Fandoms, specifically fangirls, are some of the most influential people on the planet. Nobody can deny that. In fact, Harry Styles once said, "Teenage-girl fans—they don't lie. If they like you, they're there. They don't act 'too cool.' They like you, and they tell you. Which is sick."
And it's true. It's not just some mindless obsession. Fangirls are constantly shamed, and it needs to stop, because there are actual health benefits to being part of a fandom.
In a disconnected world, being part of a fandom gives you a sense of community. It's sort of like having your own tribe that extends to different countries—which is awesome.
It's also been scientifically proven that feeling like you belong keeps depression at bay. Psychotherapist Dr. Laurel Steinberg told Teen Vogue, "Feeling like you are part of a group can help one define his/her identity and give a sense of purpose to what might be an otherwise routine lifestyle... Connecting with people over shared passions and interests is good for mental and emotional health because...[it's] generally fun to scheme and get excited about something with others, and gives them a subject to talk about that they know will always be well-received."
You need to be careful, though. Make sure your passion doesn't turn into an obsession. While it's perfectly healthy to connect with someone about a shared interest, it's important to develop other aspects of your life and to avoid isolating your loved ones in favor of your role model.
This story originally appeared on Cosmo.ph.
* Minor edits have been made by the Candymag.com editors.