So looking through the archives of this blog, I’ve been part of the “are women really geeks? is there sexism in geek culture?” discussion since at least 2006. (The answers, by the way, are “some of them,” and “yes,” respectively.) And it’s come up again of late, with regards to the Fake Geek Girl meme and subsequent smackdown by awesome ladies, and then the collegehumor.com Imposter Nerd Girl ads. And sometimes when I’m sitting around eating lunch at work thinking about these things, I get inspired to write long, eloquent, impassioned blog entries about it all that will never happen because lol, worst blogger ever, and because frankly, many other awesomely geeky women I know are already on it, tweeting grumpily, blogging up a storm, and sharing links.1
But I also just haven’t had much to say in this go-round, and the full why of it didn’t occur to me until relatively recently, when I remembered this awesome gifset of Amy Poehler responding to the seemingly-eternal women-in-comedy question: “Ugh, this question is boring.”
I just…. you guys. It’s boring. Are nerdy women really nerds? Yes. Is sexism a thing? Yes. I don’t get what we’re still discussing here.
“But the fake geek girl meme isn’t sexist because there are also fake geek guys –” Then why is the image of a girl? In both of these recent cases, no less? Why isn’t it a fake geek (period) meme?
“You can tell she’s a fake geek because she looks like she’s trying too hard –” Yep, because there’s no cultural pressure for women to try to look a certain way AND you can clearly tell people’s intentions by their looks AND lololol yes judging people on looks, that is always an awesome thing to do.
“But it really does only target fake geek girls so it helps the real geek girls –” Right, because deciding one group of women is okay to target is going to reduce sexism, yes, that is a good plan. (Now where’s that sarcasm font I keep hearing about?)
“But there really are fake geeks –” Nope, geek culture is just a lot more mainstream now so yeah, some people are interested in it, but only interested in it a little bit. Deal with it.
“But I don’t know any women who are really geeks — ” Then that’s on you to figure out why you don’t know any and how to change that yourself (hint: maybe the fact that you insist that they don’t exist actually makes them not want to be friends with you?).
“But you should be worrying about things that are more important –” Who says I’m not? Maybe I’m just also over being expected to prove myself when I want to discuss something that interests me. Also, hey, this whole dealing with sexism in my life thing? Pretty important to me.
And why do I have stock answers for all of these objections? Because I have seen these comments a million goddamn times and I am so bored of them.
Look. I get it. People identify as nerds and are very protective of that identity. It makes people feel special (I am guilty of this as well) and there’s still enough nerd mockery around that it also makes people feel defensive. But this whole debate is tired. Yes, we’re going to have to keep being angry and keep pushing back until women are no longer depicted as cartoonish villains trying to get cooties all all the best toys, but ultimately? The people who keep insisting that women aren’t real geeks and/or that there’s no sexism in geek culture are so incredibly, obviously wrong that I’m sad we still have to justify their ideas by replying at all. Anyone with half a brain has realized that welcoming new people into a subculture is about a million times more fun and satisfying than alienating people from it. And that the defensive, frightened dudes who don’t want to share their toys aren’t just jerks. They’re also incredibly boring.