This past Saturday, at Odd Future's third annual Camp Flog Gnaw in Los Angeles, fans who'd purchased VIP passes to the carnival posted up on line with their complementary green Golf Wang backpacks to await a chance to exchange daps and bear-hugs with current FADER cover star Tyler, The Creator. Among the legions of boys sporting colorful socks and skateboards, there were quite a few female superfans that emerged from the meet-and-greet booth, some of whom were openly weeping from their encounter with the bug-eyed West Coast rapper. The Odd Future clan has a reputation for being something of a boy's club, in addition to minting lines like Rape a pregnant bitch and tell my friends I had a threesome, to quote a Tyler song cited in Matthew Trammell's story. How come the young women present didn't feel alienated by the gang and their reliably puerile sense of humor?
Below, we asked ten female Odd Future fans to explain their love for the group and what it's like to be part of a male-dominated subculture. Across the board, one of our most intriguing findings was the extent to which many of them found Odd Future's signature "I don't give a fuck" attitude to be, not offensive, but confidence-boosting. In a less heartening vein, when we asked them what it was like to be a female admirer of the group, many of them reported feeling that their status as genuine music fans was something they had to defend. As for the question of how it is possible to be a woman and enjoy songs with misogynistic content, there wasn't really any single explanation that dominated; it's a question that's as old as rap music itself, but it was inspiring to see how many of the young women we interviewed had intelligent things to say about it.
Chloe, Rancho Cucamonga, CA, 18
What do you love about Odd Future? I graduated [high school] this year. Almost didn't. These guys [almost] convinced me just to fuck that class and hit that bong [but] they pretty much got me through it with their music. I love that they go against the grain of mainstream music and they don't give a fuck about what anybody else has to say. And Tyler just inspired me so much. Seriously. And even if they sound misogynistic and homophobic, they're not. They're very nice people [tears up].
What's it like to be a female fan? It doesn't bother me, because rap music has always looked down against women. And it just doesn't bother me, because that's just the way rap is, you know? And yeah, it's ok if they say, “Suck My Dick." I really don't care.
Winter, Los Angeles, 26 (left)
What do you love about Odd Future? Fucking everything. I like how they speak their mind—they say how they feel, and it's cool to do that. Fuck what everybody thinks.
What's it like to be a female fan? Oh my god, it's so different. If you look at the demographic right now, there's like one female to 700 guys. So we stand out. The Odd Future females are definitely rare. And I respect it, because when you're growing up, they expect you to be pretty. They expect you to be girly, and dainty, and all the things they think are pretty. But out here, we can just be who we are, and still be pretty. That's what they respect.
Mekkah, Los Angeles, 15
What do you love about Odd Future? Everything. They've gotten me through like suicide attempts, and so much. This is literally the greatest day of my life [crying]. People judge the music before they listen to the music. Tyler is talking about real shit. He talks about going through not having his father in his life, and he gets his anger out, and he vents, and that's what I think I like about it—he does his music for him, not for anybody else. I love it.
What's it like to be a female fan? It's the same as being a male listener. There are so many people who want to find everything wrong with something that somebody says. And they nitpick and are like, he said "Bitch," he said this, he said that. He's super nice. I started crying [just now], and he just hugged me more, and he's like, "It's ok, stay in school." He's having fun, he's doing what he wants, and nobody can get mad at him for that.
Megaan, Toronto, 16 (left)
What do you love about Odd Future? I just love how they don't give a fuck about anything. They just do what they want to do that makes them happy; they don't care about what the fans say or anything. They just say what they want. I feel like Tyler is so down to earth. He just talks about whatever, but he actually cares a lot about shit.
What's it like to be a female fan? I like it, actually. It's sick. There's not as many fan girls who are like, "Oh my god, it's Tyler the Creator." I hate people like that. You just all chill together.
Ariana, San Francisco, 17
What do you love about Odd Future? It started in middle school. I was going through some rough patches and I started out listening to Tyler, and then he opened my eyes to Odd Future. I don't want to sound cheesy or anything, but they got me through a lot, and today they're still my favorite artists. A lot of their songs can get pretty deep at some point, and also, they're just really fun. They actually really got me into rap too, because I was more into classic rock before. I just really love them.
What's it like to be a female fan? I don't know. Sometimes people are like, "Oh, you're not a real fan, you just think they're hot." I mean, they are hot, but I feel I know a lot more about Odd Future than some of the male fans who say that. So it doesn't really faze me, because I still got to go to some of their concerts, and I'm here today. [The lyrics] don't bother me at all, because I know they don't mean it at all. I don't really get offended by that, unless it's like they actually act on it. But I've seen their interviews where they say, like, "We don't mean that, we're just messing."
Amani, Oxnard, CA, 18
What do you love about Odd Future? I love their originality, their creativity, their I-don't-give-a-fuck attitude, like they're going to do what they want. And obviously it draws people in, when you see all these thousands of people who come for their carnival. It's pretty cool.
What's it like to be a female fan? People judge you heavy because they try to say you're a fake fan, just because you're a girl. But I've been rocking with Odd Future for years now, ever since I learned about them on Tumblr—from their video interview on MTV. When they talk about socking bitches in the face, it's like, "Oh," but you just go with it, sing along with it, too. I already know that they obviously don't take it literal; they're just having fun. It doesn't offend me.
Monica, Bay Area
What do you love about Odd Future? I like how they don't care about what anyone thinks about their music. And they kinda just have fun. And it's more like, they remind you to not care so much about technology. Like, this whole carnival is just to have fun, and like not be on your phone and stuff.
What's it like to be a female fan? It's kind of annoying. Because I know a lot of guys—they judge you, or they think you're on the bandwagon. But it's like, I like them, it's fun, I don't really care. A lot of people are judgmental, but a lot of people today were really nice to me, so it's cool. The first couple of songs that Tyler did in the beginning were really offensive, but he doesn't literally mean it, and I know that when he makes new music it's going to be different. I identify as a feminist, so at first I really didn't like it, but it's ok. He's spoken about it in interviews. He was a kid when he made all those songs, and he was really stupid, so I really don't mind it. And if you don't like it, don't listen to it. I don't listen to the old songs anymore.
Chyna, Rialto, CA, 17
What do you love about Odd Future? I like how they don't give a fuck. They're like big little kids; it's cute. I feel like we could all hang out and like chill.
What's it like to be a female fan? It's different, because a lot of the guy fans are like the skaters; they're all together, with that clique. And then some of the girls, they don't really identify with Odd Future, but you know they do, because they're here. I don't know, it's weird. It's cool. I like it. [The lyrical content] doesn't bother me. It bothers me when it bothers other people, because who cares? It's just a song.
Kiani, Los Angeles, 21
What do you love about Odd Future? I was first introduced to Odd Future in 2010, when they performed at the mtvU Woodie Awards. I was watching them on TV, and I was just like, "This is the shit." They're cool guys that I can hang out with, and they're also like, super dope lyricists. I think really it's the lyricism that gets me about them.
What's it like to be a female fan? I feel like I have a lot of cognitive dissonance as far as being a female who enjoys Odd Future, because obviously, their lyrics are very misogynistic. There's a lot of rape that comes into play, which, as someone who considers myself a feminist, [makes me] have to dissociate the lyrics from the person. Just like with any artist. Actors that I like, such as Robert Downey Jr.—he fucking beat up Madonna, but I can still watch Iron Man and enjoy it. There's a quote—and I wish I could remember who it was from, and where I had found it—but it's basically, "You can enjoy a person's art, while not necessarily condoning a person's actions." Because the art is their creation, and it's separate from them. It's almost like, you can like somebody's kid, but think that person's an asshole.
Christina, Los Angeles, 24
What do you love about Odd Future? They don't give a fuck. They say what the fuck they want to say, they do what they want to do. Nobody questions it, and it makes people come out of their shell. It allows people to just be like, "I want to be myself, too. It's ok, I can do whatever the fuck I want to do, I can be who I want to be, and something can come of it.
What's it like to be a female fan? I feel like they don't say things to offend a woman, they just kinda persuade you to be who you are. As a woman, a lot of people are going to see it as, "Why would you ever listen to that shit?" Just like Eminem. But I feel like it's a message beyond what they're saying. It's telling you, "This is who I am, this is what I do." It's not necessarily male or female, but this is what it is.