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While the term “fangirl” has been playfully reclaimed by people of all genders, the historical portrayal of young women music enthusiasts has often landed somewhere between glossed-over footnote and “hysterical” as a metric used to measure a musician’s power. In Fangirls: Scenes From Modern Music Culture, author Hannah Ewens, whose own experiences are included, explores a far more complex view of fandom through exhaustive research and interviews with women and gender-nonconforming music devoteesin the U.K., Europe, North America, and Japan.

The individual voices and profiles vary as much as the people’s tastes—from boy-bands to Beyoncé to Courtney Love—giving fans the space to expand on personal truths like queerness, mental illness, sexual desire, and what it means to findcommunity, to “scream alone together...to go on a collective journey of self-definition.” Ascultural critic Jessica Hopper once wrote, “Suggestion: replace the word ‘fan girl’ with ‘expert’ and see what happens.”– Emily Nokes

Fangirls: Scenes From Modern Music Culture

By Hannah Ewens

(Quadrille Publishing Ltd.)

Fangirls: Scenes From Modern Music Culture was published August 18, 2020. This article originally appeared in the Fall 2020 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

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