Not signed in (Sign In)
    •  
      CommentAuthorrazrangel
    • CommentTimeJun 29th 2009
     (6253.1)
    A link to the entry on The Park Bencher on finding and wooing nerdy girls made me wonder about how people even found their (nerdy) niches. Especially if they're girls - guys befriend each other and trade comic books, start D&D games and don't fault each other for being smart. Girls have a more oblique angle (it seems); it's been my observation that we don't start getting invited to hang out with nerdy guys until they can get over their fear of cooties - typically in college or later. So those of us who headed to comic books stores, who started rattling dice or reading science fiction well before college... something else happened. Maybe it was still a male that led the way - a dad, an older brother/cousin/neighbor, a teacher.


    My dad taught me to love learning and to be curious. He's not particularly geeky, except in the field of history. He doesn't like science fiction and would never read a comic book. And play make believe, of any kind? Are you insane? I had to live with some fairly sharply defined gender roles in his house and it kept him from teaching me to play guitar or to do repairs on the house and cars (which he would teach my brothers). But because my dad loves to read and to learn, I do as well.

    I'm a theatre geek, that got me into LARPing in college. I can wear a certain lack of social awareness, like any good nerd, and just fail to notice when I'm being judged. Which worked for me when, at the age of 12, I strode into the comic book store next to a used book store in my home town. I knew only boys went in there but I ignored that. I didn't know what to look for, really, but I set that aside and just kept my eyes open. I didn't know a DAMN thing about comic books and God bless the clerk for not laughing outright when I asked if he had any of the major titles (I think I specifically asked for Spider-Man) from the very beginning issues. The concept that they wouldn't keep publishing them and therefore they would be rare collectibles never crossed my mind.

    I don't know how or why I gravitated toward speculative fiction and then scifi, but you can blame the likes of Madeline L'Engle and EL Konigsburg.

    I myself don't have a knack for making, engineering, craft work and so on. But I wonder how girls who do picked up the practice. Who showed it to you and can you trace how your preference for making over buying came to be? (Girls who can handle a welding torch = HOT)

    Hoping folks sound off on this. And it's not strictly for women to speak up, it's just widely assumed that the geekier end of things would never appeal to girls and, in response to "articles" like the LA Times' Girls' Guide to ComiCon, I like to ask around to fellow nerdy girls what they like in their scene and why.

    (Also if you have any comments for "How to Meet and Woo Nerdy Girls" I'd like to hear it here. It sounded reasonable, but also a bit...assuming all nerds were like *that* nerd.)
    •  
      CommentAuthorbrittanica
    • CommentTimeJun 29th 2009
     (6253.2)
    I also grew up in a family that put a big priority on learning, especially my dad.

    Honestly, though, I think it has more to do w/ growing up at the right time to watch X-Men every Saturday morning.
    It made comic books cool to me.
    I didn't have a lot of friends. Ever. So I had to find all this stuff myself. I suppose it made it "easier" for me to be a nerd, not being very social.
  1.  (6253.3)
    My fiancee is very nerdy and I think it's a combination of her dad's influences (he was a big scifi guy) and her lack of friends.

    As time goes on though, I think there's less emphasis being placed on the differences between "nerdy girls" and other types of girls. In some cases you're seeing those stereotypes break down over time...maybe the girl is really into fashion, but she's also into anime or something like that.

    I'm not sure what it's all about except that I think things that used to be for geeks only are now cool for most people. Technology (that's a big one), Star Trek (with the reboot I'm sure there'll be sequels too), video games, WoW, and so on and so forth.
    •  
      CommentAuthorMagnulus
    • CommentTimeJun 29th 2009
     (6253.4)
    Well, I'm not a girl, but as my wife is currently clapping and thoroughly enjoying herself in the next room while roleplaying in WoW, I feel I have at least a small amount of insight into this...

    It seems as though it is a(n un)healthy mixture of the way the parents exert their views on their children and what kind of kids we hang out with in our early years. My wife's father has the biggest collection of PC games I have ever seen and used to wake her up in the mornings by playing Metallica (Reload) on full blast. He has long, ginger hair and a bushy beard. He's a full-on nerd. He read Tolkien to his daughters instead of The Littlest Elf (or whatever parents read to their children). However, like me, she hung out with other kids who were all very different. In the end, she grew up to become a very geeky woman in many respects, but with many interests outside of what she learned from her father. I was the opposite. When I started playing tabletop roleplaying games with my two best friends, they expressed concern that I would turn into Varg Vikernes, who grew up in the same area as us (and was actually sometimes bullied in school by my friend's older brother... Go figure.) and wanted me to stop. I grew up with a penchant for gaming, Tolkien and generally nerdy things, but with a good smattering of my parents' taste in food and people.

    I'm not entirely sure where I'm going with this. I think I'm saying that things like these grow organically and that it's a sign of the times we live in (times where geeks are becoming parents) that more and more girls also find their way into geekdom. It would also seem that the "cootie-fright" ends earlier these days thanks to that same tendency. Of course, if you watch some Prisoners Of Gravity episodes on Youtube, you'll see that there were a great number of female geeks who grew up in the fifties-seventies, too.

    Now I'm even less sure where I'm going. I'm talking gibberish. Bleh. Everyone's stories are probably going to be different, and I'm looking forward to seeing them, I suppose is what I'm trying to say... Or something.
    •  
      CommentAuthorglukkake
    • CommentTimeJun 29th 2009
     (6253.5)
    I rode into geek culture on the coattails of my brother. He was the reason we got our first NES (my mother was concerned with his lack of hand-eye coordination, seriously), comic books, D&D, Magic: the gathering, MUDs, programming, etc. Most of his friends accepted me as just another, slightly different version of him all the way up until he hit high school.

    After which came the drama of me being in middle school/cliques and being the weird girl so I found myself on many, many occasions with absolutely no friends and the internet to console me. Being just a screen name opened me up to learning more about being nerdy without the whole thing of being "ooo a girl!". Heck, most people thought I was just a guy pretending to be a chick anyways. Also, having tons of free time let me learn a lot of computer skills entirely on my own.

    In fact, the only trouble I ever got was from my own parents, who were mired in the idea of what is and is not appropriate for girls to be doing. They also pushed education over socialization, so I never really learned "people" skills but did develop a firm belief that with a book I can learn anything.
    •  
      CommentAuthorroque
    • CommentTimeJun 29th 2009
     (6253.6)
    I used to want to play D&D with the guys in elementary school, but we were allergic to each other's cooties. :(

    my dad was an s/f geek and essentially raised me as one too. he grew up on Heinlein's stuff because he used to mow the guy's lawn-- everybody in the neighborhood had the books, and Dad figured if they hadn't hurt his 9-year-old brain, they wouldn't hurt mine. he took me to the Star Wars movies because he thought I'd enjoy them, but also because he wanted to see them himself. same with Aliens when it came out in the theater-- I'll always love him for taking me to that.

    by 13, I had gone on to writing my own Star Trek novels (none of which ever saw the light of day, thank christ), but my sci-fi geekdom had started to transform into the overweening fascination with horror that I've still got today. when I started dating, s.o.'s introduced me to comics and other nerdish pursuits like the S.C.A. with the advent of survival horror video games, I blossomed into full otakudom and got into roleplaying and fanfic. my short-term geek goal is to get a PSP, some headphones, and a copy of Silent Hill Zero and play the entire thing in the middle of the Dazaifu Government Ruins at night.
    •  
      CommentAuthorFauxhammer
    • CommentTimeJun 29th 2009
     (6253.7)
    My first legit memory is seeing Star Wars in the theater. I didn't know what the hell was going on, but it was re-wiring my brains.

    My dad had a box full to the brim with pulp novels. Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, and I think there may have even been some Lovecraft. My pop was my mentor as far as F/SF went.
    •  
      CommentAuthorrazrangel
    • CommentTimeJun 29th 2009
     (6253.8)
    Ah yes. Being solitary as girl has a tendency to mean we seek different diversions, often favoring reading over shopping, etc.

    @brittanica Oh, yeah, I remember the X-men cartoon! Do you remember the D&D cartoon on Saturday mornings?

    @tcatsninfan Well yes, geek is coming into its own. (See Ref John Hodgman) But at the risk of being a bit snobby about this, I wonder about the folks who wandered into geekdom without major media franchises or tech platforms pushing them. Because, as the LA Times article showed, it's still assumed that girls are into comicon solely for the beefcake and a chance at seeing major Hollywood stars. It frustrated me because, yeah there are girls there just to see stars and because their boyfriends made them go (sad but true), but there are also tons of us there, trailing our favorite writers and artists, showing off our latest costuming ventures, attending panels a variety of interesting subjects and hunting down items missing from our collections.

    @Magnulus Of course people are products of their times. But I don't know their stories and I'd like to. While reading the "How to Find a Nerdy Girl" entry I found myself thinking "this applies to you, but only partially or not all to me" to some of the points. So obviously we all come from different places and end up at different places. I mean my sister is only five years younger than me and otherwise had contact with all the factors influential in my life, but she turned out VERY different. She still teases me and calls me a nerd. I could follow what you were saying - and it's fine to speak up - but I wasn't very clear in what you were driving at. Yep, I'm hoping to hear other folks' stories.

    @glukkake Oh yeah, you totally reminded me of discovering Teh Internets, which wasn't until I was in college. On IRC I picked a gender-free nick and the factors associated with my account didn't give anything away. So I intentionally hid my gender and observed what difference it could make. It wasn't a big enough difference to matter to me but there were a few people who would flip out and try to demand I tell them. When faced with having to a pick a pronoun for me, folks would just go with male, more often than not.

    firm belief that with a book I can learn anything.
    Oohh yeah.

    @Roque I too know the deprivation brought on by cooties. }:>
    •  
      CommentAuthorglukkake
    • CommentTimeJun 29th 2009
     (6253.9)
    @razrangel ASL???
  2.  (6253.10)
    OK, time to close this thread...
    •  
      CommentAuthorkeighter
    • CommentTimeJun 29th 2009
     (6253.11)
    My gateway to nerdery was Zelda A Link to the Past. My best friend (we pretended to be dogs in lower school) and I were never really very popular with the other kids so we just had each other and a couple others. We would play through LTTP or Spyro nearly every weekend. But LTTP started it all, and cartoons the X-Man cartoon was also very important on my road to nerddom. My parents aren't nerdy if anything they are more a part of the drug counter culture thing. So I made my own fun while they were doing their things on the weekends. Lots of pretend.

    But in high school I was token girl at the LAN parties, and then I got started on anime and manga, then comic books. It's been downhill ever since. Now I have the board games. I was really good friends with a guy and we would play pokemon in middle school. But it all comes back to Zelda, I had to get a 64 to play Ocarina and then a gameboy and then well the rest happened. <3 Nintendo.
    •  
      CommentAuthorbrittanica
    • CommentTimeJun 29th 2009
     (6253.12)
    @razrangel
    The D&D cartoon, I believe, was before my time. I'm only 21!

    @keighter
    OH SHIT. LTTP was the first game I ever "beat". It was the first game both my parents beat as well. My dad is a farmer/construction worker/ serious kind of guy. And he beat a Zelda game.

    On a related side note, I left my Gamecube w/ my parents when I moved out, so my mom could keep playing Animal Crossing.
    •  
      CommentAuthorMagnulus
    • CommentTimeJun 30th 2009
     (6253.13)
    @glukkake Ah-HAHAHAH! Oh God, that brings me back.
    •  
      CommentAuthordorkmuffin
    • CommentTimeJun 30th 2009
     (6253.14)
    @ Magnulus, are you saying that Varg is your brother's fault?

    For me, I started reading way ahead of most kids, partly due to my oversized head (they legitimately had to measure it to make sure that I was not seriously abnormal) and my older brother (I started reading at about the same time he did... I don't think he was pleased). That kind of pegged me as nerdy from the beginning, and had me reading to my classmates in the corner of my prekindergarten classroom.

    That said, I was never great at sports until high school when I found a sport that didn't really need hand-eye coordination, and I wasn't great at friends. Combined with a bit of a tom-boy phase that made me like superheroes, despite not knowing what they were, and a penchant for history/geography/learning as well as having my own reading group and spelling list in my elementary school (in the early grades they were GREAT with kids who needed to be pushed), I think I was fated for nerd-dom.

    Then there was the whole LOTR/Star Wars upbringing. And ending up being a theatre kid and interested in art.

    Plus, I did well on standardized tests, which allowed me to go to a summer camp run by Johns Hopkins called the Center for Talented Youth, and that pretty much changed my life. All of a sudden, I was with kids who WANTED to learn, who loved being nerdy, and whose only sport to speak of was ultimate frisbee. I do not exaggerate when I say that going to CTY was the single biggest influence on who I ended up being.

    I don't suppose there are other CTYers in this forum...
    •  
      CommentAuthorMagnulus
    • CommentTimeJun 30th 2009
     (6253.15)
    @ dorkmuffin : No, that it was my FRIEND's brother's fault... Partly. He was an outsider and I think his mother is a bit messed up as well (she tried to spring him from prison at one point) so he was probably an easy target. I went to the same school as him (years later, obviously) and it certainly is an unforgiving place for outsiders. I was lucky and had a small network of friends to look forward to seeing, but I'm not so sure Vikernes did. Anyway, this thread is not about that. I'll shush now.
    •  
      CommentAuthormister hex
    • CommentTimeJun 30th 2009
     (6253.16)
    Though I am not a girl, I am a nerd and I've introduced several actual girls to comics. Neil Gaiman's work rarely goes amiss (no pun intended).

    I honestly think that nerdiness is now cool, what with all the movies based on comics/sf properties. Even though the Big Two comic companies have largely forgotten about the youth audience, every kid has a Spider-Man backpack these days.

    I've been wondering about something, reading this thread - are there certain genres that appeal more to women than men or vice versa? I don't know many women who like Westerns. And while I appreciate a good Romantic Comedy, I'm not camping out to see the new Sandra Bullock movie.
    • CommentAuthorPooka
    • CommentTimeJun 30th 2009
     (6253.17)
    ya... I think isolation breeds nerd girls...I'm a big nerd. I was a trekkie as a kid and a D and D geek. I was also obsessed with Beowulf...still am a little...and I AM a Western fan...I watch Lonesome Dove every few years :P.
    Fuck romantic comedies....gahhh
  3.  (6253.18)
    I don't think guys had anything to do with me being a nerd, in this case. I went to an all girl's school by the time I figured out the whole having friends thing, have no brothers and my dad is the geeky TYPE but an immigrant so not part of the geek CULTURE.

    I pretty much went books + social isolation -> MOAR BOOOOOKS -> more social isolation -> the internet -> fanfiction -> comics -> a whole new world of geekery. Around the internet/fanfiction point in the timeline I started finding the girls at my (academically selective so technically full of nerds) school whose geeky interests dovetailed with mine and also got closer to some geeky family friends (including boys) and from there it was a kind of epic feedback loop.

    @mister hex, Neil Gaiman is a bit of gateway drug for the ladies lol. I have no interest in romantic comedies though.
    •  
      CommentAuthorkeighter
    • CommentTimeJun 30th 2009
     (6253.19)
    @mister hex

    You can certainly generalize, but most of my guy friends like RomComs more than I do. And I love westerns. I think it has more to do with individuals than what in particular is dangling (or not) between your legs.

    But I think from what I have gathered here (WC in general) is that girls like diversity too! There was actually a thread about that a while ago where all the girls sounded off about what comics they read regularly. It was very similar to what the dudes read, and just a varied. (I am too lazy to search for it at the moment, but it's here somewhere.)
    •  
      CommentAuthorpurly
    • CommentTimeJun 30th 2009 edited
     (6253.20)
    I'm more of a geek than a nerd, but I can tell you how I finally came to identify with the culture.

    I was given both 'girl toys' and 'boy toys' by my hippy-turned-yuppy parents, and I quickly discovered that the boy toys were much funner! Transformers, legos, video games, etc VS dolls, stuffed animals, and ovens that don't work? Yeah, obvious choice there really.

    I guess somewhere in my hours playing Prince of Persia, watching Star Trek, and pondering how to make china out of legos, I just lost something that other girls had. I didn't like Barbie. I threw my stuffed animals into a pile in the corner with a blanket over them and used them like a comfy chair, I stopped wearing pink(!). And one day I found myself sitting around in class during those hours of the day where you're supposed to get distracted and discuss other stuff, and the boys were having one discussion and the girls were having another, and for the life of me I just wanted to enter in the boys discussion because theirs was more interesting. Of course, the boys wouldn't have anything to do with me and I ended up a bit of a loner geek. Then I skipped a grade and my fate was sealed. I didn't think of myself as a geek at the time, just as smart and unable to identify with the girly girl clique.

    I really think that if I had only been given dolls and tea sets and the like, I would not be who I am. Maybe I would have found the things I was interested in eventually, but my entire career and lifestyle decisions have been based on being a computer geek, and without the exposure that I had, I just wouldn't be here.