Of Geek Feminists

The truth is that this is the first time I am delving into this concept. Geek feminism. Geek feminists. I don’t think I am a feminist, but I do relate to some of the points mentioned in the blog post “Geek feminism as opposed to mainstream feminism?”.

The blogger, Mary, wrote down some experiences that geek feminists encounter. Here is one thing that stopped me in my tracks and got me thinking: Geek feminists live in a male-dominated world.

I suppose this can be true of “mainstream feminists” as well. However, if you limit the definition of geek to IT-related fields, then the chances are that there are more males in the work place. What made me think more were some specific experiences mentioned:

Hearing how some men talk disparaging about women (especially about women as sexual and romantic partners) when they’re in a space where they feel like they have enough allies.

I suppose that there will always be guy talk – just like there is girl talk (I told you I don’t think I am a feminist). Still, I totally get irritated when guys talk this way. Then again, they can be real idiots sometimes, so who ends up having the last laugh? You tell me!

Being used to being thought of as a woman first, and everything else a distant second.

I think I was lucky enough to have worked in my previous company as women are considered smarter and more responsible than their male counterparts. I understand this is may not be the norm, and there are places wherein geek females may be seen as women first, professional credentials notwithstanding. Does anyone have a similar experience?

Having experiences that are now thought of as “old fashioned” sexism, such as being spoken to slowly or with lots of kind references to cooking and babies, being asked by a customer if they can talk to “the technical guy now please”, being assumed to be at a geek event to accompany a husband, being asked to make the coffee or take notes, being treated as the “nanny” figure who won’t approve of drinking or swearing.

I hear a lot of this talk, and it irks me. But guess what? When it comes to a night of drinking, a LOT of women I know can hold their own. However, some guys have gone beyond this “old fashioned” sexism thing – good for them! (Okay, maybe I do have feminist tendencies.)

So, female geeks, what do you think about these experiences and the idea of geek feminism in general?


  1. konkonsn says

    For some reason, I always make friends with the geek guy who is a bit lonely and a social misfit (there are other types of geeks, I assure you, most of you are less socially awkward than you think). And as soon as he finds out I like video or table top games, that’s it. It’s just calculation at this point as to how much time is appropriate before asking me out. I have never felt like he was getting to know me to see if we’d be good friends first (and when two weeks later, which seems to be the magical time, I’m asked out, it’s confirmed). I now have to out myself as a lesbian really early to these guys (which is uncomfortable to me, outing myself like that) or find geeks already in relationships to know that they’re truly interested in me for my skills and what I can offer in a friendship.

    Should I also mention that I have to limit some of my cosplay choices to how much I want to be oogled/bothered at a convention? I’m wondering how many men do the same…

    But I’m lucky enough to work in a field that attracts open-minded people, so I haven’t had to deal much with the sexism. Your response, though, sheds your ignorance on the matter: “I understand this is may not be the norm…” May not? There’s no question how women are treated in the variety of professional nerd fields. Read anything, really anything!, where a woman talks about her experience in the video game industry, in music, in science or math related fields, etc. There’s more than enough evidence that it’s just not happening.

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