So, in response to a meme I got this question from a friend, and I thought of two ways to take this question:
1. Why are you a Geek Girl (Grrl)?
2. Why are you so aggressive about being a Geek Grrl (Girl)?
I thought about it for awhile, and could not decide which way the person meant it, so I answered it both ways.
For number one, “Why are you a Geek Girl?” I do not remember a time when I wasn’t. I mean, I was pretty jocky growing up, I played a lot of sports, but at the same time I read constantly, everything I could get my hands on. I was in a special class for the “academically talented” in my elementary school, where they bussed all the smart kids they didn’t know what else to do with to another school one day a week so we might actually learn something. This class started my lifelong love with mythology and folktales. I was the girl who blew the grading curve in every class. I’d rather spend my money on books than just about anything else. I honestly do not remember, from the time I started reading, a time when I didn’t read voraciously. I frequently had teachers who didn’t know what to do with me. My dad raised me with comic books. I loved marine biology and books about sharks and monsters.
Honestly, I do not know that I could be anything but a Geek. It’s so ingrained in my personality.
As for number two, “Why are you a Geek Grrl?” Why am I so aggressive about women in comics and gaming and things that piss me off about that? Because I love my hobbies. I love comics and I love gaming and I love computers and I love SF/F. And when my beloved hobbies do things that are hurtful or stupid and easily avoided with just a little bit of thought, I speak up.
Granted, I don’t get it as much as I used to, but it drives me nuts when guys won’t take me seriously when I talk about comics or games. Particularly when it’s something I’m really into. Or even better, when they decide to “explain” things to me that not only do I already know and get, but “UR DOIN’ IT WRONG.”
I don’t want a separate “girls imprint” that focuses on “quirky, arty teen girls!” I want superhero comics with women with different body types and realistic boobs. Or at least for them to have as many body types as the male superheroes. When I see good writing and art sacrificed on the altar of TEH BEWBIES!!! ZOMG!! It makes me angry. As I’ve said before, the popularity of titles like Runaways demonstrates that you don’t need TEH BEWBIES to have a successful title.
Just once I want to see a female character drawn in a solid fighting stance, instead of contorted to show off her ass and tits at the same time, or with a hip cocked out in a come hither stance aimed at her enemy. I also hate inappropriately sexual poses, expressions and costumes in relation to the character’s concept and personality. Emma Frost, I totally understand her costume, the physics of it elude me, but I can see that character, with that personality, looking all tarty. Supergirl is SIXTEEN FREAKING YEARS OLD, for Gods’ sake put some clothes on that CHILD!
And gaming has it’s problems as well. From the gendered language of most gaming books, to the battle lingerie clad female characters alongside male characters covered from head to toe, to the biggest problem of all, the exclusion of women from the hobby of gaming. Granted, it is getting better all the time. Almost every gamer woman of my generation or older has a story about being told that “girls don’t game” or that “girls just ruin games.” From speaking with younger women, I am pleased to find out that fewer and fewer of them are getting that crap. And I’ve found a much more female-friendly gaming scene with the Indie Gaming folks.
But seriously… if I hated comics and gaming, it wouldn’t drive me so crazy. Just like the people you love the most are capable of making you madder than anyone else on the planet. And just like, when you’re in a relationship and that person can make you crazier than anyone else, you have to communicate with them to explain why you’re seething at them. That’s what girls and women are doing now. We’re communicating our discontent. And while we are angry, you still shouldn’t take what we write as anything less than a love letter to industries we don’t want to break up with. Because the opposite of love isn’t hate or anger, it’s indifference.