I am tired of defending the way I am passionate about the things that make me happy

Digital Managing Editor Olivia Ground poses for a portrait in the photojournalism studio Sept. 7. Ground shared their experience with being in the “fangirl” community. Jacy Bradley, DN
Digital Managing Editor Olivia Ground poses for a portrait in the photojournalism studio Sept. 7. Ground shared their experience with being in the “fangirl” community. Jacy Bradley, DN

Olivia Ground is a third-year advertising major and writes “Liv, Laugh, Love” for the Daily News. Her views do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper.

I have spent the majority of my life defending the way that I am passionate about the things that make me happy. 

Read that again, and really take it in for what it’s worth. I have had to defend the way I am passionate about the things that make me happy. 

I have been one of the biggest Taylor Swift fans since I was 8 years old. I spent most of my formative years — the years most integral to my being — defending myself when people said I was weird for liking “someone like her.”

Even now in my 20s, I find myself having to defend the way that I cried at The Eras Tour, the way I am so fast to call out people or even corporations for not using the available rerecorded versions of Swift’s music or the way that I am 20 years old and dancing alone in my dorm room while listening to “Sparks Fly (Taylor’s Version)” the same way I did in my childhood bedroom. 

I spent my childhood defending the way I held strong opinions about “The Hunger Games” and how I played pretend with sticks for a bow and arrow with my childhood best friend at recess in elementary school. 

When I tell people I enjoy animes, the assumption is made that I like “girly animes.” I get pushback that I just “don’t get them” when I say I do prefer sports or action animes. And even if I did enjoy romance animes or high school animes, why is that a problem? 

I defended myself when people around me called me cringe or emo for being very passionate about music like My Chemical Romance or Twenty One Pilots in 2016.

To be fair, I don’t bring that part of my life up proudly because nobody loves their emo phase. But I don’t regret it because it was part of my personal growth. I feel like when I look back at my life and the “phases” I went through, the memories are a mix of being happy and passionate even though I was met with pushback from my peers and the adults in my life. 

A large amount of these pushbacks were followed with statements like “You’re such a fangirl.” Honestly, I am a fangirl. I am a girl who is a fan of something. 

But the way people say it, with a judgmental tone in voice and an eye roll, they say it in a way that insinuates that it’s “cringe” to be a girl who is a fan or is passionate. 

Now that I’m older and working on letting go of what others think of me, I can’t help but notice the way that this judgment is laced with misogyny. 

Many of my male-identifying coworkers at the Daily News are big sports fans. I think this is great.

When they turn their journalism career into being a sports reporter, people call it strategic. It’s a good move because it’s what they’re most experienced in. 

When I want to focus my career on the music industry, it’s just a long way into meeting celebrities. Or it’s cheap. It’s attention-seeking. It’s my way of trying to fan fiction my way into meeting a musician.

When my male coworkers cry because their favorite team wins, it’s vulnerable. They’re being passionate. They’re just big fans of the sport. It’s normal. 

When I cry because Taylor Swift is literally performing live in front of me for the first time in my decade-plus years of being a fan, I’m exuding “cringe” behavior. I’m being a dork. I’m being dramatic.

When I, or other Swifties, spend hundreds to thousands of dollars on Eras Tour tickets, we are being “unreasonable with our money.” More often than not, men are the ones who tell me they can’t comprehend how or why I would spend that much money. 

The double standard is there and it’s huge. And I just can’t wrap my head around it. 

According to multiple studies, the passion men hold for sports tends to lead to violence. A study done by Jodie Swallow from the University of Chester in England in 2017, collected the stories of multiple women who experienced domestic abuse. They shared stories of their male partners who committed acts of physical and sexual abuse against them after their team lost. 

Another study from Annie Crowley, Oona Brooks (University of Glasgow) and Nancy Lombard (Glasgow Caledonian University) showed that in intense rivalry games of Scottish football (soccer), there can between a 13 and 138.8 percent increase in reported domestic abuse following games, depending on varying context such as match scores and the day of the match.

I am not saying that all men who enjoy sports are violent. But people can be passionate without malice or violence. And women can be passionate without having to be negatively stereotyped over it, especially when that passion isn't leading to the harm of others.

When I want to post multiple times a day that Taylor Swift broke another record and set another record, I shouldn’t have to feel like I’m annoying. 

I will never regret being a fangirl because it means I am pushing a rule that shouldn’t have existed in the first place.

If men are allowed to be passionate about sports and make their lives about sports, I can make my life about the music industry and Taylor Swift. 

Contact Olivia Ground with comments at olivia.ground@bsu.edu or on X @liv_ground_25


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