Thursday, June 1, 2017

On My Sister's Birthday, an Appreciation for Geek Girls

As is customary on this blog, I devote June 1st to wishing my sister a happy birthday. For the record, my sister is a bona fide rocket scientist- she majored in chemical engineering as an undergrad on an Air Force ROTC scholarship, obtained her masters after her commissioning, and served as an officer to fulfill her commitment. She has spent her post-military career in the aero-astro field, with one notable job being for a company which worked on perfecting satellite power cells. Put succinctly, her 'geek credentials' are second-to-none.

As the only girl in a family with five children, my sister grew up as a tomboy... the very idea that she would be excluded from any of our activities would have been unthinkable to us. Along with the boys, she watched blockbuster movies about space-samurai-wizard heroes, played computer games, and chucked funny dice. She can handle a basketball or baseball bat credibly, and she participated in all sorts of camping trips, fishing expeditions, and hikes. I can't recall any time in our youth when she was treated differently from the boys. In a family of five kids, there was really no scope for treating anyone in an alternate manner. Our mom placed a premium on our education, having no tolerance for academic-slackerhood, and our sister excelled in all STEM fields.

Having gotten this background information out of the way, I have to express some amusement at the poutrage over women-only showings of the upcoming Wonder Woman film at several Alamo Drafthouse theater locations. For too long, self-identified nerds have derided women who enjoy gaming, speculative fiction, and comic books as fake geek girls. Things came to a head with a sustained campaign of harassment of women involved in the video game industry, complete with death threats against women who had the temerity to give pithy critiques of lazy, sexist and racist tropes in popular culture. Yes, claiming that boob-plate is silly can result in a slew of death-threats, necessitating a change of address to a safe, undisclosed location. Is it any wonder (heh) that women (heh) would like a time-and-place where they can enjoy a 'nerd movie' without having a bunch of angry boys acting as gatekeepers and belittlers?

As a kid, I would have caught hell from mom for trying to exclude my sister from any of our activities. They way I see it, the Alamo Drafthouse is giving the boys a 'time out' because they haven't learned to share the toys with their sisters.


Smut Clyde said...

You have my smarter grown-up sister's blog on your blogroll, too.

mikey said...

Speaking of the whole gamergate falderal, I just want to make sure that you and your readers know that Brianna Wu has undertaken a longshot campaign to replace Kevin Lynch in Mass 8 congressional district.

It's going to be hard for her to win in south Boston, but it will be impossible if she doesn't get national support...