Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I am a Geek Girl and I Have Nothing to Prove

Image from Think Geek
I read a few weeks ago that female singing duo The Doubleclicks wanted geek girls everywhere to show that they have nothing to prove to bullies and haters who say that they don't belong in geekdom. I didn't end up submitting my video for them to include in the video for their song "Nothing to Prove" but having just watched it, I must say that I am so glad that they wrote that song and involved so many people.

You see, I had hoped that the "fake geek girl" debate was done. I was hoping that no one would feel that they would have to justify themselves to anyone else based on what they like. I, sadly, know that this is not the case. If the women featured in the video for Nothing to Prove are an indication, this has been happening for years. And I know, because I've experienced it too.

When I was a kid, people didn't "get" that I liked video games. I was the only girl that I know of with a Super Nintendo. I was just as good at them as my boy neighbor who was a couple of years younger than me. I realized quickly that I enjoyed racing games and would ask for a couple of quarters every time I saw a California Racing game at the arcade or in the lobby of a department store. But you know what? I also loved shooters, especially House of The Dead. But back in high school when a so-called friend scoffed at me for the interest, because he's a male and apparently those things are for guys, I didn't have the backbone that I do now to stand up and say, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore."

I'm not going to apologize for being obsessed with Indiana Jones. Is Harrison Ford an incredibly attractive man? Well, yeah, but that's not the reason I first watched it. I first saw it with my Grandpa when I was a geekling. The same applies to WWII movies (and classic cinema) and Star Trek the Next Generation. I may not have come to know those things until much later without his influence. And I will always love the times we spent together working in his garage (yes! A girl who loves wood-working. Shock!) and fishing. I was once accused of only liking Star Trek because a guy who I was interested in loved it. Again, I didn't have the backbone at that point to tell that person that they were so incredibly wrong.

Screenshot from The Doubleclicks - Nothing to Prove
Being a geek is about sharing your passion. It's about connecting with other people who common interests and being able to quote things freely without fear of judgement. It's about having a spare set of dice with you at all times... just in case. And on the flip side, it's about not giving a damn if someone doesn't share the same opinion as you, because no one has to be right as long as they love what they love. (PS I'm really really tired of the nerd superiority/nerd cred debate as well.) Dudes, just because a lady may enjoy something, doesn't meant that she's involved for attention or doesn't know anything about it. And on the off chance that her boyfriend had something to do with getting her interested in a particular thing, does not mean that she only likes so he'll be with her. Sometimes, we all need a gateway into a fandom, an activity, etc.

Also, and as an aside, just because a girl is a geek about certain things, doesn't mean that she wants to create a cosplay it. I've done a couple of costumes, one of which being Indiana Jones, but it's not on my list of priorities. I am in awe of the talent that so many have in putting together their costumes, but I just don't feel compelled to create something for every character that I might like. I don't think that it should be expected of women to do that either. Oh! And cross-play is awesome, but it shouldn't be expected of women only. I want to see more men dress as female characters. But, if I do decide to cosplay something, don't tell me that I'm too fat or that there are certain characters that should be reserved for plus sized chicks (as one YouTuber put it: Jabba the Hut and The Hulk).

So, if I come to your convention and I'm checking out your game, don't act like I've never seen a game controller before. Don't look at me strange when I say that I don't watch Game of Thrones for the sex (thanks Ginia Bellafante), don't be unreasonable when I say that there needs to be more strong female characters to give us someone to look up to. Because, at the end of the day, I don't have anything to prove to you, nor do I have to justify my interests and fit into a certain geek mold. Because that's what being a geek is about, not being defined by a certain interest.

Massive high five to John Scalzi, Wil Wheaton, and Adam Savage who appeared in the video also and have been extremely vocal about nerd shaming and bullying.

The Doubleclicks:

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