Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Geek Is On

Yesterday I stopped at Barnes & Noble to get something new to read.

I realize that it’s not the 1960’s, but I’m cheap and budget conscious. I’m not buying a Nook or Kindle or any tablet yet. I like my hard copies.

I went in knowing exactly what I wanted and, gasp! Everything was in alphabetical order by author. You don’t know how rare that really is at Barnes & Noble. Trust me. Sometimes it’s like a scavenger hunt without any clues.

Since I now had 20 minutes to kill by not having to play the game with them, I decided to peruse the other books in photography and current media.

I was hoping to find some new cinema theory books. It’s a long shot at a book store, I know. But sometimes you get lucky over the other 99% of the time you don’t. As I was browsing, something caught my eye. A paperback in a purple cover with fake ink stains and large black rimmed glasses. Geek Girls Unite.
What the hell is this? Of course I was curious and had to pick it up. As I always do, I flip to the first page before anything else.

What do Amy Poehler, Bjork, Felicia Day, Martha Stewart, Miranda July, and Zooey Deschanel have in common? They’re just a few of the amazing women proving that “geek” is no longer a four-letter word.

Uhoh. We’re going downhill already. They mentioned Day and Martha Stewart in one sentence. Wait. Stewart is a geek? Culinary home geek? Is that even an option?
That logo is way too cute to be geeky.

I flipped to the front cover. The tagline reads like the book is about ‘how fangirls are taking over the world’. In fact, those words are included. When you get inside however, it becomes more like a companion guide to the geek world. This is what Star Wars is. This is who Joss Wheaton is. This is why you’re a goth geek.

Some of it was mildly amusing. The definition for their cinema geek girl hit me spot on. I’m so pasty white because I’m into French new wave existentialism. Suck it!

As a whole, however, I felt a bit belittled. Not just geek girls (women! Can we start calling us women please?) but geeks in general are whittled down to a few words and still being placed in the “special losers” corner.

I pulled up a few more books from the author Leslie Simon, and apparently this is her niché. She’s written these comprehensive guides on music genres, as if to explain it to the non-Emo, non-Indie crowd that ‘there are these people, and they exist, and they fall into these sub-categories.’ Harsh. That’s a wonderful open invitation to laugh at them.

There is some truth in humor, but a lot of this felt silly. Not all people that are into Emo and Indie music act and dress like those stereotypes. I like some Emo music and I love Indie. I don’t fit those molds at all. One look at me and you’d think I were into classical music or something. I actually rock out to Led Zepplin thank you very much.

I sh*t you not.
This is a real book. Sad, right?
Seeing this book about geek girls has made it official. We’ve become a fad. Just look at the selection available.
I know a number of those are fiction books directed at teens, but what kind of messages are they sending out? I don’t really know. I haven’t read them nor do I want to nor do I have the time. I just hope that it’s positive, being yourself is cool, and all that. But what better proof of what’s trending now then to write books geared towards teenagers. I smell a vampire repeat!

I don’t know what to do with this. If this were a legit academic book about the development of the female geek culture, current issues, and interviews, I would be much more open to it. (I smell a kickstarter project. MINE!) But this is going for capitalization on a growing trend. I know it happens to a lot of fads, hobbies, and cultures (before people start prepping their pitchforks) but there’s nothing out there currently to balance things out. We’re only seeing one side: the fad/trend/commercialization. Where’s the other?


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