Geek Maleness and also the Myth from the Fake Geek Girl
Jay Rachel EdidinNovember 15, 2012
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I have been considering fake geek women–or, more, the tenacity that the geek community has locked to the bugbear from the fake geek girl. Even just in a residential area having a status as argumentative, the intensity and amount of the vitriol fond of the fake geek girl is unparalleled. It’s flat-out weird.
So, why is the fake geek girl this type of threatening spectre? What, exactly, does she threaten?"Geek" is really a gendered noun. There is a GeekGirlCon, but no GeekGuyCon: every disadvantage is GeekGuyCon, unless of course it specifies otherwise. You do not say "geek guys" how you say "geek women": once you have stated "geek," the "guy" is really taken as read.
Whenever a label is gendered, it carries all of the attendant baggage. What am i saying to geeks? Well, we, like a culture, regulate maleness very carefully. It’s useful for ways femininity is not, and which makes it more fragile too. The worst words you are able to call a guy are the type that question his maleness, or, worse, imply he’s feminine. Even "girl" will get tossed around being an insult.
Take the time to consider what which means–to women, but additionally to men especially towards the way males are trained to determine women. Women inside a guy zone be a threat. They taint the things they touch by association. A woman who’s into guy stuff, that’s understandable, upgrading however a guy into girl stuff is really a damaged machine.
Should you start there, it’s not hard to observe how we may have grown to be predisposed to searching at female-identified geeks with suspicion. They are other. They do not fit the narrative. They might require qualifiers, not only "geeks," but "geek women" or "girl geeks": already one step taken off the real thing.
So, when i state that "geek" is really a gendered noun, which its default gender is masculine, I am saying something about how exactly it intersects having a specific group of cultural values–and, by extension, I am saying something about the need for masculine identity towards the geek community.
Simultaneously, though, geek culture is really a haven for men who can’t or don’t wish to fall in line with the group of cultural trappings and priorities of traditional manhood in the usa. A minimum of theoretically, geek culture fosters a far more cerebral and fewer violent type of maleness, based on a complementary selection of alternative values. However the social price of that alternative model–selected or enforced–is high, and it is frequently extorted strongly–socially or physically. The perimeter is really a frightening home, also it leaves you raw and defensive, wanting to make your own approximation of the center. Rather of rejecting the rigid duality from the culture they are nominally breaking from, geek communities intensify it, distilled with the defensive bitterness that is included with marginalization. And thus maleness is policed incredibly strongly in geek communities, around in almost any locker room or frat house.
It isn’t surprising, then, that as being a lady in geek culture was for any lengthy time a profoundly gender-deviant act. "Girl" and "geek" were a zero-sum dichotomy: to assert space in a single, you’d to relinquish equivalent claim to another. Lately, though, there is an impressive change: an abrupt surge not just in the visibility of ladies in geek culture, but from the visibility and recognition more typically feminine avenues of engagement with this culture–things like cosplay and crafting, both overwhelmingly female-dominated areas. Simultaneously, women have found methods to reconcile geekery with femininity, meaning geek identity is not unimpeachably male. The very first time, you will find visible swathes of geek culture that are not only female-majority, but openly girly–inside a culture where feminization is extremely directly equated to deprecation of worth.
And every one of this really is happening inside a community primed to reply strongly to newcomers, especially to female newcomers. A number of which comes out as direct aggression. A lot of it comes more subtly, by means of constantly challenging or dismissing credentials. Thus, the brand new stratification of "real" versus. "fake" geeks, where "real" is easily recognized as the greater typically male dominated modes of engagement.
Keeping that definition narrow and ensuring it discourages newcomers also guarantees that you will have a staunch group of female allies. For individuals people who’d to mortgage significant areas of our identities in the door, you will naturally begin to see the new generation of geek women as interlopers, obtaining a free ride where we’d to laboriously claw our means by. When you are a part of an underrepresented group, it’s not hard to be taken in by a reductive fallacy that there are only room for one method to be female (or Black, or disabled, or queer, or…) in geek culture, and anybody who approaches that identity from the different position threatens your claim that they can it–not too not the same as geek culture’s own find it difficult to conserve a discrete identity as our iconography and media bleed their distance to the mainstream. If individuals people could be geeks, what’s going to remain for me personally? And when the tent is the fact that big, what, ultimately, is membership worth?
The simple truth is, obviously, it’s not really a zero-sum game: insularity and identity-policing will consume geek culture faster and much more completely than any legion of imaginary interlopers. For many years, we have prided ourselves on being forward-thinkers, early adopters, prepared to challenge cultural norms and think and work outdoors the boxes enforced upon us. Imagine what lengths we’re able to go when we could then stop replacing all of them with boxes of the design.
Rachel Edidin is definitely an Affiliate Editor at Dark Horse Comics. You are able to follow her on Twitter at @RaeBeta
Filed Under: fake geek women, FakeGeekGirls, femininity, geek, geek culture, GeekCulture, maleness, sexismGroups: Culture, OpinionCommentsLeave A RemarkTo Top