Fangirls by Hannah Ewens

Published October 9, 2020

Fangirls by Hannah Ewens

Book info

  • Title Fangirls
  • Author Hannah Ewens
  • Year 2019
  • Genres Non-fiction, Music, Feminism

From Beatlemania in the early 1960s to the Directioners and Beyhive of today, female music fans have long driven the objects of their affection to the dizzying heights of life-changing fame. But marginalized fan groups are never given appropriate credit. Frequently derided, their worlds and communities are self-contained and rarely investigated by cultural historians and commentators. Yet without these people, in the past, records would have gathered dust on shelves, unsold and forgotten. Now, concerts wouldn't sell out and revenue streams from merchandising would disappear, changing the face of the music industry as we know it. In Fangirls: Scenes From Modern Music Culture, journalist Hannah Ewens is on a mission to give these individuals their rightful due. A dedicated music lover herself, she has spoken to hundreds of fans from the UK to Japan to trace their path through recent pop and rock history. She's found the untold stories behind important events and uncovered the ups, the downs and the lengths fans go to, celebrating the camaraderie and lifelines their fandoms can provide.


Picked this up when I saw that Lauren Mayberry from CHVRCHES had tweeted about it and the concept seemed interesting. It took me a little while to get into it but once I did, I really liked it. The first few chapters aren’t as interesting as the rest, I think. They’re a general overview of fandom which included why people sit outside venues waiting and what it means to be in a fan club.

However, the subsequent chapters start focusing on one particular artist’s fans and that’s when it gets interesting. The different ways in which people attach themselves to an artist, how that particular beloved person responds and how that affects the way the fandom goes. For example, Beyonce being super open to begin with but then completely cutting off all access, or Lady Gaga and her monsters, or the hyped up experiences of One Direction fans.

It’s relatable and an interesting insight, shining a light on how judgemental people can be of the “crazy teen fangirl” when in fact there is so much more to it.

Rating: 3 / 5

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