The myth of the fake geek girl

I’m sure we’ve all seen it. It’s posted all over Facebook, tweeted about on Twitter, and made appearances on every meme database on the Internet.

“You’re not a nerd. You’re a slut who found glasses.”

“You can’t really like video games. You just want to impress the boys.”

“You don’t really watch sci-fi. You’re just looking for attention.”

Ah yes, I’m, of course, talking about the “fake geek girl.” It’s a trend, created by a couple of male nerd-elitists, who seem to think that the female gender is wholly incapable of liking anything beyond simple minded-gossip and beauty tips.

These men decided that they had the right to define what a nerd is. A nerd is a social outcast. He spends all his time playing video games and can recite the Pokedex by heart. He spends his days reading comic books and his nights in front of his computer screen, memorizing every useless fact from every single sci-fi show to date. He is a nice guy, but mistreated by society. Most notably, he is a he, never a she.

They forget women like Mary Shelley, a woman often cited as the creator of the science fiction genre due to her novel, “Frankenstein.” They glance over women like Felicia Day, who made a name for herself by playing the “geek” on several popular television and Internet series, and is one of the Internet’s highest-profile nerds. They won’t even acknowledge women like Verity Lambert, the founding producer of “Doctor Who.” They will never recognize these women, because they go against their primitive idea of the “fake geek girl.”

It’s sad, really, that the one group that is founded on the idea of embracing the social outcasts is the one that is the most territorial and unaccepting of outsiders. Those that regularly spout off this idea often think that a girl who attends conventions and dresses up in cosplay is nothing more than a glorified “Booth Babe.” These are the kind of people who will demean female gamers and then turn around and wonder why they’re still single. These are the kind of people that view cosplay as consent to sexual and verbal harassment, an idea that seems farfetched but has happened more times than I can count. These are the kind of people who cling to an idea that is rooted in misogyny. Forget this idea being sad, it’s just sick.

However, this goes further than simple sexism. Women and men alike can fall victim to this harsh definition of geekdom. All problems in the community will stem from this close-minded definition. But what exactly are the credentials to deem yourself a geek?

There. Are. None.

There is nothing in this world that can make one person more of a geek than anyone else. Do you identify as a geek? Well, congratulations! You are a geek! Who cares if you only play Angry Birds on your iPhone. Do you identify as a gamer? You are one. Who cares if you’ve only seen Matt Smith play the Doctor. Do you identify as a Whovian? You are one. Who cares if you’ve never been to a convention, never spent countless hours slaving over making your Captain America cosplay just right, never been able to recite the Bible in Vulcan like it was second nature. There are no credentials to being a nerd. If you call yourself one, you are one.

So wear that badge proudly. Slap it on your sleeve, and when anyone tries to rip it off or make a mockery of it, smile coyly at them and let them bask in the glory stemming from the belief that they have discovered what no man has before. Let them think, for just a brief second, that you are the fake geek girl that they hold in such distaste. Let them think that you are the dreaded geek poser. Then let them in on a little secret that’s sure to blow their minds. You’re not the fake geek. They are.

In my opinion, geekdom isn’t defined by a list of impossible credentials. It’s defined by a mindset. A nerd is there for the outsiders, but still welcomes the “in crowd” with open arms. A nerd allows themselves the luxury of being unequivocally passionate about something, whether it be anime, TV shows, books, or games. A nerd may be a social outcast themselves, or the most popular kid in school. A nerd can be a man; a nerd can be a woman.

But a nerd will never utter the words, “You’re just a fake geek girl.”