I just finished reading the book Geek Girls Unite by Leslie Simon. Now, while I appreciate the idea that Leslie is writing about how geek girls deserve to be treated with respect, the irony is, I found her to be disrespectful, condescending and judgmental. Simon says the following in the introduction:
“Let’s be totally honest: we are all guilty of excluding people who aren’t like us. Whether or not we mean to, we’ve all done it at some point or another – whether it was out of our own insecurities or fears or just being oblivious to the fact that someone else is there . So, I apologize in advance if I’ve left out any area of geekdom that might be your particular area of expertise, because there are plenty of awesome obsessions I wasn’t able to include here.” (Geek Girls Unite, p. 7.)
Now, here I was thinking that the author would be sincere in this statement. However, throughout the book, I found comments such as the following:
“While it’s obvious you read more than just the year-old issues of Us Weekly in the doctor’s office, you’re going to have to up the literary ante if you want to be considered a true literary geek girl.” (Geek Girls Unite, p. 38.)
“I really appreciate your fervor and excitement, but just because you’ve watched Fargo doesn’t mean you’re a film geek girl…yet. Read on and get yah Netflix queue ready.” (Geek Girls Unite, p. 70)
At least she clarified the statement directly above with the word “yet.” It shows that she *might* have some little bit of respect for people who don’t necessarily know as much about movies as she. (And how much does she know, really? The author never states exactly how much she knows about movies, music, books, anime, manga, etc.) However, the majority of the above statement reeks with judgment towards women who don’t know as much about film as the author, as does the following comment:
“Sorry, Megan Fox, but having a giant Marilyn Monroe tattoo on your inner forearm doesn’t make you look like a fan of classic cinema. In fact, it just makes you look like a poseur. Oh, did you hear that? I think Brian Austen Green’s calling you from the other room. Beverly Hills, 90210 is playing on the Soap Network right now, and he wants you to keep him company while he weeps uncontrollably over his lost youth.” (Geek Girls Unite, p. 70.)
Point on this statement: Megan Fox had her Marilyn Monroe tattoo removed. Now, how does the author know how much other people (like Megan Fox) know about film. If someone has seen Casablanca, but hasn't heard of Rage in Heaven or Adam had Four Sons, that doesn't mean they don't know a ton about film. After all, nobody can know everything.
As someone who loves movies and books, adores Star Wars, likes old movies like Pillow Talk, The Parent Trap, The Wizard of Oz and His Girl Friday, thinks Neil Gaiman is as close to a god as the literary world is ever going to get and likes to read Manga, but doesn’t know everything about these items listed, I find what the author is saying at the end of her little quizzes in the book to be very judgmental. I believe that ALL girls who fall under the umbrella of geekdom need to be welcomed with open arms, no matter what they like, and no matter how much they know.
If we love the Misfits, but not the Pixies, does that make us any less of a music geek? Hell, No!
If you never knew that Ray Manzarek was the keyboardist for The Doors until recently, does that make you any less of a music geek? Hell, no!
If you have no idea who Felicia Day is, but still love gaming and comic books, does that make you any less of a geek? Hell, no.
If you like to read comic books from the DC universe but aren’t really into Marvel, does that make you any less of a comic book geek? Hell, no!
If you’ve devoured every word of Jane Austen, James Fenimore Cooper, Victor Hugo and Charles Dickens, but haven’t read a thing by Virginia Woolf, does that make you any less of a literary geek? Hell to the no!
So go ahead, girl. Ignore the judgment. Ignore the people who look down on you because they think they know more than you. Rock your glasses wearing, punk rock loving, movie watching, Dead Kennedy’s listening, Jim Morrison pining, Jane Austen reading, hippy flowers in your hair, cosplay, twilight loving, Harry Potter wand waver, gamer, geek girl self just as you are. Because geeks in all their forms deserve to be treated like the people they are.
To wrap this up, I think that you should all go watch this video (which should be considered awesome simply because Wil Wheaton is in it.) To paraphrase Tracy Jordan from TGS: "Geek girls need love, too. Geek girls need love, too."