For The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy, I wanted to speak the awesomest geeky gals in the biz, all about how their experience as a fan has influenced and shaped their lives. Unfortunately, due to a tight page count and a super-mean editor (just kidding, love you Blair! <3), we could only fit a few interviews into the final book. But there was so much goodness left over that I just had to share their geek girl wisdom with the world.
Today, I bring you some fangirl fabulousness from the wicked women of comics, including Janelle Asselin, Leigh Lahav, Amy Ratcliffe, Meaghan Carter, and Stephanie Cooke.
“Don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t belong. They are wrong, not you. I’ve gotten a lot of grief over the years for various aspects of being a geek woman, and I never let it deter me - in fact, I let it spur me on, which is why I’m still here and mouthier than ever. Today there are so many girls and women out there that love geeky things that it’s easier than ever to find a supportive, fun tribe to spend your time with. That makes it a lot easier to ignore the haters. So find other women like yourself and make a support system because that will be invaluable whether you want to be a geek as a fan or you want to be a geek as a career. Networking in general is the best way to get places in comics specifically, because knowing people can open doors that even an impressive resume can’t open all on its own. Knowing people and having an impressive resume makes you an unstoppable force. So network with everyone you can - of all genders - and use that networking to build a sub-network of the people you really adore and trust. They will be the ones to support you through thick and thin while you cast a wide net to find jobs and learn new things about your industry."
“When I was younger I was ashamed of being called a fangirl. It was (and sadly sometimes still is) mostly used as a degrading word, to diminish, to distinguish ‘true fans’ from ‘fake, silly girl-fans that are only here for the boy-toys.’ Notice also the use of the word ‘girl’ and not ‘woman. As I grew older and learned to love myself and my hyper geeky personality, I decided to reclaim the word ‘fangirl’ and empower it in a playful, self-aware way – something I can only guess fangirls all over the world do today, since the term is a lot more common and used positively these days. That's also the playful semi-ironic but very honest and good hearted mood I'm trying to set in my ‘Fangirls’ videos. Yes I am a fangirl. I'm here because of an undying love and appreciation for the fandom – but also because of romance and pretty boys. And both of those things are okay. So for me, being a fangirl, nowadays, is loving pop culture and geek culture, but also accepting the term and embracing your womanhood as something that doesn't oppose geekyness, but flows with it."
Founder of Geek With Curves and writer for Fashionably Geek, Star Wars.com, and IGN. Follow her on @Amy_Geek.
“It sounds silly to say, but being a geek is my life. My closest friends became my friends because we met through flailing over similar fandoms on Twitter. My job as a freelance writer mostly involves writing about Star Wars, cosplay, and geek news. Embracing and flaunting my geek side undoubtedly made me a better person. Attending conventions and interacting with vendors or moderating panels has made me more confident. Putting on costumes and hosting a web series has made me a little bit less self-conscious and more comfortable in my own skin. Present day Amy is much braver and less shy than 10-12 years ago Amy because of owning the fact that I'm a geek and letting it show.”
Cartoonist and creator of Take Off!, a modern fantasy graphic novel. Follow her at @mega_carter.
“One thing I've really learned in my geeky career is to be genuine. They taught us in school about schmoozing and 'making connections,' and 'fake it until you make it' – but I've never been good at that. Whenever I hold that over my head in a professional capacity, people see through it real quick. The best 'connections' and opportunities I've had were from actual friends I made at shows or events. And I was just being me. I guess this is a long way of saying 'just be yourself,' but seriously! Being genuinely friendly to people is underrated.”
Co-host for Talking Comics, contributing editor for Agents of Geek, assistant to Bill Willingham, and creator of Toronto Geek Trivia. Follow her at @hellocookie.
“Being a geek really and truly changed my life in so many ways. Before I found ‘geekdom’ I was struggling to maintain friendships with people that fit more into a conventional idea of people you should be friends with. The media told me that these were the people you wanted to be friends with if you wanted to be normal and after years of being bullied, all I wanted was to just fit in somewhere. I never thought that I would wind up finding my calling while working in a movie store with a bunch of amazing misfits. They opened up my eyes to the world of ‘geekdom’ by embracing me and talking movies, TV, and comics with me. I had never felt so accepted before, and I realized right then and there that these were my people, and I would never again try to fit in. If the people I chose to be friends with didn’t accept all of who I was, then I didn’t want to be friends with them.”