Fake geek girl
| We control what|
you think with
|Said and done|
|Jargon, buzzwords, slogans|
“”Until I meet any obviously fake human beings – and I think they’d have to be held together with glue, or have the eyes painted on, or really be dolls or slugs or something – I think all people, not to mention fans, nerds, geeks and suchlike are real.
Fake geek girls is a snarl word developed by men with limited social skills used to describe women who partake in geek culture but are deemed sexually inaccessible to the average male geek; rather than accept that cute girls can geek as well as, if not better than, the basement-dwelling crowd, some geeks assume that these women are faking their geek cred in order to gain status, money or attention. Why these girls need the attention of self-described basement dwellers is never explained.
Outside of the odd paid booth babe (a lot of whom are geeks in their own right anyway), such women do not actually seem to exist. But yet... SURVIVAL HINGES ON CONSTANT VIGILANCE!
The conventional "wisdom" is that There Are No Girls On The Internet, and there's a strong perception (especially among straight white male gamers) that the core demographic of geekdom is straight white males who work in computing. In practice, of course, geekdom covers a wide swath of artistic and scientific endeavors—computers, gaming, science, music, theatre, fashion, literature, film, photography—and although women aren't always as recognized (and don't always have the same specific interests) as men, there are plenty of geek girls out there.
The "logic" of the accusation
Men who insist that fake geek girls are common don't seem to understand how women think. Why would a cosplayer spend her time, money, and effort on creating a sexy outfit to entice men, when she could just put on short shorts and a low-cut top? Creating an entire costume would be awfully over-the-top when there are much easier (and cheaper!) ways to get a man.
In regards to attention, do you really think that the man with an elaborate cosplay outfit isn't enjoying the attention he receives?
But how dare women do the same. How dare they.
There is also a fundamental irony to the fact that most men who call out female cosplayers who wear revealing outfits tend to be straight and also don't seem to criticize the character design that inspired the cosplay in the first place. In other words, they like women's bodies, but they don't like the women who own the bodies to actually feel confident in themselves. They'll eagerly consume media where they look at sexy women, but the idea that sexy women might look back at them and/or have agency of their own is enraging and terrifying (see Manet's Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe and Olympia, which enraged and terrified people because the women depicted have an agency of their own).
For hundreds of years there's been no shortage of attempts to minimize the contributions of women in the STEM fields, which has only slightly lessened in modern times. Although people like Marie Curie, Grace Murray Hopper, and Rosalind Franklin can't really be ignored (though certainly contemporaries of Curie and Franklin tried), the ENIAC programmers (almost all women, and almost all anonymous, with Mauchly and Eckert getting most of the credit) were treated as little more than secretaries, Lynn Conway was literally fired by IBM when she first came out as a trans woman, and the contributions of people like Hedy Lamarr and Danica McKellar are only recognized because of their much wider fame as actresses. When Miss USA 2011 Alyssa Campanella described herself as a geek (and she does have significant artistic geek cred as a former high school theater nerd), the backlash was muted but significant.
Effects on women
Women in geek circles may face microaggressions and accusations that they're somehow faking it for attention. Some men, feeling threatened, might drill them on minutia to prove they're a true geek... a treatment that other men don't seem to get.
As a result, geeky women may feel alienated by the community, and newcomers might be driven away. Some women may not even feel comfortable calling themselves "geeks" for fear that they're going to be harassed about it.
The single positive effect of the phenomenon is that it could help geek girls weed out the rotten apples. Any guy who cries "fake geek girl" probably isn't worth her time.
Understanding the logic of the "fake geek girl" claim is difficult... mostly because it doesn't make much sense. Why make such a big fuss over such a rare, minor issue? Don't people have better things to do?
Apparently some of them don't.
Fragile self image
Geeks obsessed with "fake geek girls" may not be secure in their own masculinity. If the geek girls' femininity rubs off on geek culture, then maybe the geek guys' masculinity will be called into question. Being geeky might not be manly anymore.
These men may lack confidence, translating to low success with women.
Avoiding self awareness
“”You're going to go through life thinking that girls don't like you because you're a nerd. And I want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, that that won't be true. It'll be because you're an asshole.
|—Erica Albright, character on The Social Network|
The persecution narrative is tidy and simple. It provides a convenient excuse. They can say "I don't have a girlfriend because no one will date a geek," and absolve themselves of all responsibility for the situation.
But if you acknowledge the fact that heterosexual geek girls exist, then you can no longer blame external factors for your own problems. You have to take a long, hard look at why you're so romantically unsuccessful. And that might lead to some uncomfortable realizations. So, some geek guys will froth at the mouth the minute a geek girl is mentioned. Because if geek girls aren't an endangered species, then they'll have to admit that something else is holding them back from finding a date.
They're shooting themselves in the foot, though: the more women they drive away from geek communities, the harder they make it to find a geek girl who will date them.
- Neil Gaiman on Tumblr
- The Psychology of the Fake Geek Girl: Why We’re Threatened by Falsified Fandom
- For Women's History Month, let Mary Shelley remind you that the "fake geek girl" trope is BS
- Why Fake Geek Girls Aren't A Thing
- Paging Dr. Nerdlove: On “Fake” Geek Girls
- 'Fake Geek Girls' Paranoia Is About Male Insecurity, Not Female Duplicity
- The Myth of the Fake Geek Girl
- Does misogyny lie at the heart of "fake geek girl" accusations – or is it self-loathing?
- The Only Line You Need to Shut Down Whiny, Sexually Entitled Men
- The Awful Truth About Fake Geek Girls