NerdGirl Rage and the Fangirl Invasion

Thursday, September 3, 2009

NerdGirl Rage and the Fangirl Invasion

I’ve been mulling this one for a while. It’s one of those things that bugs me, nibbles at the back of my brain, on a background processing because I can’t get a handle on just what’s bugging me or what I want to try and say.

It’s no secret that I’ve had my GeekGirl rants when it comes to those “OMG, look, girls are into GEEKY things!” posts (case in point, my response to the L.A. Times Girls Guide to Comic Con). It’s also no secret that I am more than happy to jump on “the Twitter” and snark about articles that seem to have that same tone.

But this time, I’m not sure what I think or what my stance is.

There was an article over on Newsarama a few days back titled “FANGIRL INVASION p1 - The Changing Face (and Sex) of Fandom”. It was written by a woman and I’d say she definitely intended it to be positive. Personally, I thought it was well written and thoughtful.

It also bugged me.

As the day went on and the article got retweeted, I noticed a bit of Nerdgirl Rage in my Twitter feed. Other gals were bugged as well. But their reasons didn’t fit for me. Or it wasn’t quite why I wasn’t thrilled by it. It wasn’t the idea that Twilight fans are making Hollywood take notice of female fans. It wasn’t that people seem to be utterly shocked that girls like comics. (Now, we know that both of those things bug me, but that wasn’t what was sticking in my craw this time.)

I thought, for a few minutes, that it was because a woman wrote the article. I know it was one of the things that peeved the snot out of me about the L.A. Times article slideshow. The fact that a woman decided to condescend to other female fans by thinking we'd spend hard earned money to “do laundry on Jake Gyllenhaal’s abs” – well, we all know what I thought of that…

But Vaneta Rogers didn’t condescend in the article, so there went that idea.

And into background processing it went again.

Until this morning, when the caboose of my thought train hit me smack in the back of the noggin and the reason became clear.

I don’t like the use of the word “invasion”.

Invasion.

As if fandom was a male domain and we’re trying to take it by force.

If you look at the definition at FreeDictionary.com:
  1. The act of invading, especially the entrance of an armed force into a territory to conquer.
  2. A large-scale onset of something injurious or harmful, such as a disease.
  3. An intrusion or encroachment.

Are fangirls a disease? Are we encroaching? Is this a war and I missed it?

And, let me be fair here. I’m not slamming Ms. Rogers. I think she wrote a really good article.

But the fact that she sees it as an invasion, or that the media seems to be utterly surprised by the “Geek Girl phenomenon” (really, we’re a phenomenon?), or that it’s just occurred to them to market to the female demographic when it comes to something other than romantic comedies and chick flicks – well, that just shocks me.

After all, we’re not invading anything.

We’ve been here all along.

We’re everywhere.

Maybe we should just call it a coup?

14 comments:

  1. a coup de grace, or a mutiny!
    the article bugged me too and i couldn't put a finger on it, i think you nailed it on the head. we're not new to the geek scene I guess no one noticed before now...
    ( i mena heck i had a wonder woman lunchbox, and it didn't have linda carter on it)

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  2. THAT'S IT!!! That's it exactly! I wasn't sure what bugged me about it either but you NAILED it! Sicne when are women INTRUDING on the comic, fandom, sci-fi, whatever domain!? Once again Dear GGD - I bow my head with reverence to your ability to cut right to the heart of matters! Great post!

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  3. OH gods/goddess I couldn't figure out what bothered me about it but you hit it right on the head about "invasion", like folks were storming the castle walls or something.

    Most of the folks I know/care about are all "geek girls" and have been for a pretty long time (heck it was my wife that dragged me to the comic store when we were dating).

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  4. "The fact that a woman decided to condescend to other female fans by thinking we'd spend hard earned money to 'do laundry on Jake Gyllenhaal’s abs...'"
    UGH.
    I don't like Jake Gyllenhaal. I DON'T WANT TO PAY TO DO LAUNDRY ON HIS ABS!
    It's like...guys can geek out and the hot girls are just a bonus.
    But girls...hot guys are the attraction and the rest of it is obsolete.
    I haven't been a big self proclaimed geek for as long as most, but when I delved into it, I never looked back.
    I didn't realize I'd be talked down to about the motivation behind my interests.
    I also didn't realize I would constantly be treated like an effing unicorn! YES I LIKE COMICS! YES I SPEND OBSCENE AMOUNTS OF TIME ON THE INTERNET! YES I STALK MOVIES/TV/SCI FI ANYTHING!
    Yes, I exist. We exist.
    Always have, always will. It's not our fault you're just realizing this now.

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  5. Great point! I actually RT'd the article and thought it was pretty positive, but I can see your point. Many of us have been into comics our whole lives. This was my 10th SDCC. But just as with the gaming industry, media likes to label it as something new. I have decided to shrug it off instead of yelling about how we've been here and welcome the media acknowledgement. Hopefully the women that are new to our hobbies will find our sites and start participating and that's a win in my book. ^_^

    Great article!
    Trina ^_^

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  6. There are two points that won't leave me alone.
    1. YOU ARE COMPLETELY RIGHT. 2. Even though it's being painted as something it's not - it's nice that the media is looking at geek girls as a demographic. I'm not interested in 99.9% of the entertainment that's targeted at me. I'm not a soccer mom. I'm not a giddy tween. I'm a geek girl. This is not new. I've been a geek girl since my first trip to a movie theater in 1977 to see Star Wars when I was 4. Maybe now the studios and publishers will listen to what we want. That'd be nice.

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  7. I don't know the article or writer, but invading is a not right. How can you invade someplace you are all ready in, at, know about? I'm a male, that is somewhat geeky and noone(nameless entity of power or otherwise) makes a big deal about how I "discovered/embraced" anime, computers, or some other geekiness. The fairer sex of geekiness is thought to be some new breed, but I know they've always existed waiting to be discovered. I have always worshipped the elusive geekgirl. I'm glad you're now being recognized as a force to be reckoned with, that I always know you to be. Embrace your new celebrity. Use your powers for good. With great power, comes great responsiblility.

    As an aside, love the blog. I subscribed the day I found it.

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  8. Great point. The word "invasion" was originally conceived when the article was going to focus on San Diego Comic-Con and the reception of female fans. But once the article evolved into something else, the name stuck. Not sure I can change it now, before the next article in the series, but I hope you'll stick around and read. Feel free to email me about what you think -- and any other ideas you might have for things you'd like to see on Newsarama (I'm at vrogers(at)rogers-md.net) And great blog! This particular blog entry was emailed to me, but I just bookmarked you. I'll be back. Thanks for a thoughtful and intelligent critique.

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  9. @Vaneta

    I dug the article most definitely. ;-)

    And I'll be in touch. Let me know where else you post and I'll link back. Lucas has all my details or I'll email soon.

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  10. I'm also not crazy about the term 'fangirl'. I'm not a 13 yr old squealing at every mention of Miley Cyrus. I'm a geek.

    I found it interesting that the article references how "geek" used to only refer to men, but that time is over,... except that the article doesn't every actually use "geek" to describe girls/women.

    I know some still malign geeks, but so what. I am proud of my geekhood. I am offended when my coworkers try to tell me I'm not a geek. I most certainly am. In point of fact, I'm a huge geek. Just because I don't fit into their stereotype of a geek, doesn't mean I'm not one.

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  11. You make a good point.
    But are not many things often determined by perception?
    You may not consider it an invasion.
    I don't consider it an invastion.
    May people may not consider it an invasion.
    But there are probably some male comic fans (who you may like to label nerds or geeks or whatever) that might PERCEIVE it as an invasion.
    They would be kind of stupid in said perception, but it doesn't change the fact they might see it that way.
    So it isn't necessarily an incorrect term. Just a sad one (regards to those who might see it that way).

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  12. "We've been here all along."

    And that, above all, is what irked me about that article, and others like it.

    Fangirls are not new! Fandom does not and never has belonged exclusively to the boys! I did not imagine the last 20+ of my life - or my mother's adolescent anecdotes, comic book collection, and lingering fascination with Mr. Spock, for that matter.

    Talking about an "invasion" - treating us as something new (and potentially threatening, in spite of the positive tone of the article) - invalidates our experience and undermines our perspective in a way that I find absolutely infuriating. I'm used to rolling my eyes over people who find geeky women weird, but this is a whole new flavor of frustrating.

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