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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

Today in things that make us scream incoherently

On the “Fake” Geek Girl

A little while ago we posted a video making a joke out of the stereotypical but not universally true awkwardness of male geeks, particularly around women, and the comments on the post exploded. For every guy who came in to say, reasonably if perhaps with little humor, that all dudes aren’t like that; there was a guy there to tell every woman who’d commented to say she’d known guys like that once that her personal experience and anything she’d ever done based on it was wrong. It was a clusterfuck of anecdotal experience and gendered slurs, and the only thing it really made me want to do was get all the commenters in a room and say, loudly and clearly:

“I’ll make a deal with all you dudes who are angry because this is how your demographic is portrayed. You let me have this one video making this one joke, and I will let you have the entire “fake geek girl” meme, comprising hundreds of jokes, many of them misogynist, that perpetuate the idea that women never do anything you like unless it is to “get attention” and then betray you when they get it. This should seem more than fair.”

Because that’s what the idea of the “fake geek girl” is all about, right? “Oh, she’s just doing that for the attention.” Which, by the way, is also a thing said when women claim they’ve been raped, or beaten by people close to them; it’s one of the foundational assumptions behind the reasoning that women lie or will lie about being raped to get abortions; it is the idea that excuses the behavior of a society that minimizes the concerns of women.

Tara Tiger Brown blames the acceptance of geek culture into the mainstream for the rise in the Fake Geek Girl phenomenon in her post Dear Fake Geek Girls, Please Go Away, yet another article that (like Patton Oswalt‘s) wallows in a get-off-my-lawn view of changing geek culture, and laments the fact that celebrities are coming out as geeks.

She says:

Girls who genuinely like their hobby or interest and document what they are doing to help others, not garner attention, are true geeks. The ones who think about how to get attention and then work on a project in order to maximize their klout, are exhibitionists.

And I wish, I really wish, that we as a society were capable of honestly evaluating this sort of thing when it comes to women expressing themselves, and expressing themselves in the internet and other male-dominated arenas. But we’re not. We’re not, when we call Sandra Fluke a slut for talking about birth control. We’re not, when we assume that Megan Fox was just being “sensitive” when she quit the Transformers movies because she felt Michael Bay treated her like a prop. We’re not, when it’s practically a Reddit meme to tell any woman who posts a picture of an object of interest that includes her in the frame that she’s “karmawhoring.”

I hate the idea of the “fake geek girl.” And I hate it the most because it is so pervasive and subtle I personally find it very difficult to keep it out of my interactions with other geeks.

The Fake Geek Girl has been with me ever since I was eleven and found that I really liked Batman: The Animated Series, when my fear of being labeled a fake geek girl said that if I didn’t become an expert on Batman, the moment I made some kind of mistake or omission I’d be branded as “fake” by the person I was interacting with. Not a novice, a learner, someone who was worth teaching and bringing into the community, but a fake, a poser, somebody who deserved to be kicked out. Where was the “geeks in the mainstream” discussion fifteen years ago when I was getting into Batman? Right, it wasn’t there, because geeks were not getting into the mainstream at that time. But the Fake Geek Girl idea was there.

These days, the idea of geek cred is so prominent in my mind that I have to consciously force myself to not instinctively dismiss outright the opinion of the person who gets my Cylon jokes but doesn’t pick up on the Portal ones. The person who runs several table top games but says things like “Didn’t they already make The Avengers? It had Uma Thurman in it.” For the record, both of those real-life examples are dudes.

So yes, I understand the desire to weed the “posers” out of your personal life and interactions. But I have never, actually, in the flesh, met a “fake” geek girl. Or guy. I don’t think those people actually exist outside of painful daytime news segments, the occasional job interview (where, in this economy, I’ll excuse anybody for trying to be a little bit of something they’re not), and internet memes. But I understand.

But who are you to say that a stranger, someone you’re never likely to meet, is not genuinely interested in the thing they appear to be interested in? Who are you? I just… what? I’m rendered incoherent. Here at the Mary Sue, when an actress goes on a talk show and describes her personal affection and involvement and enjoyment and FANDOM for geek properties, we take it at face value. Why? Because we don’t actually have a reason not to. Because the alternative breeds a closed community of paranoid, elitist jerks who lash out at anyone new.

The proper response to someone who says they like comics and has only read Scott Pilgrim is to recommend some more comics for them. The proper response to someone who appears to be faking enthusiasm is to ignore them and not project their actions on an entire gender or community. The proper response to someone who appears to want to be a part of your community is to welcome them in. End of story.


  • Trina

    Yep definitely feel the same way. This topic seems to come up every couple of years when there is some “geek pop culture explosion”. I am quite surprised that Forbes published a piece like this though. Either way, none of this helps us as a community. We should embrace and help people fall in love with our hobbies even more. 

  • Michelle

    I especially agree with the final paragraph of this post. I’ve been a geek since I was a ten-year-old girl, but there are many shows/novels/games, etc. that I would like to get into and know more about, and it would be awesome if the response of other geeks were to teach and share their fan knowledge. Oh man, how much would I enjoy having a little Tolkien apprentice with whom I could share Elvish word roots? :)

  • Timid Atheist

    The proper response to someone who appears to want to be a part of your community is to welcome them in. End of story.”

    This. Yes. Thank you.

    I never understood the claim that someone would fake it to look like a true geek. Just another way to be exclusive and if there’s one thing I hate, it’s cliques.  EVERYONE has a right to join in.

  • Michelle

    P.S. – I do think there are posers out there, but I agree that the proper response is to ignore them and not assume most people are that fake. It’s like Seth Green said at Comic-Con one year – “It’s a question of authenticity.” I think you can be genuinely enthusiastic about something without instantly being an expert.

  • Andrew Couture

    Is this a problem? I have never heard of fake geek girl nor thought a geek was being fake before this. Maybe some guys are just jerks. Geeks come in many different styles, everyone has something that they geek out over, ex: I can play 8 hours of Magic the Gathering in a day, but know next to nothing about comics. Am I a geek? Yes. Would I brand someone as a fake geek because they love comics but don’t play Magic? No.

    If this is a real thing, I am sorry and confused.

  • Dale P

    Every culture, lifestyle, hobby, interest or whatever is going to have poseurs and fakers. Of either gender. Of course. There might be “fake geek girls” who do it for male attention, but they are going to be such a minority as to be negligible.

    As I said on this topic earlier on Twitter, anyone who would stereotype members of a specific group (e.g. women into “geek” culture) as fakers is an idiot. Alienating any group – be it women, people of colour, or anyone – is detrimental to the hobby. Comics, video games and the like desperately need fresh voices, perspectives and ideas and we will only get those by embracing all comers. Not by setting up stupid rules and boundaries as to what a “true” geek is.

  • Jill Pantozzi

    I wrote about this phenomena last year. I hate that it becomes a regular thing. Just like what you like and leave others to do their own thing.

  • Joelle

    Susana – Thank you so much for this response to that article. My thoughts EXACTLY.

    If a person finds happiness or pride in calling themselves a geek then they have every right to do so.

  • Kayla Sullivan

    Thank you. The Forbes article really bothered me, particularly when you look down in the comments and find that so many people seem to be embracing the hell out of this kind of thinking (or at  least that’s what was happening at the time a read the article). I’m glad to see this response on The Mary Sue. Makes me feel so much better about geekdom.

  • Ashley Hay

    I agree with this so hard. We need to become a stronger community and share with each other, not hate. I had not seen Firefly yet and so many people kept telling me I would love it, not making fun that I had not or that I was not a true geek. 

  • Jon Benne

    You must not go on Reddit.  It is a very real thing and a very big problem.

  • Corey Regalado

    I feel like, in this day and age, being a “geek” gives you a helluva lot of clout. It shows that you’re pop culture savvy. It shows that you’re smart. Maybe witty. It implies a lot of things these days. So everyone is clamoring for that title. If you look at people’s Twitter biographies, you’ll find a lot proclaiming to be geeks. The most popular are art geeks, film buffs, and history nerds, but I’d bet money most of them are lying. It’s all one big pissing contest, where everyone is broadcasting the same message: “I know more than you.”

  • Corrina Lawson

    It’s a real thing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run into “but you’re a girl, you can’t *really* be a geek/interesting in what I am.” And the subtext is “wait, but I’m a male geek and you can’t be in the club.” 
    Thankfully, thanks to sites like this and others, it’s getting better, at least for me personally. But I’d venture to say the vast majority of geeks who are women has run across this numerous times. 
    Great post!

  • Anonymous

     There’s some really obsessed guy constantly posting questions on yahoo answers about “WHY DO WOMEN FAKE GEEK FOR ATTENTION”. I… can’t imagine what is wrong with a person to cause him to not only dismiss all female geeks as fakes (all of them without exception, according to him) but to need to constantly post “AMIRITE?” about it.

  • Mike Hall

    I think a lot of folks (especially guys) who self-identify as geeks don’t understand that the “casual fan” (someone whose knowledge of geek culture is specialized, or for some reason not all that “deep”) can still be a VERY passionate geek.  My girlfriend, for example, loves comics as a medium:  as a librarian, she’s built a big graphic novel collection for her school; she’s taken the class in comics and cartooning I offer through the local college (I write and draw comics for a living); and she always has a graphic novel on her bedside table.  She will be the first to tell you she is a comic book geek…but she reads maybe three ongoing series, tops (Fables, Walking Dead, and recently, The Goon).  The rest of her comics consumption is through mostly self-contained graphic novels or finite series like Scott Pilgrim.  Is this woman a “fake geek?”  Hell no, she isn’t.  She LOVES comics…the ones that speak to her, that is.  She couldn’t care less about what’s going on in the mainstream superhero comics, and in the eyes of many male geeks, that makes her “fake.”  Her lack of encyclopedic knowledge doesn’t diminish the love she has for the comics she consumes, but a lot of male fans have a hard time thinking through that kind of thing.  

  • Anonymous

    For every guy who came in to say, reasonably if perhaps with little
    humor, that all dudes aren’t like that; there was a guy there to tell
    every woman who’d commented to say she’d known guys like that once that
    her personal experience and anything she’d ever done based on it was wrong.

    Ever considered a stricter moderation policy and faster moderation?  I mean, if you said something like “derailing tactics and ‘what about the [privileged group]!!!11′ whines” will not be tolerated, you might’ve been able to quash that shit pretty thoroughly.

  • Kerry Dolan Timony

    I love people who use logic. It makes me feel the human race has a chance. 

  • Collin Kelly

    As a nerd man I feel upset when a super cut dude claims to be a geek because he likes “The Dark Knight”. That dude beat me up in school, he can choke and go back to his sports games. I see women all over now sporting unnecessary glasses and TMNT t-shirts, claiming to be one of us… but you know they’re not. I understand that you never make friends by excluding people, but doesn’t it upset the fine (and truly nerdy) ladies of The Mary Sue to have the culture they love co-opted by trend setters? It used to be that if you saw a X-Men pin on a girl’s bag, you’d know you could start up an awkward conversation with her, because she too knew your pain of loving something that others ridicule. Now? There’s a fifty percent chance she’ll probably roll her eyes and say “I like that one with the claws”. 

  • Anonymous

    The only fake geek girls I’ve ever seen are the stars of upcoming movie ABC who swears they’re a “total geek”, yet can’t even NAME any comic books, let alone details.  The mindset (surely put forth by the marketing department) is that if they can get the fans to accept them as “one of us” there will be a greater desire to see the film.  And as you can see, that ALWAYS works.

    I’m at a loss as to why a person would choose science fiction and comics fandom as a way to “get attention”.  Maybe to attract the romantic attention of one of us, cause as you know, we’re all such prizes.

    I think the “fake” thing is more a case of Patton’s idea that people will binge-watch a season of Doctor Who, scan the Wiki and think they grok the series.  It’s the modern equivalent of the old sitcom trope of a woman reading a book about Baseball the night before they’re supposed to coach their kids’ team.  Insert Man and Cookbook, if it makes you feel better.  It’s not a case of wanting to belong as much as it is wanting to be in on the hot new thing, and somehow, being a geek is So Hot Right now. 

    Though oddly, the shows about which we geek are not as hot as just being a geek.  Big Bang Theory is about geeks, but if you took out ever Star Trek reference and replaced them with an entirely nonexistent Sci-Fi franchise, they’d get just as big laughs.  That’s EXACTLY what Inspector Spacetime is.  It’s not, at its core, a Doctor Who parody, it’s a random generic show over which Troy and Abed can geek out, allowing them to parody the act of geeking out.  It’s only the fans who made it into an actual DW parody.

  • Anonymous

    Does that make her a casual fan though? It’s a different kind of fan, but it seems like her fandom takes up as much of her time as “hardcore” geeks — she’s brought it into her life, she interacts with it every day, she pursues it actively.

    Not valuing encyclopedic knowledge =/= casual fan.

  • Jennifer Horigan

    I’m torn on how I feel about this article. I agree with it to an extent, but I also agree with Patton Oswalt. Being a geek in a world before the internet was difficult. We were the outsiders that paved the way for young girls today. It is hard not to feel that “kids today have it easy” mentality and feel protective about all the great things we had to work really hard to discover. Seeing a subculture that you have so closely associated yourself with become mainstream is a little disheartening.

    I also have a disdain for people who use the term “geek” as a way of getting attention from specific demographics. My great shining example of this: Olivia Munn. She used the terminology to get attention from a specific male demographic, even though she’s not interested in the rest of geek culture. Using the term “geek” and having zero interest in the culture is fake.

  •!/haversam [A]

    Wow geeks have feelings, too..?

    But yeah, this part..

    Because that’s what the idea of the “fake geek girl” is all about,
    right? “Oh, she’s just doing that for the attention.” Which, by the way,
    is also a thing said when women claim they’ve been raped, or beaten by
    people close to them
    ; it’s one of the foundational assumptions behind
    the reasoning that women lie or will lie about being raped to get abortions; it is the idea that excuses the behavior of a society that minimizes the concerns of women.

    ..probably true but boy it does sound too big and serious and real for an article about, basically, silly things (geek stuff and whatnot)

  • Baron Cain

    I have met a “fake geek” before. It just so happens that she is a woman, though her gender isn’t what made her this way. Before she was a “fake geek” she was a “fake redneck” and who knows before that. She constantly lies about what she knows so she can “fit in” with the group and go to the cons with us so she can party. She also currently has a geek boyfriend, but she was doing this before him, it’s just now gotten worse. Since she has been trying to fit in, I’ve been doing my best to educate her, so she doesn’t make a fool out of herself when she gets caught in one of her elaborate lies. I will say this though, I have never accused a stranger of being a “fake geek” and I have met loads of wonderful people who happened to be geeks of all genders. I know this woman personally and have for years. I know what she does, and she does do it for attention. Not just male attention. She is the epitome of “fake geek”, but I have not given up on her.  If she wants to learn I will teach her what I know.  But for me, she is proof that “fake geeks” exist.

  • Mike Hall

    Yeah, that makes her a casual fan.  The amount of time she spends on comics doesn’t take up anywhere NEAR the time invested in the hobby by hardcore fans.  She engages in active pursuit, yes, but not constant, and not to the exclusion of other pursuits.  That makes her a casual fan.

    The point, though, was that she’d be called a fake by a lot of male fans criteria.  Which she is not.

  • Jinxy Blastwave

     ”Because the alternative breeds a closed community of paranoid, elitist jerks who lash out at anyone new.”  That’s my quote of the year.  I like to think of our role as geeks to be proselytizers of what’s new and awesome and underrepresented.  If you meet someone who doesn’t have your encyclopedic knowledge of that thing you think is awesome, infect that person with your geekery and grow the army! We should always be on the lookout for impressionable young minds, not lashing out at someone who’s brave enough to put their hand up and talk about what they’re into.  Plus the idea that women can’t be geeks is just absurd on its face.  Everyone, man, woman, vegetable, has had that moment when they’ve cornered someone and talked their face off about something only they have ever heard about, and gotten that embarrassed, glazed look and the polite “Maybe I’ll check that out sometime…”  Everyone ever.  Don’t be shitty.  Be inclusive.  Proselytize the new to whoever is open to it.  Always.

  • Being Geek Chic

     This. It’s the very reason I have stopped visiting Reddit.

  • Sean Seger

    Excellent article.  And thank you.

    I grew up a nerd in the 80s and early 90s and times were different then (okay this first paragraph is making me feel old).  There were serious low points in nerd friendly entertainment, and pop culture did not accept the nerd/geek culture’s interests yet.  I honestly think our generation is where the problem came in.  If you could show “geek cred” you were accepted.  However, we paid dearly for our lack of social graces, clumsy manners with women, and non-mainstream tastes and that made it hard for us to accept others at first.  Showing geek cred wasn’t easy, and if you were a girl, well I don’t know if we were harder on you because of it or if it just seemed that way because we were freaked out by boobs.

    I was never that sensitive to it growing up, however I am a lot more now thanks to my daughter’s budding geek girl tastes.  I have learned to accept that while she loves Doctor Who (new and classic) and Mythbusters, she has no time or interest in Star Wars or Star Trek.  I’ve also made sure she knows its okay that people may not like what she likes but as long as she enjoys it then it’s worth being a fan.  Your article cemented what I’ve been trying to teach her in these early stages of her journey into all things geeky.

    And in the end that’s all we nerds/geeks are, vocal, fanatical people who enjoy things that may or may not appeal to anyone else, and really we don’t care.

  • Diana

    This is amazing and wonderful. I relate completely to the B:TAS story, because that has been the story of so many of my interests. It’s impostor syndrome and it is insidious and difficult to break out of. Does it matter that I began reading comics because my favorite (book) author wrote one? Does that make me less of a fan? No. But it’s way too easy to feel like a fake. We don’t need to be shaming people who are just starting out on the road.

  • Anonymous

    I honestly didn’t know this was a thing. I mean yeah I’ve met the geek girl who “Only reads Scott Pilgrim” before but I can’t imagine the human who needs to take that person and then instantly enforce some sort of bizarre pecking order of nerdy proclivities.

    I’m not saying people like that don’t exist, I’m just saying it’s not something that has occurred within my realm of personal experience.

    On the subject of the “Fake Geek Girl” however I do have to admit to a certain degree of annoyance at the relatively recent trend of turning the “geek girl” into the most recent inductee in a long list of easily definable fetishistic archetypes.
    French Maid, Naughty Librarian, Sexy School Teacher, Saucy Secretary…Geek Girl.

    I’m no prude by any stretch of the imagination. I get the mutual risque’ fun of burlesque and role play.
    Where I have a problem is that this particular archetype is not only disingenuous to the culture at large but pulls double duty by reenforcing the image of the sexually pathetic geek male while simultaneously assigning a servile and submissive role to the geek female.

    As always, if I’m missing the point or if I’m just flat out provably wrong then by all means illuminate me. I’m nothing if not open to new ideas and new points of view.

  • UrsNY

    Thank you for this! 

    I would also like to add that not everyone experiences appreciation through memorizing facts, the default measure of geek accomplishment. Some make fic or art, others cosplay, and many just read/watch obsessively. The interrogation at geek checkpoints is a great measure of Eidetic memory, but not a comprehensive picture of emotional attachment or how something integrates into a person’s identity. And god help you, if you weren’t first. I had a friend, supposedly feminist, shoved me in a corner for being “not geek enough” and ruined the experience of something new to me.

    Just because someone can’t memorize entire books of annotated Norse mythology, doesn’t mean LoTR or Thor is any less emotionally meaningful to them.

  • Heather Harris

    I work in a comic/game shop and want to throttle the couple of fakes who occasionally come in with one of the Magic-player guys. It gets hard to ignore it when the girl wearing the too-tight shirt that says “There are 11 types of people who understand binary,” complains to me that she can’t login to the wi-fi network, and I say “did you type the password correctly? It is case-sensitive.” and she blinks at me, gives me a blank stare, and says “like I’m supposed to know what that means?” then goes and flops down with an exaggerated sigh and actually says the words “Like oh my GOD or whatever!” as she slams her iPhone on to the table.

    Overall, yes, it’s best to just let them make asses of themselves and not pay them any mind, but oh I do wish the behavior of faking interests – whether it’s sports, comics, or anything else – to “get a man” would stop. Ladies, your mission in life is not to get a man. It’s to find out what you’re good at and what you like and somehow use that to improve the world a little. If through that legitimate interest, you find a partner who shares it, then hey – that’s probably a partner you have a much better chance of respecting and being respected by.

  • Ashley

    The Fake Geek Girl has been with me ever since I was eleven and found that I really liked Batman: The Animated Series,
    when my fear of being labeled a fake geek girl said that if I didn’t
    become an expert on Batman, the moment I made some kind of mistake or
    omission I’d be branded as “fake” by the person I was interacting with.
    Not a novice, a learner, someone who was worth teaching and bringing
    into the community, but a fake, a poser, somebody who deserved to be
    kicked out.

    THIS resonated with me, because I realized that oh, that’s something I never realized that I also internalize. I’m comfortable telling someone I’m a fan of something if I can hold a conversation on the nuance of it for about fifteen minutes. Otherwise I shy away, because I don’t want to be caught “lying.” I won’t tell people I’m an Apocalyptica fan, because I love their music but know very little about the band. Whenever I tell someone I’m good at something, I wait for them to ask some question I don’t know the answer to and “discredit” me, especially when it comes to computers.

    But man, fuck those people.

    Weird liberating moments on the Internet.

  • Bel

    Thank you for writing this.

    Re: Your Batman anecdote: This has totally been my experience, albeit with video games.  I’ve played through games I hated just for the sake of expanding my geek credibility.

    I think the worst part of it is, as soon as a lot of women like something, it “doesn’t count” anymore.  You can see it with video games, too.  The language is a little different, people complain instead about “casuals,” but there’s a direct correlation between games that are popular with women and games that are considered casual or unworthy.

  • Anonymous

    I disagree. She makes her fan love part of her career, her life. That’s not “casual” fan. Measuring the level of fan over how much time they spend trying to memorize useless facts is…just frickin’ weird, dude. It’s about how often you choose to engage with the material, and everything you’ve described means she engages with it pretty much every day, for most of the day.

    There’s a distinct difference between male and female fan spaces, I’ve noticed, however. Male spaces seem really worked up over memorizing basic facts, female spaces (like fanfiction) are more interested with engaging in the themes of the material. Descriptive vs. Constructive, if you will. One isn’t inherently “more hardcore” than the other. They’re just different ways of experiencing and engaging in fandom.

  • Kelli

    Couldn’t agree more! We’ve talked about this at Wear The Cheese multiple times – in relation to cosplay, video games, or even just entering a comic store. As a girl it seems like you definitely have to prove yourself more in order to just be accepted into certain portions of the “geek” community, which can be difficult and sometimes impossible (can’t please everyone!). Instead of automatically scrutinizing people’s interests to see if they are genuine, just engage them! Seriously, what is the point of all the negativity and elitism? 

  • Kevin Deane

     Meh, I say let the meme exist. It lets you know outright who is a douchebag and not worth talking to.

  • Being Geek Chic

    I think what all of these pieces (Patton’s 2010 article, the Forbes piece) are missing is the lifestyles in which most “geeks” are brought up. It’s hard for me to know this with any amount of certainty because it’s been a LONG time since high school, but my guess is that the vast majority of people who ID as “geek” do so because their interests somehow put them outside of the social norm. For example, as a dystopian fiction lover and the only person on my block with the internet in the late 90s who wanted to learn HTML, I was a “nerd” and an outcast. I didn’t have the benefit of message boards and blogs to help me find friends who had the same interest.

    Today, I’m highly employable because I have those foundational internet skills and as it turns out, dystopian fiction is having a real moment with the release of The Hunger Games. Some of these articles stink of bitterness. I’m SO HAPPY I didn’t change despite being bullied for my interests and I’m actually amused by the fact that many of my passions have taken such a stronghold in our current pop culture landscape. It all comes down to acceptance. Both of yourself and others.

  • James Strocel

    Here’s what you do when you encounter a “Fake” Geek Girl or Guy: Humor them. Sure, we all like being King Geek of Nerd Mountain, but we should, under no circumstances mistake what the “fake” geeks are trying to do: They are trying to make friends.

    We should embrace them, even if it’s just some down on her luck spokesmodel trying to be a ninja turtle. We’ve all been hurt by people like that before, but that doesn’t mean we have to somehow get vengeance by shunning them.

  • Baron Cain

    And by all means make fun of the Male Geek Awkwardness Syndrome. The Nerds movies made a killing off of it, and the Big Bang Theory would be nothing without it. It’s funny.

  • Mariah Tess

    Ahhh, yes! I feel exactly the same way. I’ve always had a fear of being viewed upon as a “fake” bc I wasn’t an expert in certain “geek” fields. But I genuinely love geeky shit and there’s a plethora of it to go around. It’s entirely IMpossible to know about it all. 

  • Daniel Wheeler

    You know i want to agree with you on this but you are such a shite writer that you have to compare this to rape i just have to roll my eyes and completely dismiss everything you say.

  • Anonymous

    Then you do what you do every other time you try and find common ground with someone and fail to do so: shrug your shoulders and move on.

  • Anonymous

    I’m old so I don’t understand this bigotry, especially with geeks and the “geek” culture. When I was growing up nerds were the ones that hated noobs and posers and were exclusionists that wore their arcane knowledge like some damn popes. Geeks were the evagelists of the obscure and be called weird but treated as a resource for the cool kids and others to find out about the next could be cool thing. Now the terms sorted blended together. Who cares if some one is faking or posing, they tend to leave after awhile and get into some other thing, now your sacredness is back woopty do. This is like religion and it gets annoying, who’s closer to Jesus, who can meditate as long as Daruma! Just let people like stuff. Anyhow more poeple like my weird stuff, the more places I can get my wierdness! Every one is a geek about something. Let’s just put on our Star Wars hoodies and eat our Totoro shaped food and enjoy being around one another.

  • Adam Whitley

    Not wanting to be stereotyped is  a derailing tactic? What an interesting world you live in.

  • ArmyJoe

    “Moderating ‘derailing’ tactics” would imply that this forum is specifically for a minority audience. In women’s issue forums, created by women and advertised as “for women,” men are not allowed in the women’s clubhouse specifically because of PHMT and WATM banned speech. Of course, ‘allied’ men are welcome to kiss ass all they want.

    Are you advocating that The Mary Sue be a designated “separate-but-equal” space?

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for this.  That Forbes article annoyed me to no end, and as someone else mentioned above, the comments that followed that article were even more aggrevating.  Geekiness has many levels and I have yet to meet a fellow female geek who was fronting about her love of comics/games/shows, et. al.  And even if they do exist, so what?  Love what you love and let others be. There was something so… clique-ish (for lack of a better word) in the mentality of the Forbes piece that rubbed me the wrong way.

  • Bel

     I wish it were that simple, but it IS a community.  Social pressures are hard to deal with.

  • Adam Whitley

    It reminds me of when all the pop punk bands got big and everyone started thinking they knew about punk rock but they were still the same jerks from before.

  • Bel

     To elaborate on destronomics point, I think there are many different ways to BE a fan, and that male geek culture tends to privilege encyclopedic knowledge over a lot of other ways.

  • ArmyJoe

     Hey, we’re all guilty of straw-manning from time to time, especially if we get mad.

  • Bel

    This isn’t The Border House, nor should it be.

  • Bel

    Do you not understand?  This kind of climate where we have to launch on witch hunt on all girls – particularly all girls who look a certain way – in order to determine their “geek credibility” hurts ALL women geeks.  I’d MUCH rather deal with a few people who don’t know what they’re talking about than have to deal with being put on trial every time I say I like something.

  • Selkiechick

     You can be a comics geek, and a serious comics geek, without being all about superheroes.  A lot of the “fake geek” allegations seem to revolve around- “you don’t like exactly the same things I do.”

    There are a lot of comics to read and love and understand and think about out there. To say that someone isn’t a “real comics geek” because they don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of superheroes is a bit like saying that someone isn’t a real comics geek unless they have an encyclopedic knowledge of R. Crumb, or Tijuana Bibles, or the small press comics from the 1990′s.

  • Enegleberg Scraightscrawberrie

    No, all women are whores, they are bad and they should feel bad.

  • Anonymous

    AMIRITE. Isn’t that the mineral of unsuredness and lack of charisma?

  • Anonymous

    As Susana noted as her sign off – if you *do* get that as a response, you simply ask what they like about him and would they like to read more of his exploits.  It’s not to be construed as a brush off but as an opportunity.

    Think about it.  

    I’d consider myself a considerable movie (and to a lesser extent, tv) geek.  I know next to nothing about computer games.  Does that make me less of a geek?

    I leave that up to you

  • Anonymous

    Yes, exactly! Excellent point.

  • Bel

     She’s connecting it to a culturally pervasive idea about women, and this is one of its most insidious and widespread incarnations.  Totally appropriate.

  • Jack Creed

    This is a fantastic article.  I get super tired of the elitist garbage and unfortunately it’s present in a group that labels themselves something.  ”You are not a (blank) unless you know about (blank) or agree with (blank).”  It seems to surge about the same time something becomes popular because some people like having their little niche all to themselves.  I like the reinforcement of the idea of nurturing the nerdy tenancies.  I don’t know why more people don’t do that.  If someone crapped all over my enthusiasm for things I didn’t know a lot about at first it would be very hard to remain enthused.  And yes there are posers out their but they shouldn’t color an entire race or gender or what have you.

  • ArmyJoe

    Comment deleted by author.

  • Bel

     I agree that I don’t appreciate being compartmentalized and misrepresented, but I don’t think that’s as gendered as it would seem.  It’s not like boy-geeks aren’t misrepresented too.  We ought to be dealing with it with more internal solidarity.

  • Bel

     This right here.  And I think it’s part of why geek culture tends to be really gender segregated – women are supposed to fan one way, men another, and neither side makes much effort to appreciate the other way, but men still tend to control what the “dominant” mode of geekdom is and issue litmus tests.

  • Anonymous

    It’s also destructive because while male geeks aren’t expected to be conventionally attractive, this attitude puts additional pressure on women to look a certain way.  In many cases, people get into geekdom because it offers acceptance based on shared interests and embraces a wide variety of body types, and it sucks that the mainstreaming of geek culture has allowed cultural beauty norms to become part of the culture.

  • Darryl Mott Jr.

    Until the neo-post-feminist geeks started commenting about this particular meme, I never once saw it as a gender thing. I always thought the meme was fake-geek HIPSTER, which I personally have had a lot of problems with. See someone in an Evil Dead tshirt at a bar and try to talk to them about Army of Darkness or even horror movies in general and not only do they turn their nose up at me, but they MAKE FUN OF ME for actually liking the movie. Had the same thing happen with someone wearing a D&D-themed shirt and a Ramones shirt. You could put a guy in a porkpie, a scarf, Buddy Holly glasses, and a fake-faded TMNT tshirt as that meme’s picture and every single one of the jokes I’ve seen on them still works. And I swear the next person I see wearing a TARDIS tshirt who doesn’t get the “Don’t blink” reference, I’m going to stuff in the nearest locker I can find. You’re going to wear that shirt as a joke, I’m going to treat you how I was treated the first 25 years of my life for liking the same thing.

  • SusanHey

    Personally, I just don’t like people pretending to be who they’re not, whether that be for attention or self-satisfaction, or whatever. 

  • Anonymous

    Unless you’re on the staff, I don’t really think you’ve the right to determine what this space should be? 

    I get the impression The Mary Sue itself is still not really sure what it is, so I offered a suggestion.  *shrug*  It’s their space and their decision how to proceed in the future.

    I don’t know that the comments space ought to be lamented though, if they allow such shitty comments to stand unchallenged in their space.  The comments I see, and the utter uselessness of holding a conversation with a lot of the privileged assholes that post here ought to be expected if they decide they want lax moderation.  If this is meant to be a somewhat feminist space (and I get the impression there’s some desire on the part of some staffers to see that?) then they either need to expect a whole helluva lot of hate and stupid comments or be willing to moderate more.  I suppose I should have typed out my entire thinking process in my first comment.  Apologies.

  • Bel

    Yeah, I’m sure that’s a real story that actually happened and not an exagerration at all.  I like the detail about the “too tight” shirt so that we know she’s a slut as well as a brat and can clearly write her off as being exclusively interested in male attention (which she doesn’t deserve, because girls who try to like things guys like don’t deserve respect from those guys).

  • Anonymous

    I approve of the tag on this post. That is the noise my brain makes when dealing with this crap.

  • Bel

    Geeks are obsessively categorical and hierarchal creatures.  Everything should have a structure, and one thing is always better than something else.  I think it’s a pretty pervasive idea in the culture, and why we end up having wars over things that don’t matter and really come down to personal preference.

  • ArmyJoe

    Comment deleted by author.

  • Thalia

    This, times a hundred. There’s no set of standard criteria on what it means to be a geek. 

    That being said, I have met one or two actual “fake geeks” in my life, my older sister being one of them. She used to tease me back in school for being a geek/nerd because I got beat up a lot when I was younger, didn’t have many friends, and liked to read/draw/play video games all the time. Shortly before high school ended, it became acceptable and, in some cases, cool to be a geek, and she just recently decided that she wanted to be one, too. 

    Now, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be a part of geek culture, but she doesn’t actually do anything. She just repeatedly says in mid-conversation, “Oops, is my geek showing?” or “Wow I’m such a geek! HEHE!”. 

    I don’t mind that she wants to be a geek, but thinking that all it takes is self-proclamation gets on my nerves sometimes.

  • Bel

    If you really wanted to agree, you would agree, and if you really wanted to understand why she was using that example, you would expend some mental energy rather than calling her a shit writer in the comments.

  • Texty

    Point of order: There IS a massive influx of hipsters into the geek community. They don’t actually genuinely care about our community or anything in it. They’re just slumming with us because we’re the ironic flavor of the month, just like they’ve done with truckers, hippies, blah blah blah. They’ll be gone as soon as they find another underdog group to claim to identify with.

    I don’t agree that girls and women are automatically suspect on this, but truly, someone who’s only into one thing, and it happens to be something that someone with hipster cred is also into? Yeah. Not exactly one of the fold.

    I also disagree with your “let them in” concept. You may as well be arguing that men should be allowed into woman space, or that straight folks should be allowed to take over gay bars. The geek community is what it is for a reason: we are non-mainstream, because we’re not into the stuff the cool kids are into. And just as it’s offensive when a clueless straight couple starts making out in a gay bar, it’s offensive when a hipster comes into our spaces, trying to give herself street cred by hanging with the outcasts.

  • Helen Worrall

    A relief to have such a well articulated response to something I read earlier today with such frustration, though I could not pinpoint why I felt the article was had got it all backwards. 

  • Selkiechick

     Good point. I also feel like one of two things happen to those “poseurs”, they either decide they really do love where they are, and embrace the culture, and earn their cred by joining in, or they decide it’s not where they want to be, and they find another group to try out.

    Self solving problem.

  • kleineWoelfin2

    quit the whining.

    Just hate the meme. Can’t see it any more.

  • JoAnna Luffman

    The problem with fakes is they exist. Just like the women who cry wolf about rape ( it does happen), they ruin everything for us, be it camaraderie with people who share our interest, or getting protection under the law. 

    The answer is to ferret out those that are determined to lie for personal gain, and expose them, not embrace them.  

  • Texty

    Bingo. It actually pisses me off that a story about someone not being allowed to play geeky reindeer games is being compared to rape and domestic violence.

    There IS misogyny within the geek community. Big time. But filtering out hipsters isn’t it.

  • Jaime Kimbrel

    Seeing as how the meme is named “Idiot Nerd Girl” ( it seems to be more about gender and less about just jumping on a bandwagon. It should be about how people are taking geek things to look “cool” (ow my brain hurts now) but it’s pretty much geared at woman – because they could never be real geeks right?!

  • SusanHey

    YES, thank you. THIS is what infuriates me about “fake geekery” (whether it’s coming from a guy or a girl). What I freaking love being taken as nothing more than a freaking fashion statement or a joke. I mean, if someone’s only seen like, one or two episodes of Doctor Who, or BSG etc, and they liked it and maybe want to see more, that’s fine by me. It’s when someone doesn’t even watch the show/read the book/play the damn videogame that they claim to “love”, that I can honestly tell them to go to hell. 

  • Elizabeth Compton

     Well, yeah, everyone knows the only value women have as members of the “geek” community is that they are usually amenable to being hit on by guys with little or no social skills. Once the women of the “geek” community are no longer interested in having sex with nerdy men, what is their value?

  • Bel

    I’ve got the right to determine what I think it ought to be as much as you do.  You are suggesting policy to the staff – I am disagreeing with you.

    I like The Mary Sue’s space. I think it is a feminist space, and I don’t think the only way to have a feminist space is to expect that all of your readers educate themselves intimately on sociological concepts such as privilege, or to rigidly enforce that understanding.  Moderation policies like that erect a barrier of access and wind up preaching only to the choir.

    I think TMS comments tend to be very positive and full of a lot of dedicated nerd-girl contributors.  Sometimes people are disagreeable, but that’s life.  I’ve never seen anything here that was worthy of moderator intervention.

  • Awkward Geeks

    Are mommy bloggers geeks because they blog? Sorry, gotta say no on that. I recently found a local group of women calling themselves ”Geek Girls”, turns out they are mommy bloggers. Calling themselves “geeks” as a selling point to join their group of local mommies who like to get together for drinks, talking about their families, and running 5Ks, etc, is very misleading. They stopped doing anything with their so-called site last year (a few months after starting it) once they realized they were not getting more people to join them. Because, well…Calling themselves geeks was bad marketing.  

  • Tim Ervin

    Egads. I remember the first time I walked in to a comic book store. I did succeed in buying a sweet vintage horror comic, but I felt brow-beaten out of there, and was relegated back to picking up the few comics at the grocery store magazine rack that didn’t involve super heroes (even as a kid, it just wasn’t my thing.) Decades later I’d find myself working as an editor at a comics publishing company for more than a decade. I was good at my job, but never really felt very welcome. I couldn’t even talk the talk with my obsessed co-workers. As before, I felt repelled. Now that I’m no longer in the industry, I actually feel relieved, because the whole time I felt like I was trespassing. It’s sad, really.

  • Kelli

    I can definitely see that is true – I just can’t personally relate to it. While I might obsess over certain properties/material, I’m generally easy-going about preference as long as people can actually explain why they like/dislike something. Unless you hate on Buffy…. then we have a major problem! ;)

  • Sarah Anderson

    I’ve actually always felt pretty welcomed by other geeks in real life. I’ve had people take the time to teach me how to play Dominion, recommend video games I should try, etc. But the online community is an entirely different story. 

  • Anonymous

    You are suggesting policy to the staff – I am disagreeing with you.

    Fair enough.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t understand this thinking at all. Why are you making being a geek exclusionary? Why are you putting physical parameters on what it means to be a geek? Why are you suggesting that the cut guy might not want to know more about other Batman properties beyond the Dark Knight? 

    Instead of looking at ‘geek’ as ‘going mainstream’ or ‘trendy’. how about looking it as acceptance? Maybe the people who used to look down on geeks have finally realized that maybe the geeks were onto something kinda cool. Or, if not cool, at least entertaining.

  • Elizabeth Compton

     Why are you upset that more people are enjoying the things you think are awesome? You realize that this is what is driving all the wonderful new sci-fi/fantasy movies and shows being made now right? You realize that the authors and creators we love no longer have to toil for years without recognition, right? You realize that we have a glut of awesome media to consume now BECAUSE being geeky has gone more mainstream, right???

    And why on earth would you want anyone to go through the hell of bullying that many of us experienced, just because we had it rough? That’s just… awful!

  • Chakacoaster

     when I was single, I had a guy once try to “explain” X-Men to me while I smiled and nodded and all my friends snickered, watching him make a complete ass of himself as he described Wolverine as “the one with the shiny metal claws.”

    I shit you not.

  • Chakacoaster

     and it’s EVERY time. If you even mention in passing that you happen to enjoy something, you’re subject to cross-examination about the most minute of details. I fucking love Batman but no, I have not seen every movie and no, I have not read every comic. Dudes are going to have to find a way to make peace with the fact that fan does not = encyclopedia.

  • Bel

    And so why is this a women thing as opposed to something that a group of women did (the way many older people and corporate groups misunderstand or misappropriate “geek”?)

  • Corrina Lawson

    Well, okay but there are plenty of GeekMoms out there. 

  • Kelli

    That is awesome! lol

  • Bel

    No, it’s not, because “ferreting out” those that are involves adopting a policy of disbelieving ALL women by default.  Some women might be lying about rape?  Great – but most women aren’t, and most of them also don’t come forward because we’ve created a cultural climate where they know people will assume they are and subject them to a barrage of invasive questions with no guarentee of belief at the end.  It’s disgusting, and I can’t believe you’d advocate it.

  • Nika Kalantar

    The article is fine and dandy, but I felt really really bad when you being considered a legit/non-legit member of a very specific community by probably a stuck-up prick is considered the same as being raped and your society denying the fact of the rape. Some person (of non-specific gender) telling you that you’re a poser is annoying, especially if it’s been happening to you your entire life but it is not the same as getting assaulted and then being label an attention-seeker for it.

  • Diana

    The author isn’t comparing being called a fake to being raped. She is saying that this attitude is pervasive across pretty much all forms of discourse, that by and large women have to deal with being questioned and scrutinized whether they are saying that they enjoy Batman, are planning on becoming an engineer, or have been assaulted–and not questioned in a mode which continues dialogue (“Awesome, I like Batman too! Which titles are you into?”) but a mode which judges, mocks, or blames (“You mean you like Christian Bale, right? The Dark Knight isn’t even a good movie”).

  • Shannon Block

    oops, didn’t want to be logged in on facebook.

  • Diana

    This has been my experience as well. I can almost always find someone to have a good conversation with at an event where I don’t know anyone, but the Internet communities of geeks and nerds are so often vicious.

  • Bel

    Women aren’t minorities, and this forum is mainly for women.

    Safe spaces don’t exclude people for who they are, but they do distrust people for who they are.  Possibly because they expect men to do things like put “allied” in quotation marks and refer to having a working understanding of sociopolitical gender hierarchies as “kissing ass.”

    Are you butthurt over a ban what?

  • Anonymous

    Congrats on being a geek hipster ie) I was a geek before geek was cool.

    None of those examples are offensive. They’re annoying. But not offensive. Get over yourself.

  • Bel

    The meme is “Fake geek GIRL.”  You don’t think the fact that the fake is being constructed as female is misogynistic at all?

  • Awkward Geeks

    Of course there are geek moms out there, I never said there wasn’t. I happen to be a mom myself. These women were not into anything geeky, they simply called themselves geeks because they blog. The only things they blog about are cloth diapers, play dates, and getting their kids to school on time. I even looked at their facebooks to make sure I was not missing something, nothing geeky there either. Lots of romance stuff, gardening, religion, wine tasting, etc. Not exactly the type of people I was trying to connect with.

  • Anonymous

    Bing Bang Theory’s not funny.

  • SanityFox

    This entire issue is stupid. Part of being a geek is that there is no culture. It’s a matter of doing what you enjoy and are enthusiastic about, and who gives a shit about what other people think. It’s about self-confidence in your passions, not about your awkwardness around men/women, etc. 

  • Anonymous

    This post would make you a geek hipster ie) I was geek before geek was cool.

    Kinda sad, really.

  • Jennifer Horigan

    There was all sorts of great things before geek was mainstream. Making it mainstream has just meant it’s easier for kids to get access to the same things I’d have to search high and low for. There’s nothing wrong with that, I just miss the old days. I make the same complaint about music and clothing.
    And I’m not sure people were toiling in silence. That’s kind of a stretch. There’s just as many awesome movies now as there was 20 or 30 years ago. And guess what…there’s just as many horrible movies too. The same thing can be said of television, comics, literature, games, etc.

    And in no way did I make any reference to bullying. I’m not sure where you read that in what I said, but I assure you it was not my intent. I wasn’t bullied for being a geek, no one I knew was, and I honestly wouldn’t wish that on anyone. I’m sorry if that is what you experienced but I know many who did not.

  • Anonymous

    I couldn’t agree more about Olivia Munn. Also, Sara Jean Underwood falls into this category.

  • Christi

    This is an excellent article and you should feel good for writing it.

  • Carey Cauthen

    But why does not being a hardcore fan mean you’re not a geek? I think you’re being so exclusive to the point of hurting the culture. I like comics. I like reading fantasy books. I like watching sci-fi and fantasy movies and tv. I love costuming. That makes me a geek. That I do not have an encyclopedic knowledge of every one of the things I enjoy does not make me any less of a geek. It just means I don’t have encyclopedic knowledge.

  • Anonymous

    It’s not comparable to rape. Period.

  • Tabetha Bagyan

    I have never personally met a “fake geek girl” or guy myself either! I have been a geek since I was born, I am daddy’s girl and he has taught me and included me in all of his geekdom. But as I have gotten older, I have found prejudices and snarky commenters who felt I was just the “daughter” of a geek dad or a “girlfriend” to my geeky man. No one seemed to care about my background, like building my first computer at age 11 and that I played with Batman and He-Man toys growing up. But I have never been called a “fake geek” outright either. No one should have to defend their “Nerd Cred”. 

    Even though, in the past, I have changed comic/game stores for their attitudes towards women, I almost thought this was long gone due to the sheer amount of women out there that I am seeing now. I don’t care WHAT your geekily interested in, only that you want to share that interest with me and that you want to learn about what other people are geekily interested in as well!

    Perhaps I just live under a rock but the only place I used to think there were “fake geeks” would be the people at conventions who are hired to sell something they have no idea about just because they are a good presenter or with the example of booth babes, have the looks to get the products attention. THIS I dislike, yes. But I also understand that everyone needs a job and they are just doing what they are paid to do.

    After all, if there ARE “fake geeks” out there then shouldn’t we all take it as a compliment when someone is trying to emulate us? If they aren’t really interested in what they say they are, they will loose interest and move onto something else like most hipsters do once they think something is “uncool” ’cause too many people like it now.

  • Awkward Geeks

    I’m not quiet sure I understand your question. But will do my best to answer.

    A lot of people talking about this “fake geek girl” thing are saying to let in anyone who calls themselves a geek, no matter what it is they are geeking out over. It doesn’t even have to be the typical geek thing, as long as they are obsessed with it. This was a group of women specifically calling themselves “Geek Girls”, because they like to blog about their kids, and they consider blogging being geeky. Should I consider them part of the “geek community”? Nope. Can’t do it.

  • Anonymous

    Unless you are the creator of all pop-culture and entertainment maybe you should relax on the holier then thou soap box and let poeple like what they like.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for this.  While I was one of the chaps who had a problem with the video mentioned in the post, it was because I felt it wasn’t specific enough: instead of targeting the condescending elitists, it seemed to target the socially challenged who have enough problems of their own.  I agreed it was a problem, but it wasn’t one where the males were wrong so much as needed help themselves.

    Conversely, I have zero time for the Fake Geek Girl meme.  It’s balderdash and bothers me no end.  See, I remember the days when geeky pursuits were isolated and lonely, with no way of communicating with many different like-minded folk who weren’t in close proximity.  I remember being bullied and ridiculed for daring to like something other than the local sports teams and airheaded sitcoms.  The Fake Geek Girl meme is, at its core, like the vicious cycle of Freshman Hazing: the geeks belittle and scrutinize newcomers because they were once belittled and scrutinized, and continuing on until it’s almost a “tradition.”

    If a girl expresses an interest in what I like, then I’m overjoyed, not filled with distrust and suspicion.  What kind of crazy world is this?

  • Tabetha Bagyan

     I think you should take YOUR “shite” writing and shove it somewhere dark and warm. If you can’t say something nice or add to the conversation productively then don’t comment at all.

  • Jason Clem

    Sounds more like girls bitching about getting hazed than an actual problem, in my opinion.  Males trash other males all the time, call them names, tell them they don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about, etc etc.  So, they do it to girls and suddenly it’s sexist and degrading?  Please.  Somebody needs to grow some girl-balls.

  • Anonymous

    Ask the girl out already and accept that she likes to change herself.

  • ButMadNNW

    This is a theme as old as time. Well, as old as organized sports, at least. It’s stereotypically the men who memorize all the stats of the various players; that doesn’t mean a woman who likes to watch/play sports isn’t equally a sports geek.

    It’s a question of how our brains differ in their workings.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe you should be addressing this to men, who perpetuate this idea that women need to actively work to embrace their interests while at the same time demonizing anything women like as “too girly”, instead of patronizing and talking down to women.

  • Anonymous

    You are a fucking rockstar in these comments.

  • Anonymous

    Right, because there’s so much to gain from falsely accusing a man of rape, because rape is taken so seriously by law enforcement. Please.

  • Jen Fiero

    Thank you for this response – like others on here, the Forbes article bothered me. 

    I grew up in the 90s. I was raised on TNG and when Star Wars was re-released, I was 10. I loved it. I was a member of the fan club, I had action figures, I could name you minor cast members, everything. When the prequels came out, I dressed up and went to midnight premieres. I’ve been told by others that I “shouldn’t tell people that” because they’ll brand me as a “geek.” I know I’m a geek! I embrace it! I read tons of fantasy novels, I play Magic the Gathering (despite the fact that girls aren’t always welcomed with open arms, but that’s a different story), the list goes on and on. (I’m not trying to prove myself, but provide context.) 

    But there’s a couple things I don’t do: I’m not really into comics (I have a few graphic novels) and I’m not into video games. Sometimes I feel like that excluded me from “geekdom” without having those interests. It feels like there’s a “checklist” some people pull out to verify if someone (girls especially!) is really a “geek.” I’m tired of having to “prove” my geekiness to people who don’t know me!

  • Anonymous

    I don’t even think it’s a question of how our brains differ. Community spaces that women are welcomed and feel comfortable in speaking out have different mores, doesn’t mean men can’t and don’t participate in them, just as there aren’t women who can’t/don’t participate in the other. It’s just one is more welcoming to women as a community, and thus, draw more of them.

  • John Wao

    I must be getting old. “karmawhoring” is a thing? Back in my day if a girl expressed interest in comic books, Star Wars or Star Trek you asked for her hand in marriage, no questions asked. Why oh why in the name of the Seven must we constantly find new things to argue about.

  • Anonymous

    Why blame Oliva Munn, and not the male geek culture that falls over themselves to reward that?

    It’s hard enough for a woman to make it in her industry, and this pressure that minorities must do it absolutely perfectly is pretty disingenuous. Men don’t get in those positions because they’re the most qualified, but because they are, like many other positions, good networkers. Try networking in a male dominated field without being traditionally attractive. It gets you no where.

    Blaming Olivia Munn for the hostile and closed environment she’s trying to work in is a bit of a stretch.

  • Anonymous

    Wow your statement kinda sounds very anti-civil rights, kinda like how some people tell me I am not “mexican” because I have lighter skin, or I am not catholic, or a cholo. This whole we had it harder crap is sour grapes, things are just different now its still hard being in any sub-culture or minority.You are not alone in geekdom, be happy about that.

  • UrsNY

    While I hesitate to assign a gender to modes of geekdom (even if the numbers generally concur, slippery slope), I definitely agree that the dominant mode is “encyclopedia-ism” and it is used as a litmus test. Academia, or aca-fen, is a parallel version of this authority in female majority fandoms, perhaps? (And I usually avoid them too.) 

    It’s the aggressive domineering nature that’s anti-social, and the gender unbalance in the deployment of it that’s sexist. And yes, definitely segregates me away from male geek dominated places. ‘Cause life is too short for that crap. I’d rather enjoy something I love, than suffer people that love the thing I love.

  • Samantha Cross

    Thank you for this article!

    I never really had to “prove” my authenticity as a geek until graduate school, oddly enough. I was quite fortunate to find a group of friends in college who all shared in similar geek tendencies. Sharing an office (girls and boys), we were either going to learn to like each other or mildly tolerate one another. Thankfully we became a psuedo family all sharing in various pieces of pop culture and each bringing our own thing to the table. One was obsessed with the Alien franchise, another with Doctor Who, and we’ve had long, drunken conversations about The Walking Dead, Star Wars, and whatever else suits our fancy.

    Myself and one of my best friends (also a girl) bonded over a mutual love of Batman and comic books in general. But we both possess an encyclopedic knowledge of comic books and comic book characters. When they announced The Dark Knight Rises villains, one of my friends specifically sought me out, sat down across from me and said, “Sam, tell me about Bane.”

    However, a friend of a friend during a housewarming found out I was more of a DC girl and he happened to be a Marvel fan. Instead of starting a conversation with, “So you’re into DC? Let’s talk about comic books,” his opening volley consisted of talking down to me about DC’s reboot and seeming to hold me accountable for all of their actions whilst simultaneously looking down on me for preferring DC to Marvel. When I didn’t rise to the occassion and counterattack (I simply ignored him the rest of the night), he got very frustrated and I could see a lot of his friends backing away from him. And a lot of my guy friends who were there looked ready to hold me back lest I resort to violence. They all know the fastest way to get on my bad side is to talk down to me like a child.

  • John Wao

    One thing I don’t understand. Why is it a bad thing if someone guy or gal fakes interest in something like comic books or Lord of the Rings? So what. If it’ll get Game of Throne renewed for a third season or a Dr. Strange movie made, then please express all the fake enthusiasm or interest you want, it’s not taking away from my enjoyment of my favorite geeky things.

  • Mike Perry

    That’s pretty much the only thing that infuriates me. I remember this one time I ended up starting a talk up with this dude at the mall wearing a Zelda themed shirt and the guy just said “I don’t know anything about that. My girlfriend just got me this shirt and I just thought it looked awesome.” Annoyed me to no end.

    Obviously, the “fake geek girl” thing has been taken way too damn far cause it’s clearly on both sides of the aisle. Maybe we should make the “Idiot Nerd Boy” meme just for equality? Or is that false equality?… Not sure on that one completely.

  • Bel

     Yeah, I don’t think it’s a structural difference in anything but the social space.  I know I’d really love a little more canon-thumping and a little less shipping, personally.

  • Another Katherine

    True it’s easier for new geeks and nerds to find the nerdy treasures that we toiled so long to find for ourselves, but the ease in discovery need not take from the value of it. There is always something deeper in geek culture that you can enjoy, the hunt for something that speaks specifically to you never truly ends, and who knows, maybe one of the “New World Geeks” will help you to find something you never could’ve found on your own. I get the possessive attitude about certain aspects of your geekdom but there’s no need to get elitist about it, it’s not suddenly some easy task to break into geek culture (i.e. you know how difficult it is to find someone to play D&D with you when you don’t know anyone that plays D&D outside of the internet?) when someone identifies themselves as a geek I will always give them the benefit of the doubt and try to assist them on their quest for further geekiness.

  • DeflectorDish

    I recently started a blog on topics of varying nerdiness and immediately, prior to posting a single thing, felt the need to defend the fact that I am not an expert on all of the topics I happen to enjoy in anticipation of hypothetical readers clawing at flaws in episode references. I just enjoy Star Trek and WoW and books and want to write about them and for a community that also happen to enjoy those things. And I’m a girl. I like to think we are all a little more complex than just nerd or geek or cool or whatever. 

  • Bel

     I think it’s pretty undeniably gendered tbh, but I also think it’s as much a social construct as everything else that’s gendered.

    I’m not sure I’d say aca-fen is the parallel version in female majority fandoms… But there’s definitely, I think, a bias towards producing derivative works (be it academic essays or fanfic) and taking a really metatextual approach in general.

  • Drew H Larson

    I know I’m a bit late to this topic but…

    I’m going to be the old man and say get off my lawn only
    because when I was a kid being a geek meant you were one of the freaks, losers,
    or posers. We didn’t fit in because we didn’t know how and the culture that
    developed around our common interest grew out of sharing those interests not ostracizing
    those who couldn’t compete in a spontaneous game trivial pursuit Batman edition
    (we just celebrated and marveled at those who could). Being a geek means being different,
    indulging in those differences, and not compromising on those difference because
    of what others thinks.

  • no

    I’ve read comics all my life, I’ve worked in a comics store, created my own podcast to cover comics, gone to conventions, have had a pull list for over a decade, worked in comics journalism, and now currently work as a comics editor.

    I still get that card pulled on me all the time. It’s kind of amazing how little reality actually ever plays into it.

  • Amanda Lawton

     Why is it offensive when a straight couple makes out in a gay bar? I am really asking. Not trying to be sarcastic.

  • Bel

    Thanks!  But you’re gonna make my head big, haha.

  • elaine!

    I highly doubt that the same men who knock women for not being “geek” enough ever have to sacrifice their geek time doing shit like cooking, laundry and dishes. It’s a good thing Bernadette gets to be a geek at work because lord knows she won’t have time for hobbies after she marries Howard, unless those hobbies include cutting his brisket for him.

  • Mike Hall

    You’re completely misunderstanding what I’m trying to say.  All I’m saying is that being a geek is about passion, her passion is real, and that those who would call her a “fake geek” tend to come from that segment of fandom who DO obsess over one’s grasp of the depth and breadth of geek culture.  I DON’T MEASURE fandom by that standard; I’m saying that she would be dismissed by those fans who do.  So telling me it’s “just frickin’ weird” to measure fans by that standard is, to be blunt, telling the wrong person, and burying my original point in an unrelated debate.  We’re splitting hairs over what defines the term “casual fan” when what I wanted to express was already pretty clear.  Those labels were already in the lexicon…they weren’t of my invention.  

  • Mike Hall

    I never said there weren’t different ways to be a fan.  Nothing like having a point buried in debate over the terminology used in expressing said point…

  • Mike Hall

    I’m NOT being exclusive.  I’m saying that people who are NOT what would typically be described as “hardcore” CAN be geeks.  That point got lost in the noise of replies…I never said encyclopedic knowledge is required.  That’s just the currency the kind of fan who says things like “fake geek” tends to trade in.  My point was the exact opposite:  encyclopedic knowledge means jack.  Passion defines geekdom, no matter how broad or narrow.

  • Gabie Bauman

    I  totally understand your point here, but then again I also found the Fake Nerd Girl meme funny. I thought it was funny not because of the inherent message (which is not cool at all), but because in my high school there are many poseurs. I’m irritated by them not because they want to adopt some of the nerd “culture” or are genuinely interested in Transformers, comics, or video games.

    No, they want to be considered cool. And ironically, I’ve been made fun of by some of them. For liking the same things that they’ve now adopted. I understand the term nerd is amorphous and shouldn’t have to have a special entrance exam to get the label, it’s just something you are.

    Then again, I feel like some of my guy friends view me as the Idiot Nerd Girl. I’ve encountered it several times, where male nerds tend to judge me as a hanger-on. I’ve been judged and as soon as I make a tiny little mistake — like if I tell a story of a hilarious death in Skyrim — then I’m perceived to “suck.”

    I don’t know what’s more infuriating, poseurs or judgmental nerdboys…

  • Samantha Cross

    I totally understand. I’m the token girl for the website my friends and I started and there’s an inherent desire to defend while also celebrate being a girl who’s into all of this stuff.

  • That Word Grrl

    Let me say this about that..

    It goes both ways. When Rosario Dawson went on the Tonight Show and burbled on happily about how she and her brothers were big Star Trek geeks (including speaking some Klingon), Leno’s response was “But…but…you’re too GORGEOUS to be a geek.”

    OTOH, when I’ve mentioned to people that Vin Diesel owns a gaming company, they’re all “Really? That’s so COOL!” Nobody questions his badass rep. In fact, the geek ADDS to it. 

    So the message is that you can only be a REAL geek girl if you are not conventionally attractive. But if a conventionally attractive guy turns out to be a geek, that just makes him hotter.

  • Sarah Roth

     A guy (so this guys no nothing about it, let me tell them in words noobs understand) “the one with the shiny metal claws.”

    The guys (who act like they are totaly noobs) “He said ‘the one with the shiny metal claws.’, what a noob”

    OK, that’s a very opposing anecdote, well, not.

  • Anonymous

    I remember when geeks used to complain that girls ignored them, now they’re going ape-slag over girls faking it to get their attention?  Wow–color me surprised.  I know I’ve experienced ire for being a ‘phony geek girl’.  I was talking to my kids about Doctor Who when some guy covered in Doctor Who wear sniffed about my being such a poser, “Matt Smith NEVER wore a brown bow tie!” he huffed.  Well, of course he didn’t–John Pertwee did, along with ruffles and green coats.  Though I was talking ‘Planet of the Spiders’ and I wasn’t sure what color his tie was in that episode.

    Maybe it was because I was an OLD geek, as opposed to a HOT geek.  I don’t know.

    Although, I wonder if this, like the incident with Sandra Fluke and Megan Fox, might have more to do with females infringing on bastions of male culture/power.  As an example, I recall in the theater during Transformers I when Megan Fox chose to return to the battle with Bumble Bee–there were groups of men behind me calling foul–I believe the outburst was “Pussy would NEVER grow those kinds of balls.”  I found that sort of thing rather insulting, after 20 years of honorable military service, and wondered how they would have felt about Marissa Faireborn from the G1 series.

  • jmd620


  • Jill Pantozzi

    Hipsters and “fake geeks” are not necessarily the same thing. And your comparisons don’t connect for me.

  • Anonymous

    It’s sexist because the assumption behind this meme is that women, especially young pretty ones, are all dilettantes. It’s sexist because women geeks are assumed to be faking interest for the attention of men until proven otherwise. Also, I’m not a girl. Also, forgive me if I opt out of wanting balls, they’re sort of comically sensitive.

  • Anonymous

    And yet you, right here, are the Hypocrite,  Susana Polo.

    “I’ll make a deal with all you dudes who are angry because this is how your demographic is portrayed. You let me have this one video making this one joke, and I will let you have theentire “fake geek girl” meme, comprising hundreds of jokes, many of them misogynist, that perpetuate the idea that women never do anything you like unless it is to “get attention” and then betray you when they get it. This should seem more than fair.” 

    You imply here that ‘all us dudes’ have a problem with what you said about the geeks in that article. I think BOTH memes are spot on, as I know guys that are misogynist pigs who treat women like furniture and yet can barely TALK to one without stuttering, and I know fake geek girls, too. Both are real, both are valid, NEITHER one was ever intended to be a blanket statement, and people that assume that these simple advice dog memes apply to an entire gender are insane, simple-minded fools. 

    Also, for the record? I’ve had two GIRLFRIENDS lie to me about being raped, too, so don’t say they don’t exist, unfortunately. I know they’re in the severe minority, that most people wouldn’t DREAM of such selfish, childish, hurtful lies, but unfortunately, even those people exist. So, in response to your meme? Both fake geek girls and awful geek guys exist, neither are ALL girls or guys, just a portion. 

    And guess what? My girlfriend hates every fake girl geek she’s ever met, too.

  • Jill Pantozzi

    You don’t have to consider them part of the group, what I think we’re all hoping for is that people won’t call them out for enjoying what they do or telling them they aren’t allowed to call themselves geeks. We make our own labels for ourselves, it’s wrong to try and label others.

  • Anonymous

    I’d really love to nod at this article and some of the comments, while boo-ing at others, but the fact of the matter is: I have no clue what we are talking about here.

    I have no clue what a geek is. Every definition I’ve found amounts to “someone who likes something a lot”. Woo! There’s always some specifications about not being mainstream, but if that’s remotely true, then I wonder if the fact there is something like mainstream geekness (Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who, etc.) affects that specification, and if so, how. Like, are you a true geek if you like Star Wars, or are you a true(r) geek if Star Wars is too mainstream for you? And then there’s this weird disdain for sport in geekdom, even though I’ve seen people’s who’s obsession with and knowledge of sports matches those of people into something acceptable geeky, including obscureness from ‘regular’ mainstream.

    People who aren’t what they claim to be or who don’t know what they claim to know confuse me, not anger me (as long as the ‘falsehoods’ don’t harm others). Who cares if someone wears a shirt of something or buys merchandise of something else they don’t know much about? What horrors does this bestow on someone who does know much or does whatever else geeks do with their geekdom? One’d have to pretty delusional about ‘value’ and insecure about oneself if one would feel threatened about other people mistakenly or intentionally saying they like something they don’t like as much as one wants them to like it. 

    Oh, and misogyny/default dismissive attitude to women is bad and despicable. Wouldn’t want my two to three paragraphs of confusion about what on Earth a geek is get in the way of agreeing to that basic fact. 

  • Jeff

     The geek you were talking about at the very begining of the article? Well I guess it must be news. But it’s not cause you are female. I’m male. And I’m apparently so socially awkward, or maybe it’s cause I’m puerto rican, that I get that from anyone. Any geek will call you a poser if you don’t know EVERYTHING on one subject they find fascinating.  Doesn’t matter if you are male or female. This article is just you realizing that the not every geek is a Socially Awkward Penguin. Most are pretentious douche bags. Soo……. Quit hanging out with pretentious douche bags.

  • Amanda Lawton

     I’m just saying this to give you a helpful insight to the way some women think. I personally think it is great that men can call each other out like that and at the end of the day they are still friends. That said, I do not have a desire to be more like a man. I do not like getting hazed, called names, or told that I need to grow balls of any kind. I like being female and along with that comes a bit more sensitivity. This is not every woman though. Also, I think that when guys haze other guys it is different from guys hazing girls, or girls hazing girls. That being said I think that the geek ladies out there can take the “fake geek girl” meme and rise above it, like we have done with so many other things. We have lived in a patriarchal society for a long time, so like with everything else things take time. By stating this I am not saying men are evil or sexist. What I’m really saying is that I don’t what to be told I need to grow balls.

  • Cynthia Burmester

    Well put.

  • Jeff

     You are all taking this way too far XD

  • ainok

    Late to the party but…I fail to see why there is a need for geeky girls to be validated by guys. I don’t need to be told it’s okay for me to like LotR or Red Dwarf or Monty Python or Scifi or anything else I enjoy by *anybody* and I resent the implication that I should. I don’t need to prove my street geek cred because I don’t care. I fail to understand why we keep tacitly awarding power to the male geek crowd to define what a female is allowed to enjoy by begging for their approval or acceptance. If they can’t deal with it, to hell with ‘em.  The opinions of others in this regard means nothing. Literally nothing. (Once upon a time being a geek was a lonely pursuit. So maybe my opinions are borne out of that…not needing validation because it wasn’t going to happen frees up a lot of time to not give a damn.)

  • Laura

    Honestly, I hadn’t seen or heard of this prejudice against ‘fake geek girls’ before this article. Yes, I’m already familiar with the meme, but I always saw that as a general reference to ‘wannabe’ geeks of either gender, not just women.

    Sometime the meme is right on the money, though. I’m all for welcoming new fans and whatnot, but ‘poser’ geeks who do it just to fit in certainly exist. (The best example I’ve seen is someone who lets all their friends think they like Star Wars when they don’t even like Science Fiction, and seriously thinks ‘It’s a trap!’ came from Star Trek.)

  • Jeff

    It depends how ‘hardcore’ you feel about it I guess. It’s this childish instinct to ‘one up’ you. And your gender is just an easy attack even though it’s irrelevant.

  • Kimberly

    Well, he may have been new to the fandom. It’s never fun getting picked on for being awkward and new, I know from experience. >_>;;

  • Charles Maxwell Boyd

    Sorry to say this, but you’re misusing correlation here. Correlation is never used to establish a direct connection between two things (because it can’t be used to do so)   (Classic Example: ice cream sales and shark attacks) 

    In this case, it seems like a stretch to say that hardcore gamers dislike a game such as Angry Birds because a lot of women play it, rather than it’s shallow gameplay. There are definitely cases of misogyny in the developer and gamer community that need to be addressed (many FPS games don’t have female avatars etc.) Further, there are actual cases of dog-whistle euphemisms (we’re seeing some right now with women’s rights and religious freedom). As much as hardcore gamers can be assholes (and misogynistic) they care more about gameplay than keeping women out of some sort of “boy’s club.” 

  • Anonymous

    That was a standard you brought up though, that was the label you introduced into the conversation. You’re the one that brought up casual fans to defend as fans, and I questioned YOUR definition of the word. You used your wife as an example, stated what made her a genuine fan, and then labelled her a casual fan.

    She’s not a casual fan. She’s a hardcore fan. The way she’s a fan is different from the way you define a fan, but you’re the one choosing to create a metric of “casual” to “hardcore” and questioned that, in part because that metric is weighted in a faulty manner.

    Like, if you don’t want to have that conversation, fine, don’t have it, but it helps not to start it, either.

  • Anonymous

    The comments are overwhelming, but before I get back to reading them all, I just wanted to say how much I appreciated this article. All throughout it, I felt like shaking my screen and saying, as is the common parlance, “I know that feel, sis.” I spend nearly all of my free time doing fandom crap, and yet conversations with nerdy guys ALWAYS freak me out, because I worry that one of these days one of them will uncover the fact that I don’t particularly care about Star Trek or Lord of the Rings (aside from popcultural osmosis), or that my knowledge of Batman is confined almost totally to BTAS and what I’ve gleaned through my extensive internet travels (because I do need Cass and Steph in my life somehow), and I will be reviled for my “fake” geekery, because heaven knows I couldn’t just have different geeky interests. It’s really exhausting to have to come up with an excuse every time I don’t know something I “should” in order to be a geek, to dodge the accusations that I am doing it for “attention.” (Despite the fact that 90% of these dudes are hardly catches, and there are plenty of dude subcultures I could fake interest in which, if nothing else, tend to net cuter guys overall.)

  • Texty

    No, I don’t. And I usually see misogyny where a lot of others don’t.

  • Jay Nagy

     Please stop using “dudes”.

  • Jeff Stormer

    I agree with 95% of what you’re saying, but they say in the show that Inspector Spacetime is a British TV show that’s been on the air since 1962, which involves a British man in a phonebooth fighting trashcan-shaped alien with an officer of the British government by his side. I don’t know how that’ s NOT a specific parody.

  • MeiLin Miranda

    When I was sixteen (way back in 1977), I played D&D with guys–there weren’t any girls to play with where I was. I was accused by others of looking for a boyfriend, which, if they’d known these boys, they totally wouldn’t have. Not interested in each other, never were gonna be interested in each other, just friends I’d known for five years or more. But the accusation stung enough that I dropped out. I didn’t play again for 30+ years.

    Now I play with a group that started out as me and three guys plus our (male) DM; now it’s me, two other women and three guys. :) I’m happy to see the gaming world has changed–so many younger women play now in an environment that I just didn’t have access to–and I’m happy I’ve gone back to playing.

  • Texty

    Because gay couples can’t make out in straight bars.

    It’s important for people in marginalized groups to have spaces of their own where they can feel completely free to be themselves, without fear that someone in that space is there to gawk or make fun of them. Yes, it may be true that the straight couple in question is 100% supportive of gay rights, etc., but there are so many straight folks who come to gay bars just to have a walk on the wild side, or otherwise co-opt gay culture to be “edgy” or something that there’s no way of knowing which group the people in question are in. A straight person who truly does support their gay friends knows better than to flaunt their privilege in the one public space where their gay friends have social dominance.

    The same problem is what’s happening here. This isn’t about casual fans who have a genuine interest in the same thing as a geek with more history. It’s about people who come to our spaces because they’re getting off on slumming with the outcasts. It’s about people who think buying a faux-vintage Spider-Man T-shirt at Urban Outfitters is a great way to separate themselves from the other middle-class, suburban white kids they grew up around.

    10 years ago, a fat kid with a massive action figure collection knew she could go to geek spaces and be accepted for who she is. Now that those spaces are infested by so many people who think geekery boils down to the stereotypes they see on The Big Bang Theory or Chuck, those spaces aren’t as safe anymore.  

  • Dazee

    Yes. I run into this problem a lot. I’m a geek, through and through. I think I was doomed (or blessed) since birth. I was a Disney geek first, and it’s probably still my strongest geekness, having parents that worked there when you’re little will do that.
     I had an NES when I was like.. seven and loved Mario and California Games. I adored the Ninja Turtles, Leonardo was/is my favorite, and that came out when I was about four. My step dad introduced me Star Trek: TNG when he became part of my family and I ate that show up, I LOVED it, and that was about six for me. Batman: the Animated Series, was totally there. Love Harley Quinn and have her tattooed on my back. I started LARPing when I was 13 with a group that didn’t usually accept people younger than 16 (with my parents)..  And I can just go on, and on, and on. Harry Potter, Star Wars, Stargate, Sci-Fi/Sy-Fy channel, X-men, Spiderman, Pokémon, Video Games, MMO’s, Anime, Manga.. it goes on. And I still have that same fear.
    I’ve seen it. I’ve clammed up when conversation has started. If I’m not 100% completely sure that I’m right, without one shred of doubt, I don’t say anything. I worry that I’m going to get something wrong, that the other person is going to know more and they’re going to look at me like I don’t know what they’re talking about because I’m not as big of geek as they are (that’s a compliment) and ruin my geek cred.. which is only relevant in my head.. Some things I got introduced to late, some things, I’m not as interested in. For example, I’m less into comics and just more into the characters and their stories, I love animated series more. But I feel like, since I don’t know about their comic story history front and back, I can’t justify why Beast is one of my favorite X-men.. I can’t even remember his real name half the time, I just know I love his educated/witty humor, his still very proper manners, and the fact that he’s this blue (my favorite color), furry, beast man. And know that when I heard Kelsey Grammer was cast to play him in the live action film (which X-men: Last Stand filled me with RAGE and is part of the reason I’m really dreading watching most of these hero movies coming out) I knew he was PERFECT… But I’m getting off on a rant here.. which I do sometimes.. because I’m passionate about this subject, because I am a geek!
     I’m a geek girl too. I can completely relate to this fear of being judged for not being ‘geeky’ enough. Preach it sister.

  • Texty

    Of course they don’t connect for you. If you’re not actually a geek to begin with, you’re not going to understand why keeping geek spaces to ourselves matters.

  • Texty

    Those “mommy bloggers” (and their male counterparts in the sports community) are the ones who would have kicked our asses in high school.

    Merely using technology or liking a SFF movie or two does not make a person a geek.

  • Bel

    Yes, thank you, I understand how correlation works.  What you mean to say is that correlation can never be used to establish causation.  Correlation is therefore absolutely the word I mean tto use.

    And I am not talking about games like Angry Birds.  I am talking about the dismissal of entire genres (JRPGs spring to mind, WRPGs to a lesser extent) or the treatment of them as inferior once a lot of women get on board.  You can see the same with accessible systems (NDS) or with individual games, too.  I don’t think anyone would argue that Zelda (let’s go with OOT) was a terrible game, but women who say they really like Zelda are very likely to be scoffed at.

  • Texty

    Also, no, people do NOT get to choose their own labels when those labels are already owned by a marginalized group.

    Honestly, this sounds like white kids wanting to call themselves Native American because they’re 1/16th Cherokee, despite the fact that they’ve never once experienced discrimination, and live about 50 miles from the nearest rez.

  • Texty

    Because yeah, not being allowed to slum with a marginalized group you don’t actually belong to is totally comparable to hundreds of years of systematic, culture-wide oppression.

    What the hell?

  • Anonymous

    Right, I don’t like how they used Olivia Munn as a personality on G4 (as of several years ago at least, don’t have cable anymore) but I don’t hold it against her. 

    What I take issue with is the idea that network marketers think that combining attractive women and specific interests is the best way to sell their programming rather than rely on its quality or lack there of. Like a few years ago when they had SDCC coverage and time that could have been spent on interviews and commentary on announcements was devoted to her many costume changes. Yeah, that’s a way to get an audience, but it’s meaningless and see-through. And that happens all over of course, from sports stations to cable news. Also, to clarify, that is the only capacity in which I have seen her so I can’t comment on other things she’s done/said.

  • Texty

    Exactly. If you’ve never experienced social ostracism for liking things that mainstream society considers childish or weird, then no, you’re not actually a member of the geek community.

  • Anonymous

     While I recognise that it does happen, it’s worth remembering that ‘pretending to like something to get the attention of someone you’re attracted to’ is by no means exclusively female behaviour. Many people of both sexes have done it at some time or another.

  • Anonymous

    It’s “funny” in the way making fun of fat people is “funny.”  The trick is doing it in a way that’s sympathetic and not making a target out of the subject.

  • Anonymous

    Its because of rasism I personally gravitated to Geek culture, because I was never “mexican” enough for many people and i never fit it to the overtly white sports culture of where I grew up. Discrimanation always stats off small, like calling a female a fake geek, then it snowballs into other forms of oppression.

  • Cristin

    I freely admit that sometimes I feel like I’m “posing” as a geek, even though I know that it’s stupid and not at all true.  It doesn’t matter that I have a nearly encyclopaedic knowledge of televised space opera and could sit and ramble for hours about things like Blake’s 7 or Space: Above and Beyond.  It doesn’t matter that I have bookshelves full of old science fiction and fantasy paperbacks and have read every one.  It doesn’t matter that I’ve run exclusively Linux for over five years.  It doesn’t matter that I spend most of my free time doing things related to tech, science, or science fiction.  It’s the things I don’t do that always get me – I don’t read comics, so I must not be a real geek, though I have seen all of the DCAU.  I don’t play video games, so I must not be a real geek, even though anything that’s not completely 2D makes me motion sick.

    The girls must be faking it has always been there, and it’s so pervasive that I don’t even know where I originally got it from.

  • Sophie

    But we do  definitely see this cause and effect (would that be correct rather than ‘correlation’?) with manga in comics. Despite manga and comics being the same thing since manga has become popular with girls it has started to be viewed as silly and frivolous (I realise there’s also probably some xenophobia in there). Even within the art world (art student here btw) manga is seen as un-artistic in a way that western comics aren’t. It’s also used as a way of dismissing female fans. In discussions when the topic of women in comics has come up, me and female fans have repeatedly been told to ‘go back to reading manga’ as though this is our territory. The geek ‘kitchen’ if you will.
    The example in the article uses Scott pilgrim (not manga I realise, but similar in style), a comic that has become successful in part due to it’s popularity with girls, and again has been dismissed something more shallow  than things that primarily attract boys by the geek community.
    This phenomenon exists outside of the geek community. In fact it is a cornerstone of prejudice. It affects how highly paid jobs are and how we perceive almost everything, even down to more valued personality traits. It is so well documented, in so many different scenarios (I first found out about it through a basic sociology website) that to argue it’s existence would be retreading old ground.

  •!/haversam [A]

    I get the connection — and I understand the use of “extreme” examples (note the quotes). I do it too, sometimes.

  • Jemma Prophet

    Whoa whoa whoa. Manga and traditional western comics are really not the same thing — heck, “manga” means about as much as “cartoon”. There are robot manga, porn manga, sweet high school love stories — manga is a medium. If you called Sandman a cartoon, you’d get blasted across the room with the fury of a thousand suns.

    Western style comics historically don’t do much in the way of emotional arc storytelling, while there are branches of manga that do; that’s where the big difference comes in.

    And a lot of that has to do with old habits in marketing among the big comic publishers. Smaller houses and web comics have made more emotional storytelling much more common in visual media, and I think that’s a good thing.

    But comics and manga are not the same thing. :P

  • Sophie

    I think that’s in part to do with how male dominated the texts are. Men as a demographic have stories catered to them, but women have to rebuild the narratives from what they’re given. This site of course is named after the most infamous example of this, the self inserted female character. 

  • Michelle Fitzgerald

    I remember going to the midnight release of Thor, the audience was just jam packed with geeks and nerds, the majority of them male. To reward us for our patience and to promote the Green Lantern the theater did some DC/Marvel related trivia questions and the winners would get a poster to either Thor or Green Lantern. I went alone so that in and of itself likely raised the eyebrow of the guy who sat down next to me. One of the questions they asked is ‘What is the Green Lantern creed?’ and it instantly popped into my head but there was no way in hell I was going to stand up in front of the crowd and say it, for a lot of reasons.

    There was actually one question asked and for the life of me I can’t remember what it was but it was one of those questions where the answer can be as simple or as complicated as you like it to make it. Mainly when you apply comic book continuity to it. I wish I could remember it but they asked it and I had a little discussion with the guy to my right about it and his eyes nearly popped out of his head when I went on this ‘Well it depends on the continuity you’re speaking of. line of reasoning.

    I also loathe the idea of the ‘fake geek girl’. I’ve never met one and I’m know people have looked at me like one or treated me like one. I’ve worked in video game stores so I could flat out tell you instances of male geeks coming in and actively ignoring me when I greet them (store policy, gotta greet people within like 15 seconds of them entering the store), I say ‘Hi welcome to *redacted*!’ and they wont even look me in the eye, just shuffle to the wall and look at games. I especially loved working at one store where for awhile there were four women employed and two men. So sometimes when guys came in they had no dudes to go to for questions and when one of the guys was there? Wooooooooah boy. It was great. They’d go to him and ask questions about first person shooters and he’d be like ‘No man, I play RPGs you’ll have to ask Tiff about that, she’s our FPS expert here.’

    A lot of times in geek settings I notice guys are taking at face value as being geeks/nerds just for showing up. A woman has to bring her ‘geek creds’. I have to actively point out ‘Dude, I’ve been playing video games since I got my first Atari 2600 as a little girl, on through every incarnation of the systems to -now- and I’ll keep getting the newer systems. I saved up my money as a little kid to buy my own sega genesis, I remember how it didn’t even come with controllers!!’

    I think sports loving women suffer the same problem, the ‘she’s just the girlfriend’ syndrome when she shows up to events or shows interest.

  • Candace Carpenter

    You might have heard of this phenomenon’s (also)evil twin, the “gamer-girlfriend”, it’s the idea that if you’re into games or RPGs, it’s just because your boyfriend brought you. That one’s been around since gaming.

  • Sophie

    Maybe your friend should consider working as an international spy. It sounds right up her alley. I don’t think that she should be condemned for wanting to fit in though, even if it’s for attention. Why is wanting attention such an awful thing? I never understood that.

  • Totz_the_Plaid

    I know male geeks who fit the stereotype at the start of the article, and I know (and am among) male geeks who don’t.

    I also know female geeks who come close to it, and ones who don’t.

    I also know males AND females who are poseurs playing “geek” to try to fit in with the current popularity of our subculture.

    People, stop generalizing. Yes, all those stereotypes DO exist in real life, but you’re an idiot if you think that the existence of them equals the nonexistence of those that DON’T fit your narrow-minded view.

  • Michelle Fitzgerald

    The other day in guild chat in TOR my boyfriend was complaining about some issue his computer was giving him so I gave a list of suggested options to fix it and he tried them, and it was fixed! He was instantly teased ‘Dude, your girlfriend knows more about computers then you do!’ with our group it is good-natured but that’s sort of an extension of things I see all over the place.

    I like to say I know enough about computers to -really- mess them up, the whole ‘little bit of knowledge is dangerous’ thing :P

    I try to see it how scientists see not knowing something, I’m near Neil deGrasse Tyson has mentioned it many times about how ‘Not knowing is a great thing! It means there is more to be learned and explored.’ Though it’s easier to say that then it is to live it and be willing to be wrong in front of people T_T

  • Anonymous

    I don’t get this elitism in the geek culture anyway. Like, I love scifi movies and books but I’m not big on video games. I love manga, but I’m not big on comic books. Superheros are SO recycled that it makes my brain try to escape through my eyeballs when I start to read any non-Vertigo U.S. comic book. On the other hand, I love manga. I started learning Chinese because it’s better for my job prospects but I can actually give summaries of untranslated Chinese chapters and soon I’ll start doing real translations. That takes hours. I’m just as much a ‘geek’ but I’m not the ‘mainstream’ kind of geek. I’m an otaku but if you don’t know what that means I don’t think “Poser, you’re not worth my time.” I think men AND women in the geekdom do this, and I find it absolutely bizarre.

  • Heather Harris

    No, the point was that she deliberately put on a shirt that was easily a size or two too small for her, as it rode up over her belly button. I’m all for being a sexy geek, and for women of any kind being comfortable with their sexuality. You used the word slut. I did not. She was wearing a shirt with the intention of looking sexy, which is fine, but said shirt happened to have a saying proclaiming her to be a computer geek (sending the message that she is both sexy and a geek), which was then contradicted by her declaration that she didn’t know what the term “case-sensitive” meant. There’s no exaggeration at all in what I said. Those were her words and what happened. She also went on to wander in and out of the shop, complaining to the guy she came with that she thought they were going to “a real store” when he said he wanted to go do some shopping. I don’t think it’s out of line to be annoyed by that kind of behavior.

  • Totz_the_Plaid


    We’re all just geeks. We should really just drop gender from the discussion. As a guy, I love this site because it’s a quality geek news/culture site. I understand that there’s still rampant misogyny among some of the scummier male geeks, so dropping the issue altogether is not an option yet, but we also really shouldn’t emphasize it.
    Providing positive female role models (real and fictional) for young geeks? Good. Creating a dichotomy between geek guys and geek girls? Bad.

    We should make more of an effort to be inclusive. And before anyone brings it up, I absolutely loathe Patton Oswalt’s manifesto about the “weakening” of geek culture through the availability of media. That’s just idiotic asshole hipster bullshit.

    Geekiness is passion. That’s all.

    We shouldn’t judge the “fake” geeks. If we do, they’ll likely be less inclined to get more into geek culture, even if they really like it. Sure, some will move on when it’s no longer en vogue, but some will stick around and expand their passion, or at least maintain their love for whatever connected them to geek culture in the first place. And that’s never a bad thing.

    There will always be “geekier than thou” assholes, but we don’t need to cultivate that mindset. In fact, it’s better that we don’t.

    Sorry, this became a bit of a rant didn’t it? I just hope you’ll give this some thought.

  • Anonymous

    While I totally agree that manga and comics are NOT the same
    thing (and both manga fans and comic fans agree on this), I disagree with idea
    that the term manga is the English equivalent of word for “cartoon.” If you
    call Sandman a comic everyone would agree. If you called Archie a comic,
    everyone would agree. Manga is diverse the same way comics are diverse.  The difference is that one is stylistically
    Asian (esp. if you’re including manhwa in the general ‘manga’ umbrella term)
    and the other is stylistically Western. But, seriously, please don’t equate
    manga with cartoons. Gross.

  • Helen Worrall

    A relief to have such a well articulated response to something I read earlier today with such frustration, though I could not pinpoint why I felt the article was had got it all backwards.

  • Sophie

    I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on manga here, but I think what you describe puts a lot of limits on western comics, which despite not always reaching their potential are a pretty vast medium, that in many ways is still finding it’s feet. The question with a medium is not so much, does it do this, but could it? I didn’t mean to imply that manga and western comics aren’t unique from each other in many ways, but I still think that they are examples of the same medium from different cultures, still sequential art in books, (please do correct me if I’m wrong) and we’re starting to see an increasing amount of crossover in content and style between the two. But I suppose we could debate back and forth about what constitutes a medium all day (another time perhaps). My point was simply that they are similar things (whether you agree about their being from the same medium or not) and that one has been dismissed in a way the other has not largely because it is popular with women.

  • Awkward Geeks

    I do get what you’re saying, and I have no problem that they like to blog about their kids. If they want to consider blogging about their kids as something geeky, that’s fine, but they really should be calling themselves something like, “Geek Mommy Bloggers” because that would narrow down what they are. Simply calling themselves, “Geek Girls”, makes people think of the typical geek, not women talking about their kids.

  • Awkward Geeks

    Though, now that I think about it, even calling themselves ‘Geek Mommy Bloggers’ would be misleading for a “real” geeky mom who was looking to find other geek moms. Only to find she discovered a bunch of women who like gardening, going to church and having tea parties, when she was probably looking for gamers, techies, or sci-fi geeks, etc.

  • Awkward Geeks

    This is actually pretty true. When I went to their facebook pages they sounded just like the girls who used to make fun of me from when I was in grade school, all the way to high school. When I was a kid the word geek wasn’t used though, I was just called “weird”, among other things, and treated like an outcast by girls like that.

  • That Word Grrl

     Because all ho’s and bitches do is lie. Or some junk.

  • Dazee

    I do agree with this to a degree. The people who are excited about ‘geeky’ being a trend. Like I remember seeing a thing for ‘geek’ glasses and a person whining about having perfect vision because they didn’t have an excuse to wear glasses.. Oh well.. I’m so sorry that your perfect eye sight is effecting your ability to be ‘trendy’ about you take MY crap eyes instead and I’ll get your good ones.

    I do consider some people to be fake. The ones who don’t want to learn. The ones who are crushing on Hugh Jackman and could really care less who Wolverine is. The people who where the TMNT t-shirts this year, but not next year because they’re not popular then. These people aren’t fans of the geek culture, they aren’t interested, they don’t care. It’s trendy now, it’s in, so they’re doing it.

  • Anonymous

    1 Angry Birds anecdote doesn’t make this not a real problem. I’m working on a game where a string of men kept bashing how the “casual” gamers were getting on their turf and demanding that the naked women be, I dunno, CLOTHED. Yeah, they weren’t talking about casual players. They were talking about women, who they automatically deemed must be casual players. THAT is sexism, and it happens every day in the gaming community. It’s easier for women to see it than it is for those who aren’t affected by it, but it’s there.

  • Anonymous

    It’s not comparable, no. Not the point of bringing it up in the article. The point was that society refuses to believe women are saying or doing something for anything other than attention. Society assumes women are lying. It’s misogynistic, and present in this meme. That’s why it was brought up, but there should have maybe been a trigger warning.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for determining what’s misogynistic or not for us! And the act of dismissing misogyny when a woman explains in detail why it is is totally not misogynistic either.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe because they already intervened?

  • Becky Torbochkin

    Yes, very much agree – the last paragraph nails it on the head!

  • Anonymous

    I might suggest that the fact that you’re unaware of it means you’re part of the solution. I too was unaware of it being a thing, and the fact that it seems to baffle both you and I (I hope) implies that it’s not too widespread. 

    Not saying that I don’t believe it happens, I’m just baffled that it does. As a fairly nerdy guy, two reactions come to me: 1) I know a lot, but I don’t know everything about everything that I like–sometimes people pleasantly surprise me with new and interesting facts. 2) I love to talk to genuinely geeky ladies, because that’s the kind of lady I’m interested in–even if it’s a subject I am not all that interested in, it’s really cool that this hypothetical lady is totally into it (I might even learn about a show/movie/book series/video game/comic/etc. that I fall in love with). 

    Or is it weird for me to think women have valid, sometimes brilliant opinions on things?

  • Jim Wright

    Fake Geek. LMAO. You know in my day growing up, being a geek got you made fun of by the star athlete of the school. Of course in my case that was my older sister. She still calls me ‘Dodor’ as in Dodor Whooser for liking Doctor Who which she felt was silly and campy and not as good as Days of Our Lives. Anyways, I’m a father of 3 daughters and I’m trying to be the Geek Jedi Master. They are big NuWho fans and excited about the Avengers and into anime, manga and gaming to different degrees. Now I am not going to stifle their love for the Doctor by saying they aren’t true fans because all they’ve seen is the new series. I just try to encourage them to enjoy the show and fill in details from the show’s history where applicable. It gives me an opportunity to share something I love with them and broaden their appreciation of it.Now that Geekdom is finally accepted, we shouldn’t shut people out, but be as inclusive as we wish others were.

  • Charles Maxwell Boyd

    Yes, there is a direct correlation between the “casuality” of games and the proportion of female players. The correlation/causation thing is a simplification of the fact that there can be intermediary factors, joint factors, bidirectional relationships etc. And so to use that two things are correlated as part of an argument that some relationship exists between two tings is not statistically sound. To say anything useful (and definite) about it from a statistical perspective you need something more than that. 

    Regarding the JRPG/WRPG divide, besides the poor nomenclature, the main industry thinking on this is generally that JRPGs are struggling with their core competency (storytelling) while WRPGs (and games in general) are improving. Further, JRPGs and WRPGs are generally pretty far from “casual.” Angry Birds and Farmville are practically the definition of casual games. In regards to women getting scoffed at for saying they really like the (arguably) best game ever? I got nothing… that makes no sense to me, and whoever is doing it is stupid/has major issues.

  • Anonymous

    I’d suggest that your problem is the mainstream. As soon as something begins to get popular, it’s as though the people who knew about it all along need some kind of special recognition for knowing about it first. 
    I.e., Hipster nerds. 
    Even if this girl was all about “the one with the claws,” as you put it, something about the character was cool/moving/interesting enough that she wanted to put something on her bag about it. I watch a ton of movies, I like many of them, but it’s only a few that get pride of place on my wall/backpack/etc. I actually reject the assumption that someone would buy a pin simply because the movie is popular–people buy things because they like them, otherwise, what is the point? So, the awkward conversation would more likely be about how she actually liked “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” while you thought it was awful. 

  • Charles Maxwell Boyd

    My issue with the use of correlation was that it was used as evidence (which correlation cannot be used for aside from saying that a relationship might exist). You can say that there is a “cause and effect” relationship, as long as you don’t claim that your statement is bound in statistical facts, i won’t care. (If you do, i’d like to see the evidence/check your work) The reason that I had an issue with the use of correlation was that it was misusing a fact to “prove” something that was not justified by the fact. In a very poor abstraction, it would be like saying (but has just as much merit as) “The American alphabet has fewer letters than the Japanese alphabet. (Fact) Therefore, on average, American words are shorter than Japanese words.” Both of these things may be true (honestly have no idea as to the second point, but we’ll suppose it’s true) but it’s a fallacy to use the first fact to justify the second.

    I can’t speak to much to the manga/comics scene. I distanced myself from the manga/anime community a long time ago. I’ve noticed for myself some amount of elitisim, I avoid Manghwa for some reason, even though there probably isn’t any reason to. And I know that I’ve stopped myself from reading Shojo before. That might be anecdotal evidence of the sort of thing you’re talking about. though, it could also be the case that I decided that reading it was inappropriate/unmasculine for me/ or eventually decided I didn’t want to read it anymore/ or the Shojo that I was reading cas cut off in one of my periods of reducing what I read down to just 2 or 3. Hard to say. 

    tl; dr There could be a cause and effect relationship (women liking something -> being denounced), as long as you don’t claim there is statistic evidence when there isn’t any, I’m cool with that. (Also totally cool with statistic evidence being claimed when it’s actually there/justified)

  • Egypt Urnash

    > The person who runs several table top games but says things like “Didn’t they already make The Avengers? It had Uma Thurman in it.”

    wait what now people have to care about superhero comics to be a geek? I guess I’d better turn in my card, because that was my initial reaction to talk of an Avengers movie.

  • Anonymous

    I posted a long response to this related article under the name “Alfrebaut”:

    But I’d like to say something else, because this is actually a separate issue. The reason why we have this closed-off-ness in general is because it WAS different “in our day.” Being what is now termed as a “geek” is something we are protective of because we feel that is what made us unique and for many of us, anyway, what made it particularly special is because we feel we earned it through all the hardships we had to endure because of it. And anyone, male or female, who tries to make him or herself a part of that is put through a, probably unreasonable, litmus test. And it’s doubly tough for women because we have years of experience telling us that as much as we hope that girl coming into the store is really as into comics as we are, we’re probably wrong.

    The big deal with Olivia Munn, at least for me, is that she used the goodwill bought by female hosts on G4 before her, from women like Morgan Webb and Sarah Lane, and others, which got our hopes up, and then trampled on her with her blatant lack of knowledge or caring about the things we cared about. I’m not alone here. She’s a pretty shining example of someone who blatantly traded on guys’ hopes for a pretty girl who’s into the same things they’re into and parleyed that into a career. And she’s been relatively successful at it, which is good for her, but for every loyal fan she has, there’s probably a handful of guys disappointed that she obviously had no idea about anything she was talking about, and that’s the sort of disappointment that leads dudes everywhere to have to ask you a second or third question before accepting you as actually being a geek girl. It sucks, but it’s the damn truth.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah for sure. It’s a bit of a douchebag thing to say, but I do feel a little superior to people who aren’t as good at being a nerd. If a buff dude watched The Dark Knight and claims to be a geek, I do feel like I’m a better nerd than him. My background as a nerd is primarily in competitive Magic the Gathering and fighting games, which are both largely meritocracies. If I know more than you, I’m generally better than you, and it shows. If for years people have called me “geek” and the like for not being able to throw a football or whatever, I can call you “not geek” for not knowing the difference between Cyclops and Wolverine. 

  • Victoria Eden

     So isn’t the solution for (using your example) all of the straight couples be more accepting of the gay ones? Wouldn’t in an ideal world we accept all and not force anyone to be marginalized? If we welcome more people into the geek culture then we are all on the same team. Everyone feels welcome. That is what the goal should be. No one should feel ostracized.

  • Victoria Eden

     I have sort of the opposite experience from both of you. I am the only person I know who reads comics/watches Doctor Who/plays Portal/etc. so I rely on sites like The Mary Sue and She Has No Head over at CBR to help me along. If I want a new comic to read I don’t have friends to ask. I only recently started going into my LCS, because I had heard all those horror stories. Luckily, the people there are super friendly and helpful.

  • Xomyx

    You hear it a lot though.  I’ve heard “you only play RPGs? You’re not a real geek.”  Which is odd, because I know girls who like things like Call Of Duty and get the same thing said to them.  For some people it doesn’t matter what you do, if you aren’t balls to the wall hardcore about the genre, you’re just a poseur. 

  • Xomyx

    A big thing too is that there’s a lot of things in geek culture (comics, video games, etc) that are misogynistic, and I’m not going to read or play something that makes me angry.  So I’m not ever going to be a walking comics encyclopedia, although arguably I will be a walking encyclopedia for good comics XD

  • Xomyx

    Rape has the same false reporting rate as any other crime, its not special in that regard.  Misogynists like to keep it up because it perpetuates the idea that women are liars and suspect.

  • Victoria Eden

    Articles like that Forbes one are what makes it so hard for me to even admit to liking things like comic books and SciFi. I don’t have any friends who are into any of the stereotypically geeky things. I heavily rely on places like The Mary Sue, DC Women Kicking Ass, and She Has No Head at CBR to help me find new comics/tv shows/books/whatever.

    On the one hand, I get made fun of by my friends (just good nature ribbing, but still…) for watching Doctor Who and reading comics. Then on the other, since I have never seen Star Wars, would never play D&D or Magic: the Gathering, and the only video game I play is Portal somehow I am not geeky ENOUGH.

    I don’t admit to being a geek or a nerd. You get made fun of for being a geek or a nerd. You don’t WANT to be those things. So I appreciate this article and the steps toward making some of those things “mainstream” or whatever. I would much rather be shocked when someone doesn’t recognize the geek item du jour that I am sporting, rather than be so shocked when someone does that I am rendered speechless.

  • Xomyx

    NO.  A white guy getting upset at white girls calling themselves geeks is not comparable to racism, don’t even try.

  • Ashe

    Good timing on this article, Mary Sue. I had an in-depth discussion with my friend about this topic just the other day. She was irritated at women who used their status as a gamer as a ‘cry for attention’. I said, ‘What makes it a cry for attention instead of a general declaration? I mean, they could say, hey, I’m an avid reader, or, hey, I sure do love to watch movies, you know.’

    She responded, ‘I don’t know, I just hate it when they make a big deal out of it.’

    After a little coaxing, I got her to open up more about her opinion, which wasn’t making a whole lot of sense to me. She stressed that she never gets taken seriously because of her hobbies, that she loves video games and comics and movies, and has even been talked down to and made fun of for it.

    What I learned is that her irritation toward supposed posers was more rooted in the mistreatment she received, not the actual people themselves walking around and proclaiming their hobby. Interesting.

    I agree with pretty much this entire article. There is a lot of overhauling to be done in geek culture, whether it’s being more welcoming to those not as HARDCORE as you are, lessening the amount of safe and easy homophobic and sexist slurs-I-mean-comebacks, and stomping down on the exclusivity that has made even basic socialization a frustration for many people.

    There’s a reason I don’t want to join the Gamer Club at my college.

  • Nightshade

    @Susana Polo


    “Because that’s what the idea of the “fake geek girl” is all about, right? “Oh, she’s just doing that for the attention.” Which, by the way, is also a thing said when women claim they’ve been raped, or beaten by people close to them; it’s one of the foundational assumptions behind the reasoning that women lie or will lie about being raped to get abortions; it is the idea that excuses the behavior of a society that minimizes the concerns of women.”

    Wow, I’m impressed. You willfully ignored and misrepresented Tara’s point and turned it into a grotesquerie in order to perpetuate your little straw man. And you got that “rape” card crammed in there for good measure. Congratulations! Because that’s exactly what she was doing, something that was comparable to casting yet more doubt on the veracity of a rape victims story! Awesome!


    It couldn’t be that her point was “hey, don’t pretend to be what you’re not in order to fit in or for other dubious reasons, because that‘s not cool“. NAAAAHHHHH! Just because that was, you know, HER POINT. Or because, you know, that’s EXACTLY WHAT SHE SAID.

    I also find the ignorance of the comments below that support your gross misrepresentation rather hilarious. The fake geek “girl” or “guy” or lets just say “person” is like a fucking unicorn apparently. That’s right, there are no phonies in this world, right? There are no manipulative people in this world, right? There are no mercenary people in this world who pretend to be something they’re not in order to get something. Right, that never happens. And someone who puts up some pretense, manipulates someone’s love of a hobby in order to get something they want are, according to you and the comments below, swell people who should be embraced cause clearly they’re trying to fit in with us awesome, loving, nurturing geek folk and clearly on the up and up with motivations that are clearly above board.


    Nope. Afraid not Polo. Your straw man might work with the moronic choir you’re preaching to, but not me. Manipulators are bad. Pretending to be something you’re not for some kind of gain is bad. You can rationalize it, sugar coat it, pretend it doesn’t exist, yell rape in order to divert from it, but that kind of nonsense won’t wash with, you know, someone who can read and observe human nature. Tara was not talking about “dabblers” in the hobby. She was not talking about people who don’t really know much about the hobby but who want to learn and are tentatively, taking those first hesitant, Bambi like steps toward Geekdom. But you know that perfectly Goddamn well, don’t you?

    So in closing, a woman who pretends to be something she has no desire to be, pretends to like something that she thinks is inane in order to get what she wants from someone who likes that thing that she doesn’t is a Fake Geek Girl. A man who does the same is a Fake Geek Guy. A Moose who does the same is a Fake Geek Moose. If I see any of them entering my circle of Geek friends, guess what, I sure as hell won’t be embracing them and taking them under my loving wing of inclusion or doing what you seem to be doing Polo, enabling, normalizing and rationalizing the shitty behavior of a fucking Trojan Horse. I’ll tell the asshole, be they male or female, to get their exploiting ass the fuck away from me.
    Oh wait, you weren’t even suggesting that. You were just grossly misrepresenting and stomping on another woman’s point of view for the sake of your pathetic straw man. You should be so proud.

  • Anonymous

    If you can’t keep something, it’s not yours anymore.

    If you want to keep cred and don’t have the resources to change the face of culture in such a way that your cred is less likely to be taken from you, learn how to keep your cred.

    In this case, the majority of people aspiring to geekdom have access to the Internet.  The Internet is a powerful research tool and can be used to learn how to present geek cred _or_ to learn how to defend oneself against cred-based challenges in a more general fashion.

  • splitseconddecision

    This has bothered me since I noticed those memes popping up. At the beginning of the year, when the whole debate over white male privilege in comic books sparked up, I  went to a nearby comic book store to buy the newest volumes of the comic books I was following. I had received the first few copies of a few New 52s for Christmas, and this was my first foray into American comics, as before the reboots, I never quite knew where to start.

    It was SO AWKWARD. Not only because everyone in the store was staring at me (not just my imagination, as my friend who was with me also mentioned it), but because I had no clue how to navigate the back-issue boxes and also because I was self-conscious about buying the New 52 issues, as if liking the reboot somehow lessened my geek cred. As if being a newcomer to this particular realm of geekdom automatically made me a poser.

    I haven’t been back, as I’m still deciding whether I should just order from Amazon to save myself from the Awkward, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to. That is to say, I want to experience it as most geek guys do – as a place where I can be geeky without judgment.

    And this has turned into a short novel.

    TL;DR: I hate this concept too! 

  • Bel

     I think this is uncalled for.  You don’t even know the gender of the speaker.  That particular person doesn’t think it’s misogynistic – I think they’re allowed to say so, though I obviously disagree.

  • Bel

    This is the most ridiculous argument ever.  First of all, are you still in fucking high school?  No, you are probably a grown adult, behaving in such a petty way because of someone who “probably” would have kicked your ass in high school (how can you even tell, is it that they dye their hair blonde??) is the height of childishness.

    Second of all, it’s not even true.  I was friends with plenty of people who weren’t exactly like me in high school, I’m friends with plenty of them now.  It might be annoying to see a label you identify with misapplied but it’s not an act of malice from an enemy group any more than your grandpa calling it the “interwebs” is a deliberate personal attack on your lifestyle.

  • Eric Bazilio

    I’ve been lurking there for a while and never ran into such things.

    For the sake of the morbid curiosity which will certainly make me regret asking for it:

    Would you please point me in the general direction in which I’ll run into such stupid posts over at Reddit?

  • Nika Kalantar

     You might actually be what is commonly referred to as “idiot”.
    Being discriminated against for something you were born is NOT the same as being bullied for reading too much, trust me on this one, speaking from personal experience here.

  • Nika Kalantar

     Geeks/nerds/whatever will always assume the other person is not as good as something as them, hell, you don’t even have to be part of the culture for this sort of treatment I have a friend who always rubs in my face that I can’t dance because she goes to classes. That is it. This has nothing to do with the gender, this has everything to do with being a stuck-up elitist, the kind who, when their favourite thing is questioned will say “you just don’t get it”. I don’t accept a girl I know as being a ‘filmbuff’ this has, again, everything to do with me being a general douche.
    The only reason to put the rape example there was to add cheap drama.
    Also, as a side note, rape is not something that happens only to women, not that anybody cares.

  • Anonymous

    My reply had nothing to do with Texty’s supposed gender. I’m angry and I say angry stuff when I’m angry. I apologize.

  • Cameron Rene Ramirez

    What personal experience, you site nothing then call someone an idiot because they were discriminated against because they were not a stereotype of a certain ethnicity so they found refuge in a culture they thought was accepting of those who were introverted alike the weird and odd parts of pop and entertainment culture. I could have been bullied but I stood up for myself and others around me who might of got bullied. Racism, sexism, the need to call out what you perceive as a fake geek because it’s your culture, it’s all degrees of elitism that builds toward fascism. You call a stranger an idiot and you don’t even post a legitimate argument, just a i am right you are wrong statement. I just hope in real life you are a live and let live person.

  • Cameron Rene Ramirez

    I like that this article is generating so much heat! Good Job!

  • Cameron Rene Ramirez

     Can you give me a link to the “Geek” bible that isn’t your twitter feed Texty, so we can conclusively know what a geek is to prevent the further corruption of this niche culture and exclude the right people, you know like country clubs. Thanks a bunch.

  • Anonymous

    Ive never thought about whether I was a “real” or “fake” geek girl because Ive grown up with parents who were children of the ’50s that grew up as comics and cartoons and sci-fi grew up. I learned about Spiderman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman and the Justice League as well as Star Trek (I was born just days after the 1st film’s release) and Star Wars and all sorts of pop culture ideas in my everyday life, like it was something that everyone knew about. It wasnt till I became a teenager that I ever felt the need to hide some of what I knew because I found out that the world I grew up with wasnt the same as other girls and that boys didnt know what to make of a girl that knew any of this stuff. 

    Yet now, as an adult, Ive felt enormous pride at bashing the stereotype that even young boys hold that girls and women dont know anything about LotR or whatever the geek fad of the moment is. I loved to talk superheros and comics with my students and wasnt afraid that I didnt know everything there was to know about every character – just that I could have a reasonable conversation was enough! The jerks and asses can say all they want, but I know what I am and I love this stuff. Its a part of me just like my eyes or my blood. Ive got my towel. Get yours and let’s go! GEEK GIRLS UNITE! 
    Thanks so much for this post and this blog. I swear sometimes it feels like you all read my mind! 

  • Anonymous

    Just in reference to the first part of your coment,
    There is in a number of places on the internet a weird geek pecking order, where people who have been in a fandom for a long time are for some reason allowed to shut down and insult those new to the fandom. For a long time I’ve refrained from commenting on internet geek community boards and things because I always feel judged for being a newbie.

    For example I only became interested in A Song of Ice and Fire after the HBO series came out, and then rapidly binge read the books because I thought they were amazing. Not having any friends who’d read the books I turned to the internet fan boards to discuss my new love and was immediately treated as someone who was not a ‘real fan’ and therefore couldn’t have any relevent or interesting opinions.

    Being a book/tv/science geek at heart and not very computer-savvy I may have just violated some ancient code of fan posting and offended everyone, but no-one bothered to explain that. It made me very sad, and kind of angry that the geek community can’t even just accept each other as equal human beings.

  • Duke Fleed

    «Because that’s what the idea of the “fake geek girl” is all about, right? “Oh, she’s just doing that for the attention.” Which, by the way, is also a thing said when women claim they’ve been raped»

    o_O ?

    Did it really need to devolve into a Godwin’s Law of Rape to get the point across? You just did a major disservice to your article and your credibility. Two birds with one stone.

    Oh, and I believe we must have read completely different articles over at Forbes.

  • ann t

    That’s cool but then why try to “explain” it to someone who already knows more about it? It’s really annoying when people do this to me (on any topic). Unless there’s a good reason for you to be taking on the ‘expert’ role, just chill out and try to discuss things on equal footing. 

  • ann t

    Seriously, she’s not a geek? She’s the associate editor of a geek culture site and runs a blog about superhero comics. I’m not sure whether you’re being sexist or just poisoning the well. (Nobody who disagrees with you is “actually a geek” lolol.)

  • ann t

    People who insist on living in your delusional alternate reality are what ruin everything, because they end up harassing and retraumatising real rape victims under the guise of “ferreting them out”. The false report rape for rape is no higher then the false report rape for physical assault, arson, or even murder. Yet for some reason we don’t go around trying to “ferret out” the families of murder victims. 

  • Ms Avery

    Stuff like this is why I’m afraid to describe myself as liking anime/manga when I don’t have encyclopaedic knowledge of the genre. I feel so self-conscious going into comic shops because I’m afraid someone will challenge my credentials.

  • super

    Guys have no problem admitting they are geeks.  While women tend to hide that fact.  I remember in the 90′s some girls who watched ST:TNG would say to me don’t tell anyone.  So when some actually admit they are geeks its viewed sceptically by guys because its rarely seen.  Kinda like a girl who says she likes the NY Yankees.  Can you name a Yankee other then jeter and ARod.  If she can, great but typically she draws a blank.  Don’t take it as a personal insult, its just that guys have seen many times previously girls fake interest in things.

  • super

     here is a simple rule of thumb regarding who is fake or real.  Have you ever gotten in a scifi argument before?  You know like the classic kirk vs picard. Who is stronger Goku or Superman. Or screaming at the giant plot holes in some scifi like in attack of the clones.  Why kirk is still alive and never died in the generations movie.  Also bring new arguments to the table not ones that others have repeated.  It doesn’t have to be on any of the subjects i mentioned above.  A true geek is passionate about what interests them….thats all that matters.   

  • Anonymous

    Ugg, yes this. You have no idea how many guys I surprised by telling them, no, actually *I* got my boyfriend into WoW, not the other way around.

  • super

    A few points.
    what is the percentage of women/girls that read comics vs men/boys?  If something is rare then its questioned.  Add to the fact for a long time the few women/girls that were geeks typically hid it and didn’t want anyone to know.  It might not be as bad as being one of the final 5 cylons but it would seem that way to them.  Can anyone tell me of the great cylon plan that was spoken of in the beginning of each episode for the first couple years of the BSG series? 

    Oh and keep the politics out of the argument.  MS Fluke could have just as easily been insulted by Ann Coulter the same way she was by Rush Limbaugh for wanting something for free.  MS Fluke would have been insulted for asking for virtually anything for free.  And if Fluke was a male, he would have been insulted too for wanting free contraceptives. 

  • Cadi

    Kids today don’t “have it easy” though.

  • Anonymous

    In fairness I know serious geek women who embrace gardening and tea parties in a big way and might point out that it was the highlight of my cantor’s career when Leonard Nimoy was our guest at synagouge for a weekend of programming and lectures (if you are not familiar with his book Shekinah you should check it out).

    Part of the minimizing of women in the geek community is the insistence that it exclude women desiring to also participate in the mainstream, thus making them “casual” yet women have fewer encouragements to hold on to hobbies of their own (regardless of whether or not they are geeky, mom gets to drive kids to soccer practice even if she played state championships in HS, men get to have amateur baseball, pick up basketball, and softball leagues for instance) and its still women who are expected to watch the kids when married geek men go out and play Magic. The upcoming group of women will be able to hold on to their hobbies because they have become more mainstream (video gaming, manga, blogging, art) but also because they can be accomplished in isolation, she won’t need other people to play, or participate but she will continue to be treated as “casual” because she needs to accommodate her adult female roles and choices too. We as women who run households, and are part of geek culture may actually also be part of gardening, church going and child rearing worlds. I worry about the use of the term “mommy blogging” as I’ve seen it used to dismiss any female blogger who happened to spawn and acknowledged it regardless of what she’s actually writing about. ( especially if she’s writing about local politics. )

    We are not really welcoming anyone if we insist that women who are self identified “geeks” must use the term exclusively for SF and fantasy related things Some women involved in gardening and minatures specifically fit the original concept of geek or a feminized Otaku ( a complicated term) waaay more than SF or gamers it’s just they are hardcore gardening geeks or miniaturist geeks and many times there is crossover (intense people like other things that inspire intensity ) so I do think there is a problem when you insist on term purity that makes engaging with other women’s real life roles and interests as things geek women wouldn’t want to participate in – mainstream currently uses “geek” as intense interest and “nerd” to refer to things that they don’t understand or approve of. They also use it just for women who aren’t dumb. But all you have to do is look at congressional hearings on SOPA and the incredible pride of our various congressmen claiming “I’m not a nerd” or requesting to “get some nerds in here ” to realize that the term geek is being used positively but not exclusively, our own marginalization is simply masked – we are nerds and dorks when doing many things and “geek” is lobbed as a different kind of adjective outside the group that was originally using it to marginalize. It’s geek chic not nerd chic, and mainstreaming of the word as a positive will also broaden the usage of the word. I think our culture should be inclusive. It’s difficult enough to have any kind of adult conversation with anyone once you’re a mom, people talk to you like you’re a child because you have one. They might just be trying to signal they still have working brains.

    Really just let’s please be careful about dismissing other women simply because they are also doing things that are simply associated with women. Tea parties BTW are massively geeky – mainstream women like to go to bars a lot for girls nights out even after marriage and spawning. I have tea parties, even the women in Sisterhood are freaked a bit by that.

  • Cadi

    I can’t speak for Elizabeth, but for me it was “We were the outsiders that paved the way for young girls today.” that let me make a connection between the hassle people used to get and the implication it was easier. Sorry ^^;

  • Bel

     I am going to do you a favour here:  you are on the wrong website.

  • Nika Kalantar

     Personal experience? Fine. How about being physically bullied at school for several years for speaking the wrong language at home and for having the audacity to being born to parents who are not native to the country. The thing is, at the age on like 9 you think, well I’m doing something wrong, I can change it and these people will be my friends, except you can’t ’cause the reason you are being treated this way can in no way be affected by you. When you are covered in bruises and the people you really really wish (in your childish naivete ) to be your friends tell you that get the hell out of this school and go into one where “your people” go to (even though you have never seen yourself as part of that ‘other’ community) then I think it gives you the right to say ethnic discrimination is not the same as being unaccepted because of your hobbies.
    And, huzzaah, I have experience there too because I was a weird kid in kindergarten who talked to herself and thus a large portion of children thought me weird and didn’t want to play with me. Not particularly traumatic, that one.
    So the person of non-specific gender saying racism is the same as a douche denying you the privilege of being seen in said douche’s eyes as an equal based of their past-time activities is an idiot. Or in any case overly dramatic.

  • Cadi

    From my experience and observations, a female geek who was conventionally attractive, was recognised as being a geek and accepted more readily than if they weren’t. Most times I’d see geeky guys complaining about the lack of geeky girls (to date, not ’cause they actually give a rat’s about a bigger community), they completely overlooked the existence of geeky girls that they already knew because they’re weren’t attracted to them.

    I don’t know when geek started becoming mainstream but i’m talking like 10 years ago.

  • Jill Pantozzi

    Ok that gets a big LOL.

  • Heather Lewis

    I can’t find the link, but a couple of months ago some 15 girl posted a photo of herself holding a really sciency book on Reddit, and the entire post turned into calling her a slut and offering her sexual favors, and declarations of rape and whatnot.

    It’s not just reddit, the entire internet jumps on this shit. Also add to it, if a girl is attractive and takes a photo with anything nerdy, she gets jumped at for doing it for attention, whereas if she is not attractive, “ew ugly slut go away.” Let’s ignore the modeling industry, too. If an attractive woman does the same types of poses you find in magazines, suddenly it’s horrible and she’s horrible. Uhhh

    I really don’t know how you haven’t seen it, unless you just don’t pay attention?

  • Heather Lewis

     ”Casual” would mean she does it once in a while. Having a comic always on her bedside table, an extensive collection, and paying for classes? That’s hardly casual. I am scared to see the person you deem “not casual” if that is how you see it.

  • Heather Lewis

     Proving the point of the post! Good job.

    I would love to know how you are so sure these girls don’t need those glasses. Please, tell me when you spoke to their eye doctor.

  • Heather Lewis

     Big Bang Theory is about talking down to geeks.

  • Anonymous

    Distracting from the argument by claiming a false equivalence not provided by the original premise and forming a declarative statement does not make either the original thesis or your statement untrue.

    All accusations that women are “just seeking attention” are arguments that are used to dismiss actions taken against women.

    Some arguments used to dismiss women who have been raped are arguments that they are “just seeking attention”

    Therefore, arguments that say “women are just seeking attention” are arguments used to dismiss women who have been raped.

    Some arguments used to dismiss women are are arguments used to prevent them from being recived as fully human citizens with full participation rights.

    Some people who create social structures use arguments that are also used to prevent women from being perceived as fully human citizens with full participation rights.

    People who use arguments that are the same arguments that are also used to prevent women from being perceived as fully human citizens with participation rights to create their social structures are using the same arguments as people who use those arguments to dismiss actions against women including rape.

    Exclusion on the basis “of attention seeking” is a pervasive preemptive judgement applied to women specifically to exclude them from identification and agency in a group, exclusion from the group denies their ability to be recognized as “real” and worthy of respect, inclusion, protection or benefit, when applying an arguments that intentionally exists to dismiss someone the effect is to captilizing on an acceptable argument that works ALL through the culture to justify both minor exclusion (you’re not a real geek because you want attention and therefore are not real) to major exclusion (you’re not a real victim because you want attention therefore you cannot be victimized since you have attracted someone’s attention therefore you are not real) .

    The thesis is that our culture by appropriating this standard is using the same method, means and mode as the rest of the culture along the continuum. I will take it further – this argument is also used to dismiss murder of women, not just rape. You don’t get away with saying “she doesn’t deserve our community” at the small level without being aware that “she doesn’t deserve to be heard” because she’s attention seeking is used to dismiss the abuse of women by family members and husbands, and exes and then when they end up dead is used to excuse the murder because “she should have left, she stayed because she was attention seeking” or “well she looked like an attention seeker, she should have behaved more like a real victim when she called the police”

    If we do not admit that the culture that allows that starts with accepting it in less serious scenarios it allows it to continue in the more serious ones. That’s what culture is. You do not get to rewrite the argument to make it about divergent results when the thesis is that the arguments justifying both are the same arguments., and those arguments are problematic

    You may argue that saying women are “attention seekers” is not something that preemptively excludes and dehumanizes them

  • Heather Lewis

    “She’s a pretty shining example of someone who blatantly traded on guys’ hopes for a pretty girl who’s into the same things they’re into…”

    Why would it matter what she looks like and if she is into the same crap? Were you expecting to date her? I was a geek in high school a little bit before she was on TV, and I got shit on and ignored by guys because of it, and tbh I know I’m pretty, (I’ve done modeling and was invited to pageants, I’m not arrogant).

    I think the hatred on her is funny considering this article:

    If you can make it out (I can), she says she is a bit weak on video games, but loves tech and working on upgrading her computer. Suddenly everyone hating on her is proving the point of the original post: she’s not “enough” for them to consider a geek. Maybe she was nervous on TV, maybe they were uplaying her lack of intricate knowledge? It just sounds like you’re pissed they gave you some eye candy you didn’t deem up to your particular knowledge, so she clearly was horrible. It seems you aren’t the only one, either.

    This is exactly why I was considering going for their open call thing, but realized since I don’t know all the tiny details about say, Halo, I would be ridiculed all over for not being perfect in body ~and~ knowledge about every single video game. Don’t you see how this works?

  • April Sutter

    Co-sign!  I love to play video games but I was never into computer games simply because my family didn’t have one until I was 14 and by then I was a console junky.  I hated having people roll their eyes at me because I don’t know computer games yet have played hundreds of different games on 8  different consoles.  I am also a total tv geek.  I love movies but I’d gladly give them up to watch tv.

  • BiBi Virtue

     I admit that I have done this. I’ve dismissed other geeky girls as being fake or attention seeking, despite not being all that geeky myself. It’s horrible that we pit ourselves against one another, but it’s not just geeks. When I was younger we used to say the same things about people who got into alternative music through less exalted artists and then there was the whole 4 Real thing. I think this happens in any and every community. Everyone wants to be authentic.

    I’m sure we can all agree that people saying ‘OMG I’m such a nerd’ is very irritating.

  • Anonymous

    Frankly the hazing behavior is hyper masculinization that seems to be defensive rather than “sexist” because the male gamers I see using it are modeling off what they perceive to be sports or popular culture and it looks very “fake” to me when I see it at gaming tournaments and Magic events. Even more ironically it looks like cultural appropriation and I tend to ignore it and pass it off to insecurity. I never tell a pale magic opponent tricked out in hip hop signifiers incorporating football terms into his card games that he is a “fake macho man” when I am playing him but find arguments against “fake geek girls” incredibly unselfaware. Most especially when defending it with the right that they shouldn’t have to change they’re borrowed “manly” culture.

    Old school male gamers table top and war gamers didn’t talk hyper masculine smack and haze each other, they traded In jokes and shamed each other based on shared experiences. If a woman showed up to do what they did there was shock and sometimes dismissiveness. But no one treated each other in a manner “requiring balls” they did require commitment and skills

  • Kath

    The Big Bang Theory is about perpetuating the “coolness” of geek chic and allowing non-geeks to laugh at/with geek things without feeling geeky.

    It’s not actually a geek show. I’d argue it’s an anti-geek show.

  • UrsNY

    My line of thought, coming from my experiences in female majority geekdoms, was that human wikis and aca-fen both use a documented, authoritative knowledge base to control how power is distributed within a group and police the boundaries of its membership. Aca-fen may use less confrontational methods, but the effect’s parallel.

  • Amanda Lawton

    Jill, I agree. At least where I live hipsters are definitely an entire entity of their own. I wouldn’t look at a hipster an associate them with geeks or “fake geeks” anyway.

  • Amanda Lawton

    Ok. I don’t completely agree with you, but I get that. Thanks.

  • Anonymous

    It was a fifteen-second clip, and ever since, it’s simply been a show that T&A (See what I did there?) can go on about.  By creating their own show, they can make jokes without having to check continuity.

  • Amanda Lawton

    Don’t you think that statement might be a bit discriminatory against white people? White people are discriminated against constantly merely because they are white. Example: the above statement that you just made.

  • Marie

    For me, it has nothing to do with gender, but I supremely dislike being told that I’m “not a real geek” or “you just lost all your ‘geek cred’” because I don’t like Firefly or Dr. Who.  If I had a dollar for every time someone said that to me, I’d be able to buy every X-Men shirt I lust after on  I’m geeky about THE THINGS I AM INTO, and if that’s not the things that other people are into, then who the hell cares? I don’t yell at people for not being Hellboy experts like I am, and I think that’s the best comic ever.

    Though one gender related thing that I do get a lot, mostly from other geek girls, is that I like to dress nice.  I have some geeky t-shirts, but I prefer a nice blouse, a colorful cardigan, and high heels.  Somehow, this makes me less of a comic book/ science fiction fan.  Why? I have absolutely no idea. But people assume that because I’m not constantly rocking some ironic nerdy t-shirt, that I’m not really a geek. I feel this doesn’t happen to guys as much, being judged on clothing, and it’s ridiculous.

  • Jen Thomas

    YES! Thank you so much for posting this! I just had this argument last night when my boyfriend started complaining about “geek chic” and how this one girl was only wearing some T-Shirt because it’s chic now. Oh no, it couldn’t POSSIBLY be the fact that she actually likes something. Heck no, she’s just a fake. I was so dumbfounded and saddened that this attitude existed with my own commonlaw that it started a fight pretty quickly. Yeah, it is cooler now, and yeah you do see more girls dressed up in nerdy wear now. But a big part of it is…what was out there when I was younger? If I could find any shirts for what I was interested in (be it comic books or video games) it was for a boy. So I could either swim inside a shirt way too big for me or forgo it. And considering stuff like that wasn’t exactly affordable to me at the time, I went without. But now it’s FINALLY being recognized that girls love this stuff too. We finally have options for silly things like purses/accessories, T-shirts (still not as many as the guys, but whatever),  video games with us in mind (you can play as a guy or a girl more now than ever), etc. But now any of us that ever get excited about this…we’re fake and doing it for the attention? I mean, Lord forgive those of us geek girls that are actually pretty too boot. No way could a good looking girl actually sincerely love nerdy things. Nope. We’re fake.
    EFF That attitude. 

    Since when is geekdom an elitist thing anyhow? When I was in highschool, I was with the nerds and we were the catch-all group for all the other outcasts. We banded together to survive the horror that was highschool and the last thing we’d ever consider doing was excluding someone for ANY reason. Now all of a sudden you have to be a certain level of nerd to be accepted as a nerd?!? Are you kidding me?!? And yeah, if know more about my DC heroes and not enough about Dr. Who…I’m not really a nerd. It couldn’t possibly be that I’m not that interested in Dr. Who but love DC? Nope, it means I’m a fake all across the board. Give me a break.

    It’s just so disappointing.

  • hanawie4003

    I’m not a hardcore geek girl (I only really follow a few games, comics, and books, although I wish I had time to spend on more of them…) but I see the sexism in geek culture all the time. Something as simple as walking into the manga section of a bookstore gets me all sorts of looks.
    I went to Japan as a foreign exchange student when I was 14 (bad age to go, by the way, I didn’t appreciate it enough) and when I came back I was wild about manga and about Lolita fashion. I instantly missed my host students and my class, my host parents, the food… I started wearing Gothic Lolita a year or so after I got back, and continued to wear it through high school. The guys that didn’t ignore me completely treated me like I wore it for their attention, even though my sole reason for wearing it was because *I liked the style.* And the few that were nice to me were only nice when we were alone, but would act like they didn’t know me in front of other people.
    It’s tough being a woman in this political climate in general (I mean, are we seriously *still* fighting over birth control? What is this, the seventies?!), but it can be even harder when the culture you love is shared with people who don’t respect your taste and will do anything to belittle your experience. My point is that I’m glad this site is here. Solidarity is so important.

  • Jen Thomas

    I completely understand! I avoid conversations with my interests too unless it’s something I know inside and out because other wise you get freakin quizzed. Like you have to pass a test to be allowed to stay in the store. You’re not alone :)

  • Anonymous

    BBT is a show that lives up to every trope and stereotype about geeks and smart people (not always the same thing) that fans have convinced themselves is a case of “Owning” the joke, and “taking back” the words.

    Irish people can tell Irish jokes, Jews can tell Jewish jokes, and geeks can make fandom jokes.

    The folks who make BBT?  Very possibly fake geeks.

  • Gingerman Giant

    Is it really that rare nowadays? Last summer I was at a scifi con and we had a meetup with people mainly from my alma mater. There were about two dozen of us. I’m in my thirties and I was the youngest male there. The women were almost all younger than me. It was about 50/50 male/female and to me it sure seemed like the girls took this hobby more seriously than the boys of their own age.

  • Brynn Kessler

    The proper response to someone liking the Yankees but not knowing anyone other than ARod and Jeter is to tell them about other players, discuss the games, talk about the history of the club, etc. If they get bored and wander off, then you know they’re faking it. If they’re actually interested and going along with you, then they’re newbies who you’re helping out. That goes for whatever the gender of the person you’re talking to might be.

    If you still can’t figure out whether a woman is a newbie or a fake, try pretending a guy is saying whatever she’s saying. You might find yourself needing to facepalm about your sexism later, but at least you’ll make the proper response rather than being an ass.

    (For the record, I’m from Boston, but not into baseball, so I didn’t mind using the example ;P)

  • Anonymous

    But all memes of this type have a single representative sample…Scumbag Steve isn’t Scumbag Androgynous Person, is it? 

  • Anonymous

    I think you’re being a little harsh here.  Cartoon, comics and manga are sequential art.  Manga is a style, but where are you drawing your line of what is and isn’t manga–style or origin?  1950′s manga artists like 
    Osamu Tezuka  were heavily influenced by western cartoons and comics, and in the 80s and 90s American comic book artists were influenced by manga.  Some current American artists draw in the manga style-are they manga artists?  What about bi-cultural doujinshi artists?  What if about an American property like Powerpuff Girls or Star Wars being drawn by a Japanese artists?

    Also, have you ever had attended a panel with a Japanese creator or a Japanese fan?  I have yet to meet someone from Japan who blinks an eye at equivocating manga and comics.

    Manga as separate from comics is a useful distinction for comic fans, like saying that you mainly read Silver Age comics or Alt-press stuff.  However, the boundaries are more fuzzy than you’re letting on.

  • Joanna Steele

    YES! Thank you times a million for posting this. Gender issues aside, I actually find it very very upsetting when anyone, guy or girl, tries to dismiss someone else for not being an expert on ALL things geek/nerd. I got into a pretty heated argument recently with some couple friends about this very topic. They were of the opinion that if you didn’t know everything about the different food and beverage tastes of the various races in Star Trek, you must not be a “true” geek. Um, what? Don’t get me wrong. When I love something, I tend to try to find out everything I can about it because I just want to swim in the knowledge of that creation. But I won’t judge others just because they don’t love it “as much” as I do.
    And here’s the thing: when we meet others who like things like Firefly but have never watched Buffy or BSG, shouldn’t we be celebrating the fact that we have similar interests and then start guiding them into more totally awesome stuff that we can then all squee about together? I am allll about sharing the love and helping people embrace their “inner nerd” as I like to call it. Because, yes, as another commenter mentioned, many people, guys and girls, are afraid to call themselves nerds or show that they have interest in nerd things because they actually fear being made fun of. To me, that is very sad.

    Back to the gender issue: yes, it’s a thing. There are many guys who love them the nerd girls, and to you men, I give you all hugs. But unfortunately, there are also many men out there who just think that a girl could *never* like nerdy things and if she says she does, she’s just faking. I remember one guy in college who was surprised to find out I had a Metropolis poster, but not in a “wow, that’s so cool!” way, more in a “I doubt you actually like anything cool” way. Then he grilled me to see if I *actually* knew anything about the movie. I was incredibly offended. To the guys out there who wish they could find a cool, nerdy girl to date? My only advice is to be as encouraging as you can to the women you meet who do show interest in nerd things and then try to introduce them to more stuff.

  • Joanna Steele

    I see what Elizabeth is saying here. You didn’t say anything about bullying, but there is the implication that we in our mid-30s or 40s who are nerds today had to work really hard to defend ourselves growing up. Sure, the “kids today” might have it easier because it’s more socially acceptable to like nerdy things, but I actually celebrate that fact. This is another issue of nerd culture that I’ve never really understood honestly: the only like something as long as it isn’t mainstream. Why not be happy about the fact that it’s become more popular so that we know people will continue to make said creation? If the creation suffers because of bad choices, well then that’s too bad, but I’d rather have more awesome stuff to watch and read and come into contact with than fewer just for the sake of having it be not mainstream.

    Above all, I’d rather fight against those people who still make fun of geeks and call us not cool than rail against those people who actually share my interests and could maybe even like MORE of the things I like.

  • Joanna Steele

    Ah! Yes! About the dressing nice! Do I have a Firefly shirt in my closet? Yep, sure do. And it is very happy hanging next to my skinny jeans and blouses from Anne Taylor LOFT. What is the deal with having to dress a certain way in order to be a nerd? I’ve never understood that.

    And yes, I truly believe that you don’t have to be into everything nerd to be a nerd. Just because I love Doctor Who and someone else doesn’t, who cares?

  • Anonymous

    “The proper response to someone who says they like comics and has only read Scott Pilgrim is to recommend some more comics for them.”

    THIS.  I will be forever grateful to a college friend who did just this for me.  I had only read The Sandman and maybe a couple of other random titles.  Instead of being all judgy, he said, “Oh, you’re into comics?  Then you HAVE to read Watchmen!” and lent it to me.  That guy was a champ.

  • Anonymous

    Geeks are elitist.  I think all hobbiests are–you put X hours into this project, you know X amount of obscure facts, you learned X skills, you’ve had X experiences.  It’s a perennial problem how veteran geeks deal with enthusiastic fans with much less cred: less time, less knowledge, less skills, less experience and unaware of the nerdom’s social etiquette.  The veteran’s response tends to waver between exasperated exclusion to a desire to nurture budding interest.  (It’s also why causal geeks are so baffling to veterans–they expect that everyone interested would want to become a veteran too, especially in older geeks where becoming a fan meant social exclusion from non-geeks.)

    I had not heard of this fake thing, but it’s worse than the noob thing.  At least with a noob, you believe that their interest is genuine but new.  Veterans might be patronizing, but they let you in.  A faker’s interest is no longer about them and what they like–it’s about trying to impress you.  Without genuine interest, they’ll never really be a geek.  There’s no point in trying to foster them or building any kind of relationship with them, because there’s no genuine common ground.  Being a faker is automatic geek exclusion.

    One problem that girl geeks in particular get is the elitism of geek culture plus the social myth that girls are better than boys at everything explicitly feminine, and boys are better than girls at everything not explicitly feminine. Generally speaking, this means that boys are automatically awarded more geek cred than girls, and a girl’s geek status is questioned more often and thoroughly.  Girls have to work extra hard to prove that they’re veterans and not noobs.  With people believing in that people fake geek interest, girls have to work even harder to even be let into geek culture.

  • Do_Go_On

    There is a problem of “Fake Geek Girls” in technology media. If a media outlet has more than one job to cover, say SxSW, they will have a real geek reporter as the guy, yet the gal is eye candy. Likewise, if they choose to cover a startup, if they cover a woman-founded tech startup, they will interview only the startup with a gal who looks like a pixie. Whereas, for the guy startups, you see shlubby guys of all shapes, sizes, styles being interviewed. Fake Girls exist and it’s all very cute, until money or jobs are involved, until women who actually have a background in technology try to get the attention of venture backers and the media.

    I think the problem is that Mary, who wrote the
    article, is a sorta Fake Geek Girl herself. She writes about “women in
    technology” without a technology background. Her credentials is
    listening to Henry Rollins and having a pookie-cute professional photo.You know, the kind that would be impressive on a high school facebook
    wearing swimwear as a top. Yes, Forbes readers will find her a GREAT source of information on women in technology, her “assignment.”  You know, to increase the coverage of women geeks in startups….. I wonder if she covers any actual geeky women who are serious about technology who don’t have high school facebook photos like hers.

    This was just some sort of angle to get
    a writing gig, no doubt. Another one of Forbes women Technology
    writers, who writes as “an expert in identity management and technology
    legal issues” is an English major in her twenties with no work
    experience in either technology or the law. But she also has a
    pookie-cute photo professional photo to represent her to Forbes readers where it teases she is topless.

    The men who write about Technology in Forbes don’t have a similar requirement to have a teaser shirtless photo. And they look all kinda ways and aren’t all in a narrow group of having to sorta look haut for their job.

  • Captain Heroic

    Oh come on, the term “geek” is completely meaningless nowadays anyway. If “liking super Marior and reading comics” is worthy of its own label, then to hell with that.

  • Peter Vervloet

    Not sure if this has been mentioned already but, isn’t it a bit narcissistic of these geeks to assume a girl is trying to pose as a geek to get popularity and attention from, y’know, basically them? I’m sure if a girl (or a guy) was in a desperate quest for popularity I’m sure there’d be larger groups of people to tap into which require much less research than geeks.

    I’ve personally never felt the need to assume anyone is a “fake geek”, goodness knows you don’t have to know every nitpicky details (and since the 2000s, every meme about it to boot) to be a fan of something, some people have more things to do in their day than finding out about memes or studying the entire history of comic books, video games or whatever else.

  • Awkward Geeks

    Wow. You completely misunderstand. In no way am I saying women can’t have mainstream interests, along with their geeky ones. But if you are specifically calling yourself a “geek girl”, and have not one single, stereotypical, geeky interest, then you’re not coming across as very geeky. These women had NO geeky interests. You think they would have listed at least one. There is nothing wrong with gardening & tea parties, etc, but they are not geek activities. I’m pretty sure no female has ever grown up being treated like an outcast because they have an interest in those things. I, on the other hand, was constantly treated like a freak and an outcast by other girls because I liked “boy stuff” (sci-fi, video games, comics, etc). 

    This group of women made it very clear that they, and I quote, “enjoy getting together to geek out over blogging about our families.” How in the world is that geeky? Which is why simply calling themselves “Geek Girls”, as a selling point, does not make any sense. Also, in order to be part of their little group you have to be a mommy blogger. So I dismiss them as mommy bloggers, because that is what they are, and that is the kind of people they are looking for. 

  • super

    a scifi con is different.   Try getting getting them to admit they are geeks outside of a convention. 
    The reality is many are afraid of being viewed like that crazy trekkie who dresses as a character 24/7. 
    A huge element i think is ANime has helped bring more women into things. 

  • super

    what web site should i be on?  Or only liberal POVs accepted here ;)

  • Andrea

     I have experienced this kind of thing personally, and it does, indeed, work. It’s a great way to make friends.

    I remember when the LotR movies came out (was it really ten years ago?) and I, having been a fan since approx. 1993, found it mind-boggling that it was popular. The same kind of girls who would have teased me for reading Tolkien were putting posters of Legolas on their locker doors.

    I could have turned my nose up at new fans, the ones who hadn’t “suffered” as I had. But it was way more fun discussing plot points and introducing them to some of the background stories. Best moment ever? Being camp counselor to a bunch of junior high girls who 1) recognized that my shirt was the Ring inscription; and 2) all said that their favorite character was Sam.

  • Emma Jones

    There are girls out there who do things to get attention (just as there are guys who do the same), but assuming that a whole demographic of people has the same motivation behind their interests in ignorant.

  • AnnieMac

    You know, even when I CAN pass the test (and I have to admit I’m quite into the useless background trivia) I resent the fact that the test exists, in a way it doesn’t seem to for male geeks. (At least as far as I’ve been able to tell.)

    For example, there’ll be a couple of guys who make some obscure Hitchhiker’s Guide reference, and then turn to me with a presumptuous attitude saying ‘it’s okay, we don’t expect YOU’LL understand what we’re talking about’. (For no other reason than the fact I’m female, it seems.) And it turns out that I DID understand, and they’re surprised, and I’ve ‘won’, but that’s kind of not the point, is it? I shouldn’t HAVE to prove anything. I just want to talk about the things I love and I’m sick of being put on trial for it.

  • AnnieMac

     …and leaving gender out of it for a minute, it sometimes seems to me that large sections of the geek community have one heck of a persecution complex. As though social rejection back in school has led to them casting themselves as outsiders, retreating into their own cliques and constantly on the defensive. It’s like it becomes more about group identity than the actual media we love. And I’ve done my share of this, but we need to get over all that high school crap eventually, don’t we?

  • Noel Baylis

    Here’s my question, though – why can’t a person have an interest in something without being SUPERSUPER into it? For example, I consider myself a Lakers fan. I know some of their stats, most of the current players … but if someone goes into an in-depth discussion about the Lakers, I’m probably going to “get bored and wander off”, because I’m just not that kind of fan. It doesn’t mean I’m faking my interest in basketball, I’m just … casually interested, I suppose?

  • Cliff

    No, you can be conservative here, but you can’t be a misogynist or state things that are factually incorrect and expect no one to call you on it. It’s not “liberal POV only” or “conservative POV only,” it’s “don’t be blatantly wrong.”

    Which you are.

  • Robin Burks

    This was basically my response when I read that Forbes article. As a geek, I wouldn’t want to accuse someone of being a fake and thereby making them feel excluded. As a geek, we have all been excluded or ridiculed and why would we do that to someone else?

    If someone shows interests in things that I like, I say “WELCOME ABOARD THE GEEK BANDWAGON!” 

  • Ashe

    Comparing margilanized groups’ rare safe havens to your geeky cooler-than-thou club is a pretty lousy way to push a point.

    I’d try again.

  • Adrienne Reynolds

    That was kind of my issue – mainstream use of the term “geeking” is really in depth sharing of minutia – if they were taliking about coding and layout or social media promotion of their blogs I promise you the other moms in the PTA have called them geeks and they accepted that label without thinking of the larger geek culture ( I still have nightmares about the meetings at my son’s very techically integrated middle school. You would be AMAZED at the computer illiteracy of upper middle class professionals) To us they look like “fake geeks” to their peers they look like IT professionals and are probably always helping someone set up their facebook pictures or smartphone preferences. 

    The term gets mainstreamed and the use of it changes – it’s not false adverstising it cultural perception, they changed it right? Because they were probably unaware of the policing of the “geek” word  until they were found by people who considered themselves real geeks and demanding that they stop misrepresenting the word. 

    When Gawker does it, it’s for hits. When Mommy Culture does it I’m pretty sure they’re not thinking of “Geek Culture” as a target market – they just think anything invoving computers was geeky.

  • Duke Fleed

    Geeks can spell.

    Besides, you can HIDE being a geek if your life is at risk. You can’t hide being [insert whichever "inferior ethnic group of the week"], it’s just NOT gonna work unless you plan on going full body makeup or something equally stupid.

  • Anonymous

    Your lack of practical insight only proves my point. Anyone who read my comment would see I specifically said there are fake geeks of both gender, and that both memes are accurate. Also, that blaming all men for this problem is crazy, because many geek girls hate fake geek girls more than the men do.

    Read before you hate. Or at least have the courtesy to admit that you were too lazy to read my post. Buffoon. 

  • Anonymous

    Wow! It took you while to get this little tidbit of whathave you out. Congrats on being such a steller person. How many gold stars did you get? Keep being such a joy :”)

  • Jen Thomas

    Love it! I’d like to think the majority of us have this attitude. It’s the few that ruin it for the rest of us, but lets ignore them and have a good time :D

  • Ashley

    I like to say I know enough about computers to -really- mess them up, the whole ‘little bit of knowledge is dangerous’ thing :P

    That is incredibly true. Whenever I fix a friend’s computer, I’m quick to warn them, “Hey. I might break this. I probably won’t, but I’ll hate myself if I do.” i haven’t broken one yet, but I’ve been wrong a bazillion times. XD

    It’s interesting, because I know for a long time it bothered my husband that i knew more about the inside of his computer than he did. (He can code circles around me, though.) It took some time for him to get over it, and I had to learn not to try to fix or modify his computer if he didn’t want it.

    I hate being wrong in front of people. >_>;;

  • Sheila

    The whole idea that someone is a “geek” because they like _______ just rubs me the wrong way. I know plenty of people who enjoy Dr. Who, for example, but don’t really like any other similar shows or so-called “geeky” stuff. Do we really need to label people as ANYTHING based on their interests? I don’t personally think so. Human beings are varied. Labels are dumb.

  • That Word Grrl

      If I see any of them entering my circle of Geek friends, guess what, I
    sure as hell won’t be embracing them and taking them under my loving
    wing of inclusion or doing what you seem to be doing Polo, enabling,
    normalizing and rationalizing the shitty behavior of a fucking Trojan
    Horse. I’ll tell the asshole, be they male or female, to get their
    exploiting ass the fuck away from me

    Remind me not to hang with you or your geek friends.

  • Wesley Campbell

     Dear lady geeks, I need a Romanadvoratralundar to come with me to Paris, and to marry probably. any one interested?

  • Null

    Clever trick!

    I do wonder if, given the still-skewed geek gender ratio, a factor is that a woman is statistically more likely to be feigning geeky interests to get a man, than vice versa, so the reverse situation never arises. Female geeks usually have all the attention they can afford from bona fide geeks (and then some), particularly since lesbian/bi geeks tend to outnumber gay (at least from what I’ve seen).

  • Rachael

    Unfortunately, I think there are things female geeks do that make people want to call them fake. If everyone costume you choose to cosplay, is something very racy, I have to question whether or not you are simply doing it for the attention.

    I saw a lot of people today posting about the follow up to a video called Saber, which unbeknownst to me features two pretty girls light-saber fighting in their underwear. And I have to question why? Is two girls fighting not racy enough? I thought the idea of a “cat fight” was already fap fantasy enough? Is there any point to them being in their underwear besides to get more attention for the video?

    I want to support all my fellow female geeks and gamers, but seeing stuff like that just makes me roll my eyes.

  • Anonymous

     I’ve also very often seen GUYS fake interest in things, but I’m not paranoid, and I tend to take someone’s word for it if they seem interested in something. 

  • Null

    Eh…now that the stigma associated with being a geek has diminished, you have phony geeks, and it’s kind of a strange phenomenon.

    It’s sort of like the way Israel has actually had people *pretending* to be Jewish to get into Israel…that never happened before. What used to be a one-way ticket to the oven in some parts of the world has now become a ticket to a not-awful country.

  • Null

    You see anything misogynist in his comment, ie hating women?

    I don’t agree with what he says–since condoms are much cheaper, the issue rarely comes up, and Rush is crossing the line by asking for pictures of the sex Ms. Fluke was supposedly having–but where does he say that women are bad?

    Personally I think they should hand out the Pill on street corners, but that’s just me.

  • Samantha Haeger

    My problem is this, if they’re trying to get into nerd culture and make some mistakes, its one thing. But then there are the girls that ostracized me for being a nerd wearing the fake nerd glasses and wearing a shirt they got at hot topic while still seeing me as an outcast. That’s my problem with some of the “fake” nerds. Whether its internalized or whatever, they don’t accept other nerds, just the people that saw the new star trek movie only. 

  • Samantha Haeger

    If you walk into a typical high school now a days, a lot of the kids will admit they got them from hot topic/ popped out lenses on 3-D glasses. And ask them about their nerdy shirt and why they bought it. A girl with a Spock shirt from the new movie said she bought it because she loved Star Wars.
    Not intended to be humorous at all. 

  • Katherine Traylor

    On the whole, I agree with pretty much everything you’ve said here, but… really? You dismiss the opinions of people who aren’t interested in everything you’re interested in? It kind of sounds like you’re saying people aren’t really “geeks” if they’re not into BSG AND video games AND tabletop RPGs AND comics. They might not get their references because they’ve been filling those portions of their brains with, say, physics, Chinese, horseback riding, embroidery, or world politics. I’m guessing you probably didn’t mean for your statement to be that broadly applied, but it did sound odd to me.

  • AnnieMac

     Not to make this all about me, but I’ve been mocked openly for my interests. (By women, not male rednecks, but that’s not the point.) And do you really find 100% of women attractive? I doubt it.

  • Katherine Traylor

    I somehow doubt Limbaugh would have been asking a man to post his sex tapes online so he could see them.

  • super

    so what exactly was i factually incorrect about?   The cylon secret plan ;)

    since someone else in this thread already talked about misogynist i am not going to address that topic.

  • super

    If that man was brad pitt yes he would..but it wouldn’t be to watch brad ;)
    Now seriously, Rush might not have said it about seeing someone of the same gender.  However Ann Coulter would probably have written about seeing a man post his sex tape in her weekly column :)

  • Cluisanna

    I still don’t get why doing something “for attention” is somehow bad and means we have to instantly dismiss that person. Most entertainers do the things they do precisely because they enjoy getting attention, and why not? I enjoy giving it to them if they are good. I can’t for the life of me think of different reason for wearing a costume to a con anyway – it is, ultimately, to be admired by other people. Which is in no way bad.
    Also, people who dismiss other people who claim to have been the victim of horrible violence by simply saying they are doing it for attention – um, hello? If I thought someone had to do *this* to get the attention they need (human contact is a basic need), I would be more worried about how awful life had to be for that person than anything else!

  • Alexandra Moore

    read this and I realize my behavior towards ‘dumb fangirls’ who do not
    say want to read ACD Sherlock Holmes or see classic Doctor who or watch
    the UK version of American shows is like this. Or read the novels of
    their favorite movies/tv shows is like this. I’ve never accused a man of
    this, although a male or faux male even, started me on this hobby
    horse. And I’ve never read the True Blood books, I’ve never actually
    picked up copies of some of the classic books I enjoy preferrring to
    listen to them on audio book. So am I picking up the male paradigm of
    making fandom an elite club?As for comics, I am slowly dipping
    my toes in there. It’s a huge interconnected universe with a long
    history. Yes like Doctor who. But until that I have no idea where to
    start with ret-cons and reboots and all the story archs it gets
    confusing and tangled. All I want to do is read about Deadpool but does
    that mean I have to read all the rest of the Marvel universe? It makes
    my head ache. Fandom is not a club just for ‘cool’ girls and fanboys. I should know this.

  • Alexandra Moore

     Yes but take that chance! Hell, I wear my Doctor who shirts in public for when someone sees it and gets it. Hell I wear goggles and monocle. “When the going gets weird, the weird go pro” Yep.

  • Alexandra Moore

     Yeah,  I agree. Besides why do the main characters have to be guys?

  • Lauren Sweeney

    I’ve been playing videogames since I was old enough to hold a controller, yet a couple of years ago in high school a geek guy accused me of faking my interest in Pokemon and told me that I was an embarrassment to real geeks (anonymously over the internet of course). I’m tired of being lumped into the same category as girls who take pictures of themselves licking their brother’s xbox controller, just because I happen to like games and I’m not ugly or a lesbian.

  • Alexandra Moore

     THIS! I’m trying to start a IRL geeky boardgame group and I can’t. No one is interested. Hell I have Settlers of Catan and Munchkin!

  • Kath

    Probably because of the reasons I mentioned above. You can’t have stereotypical geeks who are confident and capable “at” women. They have to be unable to “get” or “understand” them.

    Admittedly, I’ve only watched the first season (and that was back when it first broadcast), but that’s the vibe I got from it. They were four geeks who were incapable or unwilling to understand women – Sheldon was unwilling, Howard was incapable, the… uh… um… who’s the one who had the bowl cut? He thought he was good, but he wasn’t and that was a running joke, and then there was, uh… Raj? I seem to remember him just shutting down around women.

    See, four geeks and you’ve got the four big stereotypes – unwilling, overly shy, overly confident and just useless.

    If you had four girls, or even a mix, in those four main characters, the show as it stands wouldn’t work. The girl geek types tended to get pushed into support roles, such as “girlfriends” or what have you.

  • Alexandra Moore

     I had an idea called geekette which would focus on female geeks with the guys as the supporting characters. Sadly, I am not hollywood.

  • Leah Davydov

    I think that to an extent, people in geek culture have fetishized the days in which there was no Internet to connect you with other folks who possessed an encyclopedic knowledge of Blake’s 7 and you were likely to be alone in your pursuits save for a few close friends. It wasn’t so much about being exclusionary back then – you were excluded by default. Now that a lot of what we consider geeky is wending it’s way into the mainstream, I get that there’s an irrational self-pitying desire to stick to the secret close-knit social dynamic of old, even if it shuts out a lot of new and interesting folks and ultimately leaves you a socially insular loser with next to nobody to keep you company but your dead-eyed rows of pristine collectable figurines and those three guys you DM for.

  • Alexandra Moore

     Hey! I get plenty of flak for my goggles.

  • Alexandra Moore

    This inspired me to wathc more Blake’s 7

  • Eric Bazilio

    I do select what I bother to read on the web nowadays, after I learned my lesson in the small and depressing amount of time I gave 4chan a try.

    Maybe that’s why I haven’t yet stumbled into this kind of thing. I haven’t gone through the whole of Reddit specifically, since there’s so much to read through.

    I do pay attention to what I read and I asked an honest question, so the snark at the end of your reply was uncalled for.

    I appreciate the rest of it, though, so thanks.

  • Anonymous

    The point is that as a host for a reasonably prominent(at the time, anyway) television show about nerdy things like video games, you should at the very least be able to pretend you know even the tiniest thing about what you’re talking about. If it’s the producers’ fault, well, I don’t really know, but the point is she was presented in a way that I would say directly caused people to see anyone like her with suspicion. If Olivia Munn had at least seemed like she knew enough to reasonably talk about the things she was paid to talk about, then people’s expectations when talking to future possible geeky girls would be more hopeful. Instead, we are treated to the same expectations as before, because it’s just another example of a girl who is an position to talk about the things we like and doesn’t know a thing about it. 

    But the thing is, that’s what this whole thing is about. Expectation. Our expectation of a host on G4 was, because of the influence of the hosts before her, that she would be able to speak knowledgeably on tech or games or whatever. But she didn’t. And that, unfortunately, sets a precedent in our minds that well, it’s possible that even those who present themselves to be in our “geeky inner circle,” as elitist as that may be, is just pretending. And sure, it’s wrong to think that from just her example, but it’s the kind of thing that’s hard to shake. And it plays into every guy’s insecurities. And that’s why, for me, at least, her example is one to bring up.

  • Anonymous

    It’s also the sentiment that if your boyfriend got you into it, that you’re only into it to please him.  My ex got me into D&D and WoW, but I have continued playing loooooong after we broke up because I got genuinely hooked.  It’s just irritating.  

  • Sarah

    This reminds me of only a month or two ago. I was at my University’s “food building” with two hours to myself and nothing to do, so I pulled out my laptop and started playing WoW. I got so many scoffs and almost-glares from the table where everyone was playing Magic the Gathering, it wasn’t even funny. I am HARDCORE into WoW, but since I was a girl who was dressed up nice (I had a presentation, normally I just wear jeans and a graphic T with something punny on it) they seemingly didn’t believe that I *actually* was into what I was doing.
    Of course, I just reminded myself that they’re missing out on all the attractive girls who actually are nerdy like them because of their biases, and then proceeded to heal the sh*t out of the party. :P

  • Sarah

    So… if you want to write about technology, or be involved in technology in the real world as a woman, you can’t be cute? You can’t choose a profile picture that you like and portrays your personality? You can’t have fun? You can’t be a “pixie” body-type, or a “cute” body type, or an “attractive” body type, or a “skinny” body type, or a “kind-of-what-preppy-girls-look-like” body type? You have to be fatter, uglier, weird-looking, or just plain not attractive, otherwise it “doesn’t count”? You have to have a boring, business-like profile picture, otherwise it “doesn’t count”? You have to decide that one of your goals isn’t to “sorta look haut for [my] job”? You have to not care about looking decent or attractive?

    And people in their twenties can’t be experts? You had to have majored in something you’re an “expert” in? You can’t take additional classes or anything? The people who hired them, such as FORBES (who kinda know their stuff), AS experts in an area were WRONG? Even with interviews? Even with portfolios? And how do you know that they have no job experience or other experience elsewhere? Did they actually say that? I doubt that. They probably said that they are considered an expert in their job. Maybe, and this is a stretch here I’m sure, maybe the Forbes writer you’re talking about, when hired by Forbes… was… oh I don’t know… TRAINED in these sorts of things? Took CLASSES?

    I’m sorry that you feel that experts and people in the technology world don’t count if you find them attractive. I’m sorry that you feel that traditional female hygiene and personal care makes women “not really experts in technology and just placeholders”. It may be true that, for public positions, women who are hired tend to be pleasing to look at, or, worst-case-scenario for you I assume, “cute”. Maybe because they want their people in public to give them a decent image as a whole. That’s what happens. But that does NOT mean that, just because someone wants to have a “cutesie” profile picture or wants to look attractive, they have no business being in technology and are “fake”. Someone hired them as an expert. MAYBE they’re an expert.

    TL;DR – Shove it.

  • Sarah

    P.S. You don’t have to freaking have a technology degree to write about women in technology. It’s called research; have you heard of it? I betcha I could write a whole blog about dolphins and how they exist in the wild and why we need to save them. I’m a Design major. Doesn’t mean I can’t write about it, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be accurate, and it sure as hell doesn’t mean that it can’t be accurate.

  • James Howlett

    Holy hell, you compared rape, and claiming to be a geek?

  • charlie1297

    Between the two of us, my girlfriend is the one who is making me geekier, by far.  She’s the one that got me into first D&D, then online gaming, then Star Trek, then Harry Potter, then Game of Thrones… the list goes on and on.  She’s the one who told me about this site, actually!

  • Eliard

    First I’d like to say, HOLY HELL!! there are a lot of comments on this post. Secondly I see your point but I don’t understand what it is you want out of this. You’re a girl that like comics…okey. I don’t mean to be rude but I don’t really care, you can like whatever you want and I doubt that you’re alone in being a girl that like comics.

    And bringing up comments on the internet as an example of this “Fake Geek Girl” does not really carry alot of weight since we all know that the freedom of speech that the internet gives us does have its draw backs in the sense that people say stupid shit.

    Now if you were to make a Youtube video in which you film yourself talking about comics in this case you will get the “shes hot” or “fapfapfap” or “I love your voice”

    That last one I think is used as a metaphor.

    I don’t think I need to say how childish and stupid the people behind these comments are and I wish that we could cut this part of the internet community out but that would kinda defeat the whole point of freedom of speech.

    If you had not notice reading this far I’m having some trouble getting to my point but I’m gonna try to some up what I’m trying to say:

    This whole “Fake Geek Girl” is stupid any person that has this opinion is not worth listening to in the first place.

    but making the comparison that these childish people are anything like the inbred assholes that says that a girl saying she been rape is just trying to get attenion is way over the line.

    This whole stereotype of what boys and girls like was an old and silly nosense 10 years ago why are people still talking about it?

    You like whatever you like, the end!

    Oh and the whole idea of a “Geek” is also stupid.

  • irkd

    The situation is prevalent because, once upon a time in its infancy, this stereotype was real. Bear with me as I attempt to explain. As things like nerd culture and gaming became popularized mainly due to the internet, it was also noted that there was a lack of women representatives of this group. At first it was seen as a positive to have a female presence, and in fact they were so rare that they were revered! Groups of guys who may have had considerably less social skills were confronted with what they had always wanted, a girl who shared their common interests. Through the rareness and the innate appeal of this, the girls immediately had a sort of power that few imagined. Immediate dreamgirl status if you will.
    From there, things got pretty messy.
    A lot of the time, these gals had not had this sort of attention before. They awoke to discover that they were desirable based upon something that they always enjoyed, and that is quite the revelation to have. The problem is that it came with lots of baggage, drama, errant emotional minefields that were hard to avoid, and inability to safely meld into a group of friends without having a heightened status. They could often be seen as the VIPs, the celebrities, regardless of whether they wanted it. There was a hell of a learning curve to handling each situation individually without being a heartbreaker. It is immensely more difficult than it seems.

    Some girls hid their gender when they could, used voice changers and were driven to abandon their feminine aspects in order to fit in. But some reacted differently and somewhat understandably: they reveled in the attention. The world wanted to praise them and it felt great! They took the attention they could get and set themselves up for more. After a drought of affection in years previous, you could bring a group of guys to their knees with nothing but your voice in a chat program. What power! What excitement! The world was her oyster, she need only ask for any rare in-game item she wanted or any opportunity she desired and it would be met. This is where the fear comes from. The attention given to geek gals was like a superpower, and individuals reacted in kind. Some hid it, some even used it positively, and some used it for selfish reasons that hurt others.

    The prejudice against geek girls can partially be tracked to the improper and sensitive usage of this attention. Geek culture is a sensitive ecosystem. I think many people have met up with one of the gals who attributed to that poor reputation once or twice. Even other geek gals regard each other as a threat, subtly trying to roll real life Sense Motive checks to see if the newcomer is a drama bomb. Though this is still a concern, geek culture has become prevalent and is inviting more women into the ranks every day. As the sense of rarity slowly evaporates, this malicious intent becomes less of a problem. The rewards are less high. 

    As society begins to embrace the idea of geekiness as a trend, it is being adopted as a sort of fashion. Geeks are reluctant to dilute their waters with newcomers and shallow fans when they have spent so long proving the strength of their passion. They were the first, the hardest, the loudest, and they often fought for it. Years of being alone with comic books, being made fun of for being a pizza-faced loner dweeb has not melted in their mind that the culture they fought for is now an accessory. We fought the war. Society wears the medals. As the trends shifted to see that intelligent, passionate and cult-classic topics are revered,  people are playing the “geek” just to keep up. Many consider this infuriating.

    It just turns out that “fake” geek girls are easy to target as their possible motivations for “faking it” could be attributed to the (somewhat archaic) notion of Getting Attention. It’s an easy way to lash out at the whole of our current culture for the trend itself. This isn’t just a female problem, it’s just easier to point the blame SOMEwhere… 

    This also works on a male side, by the way. Geek girls, to their absolute credit, are often some of the coolest, wickedest women you’ll ever meet. Intelligent, passionate, fantastic people, and when approached by interested men who are impressed by their awesome-factor, the topic comes up that they are a “geek” or a “nerd” or a “gamer.” The response from the male is also “So am I! I played through Mass Effect on my 360 once and my friends made fun of me!” or “Yeah I’m a huge nerd, I watched the Dark Knight like 3 times in theatres!” Guys might also be talking-up their nerd cred to get attention from someone they are interested in. They see an exotic, impressive being and want to make a connection with them. Don’t look down on these people. They are merely inspired and interested. Perhaps they even want a mentor. They appreciate someone’s expertise in an area and want a common ground so they can learn. Or, you know, that chick is way hot and he wants to make kissytimes. Either way.

    Fake geek girls: You are not to blame. You are following a trend that others revile, you wore a jersey of a team you never knew because everyone else was wearing it. If you’re lucky, you’ll look past the jersey and find a true interest in what it represents…. We’re geeks, and we’re awesome. Believe it or not, we’d love to have you. That comes with the caveat that we’re a hard bunch to please and you really gotta love the culture like we do. But that’s no reason to be dissuaded. 

    Fake geek guys: it may be chic, and may be “in”, but for once people don’t mind hearing about how long you spent playing Skyrim last night. Embrace it. Don’t be ashamed that you still love the stuff you loved as a kid. If you miss playing Dungeons and Dragons, if you can still sing along with your favorite Mega Man soundtrack, now’s the time to let it shine. Cultivate it. Don’t just use it as a way to impress a cool gal in a bar when you realize she’s one of the only people around worth talking to.

    Instead of kicking people away from our culture, why not educate them for how they can better represent what they’re wearing? If it’s fashionable, this is a time to expand our ranks. Scary? We’re no longer niche? Too late. 

    It’s fractal. We’re treating this entire trend the same way we treat those possible fake geek gals. The fear of it being used improperly is causing us to attack and dissuade others from being a part of it. There’s so much potential out there! This trend will pass like any other, but this isn’t a threat: it’s our time to shine! Hail to the Geek?! Who’d have thought? Let’s show ‘em what a real geek is, and spread the things we love. 

  • Anonymous

    I’ll take putting up with girls who don’t need glasses but wear them anyway over being ridiculed any day, thank you very much.  Maybe that super cut dude just got over being an asshole and finally found some common ground.  Are people not allowed to grow?  I’m not saying there aren’t people who are just going with the trend, but again, I like it much better now that I don’t have to hide my favorite books in order to avoid sneers. Doesn’t that make it worth a fifty percent chance?

  • Anonymous

    So?  They’ll either move on to the next big thing and leave us alone or they’ll eventually learn something and find that they really do like it.  It’s annoying, but that’s a lot of teenagers, regardless of interest. It still doesn’t mean that we should assume that they’re all faking.  Sometimes I wear my glasses (as opposed to my contacts, as I actually am visually impaired) for fashion reasons, because I think they look cute.  Wanting to look cute doesn’t make someone less of a geek.

  • Susan Spencer Conklin

    Women are assumed to be wannabes, no matter what they wanna be.
    I see this dynamic at church a lot, and in government contracting.

  • Anonymous

    Love this.  This is what I try to do.  It always makes me so insanely happy when I can get someone as excited about something I love as I do.  Then we can all enjoy it together!  Cons are great and all, but having people around you all the time who understand your geekdom is even better. You don’t have to wait for months, spend lots of money, and travel long distances in order to spaz out with people who get it.  The more, the merrier!

  • Anonymous

    No. Speaking as someone who was a geek in the 90′s and 80′s, it was something that people of *either* gender often tried to hide. I didn’t, and got shit across the board for it. Spitballs and chewed up candy in my hair. Pencil sharpener shavings poured down the back of my sweater. Pennies thrown at me in class, while ineffectual teachers failed to maintain control over the students.

    But the fact that I stood my ground means I’m less of a geek? That I should be eyed with suspicion? The fact that I remained in the math team — and single-handedly defeated the teams of other schools counts for little because *some* women (and men) caved to social pressure?

    This is apologism, plain and simple. Thanks, but no thanks. I did my time in the playground, and I won’t have you trying to discredit me or my sisters because of your — wait for it — ANECDOTAL EXPERIENCE.

  • Anonymous

    On the other hand, and no disrespect meant here, when you are a women in geek communities, this kind of thing happens frequently. Also, loads of people do miss it while it’s going on, all the while patting themselves on the back about how forward-thinking they are, even referring to themselves as male feminists in the bargain.

    Not that this necessarily has anything to do with you. Correct. It is, however, baffling for any member of a marginalized group how the marginalization can be invisible for those who operate with privilege*. This is because it’s an everyday occurrence for the marginalized.

    Honestly, one of the reasons I left WoW was not the gameplay shift (that reasoning came after Cataclysm), but because of the generally hostile environment it became for me. For example: How would you feel if someone told you they wanted to rape your toon? In a party. Where nobody else commented on that being messed up, but rather joined in a little twisted chorus? That kind of comment I don’t need when I’m trying to blow off steam from a stressful day.

    *(Having privilege is not a judgement. I have privilege as much as I am marginalized. Arguments with my siblings over their inability to grasp concepts I found trivial in my, er, lets go with asshole youth, taught me that.)

  • Anonymous

    Fun story: My SO and I stopped at a used comic street-vendor because some discontinued stuff caught my eye. While trying to hunt down old-school Chaos! comics, the guy commented to my SO about how lucky he was. At which point we both informed him that my SO doesn’t read comics, at all, so he’s pretty indifferent to my interest in them.

  • Anonymous

    No geek springs full-formed from the brow of Spock. Deliberately ignoring that fact in order to justify a sexist meme is, well, sexist.

  • Anonymous

    This.  Let’s be the bigger people here.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, way to be a jerk about someone disagreeing with you.  Jill makes a fair point.  ”Hipsters” often do the things you mentioned out of irony (hence making fun of you for actually liking something), while the so called “fake geeks” are often just following what their friends are doing or just newbies.  Ugh.  Even lumping people like this makes me feel ill.  Making people feel shitty for what they like is bad form.  Trying to exclude your interests to a select group because you don’t like them in your bubble is also bad form.  Just because someone was lucky enough to not experience the same youthful torment doesn’t mean they’re not being earnest.

    I totally understand the need for a safe bubble where you can feel comfortable being yourself, though.  But I’m going with Victoria’s solution for that.

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    Owned?  While geekery may often pass from parent to child, it isn’t a physical genetic trait that anybody can really “own.”  By your reasoning, anybody who has never experienced discrimination should never cling to a social group that they identify with.  How DARE they have been so lucky.

  • Anonymous

    And the hazing men do to each other is okay?  I’ve seen male on male hazing get pretty damn nasty and cause some serious damage both mentally and physically.  Think of this reaction as the hazing target punching back instead of laying there and taking it.  

  • Amy Saville

    OH MY GOD. WHO CARES? Let people read/watch whatever they want. Their actions do not affect you in any way. If you think someone is being fake, IGNORE IT. What good could POSSIBLY come from hating on someone for not being as experienced as you? Also, the word “geek” has obtained WAY too many stigmas over the years – so much so that the word has completely deviated from it’s original meaning. Geek is the new Jock/Barbie. Everyone wants to be cool and hipster all to be accepted and approved. But how can we be accepted and approved when we ourselves don’t like anyone who isn’t as experienced as us? 

    We’re getting caught up in labels again and again and again. It’s ridiculous. Let people live their lives however the fuck they want and unless they’re out to get you or have committed a deadly sin, LET THEM BE. Who are we to judge?

  • Sayori

    “@Reddit meme” .. Really? When Reddit invented whatever but not stole it? 

  • Anonymous

    I just grew up playing Jedi and raising Pokemon while the other girls were raising babies at 14. I was afraid to be a geek openly because I was insulted and treated like a leper by other kids if I was open about it. I left middle school and high school opened me up to my geeky boys. Haven’t ever looked back. My door is a TARDIS now and my walls are covered with comic posters, Bob Marley, dragons, tie-dye, Predator, bull riding and animal pelts. I’m a geek/nerd/bad ass and proud. ;)

  • Anonymous

    Thank you.  Yes there are people like the “fake geek girl” stereotype who play up their (small amount of) geekiness for attention.  But think about the generations of girls who are going to grow up knowing it’s an acceptable thing to like geeky stuff and that they can contribute to and make careers out of fields like science and math and programming.  I’m willing to deal with posers for the possibility that my niece won’t feel like a loser if she likes scifi.  She already loves Totoro…

  • Sally Torchinsky

    I love this article, but I just want to add that a major part of geek culture is the “who knows more about any given subject” argument that inherently takes place between geeks. Geeks, like myself, pride ourselves on the slavish pursuit of trivial, meaningless, knowledge. It’s the geek equivalent of a cigarette or leather biker jacket. It’s what gets you respect in the geek community. Ladies, learn your shit and talk your shit and don’t be afraid to school some nerds. 

  • Anonymous

    “I like the Yankees” != “I know the entire lineup and pitching rotation, and Bernie Williams’ stats for the last five years of his career.” And that’s part of the problem with geeks: anything short of *YOUR* level of geekdom is dismissed as “fake,” instead of “not as into it as I am.”  

  • Addie/Annie D

    How exactly does one be a geek in the first place?

    Take myself for example, I love playing Batman games & had played a few other action games on PS2 but don’t know more then what the games plot has provided. I’ve read a few Marvel comics (was once obsessed with Elektra in high school), seen & loved the Star Wars/Indiana Jones/most Marvel movies. 

    I don’t particularly call myself a geek. Just someone who enjoys these things. 

  • Josh Frost

    “how dare you make fun of gamer girls, that’s not funny at all”
    “All gamer guys are shut in’s and afraid of women”
    Man, the hypocrisy is so Think I could cut it with a knife

  • Anonymous

     …I think that’s a stupid test. I don’t think getting butt-mad about the nuances/intricacies of whatever it is you like means you’re more “legitimate”, I’m sure there are plenty of die-hard superfans who don’t get into giant arguments about this stuff. I’ve been a DragonBall/Z/GT fan since I was 7 and I’ve never gotten into any Goku/Superman debate. Doesn’t mean I’m a phony.

  • travis

    Azura’s tit. This reminds me of these two hipster sisters I used to hang out with. They claimed to be the biggest nerds (especially the older one) and they would fangirl for months over the most obscure things. When Doctor Who was unheard of, they were all OVER it. The most annoying part was their other hipster friends who told me I should wear my glasses because it makes me cuter. Um, my glasses are to SEE, not a fashion statement! I fangirled for stuff when I was a teen (to whit; Zelda, Assassin’s Creed) but now that I’m older I know I have to balance life between (actual) geekdom and work, plus I’d rather get it on with my handsome husband than giggle over fanfiction and pictures. 
    They are basically the slightly evolved, gender-flipped basement dwelling Lovers of Crap You Never Heard Of And/Or Sucked So Badly Decades Ago You Forgot About.

    I actually made another friend through them who was at least able to be *sensible* for a moment, but she claimed to *be* certain characters (ie; told me I couldn’t be Harley Quinn for Halloween because she *was* Harley Quinn) or *own* people. (ie; I couldn’t like so-and-so actor/character because he was *hers*). Sad thing is, the girl has a guy or two (and even girls) eager to date her but she spurns them for “her” fictional men.

    Really funnier than that is the fact that my guy friend wanted him some hipster tail,and despite me telling her what a whiny clingy bitch she turned out to be, he decided to ignore me. I know its immature, but I wish I had a six pack and a front row seat for their monthly break ups. I love how they both claim to be “love people regardless of gender or age” which is hipster for “Please help me fulfill my sexual needs despite my obvious lack of good contribution to the gene pool plus I’m out of batteries and accidentally deleted my fap folder.”
    (And they have pretty much usurped the ‘suggested reading’ shelf at the local Hastings where he works…which is usually a DC comic and Ghost World. Dafuq? I need to swap them for a copy of The Crow and the Skyrim strategy guide…)

    The sensible gal mentioned earlier, to her credit, does not approve of this relationship either, but still kisses up to both parties in order to be agreeable. Plus she noted that my former guy pal, known to me to be a compulsive liar, has suddenly heard of whatever obscure thing his hipster princess brings up, despite the blank expression on his face.

      In the end I think I was ‘fired’ since I was never geeky enough by their standards; I grew up, my toys are in storage and I think more about the future than how cute a fictional character is. Plus, I can maintain a romantic relationship, and more importantly, won’t fall apart if I’m not in one. And I don’t kiss anyone’s butt when I know they’re wrong for each other.

    You can’t really blame people for trying, though.

  • Dawn McCoy

    God I hate that one. I was never happier than when I married my boyfriend but now going to scifi, gaming, and toy conventions together has gotten on my nerves. 

    When I was alone it was all “Oh, you’re looking for that comic? Awesome! You ever read _, _, or _? Man you have good taste!” Followed by a fist-bump or other gesture. Now that I go with him I could stand at a counter trying to buy something for 25 minutes and when they finally realize it’s me and not him wanting something they assume I’m gifting it to someone else. No, that’s my damn Pikachu plush I’m buying and no, until a year ago my hubby never played Pokemon so don’t assume. 

    I think the reason women are portrayed as overemotional is because there’s so many darn people being dumbasses to us. Before you diagnose yourself with a mental illness make sure you aren’t surrounded by jerks.

  • Anonymous

    I have met plenty of fake “geek” girls in my time. Someone who used to be a close friend of mine would try and get in on conversations with me and some guy friends by Googling what we were talking about. My bf’s ex claimed she was a huge nerd and gamer and never actually owned consoles or played games. I met a girl once that claimed she was the BIGGEST fan of L4D because she knew what it was, in reality she only knew the name of the game and the fact there was The Witch in it, which she then proceeded to cosplay.

    I’m not saying all girls are like that, but there are a fair share that are and then they make the others look bad. I know girls that are obsessed with Marvel and gaming. So there’s always two sides to the coin. I think the debate of “fake geek girls” will last until the people like the previous I mentionned just be themselves instead of using it to garner male attention.

  • Randi Anderson

     All the amens for this comment.

  • Gordon Amores Valledor Jr.

    I think the real message is that, “We all have a little geek in us.” I mean just because I love anime and not star trek or wars doesn’t mean I’m not a geek, it just means I’m a different type of geek from the core of geekdom.
    Geekdom in itself is just having facination in anything to near religious levels. Heck, even religious people are geeks, but they get special treatment because their geek works came many years before.
    Sports fans are very much geeks themselves. Especially when it comes to statistics. My father is a fan of baseball like many americans, but his love of statisics are brought to light when he plays the tabletop game, Strat-O-Matic. Now, he probably doesn’t realise this since he’s played the game for over 40 years, but when I see him take out the mutisided dice, the team cards and the playing field, I imagine him with a wizard hat on calling out magic missle to the darkness.
    It kindly reminds me of how people will enjoy the things they love, and label it something, and see the exact same thing in what others love and call it different.
    So I say we do something about this so called “Fake Geek Girl” Meme, because it is a meme that is detrimental to social evolution. WE ARE ALL GEEKS IN ARE OWN WAY REGARDLESS OF GENDER.

    My solution: Create a meme parodying the Fake Geek Girl, and have it potraying the girl as a newbie geek, eager to learn, by providing helpful real geek information.

  • Jonathan Wells

    But isn’t the whole idea of “geek” just another stereotype? Why is everyone so obsessed with finding a group to fit into in the first place? It just seems like one more instance of rampant (American?) consumerism. A group that you “buy into,” complete with props and costumes you can shell out on, and ready-made topics you can bond over. To me it seems to stem from the bizarre (American) high-school culture where everyone has to find a particular clique to fit into to achieve any kind of social success, or anti-success in the case of Goths, geeks, and other outsiders. How about identifying as a human being who has interests and passions and be curious about other people’s interests and passions? That’s the group I fit into. We accept everyone. And the funny thing is, you can’t identify us by how we dress or the stuff we carry. We’re everywhere.

  • bulletproof-92

    Maybe it’s because I don’t go on the internet enough, but I can’t imagine the concept of a ‘fake geek girl’. In my experience, any girl who doesn’t genuinely like something geeky thinks it’s all lame and boring. I can’t see anyone PRETENDING to like that stuff in order to gain favour with geeks if they’re not a geek themselves.

  • Jon Brewer

    That ad’s kind of weird. I knew “dweeb” was still verboten, but I always saw “nerd” as better than “geek”. Mostly because I first heard “geek” on some teen comedy show where the girl was complaining about dating a geek, even once.

    If there’s anything this meme has taught me, it’s that nerds have the memory span of a goldfish. Remember a time when nerdy guys were complaining there weren’t any girls who didn’t think all dice had six sides? Of course, back then, they were also complaining slash fiction was a thing.

    All I can associate that meme with, though, is “I write for Gizmodo. I’m such a nerd. You play Magic: The Gathering? Ew, nerd!”

  • Jon Brewer

    American Indians stereotype the closet-racist white hippie who can talk to animals and has a Cherokee princess ancestor as female. Or a male who wants to get laid and paid by the aforementioned females. That’s less misogyny and more experience. Of course, those hipsters are easy to filter out.

    Of course, not that long ago, Idiot Nerd Girl as a meme didn’t exist. It’s only because comic book movies have gotten good. People watched Watchmen and V for Vendetta, and decided to read the books. 300 only exists for scantily clad men (who should by all rights be naked, but that’s another discussion). The X-movies actually have the moral ambiguity that makes the books famous. Supernatural has introduced the norps to slash. So now we see geeky things women would like. And some people don’t like that.

  • Jon Brewer

    The funny thing is, I was molested when I was 7. By my friend’s sister. Youngest nerd to lose his virginity. And she wsa a blonde too, for what that matters.

    Of course, there isn’t much legal recourse. It’s pretty easy to find twelve aroused men when you talk about teenage girls screwing little boys. Not that it mattered with Duro and all.

    I have never used it as a metaphor for any double standard in history.

    (Also, male writers think rape is the only bad thing that ever happens to women.)

  • Anonymous

    Poseurs revile themselves and whatever bizarre alternative motive they had going on eventually. They are the ones who are excited for the table top RPG, but then either don’t show up, can’t make a character sheet or can’t let themselves act nerdy enough to play. They claim to live Star Trek, but can’t have a conversation about it. Let the ‘hot girls’ at the comic con dressed up like a character they looked up for the soul purpose of costuming as get the attention, they are going to miss everything truly fun and cool about our culture. They won’t have the same collections of tapes/books/trades/cards and if they tried it wouldn’t mean the same thing. They didn’t watch Star Trek, and if they did they would probably think it’s lame, thus missing out on something absolutely wonderful. Its all a trend, and it will pass, and everyone who was actually on the level will be too busy obsessing about Dr. Who or Magic the Gathering or World of Warcraft or Star Wars to notice.  

  • Scott A Hutchins

    I want to date a geek girl.  She need not necessarily be a gamer or cosplayer.

  • Jason Scott

    There have been so many movies and sitcoms about guys pretending to be things they aren’t in order to win the heart of a girl who then leaves him when she finds out about the lie and then takes him back anyway. 

    The only reason why there hasn’t been a movie about girls pretending to be geeks is because they haven’t quite breached mainstream cool yet.  However, I’m sure there is a comedy in the works somewhere where a gold digging girl steals a geek from his geek friend (who is also a girl like in some kind of wonderful, but instead of a tom boy a geek girl) to get his money from his geek invention, only to have him find out that molly ringwald is only after his money and true love has been infront of him all along with his geek girl next door.

    This stuff writes itself!

  • Katy Zane

    I think that what hurts me the most is when I come across someone picking up on the fashion of being a geek instead of heartily investing in something that many geeks admire or respect. Things that I regarded as important or hold very fond memories for me, like watching the X-Men with my uncle as a kid, playing Pokemon with my brothers, watching Star Trek with my husband, or reading The Lord Of The Rings with my best friend, are sometimes treated as something that is a fleeting trend. 

    I want the fact that these things matter to me to be respected. I don’t feel respected when the things I care about are treated as the same social currency as name brands and fashion designer tags. In my mind, it’s the same as if I wore a Raiders team jersey. I’ve never seen a Raiders game in my life. Wearing their jersey marks an interest in them by sheer fact that I am broadcasting to everyone around me that it is my choice of clothing. I would be lying if I wore a jersey and pretended to know anything about football, let alone the Raiders. I disrespect fans who watch every game they can and love the players. It’s disrespect because I could personally care less about the game or the teams. I have no passion or love for the sport. 

    Love is what marks the difference between a casual interest and a geeky fandom in my mind. It doesn’t matter to me if you know everything about it. You just have to show that you love it. Loving it tends to lead to more. Learning more takes time, and I won’t fault anyone for not loving something as early as I did. That’s sort of silly. 

    I am a casual fan of table top games. They interest me, and I play them. I don’t love them. I am geekily in love with Nightcrawler. I will read anything I can get my hands on about him. I hunt out episodes of the various X-Men cartoons just to watch him. I love X-Men: Evolution for the sheer fact that they feature him more than anyone else. I don’t know everything about him, but I enjoy him to no end. I am a Nightcrawler geek. 

  • fragiletoy13

    Yeah calling her a slut and such is inherently hateful. It also shows how he views most women in America. He does not say they are bad out right but insinuates that a sexual free women is something disgusting or awful. It’s funny Viagra is covered in these plans but something fundamental to the core of women’s health is a no-no. Denying women these things they need is a form of hate.

  • fragiletoy13

    In order to really understand women and where they are coming from as well as why they react the way they do you have to understand sociological privledge because that is something we deal with every single day of our lives. If you don’t care or don’t want to learn that is ok as well but to say that it is unimportant bothers me deeply.

  • fragiletoy13

    Haha This. This was my high-school and junior high music experience. They took something counter culture and revolutionary and distilled it into an easily non-offensive product.

  • super

    cool!!!  During the original run of Dr who it would only be aired on PBS.  I never saw any high school girls interested in the show. In college i came across some girls that were trek fans but never any Dr who fans.  The newer series for some reason girls are hooked on to it.  Maybe because it was on scifi and now BBC America that more girls are into the show.  Maybe its tennant as the 10th doctor that gained the attraction of women to the show.  Or maybe more girls are willing to show publicly that they are geek/nerds … I dont know. 

  • super

     there usually is a player that just becomes your favorite.  For that one player you know everything about him.  How much better he is vs similar players.  You can argue with passion about that one player against anybody. 

  • super

     thats not what i am saying.  The fact you can utter the name Bernie Williams means you actually know something about the team and are a fan. 
    If i go and ask whats the last year the Yankees won the world series and i get a blank look.  Then the person i am talking to isn’t a real Yankee fan.

  • Gyno-Star

    Extra geek points to Susana for using the word “comprised” correctly.

  • Mariah Tess

    Defining your “geek” status by what you wear or look like makes NO sense at all. 

  • Sean Bigbabyjesus Ronan

    TLDR; I stopped reading when you trivialized rape/ sexual assault/ female battery to try and make a point about a silly meme… for shame

  • Julianne McCartney

    I’m not a nerd or a geek. I like comics and cartoons and movies and Star Trek. That doesn’t make me a geek or a nerd, that makes me someone who likes stuff. 

  • Anonymous

    I believe Mr. Cross can express my opinion on your argument best:

  • Okidoll

     Thanks for this. I tried to make this argument on facebook and was attacked for it. I’m 38 and was really bullied, and they didn’t get it. It was like they were wiping their asses on our history.  They then went on to whine about not having to earn being a geek. My point was geek is not an accessory you put on and off as a fashion statement, plus how about a little god damn respect for the people who were treated like crap before you. The most ironic part of the situation was this was all on the day the movie Bully was being promoted.

  • Anonymous

    How is it shameful to point out the truth?

  • J Wong

    No, it means you’re a fan, not a geek and there’s no shame in that.  Liking something that’s sci-fi/anime/fantasy/etc. by itself does not make you a geek – it means you have good taste.  

  • Anonymous

    Hugs for you. :( It’s really frustrating how many people swear by their personal experience without even stopping to consider that it may not reflect the reality of most situations like it. Or think that it’s okay to insult someone they don’t know because of some people that are insincere. Seriously, how much effort is it to just suspend judgement of the person for a little while you see how sincere they are about their professed hobbies?

  • Nicholas Gatewood

    “Because that’s what the idea of the “fake geek girl” is all about, right? “Oh, she’s just doing that for the attention.” Which, by the way, is also a thing said when women claim they’ve been raped, or beaten by people close to them; it’s one of the foundational assumptions behind the reasoning that women lie or will lie about being raped to get abortions; it is the idea that excuses the behavior of a society that minimizes the concerns of women.”

    Way to pull rape scenarios into the situation when it’s not relevant and doesn’t get your point across. I know girls who act like nerds to get attention, I also know girls who act like dykes to get attention when they never showed any romantic interest in people of their own gender until Lady Gaga and Katy Perry came onto the scene with their fake gayness used to market themselves. This has nothing to do with rape and everything to do with girls craving attention because society is harsher on fathers than mothers and each divorced couple involved here ended with the mother having custody of the kids and the father having occasional visitation rights(even in the case of my siblings, with my abusive Mom and my responsible father who only sought to teach us things and provide for us, did the mother win out). Girls don’t get their fathers because of feminist bullshit, act like attention whores because they didn’t have a father figure.

    You wanna talk about rape? How about all the guys who are exonerated after decades of prison time when women falsely accuse them of rape, hm? They never get their fair share of attention when women who claim to have been raped totally do. My sister was raped, I ruined the rapist’s life. Alternately, a friend-of-a-friend was accused of rape and because the girl had money on her side(and a very good attorney) and he’s too poor for that, all the evidence against her was ignored and he’s being punished for having consensual sex with a girl who even sent him a text after sex saying that she totally loved it. He has 20 years of prison time, I think they even said he doesn’t get parole and he’s registered as a sex offender now.

    My own twinsie sister was raped, I’m not “for” rapists at all, but don’t you dare attack men just to try to get a point across. I’m done with this sexist blog, I can’t believe I actually gave it any of my attention. Give men the respect and EQUALITY they deserve and stop shitting on them, geez.

    Also, “the internet and other male-dominated arenas”
    Really? Really? I’m thinking I may raise my kids to be sexist, masculine women-haters and dick-worshippers as a social experiment and see just how long they last under society’s influence until they turn into modern-feminist bitches. I bet when they’re 14 or 15 they’ll turn on everything I taught them because of the Mecha Katy Perrys and Lord Gagas of the future. That’ll show you sexist bloggers! Wait, that’ll just show you sexist bloggers that you’ve won and ruined the concept of equality. Way to make me even more depressed, sickos.

  • James Howlett

    Yeah, that’s still ridiculous, questioning whether someone likes Batman as much as you, and whether or not they were really raped, is not the best analogy.

  • Matt Peters

    Great point, Nika! Do you have a blog, because I think I enjoyed your short response more than this entire article.

  • Baron Cain

    Because she lies to do it. I’ve been trying to teach her about what the “culture” is about. I have not abandoned her and I have not shunned her. I want her to be able to fit in WITHOUT having to resort to lying. 

  • Mariana Coelho

     Looks like he’s the one looking for attention…

  • Michelle Allen

    First of…Picard for me because while Kirk would go in fighting against 2 foes, Picard would use his intelligence and get them to fight each other. Secondly……Kirk did die. Lastly…….which Superman are we talking about?  Pre-Crisis? Post- Crisis or even DCAU?

     Anyhoo, I have to admit…..I hate the “fake Geek”, men and women. It also kills me how many people are surprised by me being into this stuff. Either they think I am trying to be “cool” or they are shocked at how much info I have that shows how they know nothing but labeled me. And what the hell is suddenly going on where EVERYONE wants their “geekcred”? What happened when people looked at me when I was weird?? Granted I am probably older than most here so I still tend to look at this whole thing as mostly people being insincere because it’s in right now. I can not remember ever not being a geek. Have a great photo from 1975 when I was 5 dressed up for Halloween with my friends. Those two are a princess and a witch……me? I have a Corniellus costume on. I watched Wonder Woman and the Incredible Hulk, old Universal horror films, OLD anime (I’m Talking Kimba the White Lion & Speed Racer and of course BotP) and TONS of Godzilla, Gamera, Ultra-Man and of course the Adam West Batman show and Superfriends. Not to mention Star Trek & yes…Dr Who on PBS and Battlestar Gallactica (original). Then Star Wars hit……….WOW!! I still remember the ride home when I was 7…still have my toys too.

     I got put through crap and teasing, treated like I was weird because I was a girl….Though the SW trilogy was different since everyone loved it…just not as much as me. SO, I tend to judge “geeks” today and can tell pretty quickly if they are lying, just into it to be “part of it” and real geeks like me. There are a lot less real geeks, most people it is just a phase in their life.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve never understood the elitist attitude of some geeks. I’ve been a geek since I saw Star Wars in the theater in 76 (I’m 38), and got my fair share of bullying/humiliation. But any time ANYONE showed an interest or had a geeky inclination, I’ve been quick to accept and help that person. The more the merrier, and welcome to the club/party. Doesn’t matter when you got here, just that you’re here and enjoy it.

  • Harper Grey

     Or they’re not as fanatic about them as you are. Or are just getting into them.

    I mean, I’m a pretty serious Star Wars fan, but I have no idea what the names of all the secondary & background characters are, and I haven’t memorized every line of every movie.
    It’s ridiculous to expect every single sports fan to do the equivalent. Some people just aren’t as into it as you are, or haven’t had the time to learn as much about it as you have.

  • Harper Grey

    Getting into petty arguments or “Goku vs. Superman” debates is not proof of geekery. Not everyone who is passionate about their particular area of geekdom cares to have those discussions.

    The REAL test is whether said geek realm is an actual hobby for you. You don’t have to attend every convention (those things are expensive), you don’t have to get into stupid juvenile arguments (because some people are more mature than that), and  you don’t have to know every single petty detail about that thing (because that’s obsessive).

    Being a geek is just enjoying hobbies that are considered “nerd” territory: tabletop RPGs, roleplaying, cosplaying, scifi, fantasy, science and/or maths.
    Saying “you don’t display your passion for these things the way I do, so you’re not a geek” is EXACTLY what this article is talking about. It’s elitism, and it’s stupid.

    ToruKun – on behalf of all decent geeks (those who don’t feel they have to legitimize their hobbies by claiming some kind of superiority), I welcome you into the geek community.

  • Harper Grey

     I agree with everything except for your last sentence.
    I’m only a couple of years younger than you. I know hundreds – yes, in person – of actual, lifelong geeks of all ages. I know a few handfuls of people who weren’t geeks before, but found they really enjoy geeky pursuits & have joined the community.
    The number of people I’ve known for whom geek culture is a “phase,” I can count on one hand. Only one of them is above 20.

    So no, I don’t think most geeks are just doing it is a “phase.” But maybe that’s just a difference in our own personal experiences.

  • Harper Grey

     All the internets for you, sir/madam/other.

  • Harper Grey

    Both of you are spot-on.
    Admittedly, I’m a guy. But I associate primarily with geeks, and that includes a large number of geeky girls. I cannot count the number of times someone has said “she must be some gamer’s girlfriend,” or assumed they were just wearing the Wonder Woman t-shirt to be a hipster or something.

    It annoys me that anyone can make such a stupid snap judgement like that, based entirely on stereotypes. Elitism & ignorance are my pet peeves.

  • Jerilyn

    Avon has been my favorite scifi character since childhood.  Forbid the mainstream ever gets its paws on Blake’s.  ;-) j/k

  • Jerilyn

    Most Marvel superhero fans didn’t come about their knowledge from reading the actual books, which would have been expensive and difficult to obtain at the time.  They learned in the 80′s by reading issues of The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe.  They probably wouldn’t admit that.

  • Jerilyn

    Ask around for a different local comic shop with a friendly staff and patrons.  Not all LCS’s are the same.  The shop near me would bend over backwards to help out a newcomer, teach you the ropes.  

  • Anonymous

    Great article! Echoes my sentiments exactly. :) My thoughts are if people are getting into Batman, Doctor Who, etc I am all for it. It’s a great way to insure their legacy lives onward. I don’t consider myself an authority on Batman. My interest in the caped crusader is mild compared to some of my other friends. I love Doctor Who more, and I know considerably more about it than Batman. Geek is defined as an unfashionable or socially inept person or a person with an eccentric devotion to a particular interest. To me Geek has changed in the same way that many women challenged the word Bitch. Many women would adopt the word to take it’s negative connotation and make it an empowering word. Geek has become an empowering word. Although, it still is a shunning word used by many. Anybody who calls themselves a Geek probably knows what it is like to be shunned for something they like. If we know how this feels then why do some Geeks (girls and guys) feel it is necessary to slam others for their interests. I have friends that like Doctor Who but like Twilight. Ok, I view Twilight as drivel but she likes it. I think we just need to get over ourselves. I think also the thing we need to worry more about is our trampling of others confidence in themselves. We should not have to hide what we like.  

  • Annathalia Nalapraya

     I wish I had known you somehow. I tried to learn Quenya when I was twelve, spent a lot of time at the library by myself because of it. (I couldn’t check out the book lol)

  • Anna B

    It never helps, too, that when you happen to casually mention that you like something, the person you’re talking to fires some kind of trivia question at you like a drill sergeant. It’s happened to me, and I was so stunned I just blanked out, and literally, that same person dismissed me two seconds later. “You’re not a fan of it.” I was so mortified that I think I literally walked away with my head slumped down in shame.

  • Michelle

    The most helpful resource by far was a little red book called The Languages of Tolkien’s Middle Earth, by Ruth S. Noel… Would that happen to be the book you were spending so much time with at the library? :) It’s hard to completely “learn” Tolkien’s Elvish because it’s not entirely complete. You can say “the waterfall is shimmering” or something like that, but you can’t say things like “I brushed my teeth.” Haha. Not enough verbs available.

  • Anonymous

    Women are a minority. In the context of sociological discussions, the word ‘minority’ does not refer to quantity but to power, and women are defined as subordinate to men by society in every culture around the world.

  • Diane Shleibak

    That gave me the warm fuzzies

  • Diane Shleibak

     I salute you, veteran geeks!

  • Anonymous

    I read this part; ““I’ll make a deal with all you dudes who are angry because this is
    how your demographic is portrayed. You let me have this one video making
    this one joke, and I will let you have the entire “fake geek
    girl” meme, comprising hundreds of jokes, many of them misogynist, that
    perpetuate the idea that women never do anything you like unless it is
    to “get attention” and then betray you when they get it. This should
    seem more than fair.”

    Because that’s what the idea of the “fake geek girl” is all about,
    right? “Oh, she’s just doing that for the attention.” Which, by the way,
    is also a thing said when women claim they’ve been raped, or beaten by
    people close to them; it’s one of the foundational assumptions behind
    the reasoning that women lie or will lie about being raped to get abortions; it is the idea that excuses the behavior of a society that minimizes the concerns of women.” And fucking vomited. Way to distort the entirety of the meme. I just want to fucking punch you in the face.

  • Spam Turtle

    Not really. I have favorite players, but that doesn’t mean I sit down and memorize all of their stats and stuff. I’m just not that into sports, but that doesn’t mean I’m not a fan if I watch their games and know their names.

  • Spam Turtle


    I’m a girl and a huge LOTR fan. I’m probably the biggest fan in my school, and I do memorize lots of stuff and know many details. But I know people (about half guys and half girls) who have more of a casual interest, and I wouldn’t say that any of them are “fakes”. They genuinely like it and they know stuff about it. They don’t have to be obsessive to appreciate it as fellow geeks. 

  • Silverpixiefly

    This has to be my favorite article you have ever done.  It really touched me.  Thank you.

  • MD

    Me thinks there is where the difference lays. Men LOVE to discuss about the things they are passionate and love knowing a lot of stuff. It comes natural. It is almost a status symbol to know about their subject as much as they can so they can hold a good discussion/conversation. Women, not so much, unless the knowledge is absorbed in the process. When we talk about our geek preferences we usually just voice opinions without looking for argument. In fact, we are more likely to talk with other women or people who agree with our point of view and the things we like. I know I’m generalizing, but it’s how I see it.

  • MD

    This reply is mostly for Super. Well, I am one of those new Doctor Who fans, mainly because I didn’t have access to it as I am an international geek. However, from the moment I saw 9 and Rose and the TARDIS I was hooked like a dumb ass fish. Then came 10 and I was sold (who can blame me) any way, I’m still a big fan. Now I’m watching the classic Who and I adore it. But I can see why it wouldn’t have attracted the female population too much back then. There is not much for us there, not many good looking guys (girls start their hormone shift earlier than boys), even though most of the characters are (strong) males, that itself being another reason. To top it off most of the females around the Doctor are disposable, they don’t last long. Except Sarah Jane. And most are (seemingly) not very smart. Nechama88: I dig your TARDIS door. I’m in the process of picking one of the rooms of my house (or 2) and making it somehow Doctor Who themed. Wish me luck.

  • Anonymous

    I think that this article is absolutely accurate – it is not doing anyone any good to dismiss someone as fake because they don’t have the level of knowledge about something that you desire or expect. That being said, it does ignore the group of girls (and guys, for that matter) who use their honest love of geeky things to get attention. This is annoying in any group of people, but seems to be most prevalent in geek culture. I dislike when girls try to use their gender to get attention in the geek community just because they are girls and they are geeky. Similarly, I don’t like when guys buy into it and tell girls they are so unique and interesting just because they like video games or D&D. I think it just plays into stereotypes that everyone should be trying to eschew, rather then supporting the idea that everyone is allowed to like what they like and be involved in the community no matter how ‘hardcore’ or knowledgeable about it they are.

    I once had a conversation with a guy about comics and video games where at one point I mentioned Babylon 5 and he replied that he hadn’t been sure if I was actually a geek, or just doing it for the attention until just then. Like having seen Babylon 5 was the key to my nerd status. Nevermind that I was able to hold my own in a conversation about Mass Effect, Star Trek, and Batman for 45 minutes prior. The assumption was that I was somehow faking that knowledge just so he would think I was interesting. 

  • Kelly Michelle Williams-Pintos

    It’s just people trying to fit in. Truth is, people are cruel and aren’t happy with themselves, so they attack others. True, there are some fake geeks out there that bug the crap out of real geeks (but who’s to say what a real geek constitutes?), but there’s no reason to be so hostile. The labels are so ridiculous. There’s even a label for labeling. And the other labels are evolving to encompass other bullshit that we shouldn’t care about because it hinders our abilities to grow and learn.
    Basically, we’re all children, just older, more responsibilities, money, experiences, etc. The best way to deal with it? Live and let live. People are going to judge regardless.
    If you pose with a controller or comic book in your photo to share your interests with friends, then go ahead. If it’s to get attention, do that too. Live and let live, people. If you’re too busy judging others, you’re not living your own life.
    Get over yourselves and grow up.

  • Chris Casey

    As far as I know, “geek” is and always has been a self-identifier. It’s not as if there is some IQ score under which one is disqualified from attending the local chapter meetings of Geekdom, or a standardized exam themed around sci-fi/fantasy/anime with tiered geek cred rankings based on composite scores.

    Simply put, those who are obsessed with applying purity standards to any class of self-identification are more than likely doing so based on their own personal insecurities. We’ve seen it all before.

  • Metzger Powers

    You think you’re upset.
    Not even realizing there is an equal counterpart among males.
    I just pity you.

  • Carter Michael Dohoney

    This article gained worlds of authenticity and legitimacy in my mind halfway through, when I realized that it was written by a woman, and therefor had the weight of direct personal experience. Ms. Polo, I salute you and will gladly belittle any fool who questions your commitment to your fandoms.

  • Maeve Elizabeth

    It’s funny that you have to like comics, and gaming, and certain t.v. shows, and movies, and music to be labeled a geek. And you’ve probably got to like ALL of the above to qualify. What about us who just like maths and physics? Does that technically not make you a geek, because you don’t follow all the stuff included under the geek fandom?
    Maeve (

  • Amy

    Yes! This annoys me so much. :c I really enjoy horror movies, and it came up in conversation with some guy at a party, so I mentioned it and he just sort of scoffed at me. I asked him what he meant by that and he made some disparaging sarcastic comment about how he was *sure* that I genuinely liked horror movies and then demanded that I name all the characters from Dawn of the Dead. When I couldn’t, he took this as proof that I was making it all up. At another point I was talking about how I wasn’t a fan of ‘The Omen’ and he just sort of scoffed again, saying that he was *sure* that I’d seen it and only shut up when I recited the entire plotline to him.
    I hate the assumption that I am literally creating an entire fake interest just to appear interest to some random asshole.

  • Anon Ymous

    The proper response to someone who says they like comics and has only read Scott Pilgrims to recommend some more comics for them. The proper response to someone who appears to be faking enthusiasm is to ignore them and not project their actions on an entire gender or community. The proper response to someone who appears to want to be a part of your community is to welcome them in. End of story.”


  • tramseyer

    Or, consider if they get the Dr. Who reference, but not the “Don’t blink.” I know who/what Dr. Who is and what a Tardis and a Dalek are, and a few other Dr. Who things, but the Dr. I know the most about is 9.

    I would have gotten the shirt for the Tardis alone.

    I don’t have cable, don’t get American BBC, and likely would not have gotten the “Don’t blink” reference, except I have friends that are 10 and 11 related walking encyclopedias. I didn’t even like DT until I watched Hamlet and was pleasantly surprised.

    (In fact I faintly remember seeing the shirt and then asking them which episode and which Dr. it was from. One of these days I may buy it.)

  • Maricruz Villalobos Zamora

    Come think of it, Fake Nerd Girl is very enthusiastic about these things; in fact that’s the reason she comes across as incompetent, because she loves things too much to wait to know everything about it.

  • Dazee

    “you don’t like exactly the same things I do.”
    A lot of people’s issues geek or not stem from this one thing. We as a society need to just accept people and their differences.

  • Renee Nelson

    Those last two paragraphs are awesome: good writing, excellent analysis, well stated. I love this blog.

  • Chris K Cook

    My dear friend you are obviously yet to encounter the hipster (and for that I envy you). In their pitiful attempt to be into stuff that is obscure, ‘before everyone else’ they have begun raiding geekdom…

  • A secret red slider

    I really just wanted to giving this article a standing ovation. Now I need to go explain to my kid why I was standing the kitchen and clapping. Thank you. And, I have trouble remembering specific details, but have more of an over arching understanding I’ve been accused of not really loving Bruce Lee because I didin’t memorize his birthday or not really belonging because I thought The Hobbit was amazing (the book) but felt the Trilogy could have done with some editing.

  • Yessenia Alcocer

    I have been made fun of all my life and considered weird and just because I do not memorize specific comic book, star trek, or star wars facts but have read and seen a lot of them I am considered a fake geek . Just because I do not have the time and money to read comic books or play video games, which I do love by the way but apparently do not know specifics enough to be titled a geek.But I do everything about Harry Potter. It has taken me a long time to accept what people have called me for years and be proud of it , a geek, but just because I do not have time or money to watch star wars, play video games, and read comics, all of which I do when I get a chance I am in fact fake. Just because I do not know everything about lord of the rings, which I have seen and liked, or star wars, which I have enjoyed as well, and comics I am fake. I do not agree with that because I think I have been through enough mocking to at least be considered part of a group I identify with when I have been an outsider all my life, I apologize if I have offended you but it just angers me that just because I do not know enough about my interest because of time and money and to be honest mocking I am being called fake. l apologize but I feel the fake geek girl stereotype is offensive I can not belive just because I do not know specifics I am not even good enough to be considered part of a group whose every single member supposedly identifies with the same thing, feeling like an outsider and being socially outcast. I think we need a better definition of a fake geek girl. The difference between a fake geek girl and a real geek girl is that the real geek girl did not call herself a geek first everyone else did and then she decided to accept it and flaunt it

  • Anonymous


  • Kasper Schmidt

    “But I have never, actually, in the flesh, met a “fake” geek girl. Or guy.”

    Lucky girl.