It’s more likely assumed that the majority of girls who call themselves geeks aren’t geeks at all: they’re just girls who wear a child’s sized Justice League tee to accentuate their boobs; who know how to manipulate the ambiance of bathroom lighting in Photoshop; and who wear fake black-rimmed glasses not because they’re blind as a bat without them, but because they serve to reiterate the archetype they so desperately want to convey.
For those of us who exemplify the real thing, it’s all the more difficult to be taken seriously in an oversaturated geekdome world. Films portray us as timid and shy, always the butt of a joke, friendless, dateless, and lifeless. We’re just trudging along with a stack of science and math books under one arm, and a bag of cat food (for our ten cats) under the other arm, which, of course, when we trip and fall, will spill all over a public area where we will promptly be laughed at and ridiculed.
Geek boys seem to have it so much easier, because, well, it’s an easier assumption that boys can be geeks. The geek boy has his own archetype as well, and I’m not downplaying the roughness of that (overweight, little connection to popular culture, laughable sense of style, a medical journal’s worth of allergies, etc.). But the key difference here is that the geek guy hasn’t been exploited in the way that the geek girl has.
There are consistent threads running through our societal discourse about geek girls which are the basis for these myths surrounding our true nature that I’d like to address and rightfully put into an armbar submission. I do so on behalf of the clans of real geek girls out there who have been shamed for caring deeply about WoW or mislabeled as posers at midnight screenings of Marvel films.
Real geek girls are universally unattractive.
Honestly, what is the rationale behind this? Our interest in all things geek has nothing to do with our genetics. Sure, I like Star Wars because my parents did, but that’s not something you’re going to find in my DNA code. I *gasp* shop at the mall, know how to apply makeup, and have a closet full of shoes.
Real geek girls don’t date.
Since we’re assumed to be ugly, overweight, and look like the Junk Lady in Labyrinth, obviously we’re single. (I’m going to also guess that because we never go anywhere, the sunlight will burn through our skin.) Yeah, no. I’ve dated both geeks and non-geeks, and am engaged to a geek boy who I have dated for five years. He, much like myself, doesn’t fit into the geek stereotype (though we are going to Comic-Con for our honeymoon…).
Real geek girls are left-brained.
Did I win the high school science fair? Yes. Did I graduate magna cum laude from college? Yes. Am I a chemical engineer? No. Do I wear any sort of uniform or lab coat to work? No. I would argue that geek girls are more creative and artistic than they are logical and rational. Many geek girls excel in the fields of graphic design, motion media, and video game development. I’d take a set of Sharpies over a set of beakers any day.
Real geek girls can’t hold their own vs. real geek guys.
Geek boys always assume that their masculinity dominates over our femininity. Really, boys? I’m not going to argue that one group surpasses the other, but I am saying that we can absorb just as much geekery as anyone else can.
The reality to all myths is that there’s some truth behind them, but in many cases, the stereotypes overshadow the facts. The reality is that real geek girls do exist, and we’re a growing, thriving community. To those of you girls out there who think it’s cool to dress up as Catwoman for Halloween because the pleather form-fits your figure, great. But we real geek girls are asking politely to please stop (ab)using the geek girl paradigm as a way to get attention.