A recent article in Forbes, told the so-called “fake geek girls” to go away. That they might act like they were into sewing to get a good Instagram shot, but wouldn’t deign to take Saturday classes for their “hobby.” That there is a “right” way to be part of an underclass and that if you don’t meet this criteria, you can’t join the club.
I have to admit that I have had a similar reaction, notably when I went off really hard on New Girl. Personally, I think the animosity is born from the co-opting of “geek” culture and pastiche, while still relegating people originally within that social class to the loser table at lunch. Although, if 21 Jump Street is an accurate depiction of today’s high schools, maybe the losers are the jocks and the bros now. Honestly, I have a hard time believing that if I’d just been born a few years later I’d be cool and popular. But maybe that would be due to my overall personality, not my obsession with Star Trek.
Over at The Mary Sue, Susana Polo points out that this requiring of people to know everything about a particular something has long created anxiety for her within the geek culture. And that she has to fight doing it herself as a response to people who might not be into the same stuff at the same level as she is. Most importantly, she also points out that much of this “fake geek girl” rhetoric is misogynistic and we women should take people’s interests at face value:
The proper response to someone who says they like comics and has only read Scott Pilgrim is to recommend some more comics for them. The proper response to someone who appears to be faking enthusiasm is to ignore them and not project their actions on an entire gender or community. The proper response to someone who appears to want to be a part of your community is to welcome them in. End of story.
I have to say that, though I dislike the commodification of “nerd” and “geek” for the popular upperclass, I agree with Polo. My “tribe” is made of all sorts of people, some of whom had totally different high school experiences than mine and all of whom are beyond obsessed with YA books. What matters now are the conversations we have about what we have in common, not whether or not someone is into the same obscure sci fi film or graphic novel as us.
Because really, that makes us geeks and nerds no better than the hipsters and who wants to be one of those?