form of fanatic domain, fandom is used to refer to the fans of a particular person, team, fictional series, etc. regarded collectively as a community or subculture. So, if you and me like Harry Potter books we’re both in the Harry Potter fandom.
  • Ship : Originated from the word relationship it can have both noun and verb uses.     N: Short for romantic relationship, popularized by members of a fandom.
    V: To endorse a romantic relationship. So, if I consider Hermoine Granger and Ronald Weasley to be perfect for each other I ship them and they are my ship.
  • OTP: Short for one true pairing, this is used to refer to the ultimate character combination you endorse, your THE ship. So, if I ship Hermoine Granger and Ronald Weasley and consider them to be my ultimate ship, they’re my OTP.
  • Canon: Another word for official. Basically, what is true in the book series ,movie etc. is said to be canon. So, if I’ve been shipping Hermoine Granger and Ronald Weasley since Harry Potter and The Goblet Of Fire itself and they finally end up together, their ship is canon.
  •  Feels: A wave of emotions that sometimes(read mostly) cannot be adequately explained. So, If I get teary and nostalgic and happy and a lot of other things reading Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, it is giving me the feels.
3.Speaking incomplete grammatically and often,factually incorrect phrases (usually accompanied with a shriek or two)
Some of these phrases are given below:
  • I’m dead/dying/dead/I died :The state of being attacked by so many feels and being  not able to say much (Around asdfghjkl phase) where you feel simply so (usually) elated or sad that you feel as though death has descended upon you.
  • Right in the feels: The moment when some particular thing gives you such a severe case of feels all of a sudden, it is said to have hit you right in the feels.
  • I can’t even: Used on blogging sites, mostly Tumblr, is an expression that denotes so many emotional responses that the fangirl/fanboy can’t even comprehend what has been said or seen.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of fangirl speak. Upcoming will be sections on fanfiction, erratic emotions and more, that will also be enhancing your pre-learnt fangirl language.
Stay tuned and embrace your inner fangirl(or fanboy)!

 

The Beginner’s Guide To Understanding Fangirls.(1)

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Lets talk about fangirls(and fanboys)today.

We all know them. That one friend of ours who doesn’t believe in the concept of ‘liking’ things and is a perpetual ‘obsesser’. They speak a queer tongue, go from happy to sad in a nanosecond, let out screams and shrieks without warning, spend unhealthy amounts of time on the internet and completely befuddle the rest of us, the ‘normal’ human beings.I, as a representative of the aforementioned ‘species’ am happy to introduce this series aimed at understanding your friendly(They are, if you do it right)neighbourhood fangirl.

Fangirl,noun

[fan-gurl]

A rabid breed of human female who is obsessed with either a fictional character, book series, movie, band, singer or an actor or even, food. They are similar to the breed of fanboys. Fangirls congregate on the internet, in concerts, at conventions and at book stores.

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How to identify a fangirl?

Now that you know what a fangirl is, it’s time to apply that knowledge. The following are a few indicative factors to identify a fangirl :-

  1. Speaking in incomplete sentences(I can’t even) and using absurd words.(Ship.)
  2. Shrieking, screaming or crying incessantly, without warning and for no huge reason.
  3. Heavy and unhealthy usage of the internet.
  4. Them being too ‘busy ‘to go out while they are home doing seemingly nothing.
  5. Being slightly(varying amounts of slightly, that is) excited about most things.
  6. Staying up late at night to finish books.
  7. Their rooms being a shrine to their object of affection.(It’s a whole new world there.)
  8. Them being very attached to said shrines.
  9. Them owning clothing and accessories to do with their affections and obsessions.
Now that you know that the girl you thought was weird is a fangirl, your question obviously is, how do I understand her, get to know her and be social with her?
This is exactly what I aim to help you achieve through this series. Upcoming will be sections on understanding their language, how to deal with their erratic emotions and more.
Stay tuned and embrace your inner fangirl ( or fanboy)!

For the next post in the series click here.