Book Review: “The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy,” by Sam Maggs

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Hello, everyone! I don’t plan on regularly reviewing books, but I know I have a lot of geeky bloggers that follow me, so this book might be of interest to you all. It’s all about being a fangirl of pretty much anything! I originally published the story in the newspaper I write for, but because I really enjoyed the book, I want to share it on my blog, too.

You can read the review in its original format (and articles from other talented writers) here: http://www.dailyuw.com/arts_and_leisure/article_9a5853a8-f85f-11e4-a8a5-6b735d51f965.html

or you can read my review right here:

Fake Geek. Gamer Girl. Poser. Trend follower. All common insults, among many others, that female geeks are bombarded with. After all, a girl who actually plays video games and reads comic books is unheard of, right? Wrong. In her book “The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy,” Sam Maggs sheds light on geek girls, from the various types of fans to the prejudice they face.

So what exactly is a fangirl? A fangirl is a female fan passionate about something usually considered geeky. Though it doesn’t sound too far-fetched, Maggs mentions several occasions where her credibility as a fan came into question by men in geek bars and video game stores, simply because she is a woman. Maggs knows she is not alone and not only hopes to use her book to fight against ever-present sexism, but to help fangirls feel empowered and proud of themselves and their interests.

Maggs speaks to all geeks. She starts off by classifying the different types of geeks, including fans of Star Wars, Harry Potter, anime, comics, Doctor Who, and even young adult novels. She defines common fangirl lingo commonly seen on tumblr and forums and gives survival tips on attending geeky conventions. Along with this, she mentions what conventions include and where to find them, offers suggestions on how to incorporate your fandom into your daily life, such as collecting room decor and choosing a geeky tattoo, and gives great ideas to help geek girls connect with each other, such as TV show viewing parties. Throughout the book, she includes interviews with famous female writers, artists, and actresses to share their thoughts and experiences on being fangirls. Maggs also includes several online resources for geek girls: from meeting friends, to finding fashion, to party planning tips.

Most importantly, Maggs addresses the issue of feminism and how, even in geek media, women are often portrayed as unequal. She defines the terminology that goes along with feminism and related topics, explains how to critically think about the treatment of women in the media, and how to go about calling out misogyny and supporting women in the industry. Maggs points out how important it is to bring awareness of these issues to help create equality for people of all races, genders, and sexual orientations.

Though the book is catered toward female fangirls, it makes a great read for all genders. While males may experience less prejudice for playing video games, the types of geeks and their slang is not exclusive to females. Anyone can benefit from convention tips and brushing up on geek speak. Whether you are a hardcore geek, a new geek, or just a friend or parent of a geek, you will benefit from reading this book. Those unfamiliar with geek culture will finally be able to understand the different types of fans and the things they say. Those who are familiar will find Maggs’s recommendations of media series including strong female characters to be a helpful list of shows and comics to check out. Even if you happen to know every single reference and recommendation in the book, Maggs’s perspective on geek girls and feminism is worth reading.

Are you a fangirl? Do you have any experiences to share? Maybe about a cool convention you attended or a time you were discriminated against due to your gender? Please comment below! Thanks for reading~

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