?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Apparently, I've lead a sheltered life....

... but I know why.

First, a rec from the man behind Wesley Crusher:

http://wilwheaton.net/2013/07/nothing-to-prove/

I have only been aware of this misogyny-in-geekdom problem in the past year or so via LiveJournal links and posts on the topic. I've been a girl geek all my life, but never got any flak about it from the males of that species, that I remember. I suspect that has to do with the fact that I never made my geekiness into a broader social thing until 1999. As a kid, I had my little group of geek BFFs, which included my brother, who wasn't any the wiser than me that Real Girls Can't Be Geeks or that Geekiness is a Boy's Domain.

My geek resume (what I remember of it in my decrepit middle age):

- Watched the original Star Trek in syndication. Over and over, and as, for example, over.

- Invented my own language when I was ten. Read everything I could find on linguistics, codes, and ciphers.

- Invented my own planet in junior high, complete with maps. Wrote fiction about it.

- Was really bad at both cooking/sewing and changing the oil in a car. Also, both Barbies and sports. I preferred books.

- Read lots of science fiction short stories and novels. Stopped reading them if the female characters were two-dimensional or non-existent.

- Went to see the original Star Wars (now episode IV) eight times in the theater during its first run. Same for the next two movies of the original trilogy (hey, I didn't have a VCR until 1987, nor was I paying my own movie entrance fees for the first two movies).

- Was fannishly obsessed with Escape to Witch Mountain, Logan's Run, Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time series, Island at the Top of the World, Star Wars, the original Star Trek, the original Battlestar Galactica, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Terminator, Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, 2010, and Star Man (just to name a few). Read the original novels, or TV show/movie tie-in novels as well. Read everything by Alexander Key (Witch Mountain's author).

- Was fannishly obsessed with Carl Sagan's Cosmos and Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey.

- Never went to a convention for Trek, or anything else (prior to the ATPo Gatherings). Wasn't interested. Some of that was textbook anti-socialness. Some of it was internalized Geekophobia ("people who go to those conventions are weird, I'm not" syndrome).

- Added a double major in computer science to my already-chosen major, psychology. And did honestly look for a way they could be combined (human-computer interaction/ergonomics, artificial intelligence, to name a couple), before just embracing them in different ways.

- Got my first Macintosh computer in 1987. Have owned one (or two) ever since.

- Had subscriptions to Omni, Discover, Science Digest, and Scientific American.

- Was never much of a gamer. Tried D&D once. But I had a huge crush on a girl who loved video games and would watch her play for hours (does that ruin my cred?).

- Was fannishly obsessed with all the later Treks (not Enterprise so much, but it was killed just as it was finding itself). In fact, I still refer to the 1990's as the "Golden Age of Genre Television." I mean, you had the Treks, X-Files, Highlander, Buffy, Angel, Lois and Clark, Babylon 5, etc, etc.... Say what you want about what came after, these were the pioneers who made it all possible.

- Have a Master's and Bachelor's Degree in psychology, a Bachelor's degree in computer science, a Master's in philosophy, and a Ph.D. in philosophy.

- Worked as a programmer/developer for 17 years (and counting), off and on.

- Once titled a Match.com online dating profile, "Star Trek, not Softball." Lesbian dating when you're a geek, believe or not, is hard.

- Stayed up all night to watch Voyager pass Neptune. Glued myself to NASA.gov to watch Curiosity land on Mars. Wandered out of my cubicle at work to check out solar eclipses and wondered why none of my colleagues were joining me. And those are just a few examples of my on-going fannishness of Cool Outer Space Stuff.

- Webmastered one of the arguably geekiest Buffy websites online, All Things Philosophical on BtVS/AtS. Proud to say the associated discussion board was a haven of intelligent fun-having for guys, gals, and little green creatures from Alpha Centauri alike. The fact that I made my social debut into mass fandom on a BtVS board (the original Bronze) probably explains a lot about why I didn't face sexist nonsense.

- Made a visit to CERN the grand finale of my recent European vacation.


One last thought on this: I have always been painfully aware that geeks are looked down on, especially at the grade school level (and somewhat in college as well). I was not conscious of that being a gender thing, although I suspect sometimes it was. But I got that attitude from other girls (friends and social princesses alike), who really didn't understand my interests, or sniggered at the fact that my friends and I played make-believe at recess up through junior high, and were a bit judgy or dismissive of me because of that. But I always interpreted that in a "Geeks don't get respect" thing, rather than a "Girl geeks don't get respect" thing.


So, in conclusion:

"Geeky is just shorthand for enthusiastic and enlightened" --scrollgirl

Comments

ponygirl2000
Jul. 24th, 2013 11:19 pm (UTC)
I can remember when I was young getting weird looks in the comic book shop from guys or when I went into the sf/fantasy section of the bookstore. I think it was still in grade school actually being told by boys my own age that the comics they were looking at were for boys - it was nothing truly hostile but just a lot of little things that over time made me feel that I needed to keep my interests to myself. Of course as time went on I met lots of girls and women who had geekish interests - some of the biggest horror and Stars Wars fans I've ever met (to the point of one having a Wookie at her wedding) have been women. Now I think I'm a bit spoiled because so much of my online and fannish interactions are with women, at this point I usually assume most people online are female, so it's always a bit of a shock to see the real sexism that's still out there.
masqthephlsphr
Jul. 24th, 2013 11:32 pm (UTC)
There is a certain "female until proven male" thing in the on-line fandom we experience, which is probably a side effect of a self-generated sexual segregation thing whereby fan-boys tend to congregate in some places, and fan-girls in another. I never encountered that until after I left the confines of the Bronze and ATPo, though, where there was relative gender parity.

At least, I assume there was gender parity in those places. A lot of people didn't say one way or another.

And I didn't really say which I was on the ATPo site itself (until I added an About the Author page), so I do recall one or two reviews and links to my site assuming I was male. That was always jarring, because I didn't have an expectation that would happen.