When I was asked to write a blog about being a female in geek culture, I thought long and hard for a good topic. For me, being a fan has never been about my gender. I grew up watching and reading science fiction, fantasy and horror, and it never occurred to me that it wasn’t what girls do. Many of my friends suggested writing about the whole fake geek girl phenomenon that seems to be so popular now, and while I think it’s a bit silly and overdone, I figured that would be a good place to start. The entire idea of one gender being more entitled to a fandom makes me want to laugh. I cannot remember a time in my life when Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who or any other show I love and grew up watching was not a part of my life. I read Heinlein and Tolkien in elementary and middle school and never thought once that it was weird. My father would take me to the comic shop when I was seven to buy the newest issue of X-men, Batman and Elfquest. He also encouraged me to read and watch what I liked as long as it was age appropriate for me. I am ever thankful for that. I believe that too often, potential fans can fall through the cracks because we put a gender on some fandoms: “Girls can’t like Spiderman because it is meant for boys.” “Boys can’t like My Little Pony because it’s for girls.” Who really cares what you like other than you? Yes people will always have their opinions of you. Because of the society we live in today they will make sure you hear their positive, and more than likely their negative thoughts on you, especially with people being able to hide behind the internet and the whole cyber bullying culture. Don’t let another person tell you what you cannot like, whether you are a girl, guy, young or old.
This whole concept of people bashing girls (and sometimes guys) for liking the same fandoms that guys once complained about there not being enough girls in 15 years ago, is just ironic. I remember being one of the few females at the small sci-fi cons in 1996, wishing there were more ladies at those cons. The ones who were older than me really had an impact on me and they know they did. I tell them all the time how happy I am to have known them, and how happy I was they saw this 12 year old girl and they encouraged and inspired me. It is the exact same for all the bashing we are seeing for young boys in the media now for liking shows like My Little Pony, a show that is labeled as a “girl show” (that makes nods at shows like Star Trek and Doctor Who.) We should focus on encouraging newer and younger fans instead of telling them they aren’t nerdy enough or big enough fans to like whatever it is they like, whether it is D&D or Doctor Who.
People fall in and out of interests all the time, they go through phases like everyone does in their life. They may have a time they love one thing and then move onto something else they like. This doesn’t make their interest fake, it also doesn’t mean that just because they are a girl in fandom that they are just there because it is the cool thing to do. They are there because they love the genre, and often the community as well. There may be people who jump on the bandwagon because something is popular, which is good, because when a show or series has a huge fanbase, we get more of the thing we love. Just cause someone is new to fandom doesn’t make them fake either, but maybe you should not be too quick to judge a person on being “fake” based on their gender. People can love something because it interests them, whether they are the demographic or not.