Friday, July 19, 2013

Raising the Next Generation of Geek Girls

I mustache you a question, but I'm shaving it for later.

My daughter is almost ten and is well on her way to full-fledged Geekhood. She’s a Whovian. Buffy is her hero. She has an emerging love of comic books. She’s a maker and an artist. I love this for my daughter, but I’m also worried. 

Being a Geek Girls wasn’t always easy for me. Most of my friends never understood my obsessions. They didn’t get my references and joke. Being a geek has been almost as isolating as it has been rewarding. 

I see this changing. My daughter has girl friends that not just tolerate her quirks, but embrace them. They play “Don’t Blink” on the playground and have fun dressing like super heroes. She invites them over for Doctor Who marathons and shares her comics. They spend hours creating contraptions and inventions. Her enthusiasm is infectious and she’s well on her way to creating her own Geekdom. I only hope this continues. Shows like Big Bang Theory, Mythbusters and the ever popular comic book movie franchise have made all things geeky cool. People who’ve never cracked a comic book are now heading to Comic-Con in droves. So perhaps there is hope!

Right now it would seem, geek is chic.

Being the odd girl out isn’t the only thing a geek mom has to worry about for her daughter. Young girls are bombarded by images from the media telling them they aren’t pretty enough, sexy enough, or skinny enough. And sadly the same thing can be said for my beloved Geek Culture. Sexism abounds in the SciFi/Fantasy world. Comics are filled with scantily clad, overly sexualize women. Games are no better. Tall, big busted and a small waist seem to be the norm. Women with curves are discouraged from CosPlay, for fear of being ridiculed and harassed. Even in books there is an attack of women. High fantasy is filled with rape and forced sex. Science fiction and fantasy books that have strong female characters who engage in consensual sex are labeled ‘Chick Lit’ or Paranormal Romance.


Now I’m not saying Geek Culture is bad for our young girls. Not at all. But we do need to be prepared to combat these issues and find positive messages for our girls. They’re out there. We just need to make sure that our daughters see the good as well as the bad

I love that my daughter has embraced Geek Culture, and will continue to support her in any way I can. But I believe as the elders in the Geek community, we need to ensure the next generation of Geek Girls can proclaim their Geekdom without fear or rejection. There is a culture shift happening out there right now. Let's continue to support our young girls. Refuse to let cyber bullying, harassment and sexism keep them silent. Stand beside them and Let their Geek Flag fly.

Some of my favorite women/girls in books, movies and TV:

Meg Murray from a Wrinkle in Time.  Emily from The Amulet comics.  Miyazaki’s Kiki from Kiki’s delivery service.   Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  River Song from Doctor Who.   Agatha Heterodyne, from the web comic Girl Genius.  Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series.  Kaylee from Firefly. 


  1. Your daughter is lucky to be exposed to such strong female role models. So much of our culture sends girls (and boys) the wrong messages. It's hard sometimes to find three-dimensional female characters in television and movies, but you named quite a few examples in your list of favorites.

  2. My new them totally confused people where to post comments. I wanted to include KQuintana's comment on the right post. sorry about the confusion!!

    You bring up some good points! I am also a geek, though it's something that I've developed recently, rather than as a child. I also like the way that you've tied in the female image in fantasy and geekdom. I think that a lot of it has to do with the fact that those kinds of shows are targeted toward teenage boys. We can only hope that as girls embrace and 'storm the castle', we might be able to have an influence on how we're portrayed.