One of the weird things about being a mom is that you watch a lot of movies and TV that you would not otherwise watch. (And you read things you might not read -- lately, I am reading the Divergent series to keep up with my tween girl). While I enjoyed seeing recent animated films and discovering Hayao Miyazaki with my kids, I was also forced to watch a lot of superheroes and sci-fi. My husband introduced the kids to comics early on, as well as video games, which led to superhero movies like Ironman, Superman, X-Men, Batman, etc. These I can take because they tend to be rather campy and fun. He then started introducing the kids to science fiction -- sci-fi monster movies, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Doctor Who. The monster movies were fun -- we mainly watched them on a big screen at a theater that specialized in revivals and would have monthly monster matinees (sadly no more, as the theater was purchased recently). The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Doctor Who were a tougher climb for me. For whatever reason, I never had much interest in science fiction -- did not get excited about the possibility of time travel, aliens, or whatever else one is supposed to care about. But Doctor Who grew on me a bit. The new series is more like a rom-com than science fiction -- sure, there are Daleks, and Cyber Men and Weeping Angels and other scary stuff, and lots of metaphysical worrying, but one can enjoy the show as a story of friendships and romance in crisis situations.
I never had much academic interest in Doctor Who. But I did become interested in my daughter's liking for it ad for sci-fi and fantasy generally. More and more, girls like this stuff. And more and more it is cool for girls, as well as boys, to like it. No longer castigated as loserish nerds or geeks, fans and fangirls embrace their nerdiness -- and celebrate it! My daughter started a blog all about her fandoms. It consists mainly of her repostings of things from other blogs but shows her exploring a wide range of topics and ways of engaging pop culture. She creates "ships," reads fan fiction, makes connections among fandoms and among texts, discusses politics, especially gay rights, and more. In tumblr, she has a community of sorts, people who share her interests and do not find her weird for having them. So, when she tells a friend at school about an episode of Supernatural and gets a blank stare or disdainful response she knows she has a community that supports her.
This is her blog. There is a bit more of the f-word than I would like -- these kids seem to use it like an exclamation point. Mostly, the swears are not hers but reposted by her (small comfort for me, but something):
Because of her, I was asked to write about teen girls and Doctor Who for Antenna, a blog on TV. So, here is my defense of fangirls. This is for Sam.