I’ve watched all this mess about Fake Geek Girls going round and round the internet for quite some time. From girls/women needing to seek help when being harassed at conventions to being told they’re not as geeky as the boys to being treated as lesser because they’re not boys. It disturbs me that we live in this kind of a world.
I was present at WFC2011 and I had been hanging out with the creeper of WFC2011 during the day, but at night he’d disappear and do his own thing. He seemed normal until I started hearing about his drunken creepiness. I was shocked. I wish I had known and could have helped do something about this person earlier.
But I’m getting sidetracked. To be honest, in the world I live in, I haven’t experienced the dilemma that girls face when it comes to this situation. I work for a very large company and a lot of programmers. Some of the best I’ve worked with (and the hardest working) were always the women on my team. Personally I never took their abilities for granted and based on progressions and promotions, neither has my boss. I have seen one boss that didn’t advance any of the women on his team and he was called out for it. Me? I never saw any difference between race/creed/religion/sex when it came to the people I worked with. If a person worked hard, they were rewarded. If they didn’t, they were shuffled away to another team or let go.
Yes, working for a huge company there are rules and guidelines in place, but that didn’t seem to needed with the people I worked with. So honestly I never gave it a second though when it came to women being treated differently. I’m sure there were women I worked with that made far more than I did and I had called on their experience to help me along both in my career and in my day-to-day job. It saddens me when I see that some women need to work harder just to get that point across to some people.
In my personal life, I’ve played D&D with women. They were just as much fun as the boys. Sometimes they’d play male characters, sometimes women characters. Sometimes the men would play women characters. Maybe it was just the groups I played with, but no one had a leg up over another and my wizard often need protection from a half-orc fighter played by one of out female players. It never occurred to me that they were lesser of a geek than I was.
In our same group we watched geeky movies, we had schlock night where everyone would bring a bad movie. We’d watch re-runs of Star Trek. It didn’t make any difference if you were a girl or a guy, if we shared the same interest, we had fun together. No one was excluded or thought less of.
During the Lord of the Rings movie premiers, one of my female coworkers wrote up scrolls to invite people to the midnight showings. They were written in Elvish, Dwarvish, and English. The script was brilliant. She’d grown up having the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings read to her as a child. She loved all things nerdy related to fantasy and sci fi. I never once questioned her geekiness. How could I? She could write in two made up languages that I couldn’t even read!
So when I see a video like the one below, I’m saddened that there are people (men) out there that feel women are lesser geeks. Take a watch and I’ll see you on the other side. Even if you’ve seen this before, watch it again and let it sink in.
Perhaps it was the way my momma raised me. Perhaps it was that I grew up enjoying the company of girls more than the company of boys. Perhaps it was the friends I chose to associate with in high school. Perhaps I’m just not a dick. I don’t know. I just don’t understand where some men feel the need to push girls aside. Seriously? As a young geek I worked HARD to get the attention of girls. Perhaps too hard at times. Why would I EVER push away a girl and tell them “You’re not as geeky as I am”? I just don’t get it. I really don’t.
When I look at my favorite daughter, I know she needs to be armed against jerks, creeps, and dicks. I understand this. I tell her to be proud of anything she does. I’ve watched as she went from pretty much hating computers, to being excited to show me what she was programming in class, to being crazy excited that she not only found programming so much fun and easy to do, but that she’d gone from being behind in the class to showing others in the class how to do things. She was the only person in the school to complete as certain difficult project by finding a bug in the code and making it work! She loved coding. She loved the class after than. She even decided to take a two hour block of coding for her junior year! On her own! With no prompting from me!
Then she comes home one day and asked “Papi, can we watch Battlestar Galactica? I heard it’s a really cool show.”
OMFG! I couldn’t spring up out of my seat fast enough. I thought I was going to sprain something trying to open netflix and add it to the instant queue. Now she wants to experience Firefly and Star Wars. I might even be able to get her into Star Trek, but we’ll take it slow as I wean her off of Pretty Little Liars and other shows I can’t stand.
So how have I armed her against creeps? Two ways. First: I taught her how to punch. Not just throw her arm out there or slap, but I mean actually PUNCH! Yes, I’ve had bruises to show for it and, yes, I’ve seen her hit her guy friends and seen the shock on their faces when she hit them. It made me proud. I also taught her to speak her mind which she will around certain people, but she also won’t let a situation fester, but will find help and deal with it. I’ve taught her not to remain quiet when it comes to things like that. I just find it sad that I need to teach her these things.
Yes, I find it sad that geek girls need to make videos like this. I also find it inspiring that they do because it makes me aware of the situation. For many years since high school, I was alone in my geekiness. I watched my Star Wars, My Star Trek, my sci fi shows, read my books, did my programming, read comics. I didn’t go to cons. I didn’t have many friends after high school that were into the geeky things I loved. I never saw this geek culture evolve to the exclusion of girls. Now that I’ve seen it, I know it’s my part to make sure that no one is excluded regardless of anything (age, race, religion, sex, etc). No one has the right to tell anyone they’re lesser of a geek for any reason. If you do, it’s only makes you the reason that videos like this are made.
I hope my favorite daughter grows up where we can put the male elitist geek behind us and welcome everyone into a world where we’re all equally geeky. It’ll only make the world a better place. It’ll only cause more geeky things to appear. It’ll only make the entire experience that much better for all involved.
I need to go get my geek on.
Until Next Time!