Can You Be a Geek Girl Without Fancying Benedict Cumberbatch? Um…

Can You Be a Geek Girl Without Fancying Benedict Cumberbatch? Um...

You geek girl? Here is man you fancy. Look his manface, you will want. HE defines you, not your love of books, films and games. You this learn. Says internet everywhere always.

Hello. I refuse to be identified as a person because of the people I have (or have not) thought were attractive. Unfortunately, this is getting harder to achieve. After all, we live in times when we seem to be judged more and more by the sum of our parts (I’m looking at you, Tumblr) and less by just ourselves.

Hello again. I am not just a girl who wouldn’t kick any of The Avengers out of bed. I am not just a girl who would watch Hornblower more for Ioan Gruffudd and less for an actual interest in the Napoleonic Wars. I am also not just the girl who doesn’t fancy Benedict Cumberbatch. As a female with geek interests, your love of any genre always seems to end up being related back to your love (or lack of it) for a male figurehead…

Of the thousands of light-content articles floating around on the internet like puffs of dandelion seed, an estimated 30% of the actual words will be used to tell women which men they fancy. It’s just an estimate. It came out of my head, but it feels ugly and true.

Articles demonstrating your right to call yourself a geek girl or to say you were born in the nineties apparently aren’t complete without insisting you wasted whole weeks of your life cutting pictures out of magazines to add to your Channing Tatum shrine, or expressing how personally offended you would be if someone said that Tom Hiddleston wasn’t the most attractive man on the planet. It might be hard to understand that not all females who appreciate comics culture want to marry the same man, but then I guess ‘girls who don’t fancy this one man’ isn’t really a niche market.

Firstly, and most obviously, a certain percentage of women don’t find guys attractive at all. Be they lesbians, asexual, something else or perhaps still working that bit out, they do exist. Some of them also like films and were born in the nineties. When articles like this are so sweepingly heteronormative, it helps to make everyone forget that LGBT is even a thing. “But does it matter?” angry people typed on a comment I made on one such article. “Congratulations on being a pedantic buzzkill”.

Yes, it matters. The issue is that because people who write (and defend) such articles ignore the existence of different sexual orientations, millions of readers are encouraged to forget those orientations exist. I’m one of many. I should be allowed to be included in the mainstream media, and not just in a special little gay section.

These articles – which everyone is reading – train our brains to behave in a certain way. We learn without thinking about it that to really belong to a subculture you have to be attracted to the correct people. That you will not belong if you don’t. We learn that you are not welcome to enjoy a brilliant show like the BBC’s Sherlock just because you would rather have a slice of cake than the protagonist.

Geek girls are sexualised in every way possible and this is just another, more subtle way, of doing it. A female geek is rarely defined by her love of books, films and games. What defines her is apparently her obssession with a fictional character (or the man portraying him). Articles which hammer this message home don’t just take a heteronormative approach, and they don’t just restrict the number and qualities of men you’re ‘supposed’ to find attractive; they explicitly state that geek girls are only in it for sex.

Everyone has seen the jokes about geek girls ‘just being girls who dress in Leia’s slave costume’ and hopefully understood how wrong that was. Whilst articles like this might be your procrastination fodder and ‘not really count’, I wholeheartedly believe that anything that tries to define a woman by men does more damage than you might think.

This is Emmi (not ‘that girl who wanted to date X5-494’), ending her article.


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