hth: (brave new world)
First, watch this to appreciate the charming thing that happens when anger meets up with the type of dry-with-a-splash-of-goofy wit that characterizes geekdom.

Now. Like all lifelong geek girls, I have my share of stories about being both geek and girl simultaneously. Of course I do. Some of them are much like these: times that I was told explicitly or subtly that I might *technically* exist, sort of, but not in the way that people who matter exist -- that I existed only conditionally or accidentally or begrudgingly in geek spaces. That sucks, because geek spaces have been my home territory since I discovered that they existed in about late elementary school.

My more traumatic stories, though, the ones that changed me -- those are the other kind of stories. They happened when I was relaxed and at home in my geek spaces, surrounded by the geek males who for most of my life were my social circle, my community, my friends. They happened when I was so securely in the box of the Okay Girl, the one who didn't deserve the full-court misogyny press, that I was expected to participate in it. Because of course sexualized violence (sometimes thinly veiled as humor, sometimes not; veil optional) wasn't about our girls, the Okay Girls, just those other alien girlbeings out there somewhere. And of course I wasn't the one who only existed as a commodity for evaluation and use by men. I was one of the other ones, the Okay Girls who were fun and cool and you could talk to about the X-Men. I was one of the Our Girls who wouldn't care what you said about those other bitches and whores, because obviously that didn't mean me. I'd proved myself worthy of respect.

I don't know what I'd put on a sign, how I'd say it in a way that made pithy sense. Except that geekdom, which I love, which I've always loved, which is the home of my heart in many ways, is where I learned that having a female body was a handicap I would always have to buy my way out of by performing my fun-and-coolness constantly. That if I acted like I related to girlbeings in their girlbodies, or had too much compassion for them, or loved them too much, I wouldn't be the Okay Girl anymore. I'd have to vacate the space that I occupied only because male geeks enjoyed my company, not because I had any ownership of that space or any right to have my own expectations of it.

It's where I learned that for a man, achievements bring you respect, but for a woman, compliance does. I assume that if I hadn't been a geek girl, I'd have learned that lesson just as well in whatever part of the planet I tried to claim as my own. But wherever you learn it, that earth is salted for you in some way. Geekdom will always be my home, but it will also always be the house where I had my heart broken, and I'll never be able to love it in the uncomplicated way that I wanted to love it when I was 15.

The video is sweet, though, and not all like that; you should watch it.


hth: recent b&w photo of Gillian Anderson (Default)

December 2018



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