picture of the medieval nerd is male-focused. I know, by personal experience and the Internet, that there are a lot of twitty female medieval fantasy nerds out there, and even sub-genres of fantasy lit aimed specifically at them. Also, witness the good deal of medieval/early modern historical romance books out there.
Alas, 'tis true ... brought on by my reluctance to use the term fangirl, since last time I used it I got complaints.*
Still, it started me wondering, who are the female medieval figures that draw fangirls to medievalism? Highly Eccentric mentions Marie de France, Joan d'Arc, and Jeanne de Montfort, Eleanor of Aquitane, and Heloise, but I wonder how many of these a girl is likely to encounter before she takes an interest? I would think the first medievalist figures a fangirl encounters would be Guinevere, Elaine, maybe Joan d'Arc or Boudicca (which may depend on the national heroines of her country), or women fantasy authors.
So, how about it? Ladies, what brought you into fankind? No scholarly answers, either -- no 14-year-old girl ever picked up the Shewings of Julian of Norwich and said, "hmmm, I'll bet this'll be as interesting as the Baby-sitters Club series" -- I'm curious as to what drew your interest back before you even knew you had an interest. Or was it the same kind of Tolkien, D&D stuff that draws fanboys?
*The debate over the terms fanboy, fangirl, fandom, fankind, non-scholar, buff, amateur, non-professional, and enthusiast in the thread shows that the use of these terms is still perilous. I like peril, so maybe I'll just use whatever term I want in the future. Or maybe I'll use the term fankind, since I kinda like the pun. Bring on the great and terrible peril!