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Geek, Interviews, Lifestyle

Rise Of The Geek Girl: A Positive View From The Male Perspective

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The term “geek girl” is nothing new and females with affinities for games, comics, science, math, and beyond have been around forever. Over the last 5 years we have become much more active in our communities, stepping out into the foreground with a strong and positive voice.

With each new fervent voice follows inspiration for another blog, vlog, convention, cosplay, and gathering. Each time a female geek is represented, it brings encouragement to others to wave their geek flag high, embrace their passions and share them with the world.

Not everyone in the geek community has been on the welcoming committee, however, and those-that-shall-not-be-named would rather the fandoms not be shared. I’ve been lucky enough to have met the most wonderful geekguys over the last few years and their views on greater inclusion have all been the same: It’s Awesome!

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(img cred: tumblr)

One of the most obvious changes in our culture since the rise of the geek girl has been the explosion of attendees at conventions. The San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) began in 1970 with just 145 attendees and has risen exponentially to 130,000 in 2012. Of course this is largely due to an influx of media presence, but as of this year’s convention the gender attendance is nearly split 50/50. Women are feeling more comfortable expressing their interests and from the men I’ve talked to, they are stoked about it.

New York Times bestselling author Dayton Ward talk about the impact of his convention experience:

“I’ve watched the con scene evolve over the course of many years, much of it for the better. A convention really is a melting pot of sorts, where people from all walks of life should be able to come together to celebrate their love of whatever–books, comics, film and TV, games, etc. I also appreciate the recent increase in awareness with respect to harassment at cons. Is there work to be done in this area? Absolutely. Do we all play a part? Without question.

The crowds at most shows I attend are all over the map so far as demographic, and I’ve seen an increased presence of women representing all ages getting their own geek on. I was already seeing a lot of women fans coming to me with their books to sign, but there’s been this explosion of–for example–cosplayers and gamers doing their own thing. Personally, I love it all, because again, it’s something I can show my daughters and say, “See? You’re just like them. Enjoy this stuff, and do it on your own terms.”

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(img cred: Dayton Ward)

Travis Langley, editor at PsychGeeks and author of Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight has had an entirely different and meaningful experience in recent con-going years.

“For the first few years I attended Comic-Con, I attended panels. My main interactions were with comics scholars. It wasn’t until I went with a family member to a Geek Girl Network after-party (…) that I started getting involved with a wider variety of fandom. So in that regard, the “saturation of female geeks” changed my life by giving me a fandom-based social life.

Much as I love attending panels and especially doing panels, my favorite part of Comic-Con is just hanging out with people after hours. It’s about seeing friends I don’t see anywhere else, making new friends, and having conversations I don’t get to have elsewhere in my life. “Geek girls,” women with nerdy interests and geeky passions, are always in those groups. Anybody who has a problem with geek girls has a problem with interacting with women as people, and anybody who doesn’t want women around is missing out on half the human race. No, worse, they’re also missing out on a lot of the better side of the other half, too.”

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(img cred: Travis Langley)

Conventions and after parties aren’t the only places that geek girls are hanging out. We’re in the local shops, all over the internet, and influencing retailers, but not in the way you think.

Senior writer at Hallmark, Kevin Dilmore, sees first-hand the strong influence of the female shopper, but he hasn’t had to pander with any gender-specific merch.

“The rise and acceptance (more outside the circles of existing male geekery, at least, than within them perhaps) of geek girl-ery hasn’t forced us to change tone or subject matter as much as it has given us the corroboration we need in wanting to make those changes.

In my role as a Hallmark writer, I have seen more internal movement in recent years for gender neutrality in storytelling and products aimed at genre fans. In the past, we might have targeted a kids’ super-hero book at boys and written a princess book for girls. Now, we aim at writing stories with characters, super-hero or otherwise, that appeal to all young readers regardless of gender. We can point to convention cosplay photos or businesses such as Her Universe as support for our assertions that girls like super heroes, too.”

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(img cred: Shoebox)

Just like any good friend would, suggestions for new fandoms have been equally shared among both genders. The chance to fall in love with something new is always an exciting adventure.

Dayton recalls coming across an early Gail Simone title that looked interesting which sparked his fandom to her work. “Nowadays, seeing her name on something is pretty much a lock that I’m going to try it, even if it’s not something I would’ve read in the past.”

And of course, his daughters play an active role in introducing him to new series or sharing his favorites “… everything from Scooby-Doo to Gotham Academy to Jem and the Holograms. They switch between Disney Princesses and the Ninja Turtles without batting an eye. We watch shows like Star Wars Rebels together, which just happens to feature three very strong female characters, so there’s a nice mix of shows to geek out on.”

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(img cred: 6’7″ And Green)

When it comes to relationships and the dating scene, the opportunities are endless. Couples can really share fandoms more than gaming side-by-side or discussing the latest comic issue. Cosplaying, convention speed-dating, and the general accepting atmosphere is bringing together fan guys and girls in so many news ways. Plus, it’s way easier in today’s geek community to meet or be introduced to someone who shares your interests.

One guy in particular (my geeky husband) explains exactly how his dating life has changed over the years:

“Before geek girls came out of the closet (Tardis?), I had dated many types of women: crazy girls, emo girls, preppy girls, artsy girls. It was frustrating. Exhausting. An endless cycle of online dating site mismatches and friend-brokered Russian roulette blind dates with women whom I could not relate whatsoever.

Then came the geek girl movement. Suddenly I found myself striking up a conversation with a woman who wasn’t ashamed to admit that she too grew up loving things like The Dark Crystal, Star Wars, Ghostbusters, and He-Man. I got lost in time exploring the worlds of Terraria with my spelunking partner, and testing the boundaries of science with my portal gun weilding lab partner-in-crime. And finally I found myself wearing a bow tie and tweed jacket with a sonic screwdriver in the pocket, exchanging vows with the Gallifrey tattooed woman with an endless thirst for the most unconventional adventures.

The geek girl movement absolutely destroyed my dating life, and it was the best thing that ever happened to me.”

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(img cred: Love Long and Prosper)

So to anyone who feels that the geek girl influence is invading and unwanted I say, well no one wanted to talk to you anyway lols.

Kevin really sums it up best:

“I count many awesome women as friends these days thanks to their intentional support of each other and all girls and women while embracing their fandom. How can my life not be better as a result?”

Our lives are better as well for having awesome people like this who truly embrace what it means to be a geek. <3

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"Making Smart Look Adorable." Check out all of Rielly's geek girl musings on her site riellygeek.com. And for a daily geekery and pop culture fix, she also blogs for Nerd Approved, Fashionably Geek, and That’s Nerdalicious.
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