Romany (romanyg) wrote,

Geekier Than Thou: or Tara Tiger Brown says, 'Dear Fake Geek Girls: Please Go Away'

First things first: Not dead. Hi! In lieu of explanation, I'll just dive right in.

So over at Forbes, Tara Tiger Brown posts Dear Fake Geek Girls: Please Go Away, where she tells us that, back in the day, she had to rub sticks together to make *fire*, and lol! kids today, they got lighters and matches and stuff. So weak! Gotta do the time! Or the geek equivalent thereof. I've got at least 10 years on her so *sporfle* to her 'you kids, get off my lawn!' thing.

Haven't we had this discussion before? Sigh.

As others have said, your conclusion bothers me a little. Okay, more than a little. I think I get that passion needs time to grow, but it could be easily read as ‘Sit down and shut up, little girl.’ Which may not be what you meant at all, but how many times have we heard, as women, that we’re wrong, we’re too loud when we do speak, the put-downs? *Especially* when it comes to traditional guy-spaces. Geekdom has faux gender-equality. It always has. The guys, and the other girls who’ve done their time, automatically assume when we walk into the geek-room for the first time that we’re there for the food or as someone’s girlfriend. We have to work doubly-hard to prove we’re legit for the sole reason we have girl-parts.

I can see from your bio that you mentor. Your friend’s daughter, whom you mention as an example, is wonderfully lucky because she’s 2nd gen. She has support from her mother to follow her passion. I’m 2nd gen too, daughter of geeks. Why would I want my mother’s battle-scars from the 50s and 60s? Why should I, or any of our daughters, have to reinvent the wheel? My mother taught me early on that bored people are boring, find your passion, your joy. Many girls never get that, have to struggle to learn it’s okay to be your own person.

Maybe these so-called fake geek girls stumble into their passion because of marketing or an agenda or whatever. They’re in a fog, they don’t know who they are yet, whether they be 7 or 12 or 20 or 40 (and women – don’t even get me started how as geeks we’re still ‘girls’ when we’re old enough to be someone’s mother.:)) Let them learn and come to the Dark Side. We have better cookies anyway.

As far as the internet making things too easy, I differ on that. It’s opened doors for women who, for whatever reason (and there are many), haven’t had access before, simply because they’re women. In my small corner of geekdom, we have women who cannot even leave the house because of abuse, physical issues, or they live in countries where the simple fact of being a geek is a criminal act. Online, they find support, community, mentoring, even help to better their situation as human beings. Sure, they don’t have the cred yet, but that’s due to access rather than lack of passion.

And this supposed shallowness? Okay, maybe there’s no there there, but oftentimes it’s a disguise, a mask covering a hidden depth, for social survival. Even in our media-driven culture we’re taught from day-one that our role is to look nice and make someone a sandwich. We learn that our dreams are only hobbies, something to market to, and it better not take time away from our families or men-folk. We’re raised to be support staff. Even today, girls have to work harder for that math grade, to be noticed in science, get that scholarship. And it darn well better be used for a vocation rather than an avocation. In other words, we’re told to sit down and shut up. A lot. We really shouldn’t do that to our own.

So there's this guy, right?, who says the following in response to her post:

What an incredibly great read. As some one who is a guy and is currently single I do look for a bit of geekiness in the girls I choose to date and what I’ve found is that a lot of girls will say “I’m a total geek” and it’s because they wear glasses with no lenses or they play super mario occasionally when they’re bored.

What’s even worse (imho) is when a girl will say “yeah I’m a total geek. I love all that nerdy stuff like twilight” That’s the kiss of death and I must simply walk away. There’s no coming back from that one.

So even though Twilight is *so* not my fandom, I still got to get in and get all Fandom!Represent and stuff:

“yeah I’m a total geek. I love all that nerdy stuff like twilight” That’s the kiss of death and I must simply walk away. There’s no coming back from that one.

I can’t believe I’m going to defend the TwiHards here, but it sounds like you’re de-legitimizing an entire group of women – some of whom *completely* fall into this article’s definition of geekery. Not your thing? Fine. But that doesn’t make the passion any less valid. That fandom, more than most, is a Female Space. It’s not about you. It’s about running fanboards, art sites, conventions. And anyone who’s worked ConComms knows that’s a *job* that can only be done through passion and strength. These women have way more than ‘a bit of geekiness’.

Geek girls maintain their passion all while defending on two fronts: society in general and guy geeks, both of whom feel that our very self-definition and contribution to what we love isn’t worth a hill of beans. We seek each other out. We have our own communities. And true, the interwebs make it much easier to find each other, but we’ve been here for generations, and we have the secret handshake to prove it. And if guy geeks want to join in the fun? Great! Welcome. But don’t tell us how to run our own culture, or worse, tell us we don’t have one, because there’s the door, k?

We’re driven. We fall. We get back up, and most importantly, keep doing what we love.

Once again, it’s not about you. It’s about us.

One thing I can thank her for, I decided to think and speak again. *g*

Tags: thinky thoughts
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