A L B on “Fake Geek Girls”
This is the video that introduced me to the wonderful Angelina L B, and which helped me see that casual sexism you encounter in comic book shops and at conventions had moved beyond basic social ineptness and had become a large problem for the entire community.
I think I had seen her videos before, but the super-girly appearance made me think that I was definitely not her target demographic. I…
This morning on the walk to the station, I got chatting to a neighbour of mine, in her mid-eighties. We spoke about science fiction and fantasy novels, with her mentioning she loved E. E. Doc Smith, and had been a reader of Terry Pratchett since the release of The Colour Of Magic.Girl geeks have always existed. There should be no argument that this is a new development.
Fake geek girl?
I like running. That makes me a runner.
I like knitting. That makes me a knitter.
I like reading. That makes me a reader.
I like playing video games. That makes me a gamer.
I like nerdy stuff. That makes me a nerd.
I identify with my hobbies and my interests because they are important to me. You don’t get to choose what I should call myself. You don’t get to decide if I’m a “real” gamer or a “real” nerd. You can create arbitrary criteria for what makes a person “real” or “fake,” but that has absolutely no bearing on my life whatsoever.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a game to play.
Why I will never stop being a “gamer girl”.
My first experience with gaming happened when I was 7 years old. I went with my dad to pick up Diablo II way back in 2000. He was an avid PC gamer, and a major fan of the first Diablo game, so it was only natural we get the sequel the day it was released in North America. I had no idea what gaming was, or why it seemed to be such a big deal, or why so many other men stared with disgusted confusion at me when my dad handed me the box it came in so that I could hold it and look at the different pictures. I was only seven, and already, the dark clouds of female geek discrimination had formed on the horizon.
#252 Because of the “Fake Geek Girl”.
The Fake Geek Girl - a phenomena brought to you by the creators of the Friend Zone.
So, if you haven’t heard, there’s this concept, known as the Fake Geek Girl.
Who is she?
She is any attractive woman who shows up in geek environments (comic book stores, sci-fi conventions, cosplay events, etc) and poses as a geek, but WATCH OUT! SHE’S NOT REALLY A GEEK! SHE DOESN*T EVEN READ THE COMICS, SHE’S JUST A POSER! OHMIGAWD, SHE’S JUST HERE FOR ALL THE MALE ATTENTION!
These girls are, according to designer and Geek Out! writer Joe Peacock:
"… a “6″ in the “real world”, but when they put on a Batman shirt and head to the local fandom convention du jour, they instantly become a “9″.
They’re poachers. They’re a pox on our culture”
Yes, this is an actual thing. And Joe Peacock is an actual adult. So, as you might have gathered, the Fake Geek Girl is essentially a mythological creature, or possibly an extremely rare phenomena only observed every few years. But if you look at social media activity, you would believe that she is everywhere. Hatred is poured out over the supposedly fake geek girl on online chat forums, Twitter, blogs, through memes and Youtube videos. And then there are the endless accounts of girls attending conventions or visiting comic books stores who are approached by complete strangers demanding that they answer trivia questions to prove their geekiness and given abuse if they don’t manage to answer them all.
The fake geek girl isn’t real. There are no fake geek girls. There are girls who have interest to varying degrees. But, as Forbes writer Daniel Nye Griffiths points out, she has a purpose:
"In the face of this insecurity, “fake geek girls” are the equivalent of Communist sleeper agents in the uncertain 50s – the number of women who have no interest in geek culture but want geek attention at a personal level is vanishingly small, but their phantom is used to justify prejudice more generally, with the aim of keeping an unknown quantity out of the clubhouse."
The idea of the Fake Geek Girl keeps women away from conventions, it keeps them away from geek culture and it keeps them away from learning more about the comics, games and movies they enjoy. But mainly, it keeps them away from being part of the community. It turns geek culture into a boys’ club.
"You don’t need to call yourself a "girl gamer", just a gamer"
I’ll do that when people stop assuming that just because I play video games that I’m either a guy, attached to/was “taught” to play by a guy, or am faking my obsessive Zelda interest for a guy