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There is a GEEK inside us all

05 · 05 · 09

By @spaltor

The summer I was born, my sister was 17 and headed off to college, and my brother was 13, preparing to enter high school.  My parents had very busy schedules, and a lot of the “babysitting” duties fell to my brother.  He wasn’t always so pleased about it, as 13 year old boys tend to have their own ideas about how to best use their time.  So, from an extremely early age, I went wherever he wanted to go.  And when I was less than a month old, where he wanted to go was to the movie theater to see “Return of the Jedi” for the umpteenth time.  An infant in a movie theater?  Not always a good plan.  But the story goes that I was mesmerized by the movie.  My brother says that I sat propped up on his lap, and stared at the movie screen for the entire 134 minutes.  And, if you believe that, thus began my love of science-fiction.

Needless to say, my brother’s influence did not stop with Star Wars.  One of my favorite memories from childhood is sitting in the living room with my brother and his high school friends to watch “The Best of Both Worlds, Part II”, with a sign on the wall above the couch that read “Go Borg!”  I was raised on Star Trek:TNG, Red Dwarf, the Hitchhiker’s Guide Radio Show, etc.

And for a long time, it never occurred to me that these “aren’t things for girls.”  Until I slowly began to realize that the other girls at school talked about things like 90210 and fashion, not aliens and Dr. Who.  So, I didn’t have much in common with the girls, and the boys thought I was strange, because they weren’t as interested in this sci-fi thing as I was.  Girl geekdom, especially in elementary school, was a strange and lonely thing.  I tried to overcompensate for a while, especially after my brother went to college on the opposite coast.  I wore pink, and took ballet classes, and tried to watch the silly sitcoms that seemed to be all the rage.  But it just wasn’t me.

And then geekiness became popular.  What?!  Oh, right – only if you were male.  That made me angry, that friends of mine were now in this psuedo-cool geeky clique, but I still didn’t seem to fit anywhere.

And then my brother brought home a modem from college, just as the internet was becoming a place for social networking, and not just a conduit for email.  I remember being online when there was only usenet, when people used their real names, and online gaming was all text based.  I found, through newsgroups, people that shared my interests.  Not just people, but girls.  And, perhaps more importantly, women.  Successful women, with amazing jobs, and full lives.  And my world changed.

It was an epiphany.  I didn’t have to be a choose geeky or girly, but I could balance the two.  I felt more comfortable in my own skin, and with support of people I’d never met in real life, I was pursuing things that I was actually interested in.  Since then, some of these girls and women have become my closest friends and my biggest inspirations, and they have taught me so much.  I’m so grateful that this experience came along in my life when it did, that I was encouraged to be myself, and ignore the thoughts of others.  But there are girls that don’t have that epiphany until much later in life, if at all.  There are those that “hide their geek” or don’t know yet what their geek is.  Because of experiences similar to mine, they don’t want others to know they enjoy Battlestar Galactica or get the jokes on The Big Bang Theory, for fear of ridicule or rejection. 

I believe that there is a geek inside everyone.  And that’s where two of my newest friends in the sci-fi community come in to play – Angela and Jen of the Anomaly Podcast [anomalypodcast.com] – “Where female and fandom converge.”  A goal of theirs, which has become a goal of mine, is to find women who claim that sci-fi isn’t for them, and try to make them find out why.  To explore this world of imagination and character, and embrace their geek.  It’s not just space battles and weird makeup – it’s John and Aeryn finally figuring it out, or knowing that Simon would do anything for River.  Better than any soap opera, in my opinion.  But just because I happen to be a sci-fi geek, it doesn’t mean I can’t encourage someone else to find her comp-sci geek, or math geek, or comic book geek, or electronics geek.  It all falls under the umbrella of community, we’re here for each other, to not only be friends, but to be each other’s support and inspiration.

 

So ladies, strike a balance and embrace your geek, and help a friend discover her own geek.  There’s no reason that you can’t discuss continuity problems in Stargate SG-1 (If matter can only travel in one direction through a wormhole, how is O’Neill able to stick his hand through the event horizon, then pull it back out again?) while you’re getting a pedicure.

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3 comments

  1. Thank you for the Firefly reference!!


  2. Wow… I remember watching Red Dwarf on public broadcasts until they ran out of money, lol. I also watched a lot of TNG and, coincidentally, was told just yesterday that I should play the young William Riker should a beginnings TNG movie happen (lawls).

    Yeah, belonging to a group is great! It’s something that we, as social creatures, need, even if in a virtual setting. I think what may put many women off from subscribing to some forms of entertainment, however, is that those particular genres seem to be reserved for men, and are not at all a ‘girl thing’, you know?

    Also, I’ve seen the piranha-like feeding frenzies that always seem to happen when a woman interested in a part of culture predominantly loaded with men attempts to share in that culture.

    Ladies deserve and sometimes need their own groups to work in, to get away from us sex-crazed guys!

    Power to the g33k.


  3. the first film i ever saw was star wars (ep.IV) at the drive-in. i was 4 and i still remember that night.

    i went on to choose SW action figures over barbie dolls. Thankfully, i had boy cousins my age and my best friend was another female SW fan, so i wasn’t quite as lonely as i could have been.

    i now work in a place that embraces girl geeks and i am so thankful for that!



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