Nerd out about data! True facts about gamers.
Nerd out about data! True facts about gamers.
Okay, I got mad, so I’m going to leave my altruistic, optimistic “Come on guys, we’re better than this!” cheer for the moment and descend into the darkest depths of the catacombs beneath the Kingdom of Rant-opia.
So quite a images about the fake geek girl have been coming out. The ones that are making my skin crawl are the ones that show an attractive girl on one side, usually wearing no-pants and eating a controller, and a slovenly, unwashed, and spastic girl on the other with bugged out eyes and hunched over a keyboard or controller. The caption reads “Fake Geek | Real Geek” or some variation of such nonsense. (Notable examples: here and here) The concept being that a real geek has no time for hygiene or grooming or anything other than clocking more hours in Skyrim/kills in COD. This promotes the invalidation of any moderately attractive girl in any geek gathering and stigmatizes her as NOT-ONE-OF-US.
And while there are many reasons why this is total and absolute holy-mother-of-god-my-eyes-are-bleeding brand bullshit (all of which become will be invalidated because I would first have to justify why I brushed my hair this morning instead of starting the next chapter in Fire Emblem) I’m going to instead mention the fact that this lack of hygiene is precisely the reason why my most enduring shwag I collected from PAX 2009 was a furious case of H1N1, the precise knowledge of how much mucus can ooze out of my face per hour, and the memory of some seriously disturbing hallucinations including things that should never scare me about tile. So can we please stop promoting unsanitary body maintenance as a hallmark of our subculture? I CAN’T HANDLE ANY MORE INFECTION.
Is it comforting that this “girls aren’t allowed in my tech-geek club” thing has a long and prestigious history? I mean, radio, that thing changed the world!
It does make me question how deep the gender hegemony rabbit hole goes, however. And more I see the righteous indignation about this “fake” geek girl, the fear that she has infiltrated our precious exclusive club and the rage at her presumption, the more I wonder about the gender-based implications of this. I have heard nothing of the “fake geek boy”. Is he a thing? Because I have seen no such memes on Tumblr yet— maybe I’m following the wrong individuals.
That said, let’s pan out a bit and look at this from a broader perspective. Let’s talk about the fake-geek versus the real-geek and ignore gender entirely for a moment. I know that this group was once fairly small and exclusive, founded on the precepts of liking-something-odd, liking-that-thing-too-much, and not-much-caring-about-the-effect-it-has-on-my-popularity-ranking. And our numbers have swelled to much larger than I ever assumed we would. We found the coolest things ever, but no one else got it and we couldn’t understand why. And then we were shunned, became social pariahs, banished to the far end of cafeterias across the nation and forced to surreptitiously sneak into unoccupied classrooms to roll new characters for the weekend’s campaign. Before it was a subculture, geekery was a clique, and not one you wanted to be in. And it was painful, but we wore that shit with pride when we got on the other side. WE SURVIVED.
But now more people are recognizing how cool those things are. They are joining us in our liking-it-too-much sort of way, and wanting to talk about it and learn the cannon, and write fanfic, and omg did you hear that Joss Whedon is coming to SXSW to discuss Much Ado? We broke that ground for these up-and-coming geeks and now they can like the things that we like and share it with this giant, (usually) accepting community. We should be happy how far we’ve come and be proud that we carried these precious relics through the metaphorical Dark Ages until the rest of the world caught up and saw it for how awesome it is. We helped promote share this with the world and that is ridiculously fantastic! And clinging to the pain-that-was, the exclusionary concept of if-you-didn’t-go-through-real-ostracism-you-aren’t-a-real-geek is the most negative and undeserving way to characterize ourselves. Geeks and geekery is too mindblowingly fantastic for that to be our defining characteristic.
My little sister got her first taste of “fake nerd girl” bullshit today. It was pajama day at school, so I let her borrow my Tails slippers, and when she came home she told me that at least 4 boys came up to her and demanded to know whether she knew who Tails was or not, and what he was from.
This is the 5th grade.
Needless to say, I’m pissed off.
Uhg. Ridiculously sad. I hate to see the indoctrination of nerds start this early, and I hate that a girl-nerd has to start experiencing challenges to her identity and interests because of it.
Let’s challenge gender stereotypes through the magical power of song! Geek and Sundry feels like that nerd television channel I really wanted as a child, but didn’t exist and now it does and it’s even better for its worldly awareness. And I love the unpacking of deeply normalized gender ideologies. With musical accompaniment.