Editor’s note: I recently sent around a link to Hex writers that went to an an article about “Fake Geek Girls“, asking them what they thought about the issue. Where do you stand on the concept of fake geek girls? Lucy Cokes and Paul Blewitt discuss the matter.
I’m proud to be a geek girl, and I’m proud to say that I was already a geek before I started dating my very geeky boyfriend. I play computer games and read a lot of fantasy. I can name all the technical components of a book and tell you exactly how it was constructed. I own a Spider-Man t-shirt that I like to wear unashamedly and almost cried with happiness when my brother bought me a Skyrim necklace for my birthday.
But I do not consider myself a “threat” to geekdom’s apparent “masculinity”. Who cares if I’m a woman who loves geeky things? I sure don’t. I just know that I’m passionate about things, and some of those things just happen to be Lord of the Rings and Mass Effect.
My mother knows of my geekdom and was genuinely going to buy me an oversized woman’s t-shirt with “Geek” on the front in huge letters. I was horrified when she told me. I wanted to present my geekdom in my own way, thank you very much. I’m mostly subtle about it – okay, I’ll admit that I did use my geekiness as a chat up line at university, and I still use it where I work in an attempt to gain respect from the kids – but it’s part of my personality, and people usually find out the extent of my nerdiness pretty much straight after they meet me. And no one has ever called me a fake because of it.
Back to those horrible t-shirts. They’re becoming more and more commonplace, and nowadays it’s not hard to find in magazines a selection of “geeky” accessories and outfits. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s highly unlikely that a geek will wear a t-shirt or an outfit labelling who they are. We get bullied enough as it is. And besides, geeks are inherently geeky by nature. We don’t need to advertise. But the minute someone does, they are branded a ‘fake geek girl’ and torn apart on internet forums. And it’s becoming a real problem.
What I find to be the worst thing about fake geek girls is the fact that people seem to think that is the only kind of geek girl you can have. They seem to treat the title of “Geek”, which I wear proudly (just not on a t-shirt), as being totally gender exclusive.
I’ve been reading The Stan Lee Excelsior Award Shortlisted books for 2014 (all with male protagonists) and I enjoyed the tongue-in-cheek hilarity of Quantum and Woody: The World’s Worst Superheroes. There’s a series of web comics that followed the book-run that have been published at the back of this volume. And although I know Woody is meant to be a cheeky and bolshie, I still was quite taken aback by this panel:
To be honest, I was a little disappointed in the writers then. They’re just adding to the myth that there is nothing else but fake geek girls; that girls can’t be geeky in their own right. I was a little saddened by that.
Sure, we’re not as prolific as the geek guys, but I believe that is part of our charm. In my personal experience, guys aren’t threatened by us, but admire us: they start to see us on their own level, which can only be a good thing.
So are fake geek girls real or not? That’s the real question here. And the answer is yes. Fake geek girls do exist. But so do fake geek boys. You get fakes in every walk of life, geeky or no – from girls who wear layers of makeup with silicone implants, to guys who pretend they’re all über manly just to fit in with their football mates.
I admit that fake geek girls do annoy me, but so does any fake: they’re putting on a mask that isn’t truly them, and that’s the sad part. But to assume any girl who is a geek is automatically a fake? Well, that’s just beyond stupid and arrogant and cruel. Geek girls are real, they always have been and they always will be. We’re here to stay, so the sooner you admit that, the better.
Why I don’t question Fake Geek Girls
I consider myself geeky. I love Star Trek, Nintendo, and a whole load of other nerdy stuff. But like pretty much everyone out there, there’s some things that are considered geeky that I’m not that into. Say for example, Magic: The Gathering. I’ve tried playing it, I’ve learnt the rules and I have had people that like playing it around me. I simply can’t get into it.
And why am I talking about this? Well, it’s because I don’t assume that just because people aren’t into my geekdoms, doesn’t mean they’re not geeks in their own right. And I know what you’re thinking, “yeah, but some girls dress up as characters and in T-shirts that know absolutely nothing about the whatever they’ve dress up as”. Really though? Is that the case?
I can see why people would be wanting to defend their passion of something geeky, but defend it from what? If it’s bullying and derision, fair enough. But if it’s defending it from people who aren’t as into it as you, why not use that as an opportunity to talk to them…
Part of what I think is responsible for this idea that “fake geek girls are bad” is that somehow regular geeks are being exploited. So an attractive person dresses in something from a fandom you’re part of, how exactly is this bad? Why assume they’re using it to get “valuable” attention from you? Why not use it to get to know them? They’re obviously open enough to your fandom, so why would they be against you discussing it with them.
Just make sure you’re not coming off as creepy, or solely interested in them because of their looks. This kind of stuff should be obvious, but some people still miss it.
One of the reasons I don’t feel comfortable complimenting a stranger in their cosplay, hair or style is because I’m always worried that they’d think I’m saying it to get into their knickers. I can see it as an easy get out to be hostile – a cowards ways out. The solution? Buck up or shut up. People have the same needs – in this case the need to be seen as included or to be seen as a worthwhile member of a group. So by marginalising and potentially dismissing them, you’re basically being a dick.
In the end, it’s not about what you know, or how much you know – it’s about who you want to be and how you treat others. And that’s why it doesn’t matter how much of a geek you are, you’re still welcome at Hex Dimension.