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Old 04-12-2012, 10:49 PM
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Reading Springtime for Geek Girls?

Ok, as I'm sure most people on this forum have figured out by now, I'm kind of on the strange side of weird. Growing up, I pretty much hit nerd bingo from the start, poor social skills, bad haircut, no thought of style, played D&D, read fantasy/sci-fi etc... While I wasn't ashamed of who I was, being classified as a nerd or dweeb (the most common terms used where I was) was not something to be aspired to. I embraced the term 'geek' later on but only because it didn't have the painful associations that the other two words had for me.

These days, a lot of people are saying that it's cool to be geeky. Maybe so, but I still don't really care what's cool. What I do find hard to wrap my mind around, is the idea that geekdom has to be defended against poseurs, specifically those of the female gender. lisarea has several times posted links to a geek feminism wiki which has a few articles on such gatekeeping. I've run across a number of blog articles in the last six months or so on the subject. Here are two with differing viewpoints.

This one, primarily focuses on 'fake' geek girls being used to market stuff. (scroll down to the no.1 bullet)

This one takes the opposite approach.

Frankly, I endorse the second viewpoint. I paid my dues to be called a geek/nerd/dweeb but you know what? If someone wants to be that, let them. If they say they like something, why does it hurt to accept that? If they're just doing it for attention, that's their problem and in short order, they'll move on.
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  #2  
Old 04-12-2012, 10:57 PM
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Default Re: Springtime for Geek Girls?

I could write a million words, but I'm busy trying to get a head start on my master's research in supercomputing (ARE THE BOYS PAYING ATTENTION TO ME YET?!), so I'll just put this here for now:

http://geekfeminism.org/2011/12/15/c...osplay-for-me/
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Old 04-12-2012, 11:10 PM
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Default Re: Springtime for Geek Girls?

On the topic of whether collegehumor is making fun of or exemplifying geek sexism, pretty sure they're the ones who did a men's/women's armor video which ends with a well-armored girl beating up two guys wearing nothing but glittery loincloths. So I was assuming they were totally aware of the sexism, and mocking it, because I have seen them comment on that before.
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Old 04-13-2012, 12:23 AM
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Default Re: Springtime for Geek Girls?

I'm inclined to agree with the Mary Sue entry as far as how any individual's claims of geekdom should be handled. I can understand where the first one is coming from, even if I disagree with it. On some level, it feels condescending, even insulting, for marketers to assume that I'll be more interested in a product if it is somehow associated with hot women. However, since sometime in high school I've known that, first, I'm an outlier in their target demographic, and that for most of said demographic this tactic actually works, and second, that this is probably more insulting to the women involved, both those used as merchandising aides and those interested in the product but bombarded by male-targeted advertising every step of the way.

It was pretty much inevitable that this sort of approach to marketing in general would become dominant in geek-culture, as games, comics, and reincarnations of cult-classic shows and movies became more and more mainstream. My dislike for this in geek culture, however, is not separate from my dislike for it in any other circumstance.

As far as the backlash against these "fake" geek girls, I see it as two features of geek culture that have come to a head here. The first is common to most any sub-culture, which is simply the "I was doing it before it was cool" attitude. I was big into D&D during the 4e transition, which stirred up a big shit-storm composed primarily of this, and it was that colossal explosion of butthurt, anonymity-shielded internet flame wars, and undirected nerdrage that finally got me to move past D&D and discover how very, very much more there is in the world of tabletop rpgs.

The second is just "girls can't be geeks," which IMO isn't any different than any of the other bullshit misogynistic crap out there, like "girls can't be into guns" or "girls aren't tech-savvy," and isn't likely to change any faster than the rest of it does.

So, you have a sub-culture that is commonly misogynistic to some degree suddenly enjoying mainstream success, with all the misogynistic 'oh look a pretty lady' advertising that comes with that success, then of course there are going to be at least a few women who are actually pretending to be into geek stuff, and plenty more who at least appear to be.

But, as I said, I agree with the second blog link that the best way to deal with it is simply to take someone's word for it when they say they're a geek. Especially since a common way the first factor manifests is "geek cred," and how losing it, for things like not being into as many things as someone else in the group, or only being familiar with the latest incarnation of whatever franchise, can make it easier to push someone into the poseur box where all kinds of maltreatment suddenly becomes acceptable, especially (unfortunately) if they're female.

I try to watch myself on this one, and not mock or dismiss fellow geeks who aren't familiar with, say, the old Might & Magic games, or someone who thinks the Dark Messiah title that Ubisoft put out after acquiring the rights was better (though this one usually takes a Herculean effort of will and self-restraint). Because it's Okay to be into Battlestar Galactica but not Portal, or tabletop rpgs but not The Avengers, to steal the examples from the blog, and if one of my friends or game groups takes it further than well-intentioned and well-received jokes I will tell them to STFU*.

*I'm fortunate in my current circles, however, and have only had to do this once, to a rude SOB whose wife tried to game with him for a while but gave up because of his constant derision and verbal abuse. We told him that wouldn't fly at our games, and we had to stop inviting him because he wouldn't lay off. To no one's great surprise they were divorced shortly after we stopped inviting him.
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  #5  
Old 04-13-2012, 12:35 AM
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Default Re: Springtime for Geek Girls?

Hm. I feel this speaks to me, in that I used to own a freaking comic book shop.

On the other hand, it was mostly underground comics so all those "geeks" into Marvel and the other company seem painfully mainstream and not geeky enough for me.
Men don't have enough geek cred!! Bunch of fake eye-candy.
Unless you can identify Dame Darcy and tell me what instruments she plays, then well geeky enough.
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Old 04-13-2012, 12:51 AM
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Default Re: Springtime for Geek Girls?

Yeah, I get the marketing angle as well. I picked that article because I read it today. It's not really the best presentation of the anti- angle because it is talking about something which is obviously going to be fake. The Mary Sue article has a link to one which attacks 'fake geek girls' in general.

Somewhere, either on Ensign Steve's link or the link it references at the top, I saw something about how the geek community portrays itself as being tolerant and inclusive - I can't seem to find it now :\ But anyway, that's a notion I disabused myself of a long time ago. One would think that a community so subject to persecution would use its collection experience to learn how to treat others. One would think that - but one would be wrong.

And just to give myself some geek cred, I got out of AD&D when 2cd came out. :nerdrage:
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Old 04-13-2012, 12:54 AM
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Default Re: Springtime for Geek Girls?

I have a lot to say about this subject, but not from a mobile
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Old 04-13-2012, 12:54 AM
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Default Re: Springtime for Geek Girls?

Quote:
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Unless you can identify Dame Darcy and tell me what instruments she plays, then well geeky enough.
She used to do a public access video show with Lisa Hammer of Mors Syphilitica one of my favorite bands.
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Old 04-13-2012, 12:57 AM
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Default Re: Springtime for Geek Girls?

:melts:

I think something like geek culture is self-defining, like any other subculture.

As off-putting as it is to be the only girl in the room at times, I'm still going to like what I like.
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Old 04-13-2012, 01:13 AM
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Default Re: Springtime for Geek Girls?

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Originally Posted by Ymir's blood View Post
And just to give myself some geek cred, I got out of AD&D when 2cd came out. :nerdrage:
In defense of my geek cred, the only reason I didn't play anything earlier than 3rd edition growing up is that my mother insisted D&D was EVIL (she has mellowed substantially since then, thank goodness) and that my father would not subject us to its heinous influence. She went so far as to throw out a lot of the books he had, though I don't recall which edition specifically. So, I did not get to play D&D until after they had divorced, and by then he'd picked up 3rd edition and said he liked it better, so we never played older versions.
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Old 04-13-2012, 01:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Qingdai View Post
As off-putting as it is to be the only girl in the room at times, I'm still going to like what I like.
That, I think, is the true defining quality of geekdom.
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Old 04-13-2012, 01:15 AM
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Default Re: Springtime for Geek Girls?

Hear, hear!
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Old 04-13-2012, 01:18 AM
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Default Re: Springtime for Geek Girls?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ymir's blood View Post
And just to give myself some geek cred, I got out of AD&D when 2cd came out. :nerdrage:
In defense of my geek cred, the only reason I didn't play anything earlier than 3rd edition growing up is that my mother insisted D&D was EVIL (she has mellowed substantially since then, thank goodness) and that my father would not subject us to its heinous influence. She went so far as to throw out a lot of the books he had, though I don't recall which edition specifically. So, I did not get to play D&D until after they had divorced, and by then he'd picked up 3rd edition and said he liked it better, so we never played older versions.
I started playing D&D sometime around '81-82, I think. We were just kids and bought the collector's edition of the very first rules set. Naturally, we got it all wrong. We then migrated to the Basic/Expert set and then started playing AD&D. (I ran B&E and my brother ran Advanced) but we stopped playing Advanced when 2cd came out. We had been playing better designed games (Call of Cthulhu, Champions) for awhile and the new D&D rules just weren't up to 'modern' levels of design.
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Old 04-13-2012, 02:11 AM
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Default Re: Springtime for Geek Girls?

There are two kinds of people in this world: Freaks and Geeks. I've always been a Freak.
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Old 04-13-2012, 02:17 AM
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Default Re: Springtime for Geek Girls?

Springtime for geek girls and Germany!

Winter for Poland and France!

:singing:
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Old 04-13-2012, 02:57 AM
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Default Re: Springtime for Geek Girls?

Where the geek culture is male dominated it is generally not an inclusive space. Even to this day where I'm trying to be the best bort I can be, I find myself hating towards those who are encroaching into geekdom without any bona fides. I'm all "Hey, I had to wade through shit during my formative years being ostracized by society to enjoy this shit who the frell do you think you are just waltzing in and being all cool and shit!"

With the same male gaze I can sneer derisively at booth babes and gawk lustfully at cosplayers. And I should - sometimes do - have some level of guilt or shame for both activities.

So, what I'm saying is I'm a messed up mixed bag of nerd.
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Old 04-13-2012, 03:22 AM
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Default Re: Springtime for Geek Girls?

That Cracked list makes fun of Bronies, so nya. :nyahnyah:
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Old 04-13-2012, 03:33 AM
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Default Re: Springtime for Geek Girls?

I don't really understand those terms, except in a really general way. I get what nerd means, pretty much, in that it's someone who has an intense interest in a specific topic, but it seems like everyone is probably a nerd of something, so it's mostly a temporal and context-specific thing.

Geeks I'm even less sure about. I am not one, except in the literal Nightmare Alley sense that I am a broken hull of a human, reduced to smearing myself with excrement and biting the heads off chickens in exchange for some straw to sleep on and some grain alcohol to keep the tremens at bay. So I'm not really sure I understand what it is beyond that. I know if you really like RPGs or comix or science fiction, you are one, but it seems like it applies to so many things that everyone is also a geek of something, but then is it different from being a nerd of something?

As far as the whole "fake geek girl" rage, I do get that you might be resentful of people you think are pretending to have an interest in something you love, just to be trendy. And I can definitely understand people having even more animosity if they've been ostracized or bullied or something because of those interests.

But yeah, why is that resentment almost always targeted at girls? There are probably at least as many poseur boys out there.

And why this? I found this just looking around Pinterest in the Geek category to illustrate how wide-ranging different interpretations are, but this stopped me short:

Nerd Spot / True Story

It's an image that says "Nerd Girl Problem #138 The madness you experience when you're waiting for the next book in your series to come out," and someone with a ladyname commented, "All the girls I see who do this are slow. In no way are they "nerds" except for in the bad way."

What? Why?
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Old 04-13-2012, 03:35 AM
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Default Re: Springtime for Geek Girls?

The one you don't necessarily agree with? :princessluna:
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Old 04-13-2012, 03:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lisarea View Post
I don't really understand those terms, except in a really general way. I get what nerd means, pretty much, in that it's someone who has an intense interest in a specific topic, but it seems like everyone is probably a nerd of something, so it's mostly a temporal and context-specific thing.
While I've seen some attempts to assign different definitions to 'nerd' and 'geek,' at root they're the same thing. As to an exact definition of what that thing is, well that's harder to come up with. Generally speaking, the 'intense interest' thing tends to be towards something that isn't considered mainstream or normal. However, it could go beyond that to include normal pursuits taken to a deeper level - someone who obsessively memorizes baseball stats for instance. For the most part, it's the former definition that is the most commonly used.

There is also the perception that a geek lacks social skills, dresses oddly or 'square.' That may be true, or they may just lack a desire to conform to trends and/or be introverted.

Quote:
Geeks I'm even less sure about. I am not one, except in the literal Nightmare Alley sense that I am a broken hull of a human, reduced to smearing myself with excrement and biting the heads off chickens in exchange for some straw to sleep on and some grain alcohol to keep the tremens at bay.
I was trying to avoid that definition in respect for one of our esteemed admins. :glare:

Quote:
But yeah, why is that resentment almost always targeted at girls? There are probably at least as many poseur boys out there.
Besides the obvious misogyny angle, it makes me wonder why society seems to intent on ascribing attention seeking to people who deviate from the norm.


Quote:
It's an image that says "Nerd Girl Problem #138 The madness you experience when you're waiting for the next book in your series to come out," and someone with a ladyname commented, "All the girls I see who do this are slow. In no way are they "nerds" except for in the bad way."
My guess is that it is a slam on the fandom of Twilight and possibly Harry Potter as well. I seem to recall stories in the media about fans camping out and whatnot for those series. It's kind of an elitism thing, I guess.
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Old 04-13-2012, 04:01 AM
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The one you don't necessarily agree with? redacted
I was just pointing that out so you could have some nerdrage to atone for your elitism. :P
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Old 04-13-2012, 04:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Ymir's blood View Post
Besides the obvious misogyny angle, it makes me wonder why society seems to intent on ascribing attention seeking to people who deviate from the norm.
I guess so they can blame it on them.

There is a super-telling phenomenon that you can see in the wild on Reddit probably any time you go look, where any picture that has a "fe-male"* in it gets called out immediately for BOOBIES, and said female is designated an attention whore. And seriously, it will happen no matter how out-of-focus and off-center the lady is. They're attention whores for existing.

Probably same deal. They want to blame their attention on something other than them being big giant rubbernecking goobers?

* 'Female' means Iron Man.
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Old 04-13-2012, 04:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ymir's blood View Post
Besides the obvious misogyny angle, it makes me wonder why society seems to intent on ascribing attention seeking to people who deviate from the norm.
I guess so they can blame it on them.

There is a super-telling phenomenon that you can see in the wild on Reddit probably any time you go look, where any picture that has a "fe-male"* in it gets called out immediately for BOOBIES, and said female is designated an attention whore. And seriously, it will happen no matter how out-of-focus and off-center the lady is. They're attention whores for existing.

Probably same deal. They want to blame their attention on something other than them being big giant rubbernecking goobers?

* 'Female' means Iron Man.
That makes me think of something I've read about the early Modern witch panics. Frequently, the accused were people who the accusers had slighted in some way. In the accusers' minds, that provided a motive for witchcraft and quite likely a way to assuage their own guilt. Substitute a form of resentment over the perceived power the female form has over males, and it seems similar. Just a thought, anyway.
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Old 04-13-2012, 04:22 AM
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Default Re: Springtime for Geek Girls?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lisarea View Post
But yeah, why is that resentment almost always targeted at girls? There are probably at least as many poseur boys out there.
You've already got a bead on it, but I had to pipe in with: The girls are easier to target because most of the time they're dressed like sluts and if there's anything worse than being a nerd, that would be it. It is the exact phenomenon you see on the Reddit. Exactly.

Quote:
Nerd Spot / True Story

It's an image that says "Nerd Girl Problem #138 The madness you experience when you're waiting for the next book in your series to come out," and someone with a ladyname commented, "All the girls I see who do this are slow. In no way are they "nerds" except for in the bad way."

What? Why?
That comment makes no damn sense.
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  #25  
Old 04-13-2012, 04:52 AM
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Default Re: Springtime for Geek Girls?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lisarea View Post
But yeah, why is that resentment almost always targeted at girls? There are probably at least as many poseur boys out there.
For sure. You remember that gizmodo article thing I linked to that I don't want to find right now where he talks about how it's actually okay for Barbie to be a computer engineer for some reason that he can't articulate? And then I realized not only is he a bad writer but he also doesn't even know about computers, but he passes himself off as some sort of entertaining tech writer by being all "tech is great!" with an extra layer of sarcastic, obnoxious, arrogant, and derisive. It was effective, too. I must have read that piece a thousand times before I realized how bereft of actual content it was.

Quote:
And why this? I found this just looking around Pinterest in the Geek category to illustrate how wide-ranging different interpretations are, but this stopped me short:

Nerd Spot / True Story

It's an image that says "Nerd Girl Problem #138 The madness you experience when you're waiting for the next book in your series to come out," and someone with a ladyname commented, "All the girls I see who do this are slow. In no way are they "nerds" except for in the bad way."

What? Why?
I'm all :lolwut: about that comment as well, but it reminds me of this pin:



Which I'm like, "you all remember Belle wanted the library, too, right? And how everybody thought she was a weirdo because she liked to read books and didn't want to marry the handsome stupid guy?" But anyway, I've seen that image of the girl in glasses with other numbered quirks on it around Pinterest and it makes me love Pinterest for being a haven for girls and women on the internet to just nerd and geek out together without having to do it through the framework of being girls trying to find our place in a male-dominated geek culture.
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