Girls and Geekdom: The Team Unicorn Conundrum
The girls of Team Unicorn just can’t seem to win. They are hot girls and nerds, yet they find themselves rejected by both women and nerds. Team Unicorn’s video Geek and Gamer Girls made its way through the interwebs a few months back and their second video about Zombies was posted just before the holidays.
Despite showing nothing to doubt their nerd cred, the internet has done exactly that. Commenters have accused them of not being “real nerds” because they are attractive, and of using their looks to “trick nerds.” These girls challenge the stereotypical image of a “geek.” They are all conventionally attractive and not afraid to flaunt their sexuality, yet they show their knowledge of geek culture through their writing and videos. Many of them have been involved in other “geek” projects - Michelle was in the popular web series The Guild, and Clare works on Robot Chicken. Yet the internet doesn’t consider these women nerds.
It seems like a lot of this has to do with the old boys club mentality of nerdom. Being a “geek” or “nerd” usually means you like video games, read comics, watch scifi, etc. Women often find themselves ostracized from the geek community, only being accepted if they don’t “act like a girl.” They can be part of the community if they leave their femininity at the door.
These ideals start at a young age. Awhile back the story of Katie, the elementary student mocked for her Star Wars water bottle because "Star Wars was only for boys," went viral. Many clung to the idea that the children mocking her were mocking her for being a nerd, when in fact boys were mocking her for being a female nerd. The bullies weren’t saying that Star Wars wasn’t cool: it was just cool for boys. Youtuber kirithem examined this same phenomenon of alienating girl gamers, how it’s not just the male gamers, but the entire video game industry.
The women in Team Unicorn are in the unique position of being a new type of geek: a female geek who flaunts both her femininity and her geekiness. This new brand of geek is catching on. Ashley Eckstein started her own company called Her Universe that makes Star Wars clothing meant for women, another example of being proud of femininity and geekdom. As more and more women stand up and proclaim their nerdiness without being "just one of the guys” there is the chance that women will fully be accepted into the nerd community. But if not, women can always create a more accepting geek community of their own.
More articles in WMC FBomb by Category: Feminism, Media, Misogyny, Science and tech
More articles in WMC FBomb by Tag: Activism and advocacy, Sexism, Gender bias, Social media, Gaming, Music, News, Television, Film