REAL GEEK GIRLS: The Mary Sue’s, Sam Maggs
The goal of my “Real Geek Girls” series is to show the world that girls truly can be geeky. For some, that seems like an obvious observation, but there’s always that one person, almost always a guy, who will talk about how girls are fake geeks who don’t know what they’re talking. Girls are just doing it look cool and lure in geek guys. They don’t know what it’s all about when it comes to “geek culture” and they’re somehow just there to be admired by geek guys. I’m here to let the world know that girls DO know what we’re talking about. We can be and we ARE just as geeky as the guys. Every now and again, I’ll interview a new geek girl just to highlight how many of us are out there, how real we are all. We come in all shapes and sizes, and love a many number of geeky things. I’m going to show the world that there are real geek girls, and they know as much, if not more, than the somehow more revered geek guy.
Meet Sam Maggs! She’s a whovian geeky girl who is an associate editor at The Mary Sue. She has also written a book called The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy, which will be out in Spring 2015. I was able to interview her and learn a lot about her awesome geekness and the love she has for Doctor Who! Check out the interview below and make sure to follow Sam on twitter here and check out her website here.
What does being a geek mean to you?
To me, being a geek means being passionate about pop culture. You don’t stand in a panel line for three days at SDCC unless you really love something. You don’t pour hours of your life into a video game; spend your money at the comic book store every week; or make GIFs of your favorite show on Tumblr, unless you’re truly passionate. Loving something that hard is amazing because it allows you to become invested in tons of different worlds and characters; to experience so many feels all the time. I think being a geek is a great way to live.
What’s your take on those people out there who thinks girls are being “fake” geek to fit in?
I think those people should go watch this amazing video by The Doubleclicks.
Tell us a little about what you write for THE MARY SUE and THE NATIONAL POST.
For The Mary Sue, I get to write about lots of different aspects of geek culture – but mostly I love to write about feminism in the nerd world, and the different ways that comics, games, TV shows, and movies are doing well to represent women (or could do better!). For The National Post (one of Canada’s two national newspapers), I sometimes write about the representation of women in gaming, which you might have heard is kind of a hot-button topic these days.
You’re on-screen sometimes, what do you do?
For me, I’ve always been a content person first. I love to talk about geek culture and ladies and, sometimes, how they interact. Most of the time, I get to do that in writing, which is amazing; but occasionally I’ve been lucky enough that people want me to talk about pop culture on screen, too! Currently I’m a Pre-Show Host for Cineplex Movies, which means anytime you go to a Cineplex theater (which is the big movie chain in Canada), you see my face for the half hour before your film, talking about cool stuff that’s coming out soon. I’ve also been a guest on MTV Canada and the Space Channel (they’re the folks who help make shows like Orphan Black and Bitten), usually to talk Doctor Who. It’s pretty neat, though I’ll never get used to the sound of my own voice.
Which Doctor from Doctor Who is your favorite?
I’m an Eleventh Doctor girl through and through! The fifth season of the new series of Doctor Who is so brilliant to me – “The Eleventh Hour” is a flawless episode, and it sets up such a great season; smart stand-alone episodes, tied together by an exceptionally-clever overarching thread. It’s how all Who should be. Everyone loves to hate on Moffat, but I really think – when he’s fully committed to something – he can do great things. Matt Smith brought the perfect sense of whimsical darkness to those stories. I could go on all day.
If you could travel with The Doctor anywhere, where would you go and why?
I am obsessed with Victorian literature – I did my Master’s in 1860’s sensation fiction (a particular type of novel that involves Women Behaving Badly, you should check it out). I would immediately go back to the mid-to-late-1800s (perhaps to a ball during the Season?), just to see what it was like to be in that environment. And also to experience how crazy bad it must have smelled. Can you even imagine? Either that, or I’d want to get out in the 1890’s and try being a New Woman for a while – you know, one of the ladies that newspapers loved to hate on because they did radical things like own property and wear pants to ride bicycles and such.
Is there anything you are working on that we can look forward too?
My first book, THE FANGIRL’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY (a lexicon of life hacks for the modern lady geek), will be published by Quirk Books in May 2015! It’s a fully-illustrated handbook to help ladies live their nerdiest lives, with interviews from your favorite famous lady-geeks; advice on things like how to handle internet trolldom; and tips on how to be an awesome geek girl feminist. I’m really, really excited about it and I hope everyone loves it!
What’s your advice to girls out there who feel like being “geeky” is embarrassing?
I got into Stargate SG-1 when I was ten years old. As you can imagine, it was not the most common thing for ten-year-old girls to like. The more I talked about it, the more I felt embarrassed, and ostracized, and weird, and alone. So I stopped talking about it. As I made my way through high school and university, I never talked about any of my passions – scifi, gaming, comics, I kept it all to myself in some misguided attempt to “fit in.” But looking back, that was absolutely the worst plan. All I did was make myself unhappy by hiding the things I truly cared about. When I graduated school and moved away, I decided that I was just going to try being open, being myself. If people liked it, awesome; if they didn’t, there were probably a million people out there in the world who would.
And you know what? I was right.
Never hide who you are. Be proud of the things you love. Even if there’s no one who loves the same things as you in your school, or in your community – that’s okay! That’s what the internet is for. Join fan communities on Tumblr; find like-minded lady-friends on Twitter; start writing fanfic or creating fanart. Love what you love and be excited about it, because that’s the best way to live. I promise.