Yesterday, I gave this to my Valentine:
There’s been a lot of buzz lately around the internets about how geek women need to prove themselves, spawned by the idea that there are a large number of women faking their interest in geek culture now that it has gained a larger, more mainstream sense of acceptance. We discussed this on a podcast I recently appeared on (the episode isn’t up yet) but for the most part I’ve avoided this debate because, honestly, I think it’s completely bogus.
But yesterday, after I surprised my Valentine with this Star Wars themed heart and I thought about the Star Wars and Angry Birds and Muppet Christmas ornaments I bought this year, this simple thought occurred to me:
It’s a great time to be a geek.
Seriously. There is so much fantastic geek/nerd/sci fi/fantasy growth going on right now… I can’t even begin to think about listing it all. It’s been a slow build up over the last ten or fifteen years, since the tides turned and computers started to become cool, instead of that geeky hobby only a few people cared about. (I’m picturing myself sitting at my Commodore Vic 20 and programming in Basic on a warm summer’s day because that was so much more fun for me than running around outside.)
A quick search of Netflix for “Sci-fi & Fantasy” produces pages of titles that are available online. HBO is producing Game of Thrones which has inspired a shocking number of board and card games to be developed. And yes, we have the nerds of The Big Bang Theory bringing comic book, game culture, and general nerdy-ness to prime time TV viewers.
This doesn’t even touch what’s available entirely online. Just the myriad of offerings coming from Geek & Sundry, including my favorite webseries ever, The Guild, and my favorite web show to share with friends, Tabletop. (Oh and if you haven’t watched Space Janitors OMG you are missing out!)
I’m not sure what it is in this success that inspires a sense of infighting and a need to defend our geek cred, whether you’re male or female. Part of geek culture, at least in my experience, is the fact that many of us were picked on or made fun of for our interests when we were kids, and sometimes still are to this day. (I catch no end of flack from my brothers about my favorite hobbies: reading and gaming.) So why bring some outrageous standards to this culture now? Why can’t we just accept some people are Whovians, some are Brown Coats, some Trekkies, and some Star Wars fans? I’m a little of each. My guess is many of you are, too.
So the next time you cross paths with a fellow geek, either in person at your local game store or a con or online, make sure to give a nod of recognition and instead of asking to see their geek badge, ask them what their favorite episode of their favorite science fiction or fantasy or (insert genre here) show is. My guess is you’ll open yourself up to some fantastic conversations this way.
If you’ve got a particular way you engage or meet more geeks/nerds/sci-fi/gaming comrades, please let me know in the comments and let’s all spread the sneek* love.
*Sneek – Sappy, nerdy geek. A term a fellow Brown Coat and I termed to describe our love for our favorite things.
Regina is a gamer, writer, teacher, and podcaster living in the Pacific Northwest. She completed her Ph.D. in 2011 from Washington State University in Vancouver and continues to teach there part time. Regina’s research interests focus on women and technology, and her dissertation discusses female gamers and identity in digital role playing games. A lifelong geek and technology enthusiast, Regina recently started a Girls Who Code club in support of their mission to close the gender gap in technology.
To continue the conversations about gender and gaming that Regina started during her research, she started a podcast called Game on Girl. Called the “NPR of game podcasts” by Chris Brown of The Married Gamers, the podcast features women involved in the game industry, and tackles some of the complicated issues in the gaming community. Season 2 began in the spring of 2018 and will premiere new episodes monthly.