I was recently reawakened to the habit of some guys looking askance at female geeks as if they truly didn’t belong by the Doubclicks’ #Nothingtoprove campaign.
So, I hate to get preachy but seriously? This is particularly stunning in the geek world due the glue that holds it together – the passionate interest in things society finds nerdy. In other words, the very identity of geekdom screams against excluding others who have similar passions.
Let’s step back and take a look at this identity. A good way to think about it is to think about different types of love. When we say we love Cumberbatch in Sherlock or, well, everyone in Firefly, it doesn’t mean we want get hitched up. OK, maybe with the exception of Jewel Stait. However, it does mean we have a common love for the show. We have the common bond of being brown coats, or Sherlockians or Trekkies or whatever your poison. C.S. Lewis puts it this way in The Four Loves: affection draws our attention to each other while friendship has our gaze turned to a common object. It’s a little like the difference between Facebook and G+; I friend you because I know you, I add you to a circle because of a shared interest. In other words, for Facebook, it’s all about you, for G+, it’s all about your content. (See more on this here.) The very nature of geekdom is our shared love for those things we geek over.
So the heart and soul of geekdom is a common interest in the game, the movie, the comic or all of the above. Seriously, who doesn’t love Tom Hiddleston’s ComicCon trailer intro? We share this in cyberspace, at the various Cons of the world and at the local pub. We do this in incredibly creative ways through fan fiction, fan art, cosplay, song, such as those by the lovely Doubleclicks, Debs and Errol or Marian Call, or a youtube channel such as the Happy Hobbits. There’s never been a better time to be a geek.
We even have will.i.am singing about geekin’:
15 years or so ago, you might feel like you were an oddity in a small town; now you have a large web of connection to share your oddity. We have this gifted, impassioned and diverse community across the world with which to share our interests. Why limit it?
So, guys, why even think about making this a boys club? Isn’t the point that we have others who share our interests? When I go down the list of geek interests, I didn’t see any particular male domain. In the gaming world, it might be that there are games geared to males (and even in that case, there are many women who could shoot your head off), but nothing exclusive. It goes against the very identity of what it means to be geek.
While we’re competitive by nature, and we’ll always be moving to out-geek one another, that doesn’t apply to getting in. While there are plenty of women who can out-geek me any day, Felicia Day, Molly Wood, Veronica Belmont or the less well known like my friend Heather, the point is there’s no test to get in other than interest. That’s the definition and the whole point of geekdom – sheer, unmitigated interest. If you’ve got it, you’re in.
So get your game on. Everybody who wants to come to the party is thereby invited. Now, where’s my Jayne hat, it’s my turn at Karaoke.