Young women and possessiveness over "Nerd/Geek"

I guess my age and detachment from culture in general makes this an alien concept to me.

Also, the meaning of “geek” has morphed beyond recognition over many years, so it may mean very different things to people of different age cohorts.

As I’ve understood it, the term “geek” was originally (or at least, one of its earlier meanings) referred to that disgusting guy at the circus or carnival who was willing to do any act, however disgusting and revulsive, to please :rolleyes: the crowd. For example, the guy who did the swallow-the-live-goldfish-or-frog act.

Such people, as I once read about it, were considered the lowest scum, and even in the generally putrid “carnie” culture, they were considered the lowest of the low, and the rock bottom of the pecking order.

Now everybody wants to be one.

I question whether they would have come down as hard on that article if the author hadn’t been such a snotty bitch about the things many geeks love. She rolls her eyes so hard when people talk about the new Thor movie, you guys! But she totally, like, doesn’t mean to disparage other people’s interests. It’s just that she’s a better feminist than the rest of us. :rolleyes:

It also doesn’t help that she appears to have an incredibly superficial understanding of the specific things she discusses, including pretty much missing the entire point of The Hunger Games trilogy she claims to adore. It’s basically like she’s bashing and praising things without having any legitimate understanding of them. Yes, hypersexualization of female heroines in geek culture is a thing, sort of like it’s a thing in every other form of media that exists. Yes, misogyny is a problem, but that doesn’t negate the power and autonomy of many of these female characters that the author doesn’t have an interest in and therefore knows nothing about.

I haven’t always been a geek, I mean other than the weekly *Magic: The Gathering *parties in high school, but it was more of a lack of exposure to geeky things than a lack of interest. When I discovered RPGs in college it was like the heavens opened up. But I’ve certainly always been a hopeless nerd, and a total dork. I love identifying as a geek now because I can find other people who share my interests. That’s all it’s about, shared interests. Geeks may be found in abundance on the internet but I don’t encounter too many in my personal life. It’s pretty disappointing how few people share my interests in real life. I think when some women seem hyper sensitive about the geek identity, they are responding to that reality.

I chuckled at her grousing about Lara Croft but she’ll watch Avengers to see “cute boys in tight pants”.

It doesn’t help people want to be one of “you” if they’re met with such hostility, though. I want to hand over my “nerd” card now because I don’t want anyone mistaking me for someone who uses their nerd card as a weapon.

But I agree with you that the writer’s opinion is pretty lame. I don’t know why her opinion is so important that it is worthy of publication. She’s just another bespeckled 20-something who has discovered feminist critique. Big whoop. So I’m not really defending her as much as scratching my head over the outrage. It makes me think those people need to grow up.

But the point of the hostility is that they don’t want to be one of “you”, they just want to use the label because it’s currently trendy.

“Ewww… video games are dumb and sexist! Dr. Who is soooo stupid! I hate comics! Lord of the Rings was so boring! Hunger Games was dumb! But I like The Carrie Diaries and Avengers has cute boys! OMG I’m such a geek!”

I honestly don’t see the outrage either, because I don’t care whether some random person in the internet self-identifies as a geek or anything else. I would have found her perspective maybe a bit more understandable though, if she explained why she identifies as a geek in the first place.

I agree. I keep waiting for her to bust out her geek credentials and shut down the chorus, but I don’t think it’s gonna happen.

What makes geek culture coherent? Anime has absolutely nothing to do with the love of science, which has absolutely to do with Tolkien fantasy and werewolves, which has absolutely nothing to do with video games and cosplay. “Geek culture” seems to be a mishmash of a bunch of disconnected stuff to me.

If I told someone I’m a geek, I don’t think I would be communicating very much. Unless geeks are required to love all of these things equally.

I always thought being a geek or nerd had to do with loving to do things that were highly technical in nature, regardless of what it was. You can be a political geek (I am) if you follow political news and such rabbidly, a computer geek (I am a little) if you know how to write code and tinker with hardware and such, a math geek (I love math) if you find yourself lost reading math articles on wikipedia for hours at a time, a science geek (I was a physics major) if you studied it in school or do it for a living, etc. Loving sci-fi and video games has never gone along with the definition of geek to me.

To me, being a geek means being smart or talented in some sort of technical capacity and doing it a lot in your free time. I know plenty of guys and gals who play video games and love sci fi but I don’t think they consider themselves geeks or nerds or whatever.

The guy I work with who built his own 3D printer by buying parts online and designs things with it? That’s a geek. And it’s awesome.

Who said it was coherent? Geek culture is mostly just things that geeks like. There are some cases where the connection is pretty straightforward: if someone loves fantasy novels then it’s probably not a huge leap to anime or video games set in fantasy worlds, and if they love science then they might understandably be interested in science fiction that explores what might be possible in the future or on other planets. But both Star Trek and Monty Python and the Holy Grail tend to be popular with geeks, even though they don’t have much in common. It has not been my experience that someone has to love all aspects of geek culture in order to be accepted as a geek by other self-identified geeks.

Some of you may remember that back in the '90s there was a “Geek Code” that some people included in their email/Usenet/BBS signatures. This code would indicate how much you were into different geeky things, like computers, Star Trek, and roleplaying games. But the Geek Code allowed you to put yourself down as a t— (“Star Trek SUCKS!”), so it’s not like you had to like Star Trek in order to be geeky enough to have a Geek Code, and I don’t think it even covered Monty Python or Star Wars.

Yeah, yeah. I think it’s some dumbshit when Christians do it, I think it’s some dumbshit when lesbians do it, I think it’s some dumbshit when vegetarians do it, I think it’s some dumbshit when patriots do it.

But I’m none of those things.

When geeks do it–well, I AM a geek. So it’s dumbshit, and also it makes me itch. Assholes need to quit acting like they’re the club bouncers.

You know the thing we should not forget? It’s that geek culture is inundated with people who are misogynistic, who fear and resent women who enter their boys’ club, who have major goddamned issues with women. Booth babes? They’re not the problem. The problem is the harassment, denigration, and hostility that women regularly experience in geek industries, in geek online communities, and at geek conventions (e.g., #1reasonwhy).

Complaints about booth babes and hot girls on geek shows aren’t complaints about the problem. They’re part of the problem.

I always thought the difference between “nerd” and “geek” was that nerds were more likely to be skilled at sciences/technology in addition to their weird hobbies, while geeks just had the weird hobbies.

This is not meant to be insulting. By this definition, I am one of two geeks in my group of friends. We also have two nerds and one person who is mostly normal but teetering on the edge of being a geek. (We are doing our best to push her over.)

It is hard telling what is actually geeky anymore. BBC Sherlock and Doctor Who have been on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. Many people play video games, if you count those fun app games on their phones, or games on Facebook. Some superhero movies have been incredibly profitable (it can’t be just the geeks that are going!). Star Trek and Star Wars are pretty much mainstream.

Where does that leave some nerds and geeks, who see their once-weird interests getting increasingly popular? Maybe the “fake geek girl” thing is a reaction against geeky pursuits becoming more mainstream.


Grating? I’m sorry, but as a geek who is also a practicing heterosexual male that sounds hot. Perhaps you are thinking of the cliche of the asexual geek. Note: There is often a basis in fact for a cliche.

Nothing to be sorry about although your opinion doesn’t seem to be universal. I’m sure many would say she could be just as “hot” without trying to pass herself off as a geek doing so (especially when she still thinks those other “real” geek guys are total losers, she just likes the cuteness of the current trend).

In my mind, you can be a geek if you’re into one thing to the exclusion of all other things, but not if that thing is basically a dress-up activity.

Not how it works.

Young girls being territorial and trivial over their cliques?

The only shock is that people are here trying to rationalize this.

Holy shit that XO article was awful. I’m usually laid back but…I want to strangle that girl!

Does she not know there’s a badass woman in the Thor series? Or in the Avengers? Or in Dr Who? Sounds like she’s just sitting around waiting to be offended.

Spends the whole article pissing me off then hits the final nail in her coffin saying she’s going to spend “a few hours learning how to code a feminist web site.” So now if she hasn’t pissed off the geek in me or the woman in (of?) me, now she’s totally offending the coder in me.


Yeah, what IS your geek cred, miss? Is it just those glasses? They don’t look geek to me!