fake geek girl

Geek Girls of Vancouver Have Stories to Tell

Geek girls of vancouver logoby Jarrah Hodge

The other day I was doing some research for another blog post when a message popped up from a friend of mine, asking, “Have you seen this?” The link was to a a Storyhive project pitch to make a film about Geek Girls of Vancouver.

I immediately signed up, cast the maximum five votes for the project, and then got in touch with the group pitching the project to learn more.

Amanda Konkin, who also co-hosts Quiver: The Green Arrow Podcast, spoke with me and told me a bit about her Vancouver-based organization, 4geeksmedia, and why they wanted to make a film with a focus on female geeks.

“I’ve been a part of 4geeksmedia for about two years. It’s myself and three of my closest friends and we’ve been covering geek events in Vancouver and across the Lower Mainland,” she explained.

At these events, Konkin and her friends met tons of amazing geeky women, but felt their stories weren’t really being told.

“Mainstream culture seems to think that geeks are men and our experience is that’s not the case. We go to conventions all the time and often they’re mostly attended by women,” Konkin explained.

“When [Telus’ competition for creative film grants] Storyhive came about we thought it would be great to use some of the people we met to highlight geek women, which we think is an underrepresented group. We wanted to highlight these amazing women participating in geek culture,” Konkin added.

The women 4geeksmedia is proposing to profile are musician Kieran Strange; “Nerd Queen of Burlesque” and Geekenders artistic director Fairlith Harvey; actor, writer and voiceover artist Joanna Gaskell; Loraine Sammy of Racebending.com; and writer Shannon Campbell.

I asked Konkin if she could tell me a bit more about how she sees women geeks being marginalized. She said one of the biggest areas where women are excluded is in the marketing of geek culture. Read more

Posted on by Jarrah Hodge in Can-Con, Feminism Leave a comment

Geek Anthropologist Marie-Pierre Renaud on the “Fake Geek Girl” Debate

Photo of a group of fans at Star Trek Las Vegas

by Jarrah Hodge

A longer version of this article was originally posted at Trekkie Feminist

For anyone not familiar with the “fake geek girl” issue, it flared up online in 2012 after two articles were published. The first was by Tara Tiger Brown at Forbes telling supposedly attention-seeking “fake geek girls” to “please go away”. A couple months later. Joe Peacock wrote an article for CNN called “Booth babes need not apply”, in which he took issue with: “pretty girls pretending to be geeks for attention.”

Example of the "fake geek girl" memeThe debate spiralled out from there, leading to a couple of different memes including the “Idiot Geek Girl” meme. It touched a nerve with a lot of female geeks (like me), who felt we were having our “geek cred” policed unfairly based on gender and appearance.

So I was excited to see an article about a study on the “fake geek girl” debate by Marie-Pierre Renaud. Renaud is a graduate student of sociocultural anthropology at Laval University in Quebec and is one of the founders of the fabulous blog The Geek Anthropologist.

In the intro to her research, Renaud says she was surprised that she kept encountering an assumption that women were historically rare in geek culture.

“In the rants against ‘fake geek girls’, a lot of the arguments that were invoked was that there didn’t used to be so many women in geek culture, and now that it’s becoming more popular, there are a lot more women. A lot of people who responded to the rants…wouldn’t really contest this idea that it was new for women to be involved in geek culture,” Renaud explained to me in an interview.

She said overall there isn’t really research or hard data to support that argument.

“The fact that there are more women who are visible doesn’t mean there are more women than the past…we don’t have a census of geek culture. ‘Geek culture’ keep changing…it’s not something you can clearly define,” she said.

Renaud got into geek culture at a young age by watching Star Trek with her dad, and her experience with the Trek fandom reinforced her feeling that the idea that women weren’t involved wasn’t necessarily correct.

“I would always be thinking back to documentaries like Trekkies I and II and documentaries about Firefly fans and fans of other franchises, and my experience would always be, well, there are women out there.”

“I titled the foreword to the series, ‘As Always, it Started with Star Trek’ because as a Trekkie, I know, like a lot of Star Trek fans, that one of the reasons the show was saved from cancellation in the 1960s was that Bjo Trimble started this campaign – with her husband – and she’s remembered as the woman who saved Star Trek,” Renaud explained.

“We have to ask ourselves were women really absent? Were we ignoring them? Were we making them more invisible? And if they were really present in less numbers than men, then why was that the case? We can’t just assume if there weren’t women there, they were not interested.”

Read more

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FFFF: The Fake Geek Girl Myth

FFFFChloe Holgate stars in this video parody that pokes fun at the idea that there are “fake geek girls” and that they’re deeply threatening to nerdy guys.

If you’re not familiar with the debate around “fake geek girls”, the film creators recommend checking out these links:

Posted on by Jarrah Hodge in FFFF, Pop Culture Leave a comment