This has been an interesting year or two for gender debates in geekdom. The "Where are the Women?" questions at conventions. The "empowered" reboot of Starfire and Catwoman. The Fem Frequency Kickstarter Cyber Mob. The Fake Geek Girl Meme. The Cosplaying Hawt Girl Predators. The Hawkeye Initiative. Anger & outrage has done more than make the issues visible — it has catalyzed the formation of a community. With every round of debates, more women and men alike add their voice, and people that once believed themselves alone discovered that they are in fact one of many.
It was a myth. There CAN be more than one geek girl on earth. In fact, we are numerous and varied. We are a tribe. We are one. Our voice is growing, and it is changing how we view our world.
In the past, every time I heard a comic book big-wig say, “That’s just the way it is, because only boys read comics,” I’d think to myself, “Well, I know that I read comics, but I guess if I’m the only one, I can understand why the industry doesn’t change. They have to make a profit, right?
In the past, every time I’d hear a guy complain, “Man, if only there was a girl out there that liked the TV Shows/Video Games/Comic Books that I like, I’d be happy, but they just don’t exist!” I’d think to myself, “Gosh, I must be the exception. I understand why these guys are so frustrated - It sucks to have nobody to talk to about the things you like.”
In the past, every time I’d hear someone decry that, “If this aspect of the fandom makes you uncomfortable, it’s just because you’re taking it wrong,” I’d say to myself, “Maybe they’re right. Nobody else seems to be upset. I guess that I’m making a big deal out of nothing.”
Now I see these sentiments for what they really are: Excuses. Every single one of them boils down to the same desperate cry: “Change is scary, and it’s hard, and I don’t know how to do it! So instead of trying to learn, I’m going to convince you that you’re the problem.”
And as long as people believed themselves alone, it worked.
It is no longer working.
Women are angry about their portrayal in media. They are angry about how they are treated at conventions, during an online gaming session, and at the websites of their personal projects. They are angry that they are under-represented in pop-culture industries despite a growing number of qualified female writers, artists, and programmers. And they are speaking up about it, connecting with each other, forming communities and finding creative ways to express their dissatisfaction.
This is not a revolution. It is a reality. The only thing that’s surprising about it is that it’s been this way for years — we just hadn’t met one another yet.