Fellow Democrat-Herald blogger Cory Frye sent me a terrific link the other day: the Doubleclicks’ “Nothing to Prove.” It’s here if you want to see it:
Essentially, both song and video are about fantasy/gamer/sci-fi/computer fangirls being rejected by mainstream society for being too nerdy, then finding a home with their fellow geeks — and then being rejected again, by some of their male counterparts, on the assumption that having two X chromosomes means you can’t possibly be a real geek.
Husband watched the whole video with one eyebrow arched and essentially said he didn’t believe it. In his experience, no geeky male worth his Trek insignia would ever diss a woman. He’d be too overcome with joy to be actually talking to her to ever dare imply her nerd-fu couldn’t match up to his.
I’ve never experienced such ostracism, either. I’ve belonged to the geek world since watching “Star Wars” at age 8 and picked up my first d20 circa age 12, although it would be four years before I actually learned how to properly roll up a character. Husband and I exited our wedding to the “Star Trek” movie theme. In all that time, I can’t recall ever coming up against this kind of no-girls-allowed mentality, at least not from fellow geeks.
Social outcast in general, yes. Social outcast among other social outcasts, no.
I can attest, though, that however mainstream “geek” has gone, the life is still seen as somewhat unusual for women.
Men can wear Hulk T-shirts pretty much lifelong, for instance, but put one on a woman any older than, say, college and watch the eyebrows rise. At least one boy every year has given Little Princess grief for her Pokemon lunchbox and backpack since age 7. I don’t know what the actual female participation figures are, but I’ve never sat at a gaming table at any convention with more than two other women at a time.
That’s what makes the Doubleclicks video so fantastic. It’s not so much that they’re telling the male geeks to back off, although that’s great, but that they’re so proud to fly their flag in the first place. I love the girl giving the Vulcan salute. I love the girl with the “Don’t Panic” sign. I love the accounting assistant elf ranger, the MMORPG mom and the owner of the comic book store. We are geeks! We are girls! We are here, and we don’t need anyone to tell us what our hobbies should be! And the best part: Look how many of us there are!
I watched the video with the Princesses. They declared it “awesome” and immediately went off to post links to friends.
My Princesses have been lucky. Thus far, I think they’re pretty secure in themselves and their likes and dislikes, whether or not they match up with the majority of their peers.
When they were little, my Princesses were just that: Princesses. They loved pink and purple and sparkly things. They played with nail polish and makeup and wore flouncy dresses with lots of layers and glitter. I was a little mystified by them — I climbed trees and made homemade bows and arrows when I was their age, I hated dresses, and my alter ego was Aquaman, not Ariel — but I never did anything to discourage their hobbies.
They always had their own quirks, however. Slightly Older Princess made herself a toy tail at about age 4 so she could be a centaur, for instance.
One of my favorite Little Princess stories has to do with the time she got some birthday money at about age 5, and took a trip with her grandparents to Toys R Us. She brought back two toys: a soft pink My Little Pony baby that you could feed with a toy bottle — and a giant, baby-doll-sized, plastic, red-eyed pterodactyl with a beak sharp as a darning needle that probably would have eaten Baby Pony had they been in the same shopping cart for too long. That was totally Little Princess. She loved both toys, played happily with both toys and never saw any disconnect whatsoever between having both toys.
She’s still like that now. Her newest favorite outfit is a black T-shirt with the message, “I -heart- Tribbles” (in Trek font, natch). She plays a barbarian in a home D&D game. Few people know more about Pokemon than she. Yet she’s equally at home at a tea party and still plays with Littlest Pet Shops. She can move at ease through many worlds.
Slightly Older Princess is a bit more one-sided these days, having banned anything even vaguely skirtlike from her closet and declaring war on the color pink. She had a great conversation a few months back with a 20-something guy about the merits of Marvel over DC. She does more than pursue hobbies — she hunts them down with a vengeance, twists their arms till they cry “uncle” and then makes them her personal bodyguards. Never, ever tell SOP she can’t be part of your club.
I’d like to think my Princesses won’t ever have cause to feel ashamed of the things they enjoy, whatever they may be.
But it is nice to know that if and when somebody does take issue with their video game habits or “Harry Potter” fan fiction or the fact that they can almost recite “The Avengers” verbatim (I’m not exaggerating about this), that a whole sisterhood of geeks has their back. And it’s much bigger than most people think.