Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Nerdy Feminazi?

I was checking my various nerdy blogs yesterday to see what was going on in the nerd-o-sphere when I came across this article, specifically addressed to nerd girls. There are a lot of things about this article that annoyed me. Allow me to enumerate.

Nerdy girls like the same things as nerdy boys. We're nerds, first and foremost. The idea that you need to target nerdy girls with stereotypically 'girly' content is condescending and just plain silly. We're already in your base, reading your shit, because we like video games and comic books and science fiction. We're not sitting on the outskirts feeling left out because there aren't more nerdy articles about make-up.

Which isn't to say there isn't a problem with the nerd community being inclusive to nerdy chicks. I cannot begin to tell you the number of times I've been dismissed as 'someone's girlfriend' at Magic tournaments or greeted by employees who assumed I was lost or confused when I walked into gaming stores. Gaming companies target girl-gamers with variations of Bejeweled and NintenDogs rather than treating them like serious gamers. It is a real issue, but this is not the way to be more inviting to nerdy girls. If you want to include content in your website that has more general appeal to women, make-up is not the way to go. You could write about strong female characters, feature events that nerdy girls are involved with, or give female nerds a stronger voice...all of these things would help promote the idea that female nerds are out there and involved with nerdy things. Nerd-dom may be traditionally male-dominated, but nerdiness is not masculine by nature. You don't have to water down or girlify your content to appeal to women, you just have to include us as we are.

Which brings me to my last point of contention: I don't wear make-up. Most nerdy girls I know wear little or none. Don't act like you're doing nerdy girls everywhere a huge favor by announcing that nerdy make-up exists, because it's really not that exciting.

Of course, there are plenty of nerdy women out there who do wear make-up and are probably quite pleased to hear about Hyrulean eyeshadow. I don't really want to pick on the author of the article either, as I'm sure he didn't mean any harm by it. The mentality behind what he wrote is something I disagree with though, and it's rather pervasive in the nerdy community. Nerd girls are not elusive, mystical creatures. We're nerds just like the rest of you...only with boobs. We don't need articles about make-up, we need more respect and a stronger female presence in the nerd community.

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