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Live Geek or Die

Live Geek or Die

I have a law degree and am licensed to practice law. I’ve been published. In print. I am a 28-year-old grown-ass woman and last week I bought my first comic book. That’s right. I’ve finally decided to fully unleash my geek.

My geek streak has been buried in my personality for a long time. I’ve always been a fan of science and speculative fiction. My favorite game to play in my backyard when I was a child is Rescue the Enterprise. (Next Gen, of course. Picard forever!) Bill Nye the Science Guy was necessary after school viewing. I decorated my room with hand-drawn renderings of every single manned spaceship in U.S. history.

Yes, the geek is strong in this one.

Today is the trifecta of nerd holidays: Geek Pride Day, Towel Day and the Glorious 25th of May. It’s a day for people who like what they like with no apology, but on this day we should also be cognizant that girls continue to be dissuaded from getting involved in geek culture.

When I was in school, I was lucky enough to run around with a pretty nerdy crowd. We researched nuclear nonproliferation policies, quoted Monty Python, and read the Han Solo Trilogy. But even so, as a girl I knew there were some things I wasn’t supposed to enjoy. Like comic books. And video games. And robots. It wasn’t explicit. I just knew.

I like to think that such things have changed, but they haven’t. At least, not that much. I’m sure we all remember the first grade girl who was bullied for liking Star Wars. Nerdy girls are still considered suspicious, like we only get down with nerd culture for the attention. God forbid girls dig programming and blowing up shit! Comic books constantly give women the short shrift (but, importantly, not always). Blatant misogyny is tolerated in at least one major tech company.

It can look pretty discouraging, but I’m convinced that the tide is turning. Geek is so cool. I can think of many prominent geeks of the lady persuasion off the top of my head: Tina Fey, Marian Call and Felicia Day to name a few. Women still lag behind in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) professions, but efforts such as Girl Develop It are teaching women how to code, She’s Geeky is connecting and encouraging women to enter STEM, and blogs like The Mary Sue are making women in geekery mainstream. It’s an exciting time to be a geek.

Geek culture has a lot to offer, and it should be something that everyone can take part and feel comfortable in. We aren’t there yet, but it’s getting better every day. Let me provide the kids out there with some advice. If you feel it, don’t be afraid of your inner geek. Build your robot. Cure ovarian cancer. Read your comic. Hell, write your own! And get pissed because even though there has been a bottomless well of superhero movies these past few years, not one of them stars Wonder Woman! (What’s up, Hollywood? Get it done.)

But most of all, be loud. Let everyone know that you have arrived and you won’t quietly tolerate casual sexism. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not a “real” geek or question your sincerity. That is just a way to keep you out, but those doors won’t stay shut forever. It just takes you to HULK SMASH it down.

So say we all.

Related posts:

It’s May 25 – Where’s Your Towel

Gay People Exist in the Future, Too; Trouble and Her Friends Book Review

Hunger Games Opens Friday – Why We Can’t Wait


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Image credit: Steve Isaacs

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12 comments

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8:03AM PDT on May 30, 2012

As an older Gen X female geek, I agree 100% with all you have to say. It started with my father, who saw no distinction between what girls and boys could or could not do or like. He bought me my first video game - PONG - (just to tell you how old I am) and introduced me to the world of Sci-Fi, by bringing me to the opening of the original Star Wars - A New Hope in New York City. An experience that has in many ways shaped who I am and my life. It has made me the super GEEK and fangirl that I am today. It has inspired me to dream and hope, and hopefully launch me towards a new and long awaited career in Sci-Fi writing. So for all the girls/women out there who are not sure if it's okay to let their inner geek shine, I say - "Do or do not, there is no try."

1:59PM PDT on May 29, 2012

I love geeks.

5:39PM PDT on May 27, 2012

Geek is traditionally presented as something that is outside mainstream gender expression. But is it really? I am beginning to see masculine and feminine on a smooth scale rather than separate opposites placed against each other. A geek is merely a human being who expresses his or her interests somewhere toward the middle of the scale rather than on the hyper singular expressions of ultra female or macho male that exist at the ends of this scale. It is likely that these two ends are not the ideal natural, and do not match the norm.

5:18PM PDT on May 26, 2012

I

2:25PM PDT on May 26, 2012

So being smart is unattractive and being stupid is attractive?

12:48PM PDT on May 26, 2012

I love the original Star Trek. It is a permanent fixture on my Netflix Instant Que so I can watch any episode whenever I want. I don't go to conventions, but c'mon a lot of Gene Roddenberry's vision of the future was so spot on. It came on at 4:00 in the afternoon after school. Stuff that seemed silly when in the sixties (Yeah, computers that talk to you, sure.....) and the little coil in Uhura's ear, oh pleeeeeease! (bluetooth, anyone?) reflect our current technology. The over-the-top drama is pretty comic bookish and kinda campy-chic. The mini skirts still don't seem like practical space exploration garb, and the fact that all the female aliens wore make-up, sexpot outfits and bouffant hairdo's still rankles me to no end, but I still love it in spite of a few flaws.

10:11AM PDT on May 26, 2012

I think we ALL have a little "geek" in us!

7:04AM PDT on May 26, 2012

I have been a Trekie from its advent,so what does that make me?..

6:37AM PDT on May 26, 2012

I discovered Star Trek in 1975. I was 12. Whenever possible, I wrote science fiction-themed assignments in my language and literature classes - even *science*-themed poetry. My teacher was so ignorant of science that she docked me marks for capitalizing Earth in one essay. I asked her why, when she hadn't marked me down for capitalizing Saturn.

"Because Saturn is a planet," she said.

"So is Earth," I responded.

You'd think that nobody had ever told her that before, the way she looked at me...

5:00PM PDT on May 25, 2012

excellent exposition

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