The Geek Girl

How would you define yourself? It’s a difficult question. Most of us immediately offer our job description as it’s far easier than doing any deep soul searching or self reflection. Certainly one term I generally try not to apply to myself is “Geek girl.” You see, I know a few of these unusual creatures in the flesh – and I’d honestly much rather be called a “fangirl” or a “nerd” than a “geek”. Although there have been all kinds of moves to reclaim the term as something positive and empowering, it still has way too many negative connotations for me.

Anyway, I decided to separate out the different characteristics of a “geek girl”. If you think you’re a geek girl or the male equivalent, here are the features and requirements that pop up most often:

An interest/career in IT and new media – Geek girls veer away from traditionally feminine interests and careers. They often work as programmers or in the sciences, and usually have some degree of technical competency due to their love of problem solving. Ask these girls to install that new hard drive or set up Mixit on your cell phone.

A T-shirt with a software logo or web address on it – Obviously linked to the point above, geek girls enjoy advertising their PC-centric lifestyle and affiliations, using their own body as a billboard. Then again, they could just get a kick from people reading their chests…

Not glam - Considering they spend so much time in front of a computer screen, geek girls don't exactly layer on the make-up and don the latest fashions in a bid to impress people. They can of course do both these things quite competently if and when they want to. However, normally geek girls dress for comfort, not glamour. So expect jeans, takkies and T-shirts (loose or figure-hugging).

A love of gadgetry – Just like their male counterparts, geek girls are complete techie whores: they’re practically orgasmic at the thought of the latest mp3 players, laptops, cellphones, digital cameras, gaming consoles, GPS, PC hardware and shiny accessories. Although it doesn’t apply to all geek girls, some seek out the “feminine” versions of all these items – someone has to buy those bright pink PSPs and Hello Kitty iPod covers.

Loud and proud – Despite being considered unusual in society, geek girls are not ashamed of who they are. In fact they tend to be vocal about it, whether in real life, or, more likely, in the online realm. As South Africans love to say, geek girls have no “skaam.” They have strong opinions, love attention and as a result they’re quite happy to post warts-and-all or (supposedly provocative) flesh-baring pics of themselves on forums – forums that are mostly populated by geeky guys. Geek girls are also likely to add the “Hot or Not” application to their Facebook profile, allowing friends (and strangers) to rate their sexiness. Say what you want about geek girls but they certainly don’t lack courage.

Subject specialist – Geeks, male and female, have an incredibly thorough knowledge of their area of interest, far beyond what is considered “normal”. The subject matter can literally be anything, from computer hardware to genetics, although today it seems to apply most commonly to pop culture (movies, comics, TV, gaming). Geeks can passionately debate their favourite subject for hours. Bear in mind though that unlike a nerd, a geek doesn’t have to be an all-round brainiac, a real A-class student. Some geeks reject the imposed structure of the educational system, and have dire academic records as a result.

Unshakable devotion to at least one cult TV show or movie – Linked to the above point, geek girls are usually extremely devoted to at least one cult TV show or movie series, with an intricate knowledge of the relevant universe. They may even write fan fiction. Very often these films and shows fit within fantasy or sci-fi genres. Here are some typical geek girl objects of affection: The Matrix, Dr Who, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, X-Files, Hackers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Lost, Star Trek and Star Wars. A similar devotion may also apply to traditional fantasy, sci-fi and cyberpunk novels and comics.

Friends and lovers – Geeks stick together. Very often considered socially “odd”, girl geeks tend to include a number of like-minded men and women in their friendship and love circles – whether they hang out together in real life, or mostly communicate over the Internet. It’s not uncommon for a geek girl to date a man she has met over the Internet.

Gaming – Geek girls like to game. They especially like to step out of their own skins and indulge in role-playing. As a result RPGs (Role Playing Games) are especially popular, whether they are traditional tabletop games like Dungeons & Dragons, Vampire and Exalted, standalone PC or console games like Neverwinter Nights or Final Fantasy, or MMORPGs (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) like Guild Wars, World of WarCraft and Everquest.

If it doesn’t have a website, I’m not interested – Geek girls are Internet addicts, and are quite content to use this communication channel for anything if it means they don’t have to step out of the house and deal with living, breathing salespeople. Banking, shopping, gaming, hiring DVDs or ordering fast food – where possible, geek girls do it online!

W00t! – Given the amount of time they spend online, Geek girls are prone to use Leet/1337 Speak. In ordinary face-to-face communication it’s highly likely they’ll use expressions like “w00t”, “FTW (For the Win)” and “FTL (For the Loss)”.

Bring on the carbs – Girl geeks can easily become workaholics, particularly if they love their jobs. As a result they don’t have time for healthy cooking, and tend to live off junk, microwave and instant cuisine. Unless the girl geek is something of a fitness fan (jeeks – jock-geeks – do happen!), this kind of high carb, high fat diet can pile on the flab, particularly when it’s combined with a sedentary lifestyle.

Watch out for these health problems – Given the amount of time spent indoors, skin cancer isn’t really a concern for geek girls, although exposing skin to sunlight now and then will provide some much needed Vitamin D. Geek girls’ biggest health threats are obvious given their sedentary lifestyle – being overweight and developing carpal tunnel syndrome.

So, am I just reinforcing clichés or does any of this ring true? Am I forgetting anything?


Anonymous said…
Geek/nerd girls = Hot. (Just not that one with the Batman mask or controller.) :)

Sadly this species of woman is rare, especially in a country like SA. :(

I can count the amount of geek/nerd girls I've met in my life on half a hand.

Great post!
Team America said…
Shit dude, there is enough geek in me to fill a relationship. I am quite happy with a normal girl to balance my life.

Having a girl who is interested in computers is great but draw the line. I'd rather see my chick in a bikini in the sun or pool than sitting in front of a pc all day. There may be a compromise with bikini infront of the pc.

But I do find that most girls are interested in computers and they arent geeks. They all play games too just not hardcore ones (I am not talking about the sims), they just have a more balanced life-style. What also helps is finding a game that you both could play to keep yourselves entertained... and no, network games only work after a while. Trust me when I say that running your girlfriend over in a humvee in Desert Combat is damn hilarious but NOT good for a relationship!

I think Jeff Green had the best column. In it he talks about how having a wife who does NOT play computer games is probably the best thing. She makes sure the gas bill is paid and the kids are looked after when he gets carried away with playing games.

My current girlfriend (note the blog I am posting this in) played a few games before I met her but it took alot of work to get her playing BF1942 and Warcraft (co-op only, don't try deathmatch, its worse than hitting your girlfriend with a humvee in desert combat).

But yeah once you pull her in and show her how much fun lounging around can be in a big comfy chair she'll be playing games in no time! Even if it is only Bejeweled.
Pfangirl said…
Lord Spaceman, appearance wise there are plenty of perfectly normal, decent looking geek girls. There are however just as many who bear a resemblance to the Bat mask girl and it is these women who probably define themselves as "geek girls", not the more "normal" looking type.

Like Team America suggested, the guys and girls who are the best relationship material are those who exist closer to the fringe of normality, but maintain geekish tendencies... i.e. they lead more balanced lifestyles, combining computers, gaming, movies etc, with more traditional "normal" hobbies as well as more physical and outdoor pursuits.

Team America, "current girlfriend"?
Anonymous said…
FTW means Fuck The What (much preferred over What the Fuck in my opinion)

Great article. But really what is with the first pic. No self respecting geek would touch a Mac!

I am happy to see someone use the term geek correctly. I swear one more person calls me a nerd i am going to knock them out. (Presuming they are in front of me.)

I don't know what it is but a girl that can program really turns me on. Maybe it is because they understand it when I speak (I am a programmer and always get that weird look when i speak) You did bring up a good point about them not being shy. It is weird though because most geek guys are shy unless around other geeks while the girls are outgoing.

Where do you get that geeks must have "Unshakable devotion to at least one cult TV show or movie " That is so not true! Now if you excuse me I must go watch the entire DN Angel for the 28th time and then I need to vanquish all of guild wars in hard mode with my ele!
(Sorry for meh spelling, tis my kryptonite)
Anonymous said…
I think Mr. Team America there has what's called a 'broken sexuality'. Would you want to be sleeping with him and be called his CURRENT girlfriend? neither. How utterly demeaning.

Broken sexuality is found in a lot of men and sadly a lot of geeky men who idolise themselves and don't like to be 'out-cooled' ...especially by us wimmin (followed by a 'get back in the...' 'get on my...' and 'you didn't do ...'). It's another form of "Get back in the kitchen bitch" ...only with a whinier voice and probably followed by an under-the-breath uttering of ..."noob".

They're like Philosophers who don't want a partner who is a Philosopher, they just want her to cook food, make sure the bills are paid, look good in skimpy clothing and don't challenge their thoughts on Continental Aesthetics or the Husserlian Crisis ...or y'know, whatever. They're VERY mainstream thinking men who, despite their interests and the kind of dreamy guy we tend to associate with being into the same interests as us, are pretty much the people you hated in High School for wearing Ramones t-shirts and not being able to tell you one song by the actual band. They like the geek aesthetic but they're not willing to pay for the subscription.

I think another alluring aspect of wanting a geek girl is a) The supposed cool alt-factor (the cliche fluffy myspace-angle raccoon eyed girly girl not the real geek women with their own thoughts and opinions, real proportions and intermittent bad hair days) and b) she wont get pissed off about you playing video games all the time. C) She'll understand your wants and needs and know to buy you kickass presents, D) She'll have to STFU because she likes the same things too ...or is she just not cool anymore?!?! It's a completely one-sided deal.

This kind of man is basically just as bad as the skeezy lame bar guys if not worse because for all intents and purposes, they SHOULD know better. However, they're just lame no-future guys who just happen to like things associated with geekery. It's hard finding a great guy who wants to be an equal and respectful who also has a passion for all things nerd (Luckily I have one) but they are out there ladies, just don't be duped :D


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