Being a fangirl is equal parts frustrating and awesome. You get the rapturous joy of being completely in love with something and the utter annoyance of having to prove your worth to others in the community. In the world of geeks and nerds, the geek girl is still stuck at the bottom. I’ve been interrogated by the Captain Neckbeards of the world in comic book stores about my authenticity and been involved in scathing internet slap fights once someone realized my chromosomes match. Don’t even get me started on the looming specter of straight up bullshit that is Gamergate, Sad Puppies and MRAs. Being a fangirl can even be dangerous now.
It’s easy to get discouraged and that’s why The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxyis a wonderful, enthusiastic shot in the arm to any geek girl who needs some reassurance. Fangirls are awesome and author Sam Maggs uses her book as a way to celebrate all that is wonderful about being a girl obsessed with video games and comic books. The book contains quirky illustrations, important tips for going to conventions and interviews with famous women in modern fandom like Felicia Day.
The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy is part Feminism 101 and part manual for living happily (and safely) as a girl nerd. Maggs comes by her geekiness honestly. She’s an associate editor for notable geek girl site, the Mary Sue and has contributed to anthologies on being a woman in gaming. Maggs’ book is full to the brim with sharp insight, wise advice and a primer on what being a feminist is and how it dovetails neatly with being a girl geek. There is a whole chapter of the book dedicated to feminism that is well researched and well-reasoned. She discusses and dissects the Bechdel test, what the “male gaze” is (especially in video games) and what to do if you find yourself the unfortunate target of internet bottomfeeder ire. Maggs’ writing is hilarious, smart and consistently on point.
Is it a niche book? Eh, sure, but it’s an important one. Geek girls are easy internet punching bags and this book teaches you how to punch back. It bolsters you, embraces you and lets you know that being weird is wonderful and to fuck the haters. It gives you the basics about every type of fandom under the sun and includes smart, no-nonsense facts about different geek websites, fanfiction and how to cosplay. Maggs is adamant about helping you become a confident, strong female character in your own life story.
It’s practical life advice presented in a supportive and fun package. Delightful illustrations and a powerful maxim on being a feminist fangirl complete this lovely little book. I want to give a copy to every girl I know. It’s a perfect starting point for the young geek girls in your life as well as a timely refresher course for those of us who have been fangirls for a long time.
Whether you’re a SuperWhoLock shipper or a FemShep, The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy should be required reading.
Images from Sam Magg’s website.