Felicia Day, one of the few media relevant geek girls I admire, reposted an article today about fake girl geeks. I won't bother linking to the article because it was pretty much about geekdom being an exclusive club defined by an obsessive knowledge of a particular obscure genre. The article in and of itself was ridiculous, but it touched on a particular pet peeve of mine.
There is a subset of women - even a few with some degree of fame within geek and gamer circles - who saw a way to gain attention by exploiting a particular niche. It is as though they thought "Hey, I'm good looking and the geek culture is starved for girls like that so I can get famous by exploiting that". I'm not going to name any names because it is simply in bad taste. I will say one of them recently popped up in the final game in a certain widely played trilogy. When your claim to geek girl fame is licking a piece of gaming hardware that manages to look less plastic than your skin.... well, you know who you are and you know what you're doing.
I realized I haven't really given anyone a proper introduction here. I'm a gamer girl - among other flavors of geekdom that i inhabit - and have been as such since i was about six years old. If my fascination with video games had a birthday, it would now be old enough to enjoy the whiskey of which I am so very fond. When asked about the games I play, I pretty much tell people that my girl card was revoked because I own somewhere well over 350 video games. I read comic books. I enjoy science fiction and fantasy novels, though more science fiction as I've gotten older. As someone who has spent most of her life feeling like she was on the outside, I love the fact that geek culture is ultra inclusive. Do I resent the fact that comic book conventions have been swarmed by fans of movies and television shows because studios figured it was profitable to market there? Yes. Would i ever laugh at anyone who demonstrated a general lack of knowledge about geeky things, but a genuine desire to learn? No.
What I do take umbrage with is the fact there is a certain subset of women who use geek culture and its general male dominated membership to make a play for attention. It sort of reminds me of Agent Perrotta, a character featured in an episode of Bones that took place in Los Angeles. She is constantly trying to parlay her career with the FBI into something like Temperance Brennan's fame and fortune. She pesters Temperance about reading a screenplay and is constantly seeking advice about things like getting an agent. Agent Booth calls her out on it, basically saying that working for the FBI is a noble cause in and of itself and should not be used to turn yourself into a fame whore. This is exactly how I feel about fake geek girls. It's dishonest and exploitative to something that is a genuine part of many people. We find acceptance and fulfillment in our chosen subculture. It is offensive to us to use it to further other ambitions when it is not something about which you are actually passionate.
If you're new to the culture and it is something you are genuinely interested in, don't be afraid. Ask questions and be open to learning. We're the subculture that allows and includes everyone, but phonies? Screw those guys.