Proud Parent of a Geek Girl

The Geek Legacy

qGyI97g I’ve always been kind of a lit and television nerd, even before the connotation became a positive one. I graduated with a degree in Writing and an MA in Literature, because reasons. I used to go to the library in the summer with my grandmother and check out the maximum number of books (12) and get everything from Stephen King to Choose Your Own Adventure books. I was the child you might find in the corner of the football field with a book in hand while the other kids played softball all around me. My mom raised me on Star Trek, Batman and Indiana Jones, she always encouraged me to be passionate about the things that interested me, and still reminds me to be proud of who I am and what I love, regardless of what others have to say.

Geek Parenting

geek_parenting_fb As a parent of a pre-teen girl, I do my best to encourage my daughter to find joy in all types of activities–from reading books to shooting a bow and arrow. She is my roll dog; we go everywhere together. I want to go watch Classic Who at NerdMelt? She’s coming. There is an Dr. Seuss inspired art opening at the museum near our house? We head out together. I want my daughter to know that I am passionate about the things that I love, and she can be too. I try damn hard to make her feel accepted and loved regardless of how I feel about her hobbies. As long as it’s age appropriate I could give a damn if she likes Minecraft, the Ninth Doctor or baton throwing (none are my “thing”). In fact, I encourage her to take up her own activities and to think independently so as not to get bogged down by that “crowd” mentality that comes heavy in high school (oh gawd my baby’s going to high school in 3 years) and so that she starts to figure out what she likes and who she is NOW, because it gets harder before it gets better.

Little Lady Geeks

geek-parenting-1

So, when the Lady Avengers and I decided to to a group cosplay and I knew I planned to bring little Baby Diva to WonderCon with me, I, of course, decided she would cosplay Hawkeye. I promised to buy her a bow and arrow, which she loves to shoot, and that the outfit would be super awesome, with The Collectress’ assistance, of course. Baby Diva smiled and went along with this idea for about a week, until she sweetly told me she didn’t want to be Hawkeye, she wanted to cosplay Katniss Everdeen.

But…But.. Group. Cosplay! Hawkeye and Natasha!

Parenting moment in 5…4…3…2…1

I ultimately agreed that she could dress however she wanted. Cosplay is all about fantasy and imagination. How can I expect my daughter to be unique if I force my idea of geekdom on her? As soon as I acquiesced, she began to work up a contagious excitement for the experience of WonderCon. She Googled pictures and had a vision of what she wanted her Katniss to look like. With the help of JacksQueen (Lady Loki), Baby Diva and I scoured the thrift stores, bought a functional bow and arrow at Big 5, borrowed combat boots and got a friend to do an authentic Katniss arena braid. Baby Diva looked awesome and felt good about herself. That makes this nerd mom happy.

Growing up Geek

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The thing is, while being a girl is hard, being a geek girl can feel almost impossible. Girls enter geek culture under the shadow of “Does she even watch Classic Who?” and “No way she’s a real gamer”; sentiments that are meant to keep us on the outside looking in. The patriarchy is real, folks, even in geekdom. Still, in recent years, female comic writers, cosplayers, and proud lady geeks have become mainstream. Felicia Day is on Supernatural nerding it up and Chloe Dykstra has her own cosplay television show–shit is real, friends. So, why are women still being marginalized in geek culture? Why are female comic book writers and show runners still talking about the status quo and the fact that there are so few of them in the business? I don’t have an answer that will sound unbiased and logical–because the situation is full of prejudice and absurd. Nerds are traditionally the outsiders–considered Other in literary terms–and thus the female can inherently identify with this representation after dwelling in this sphere since mother Eve. Women remain alienated, considered suspicious and less than, even in a space defined by other-ness. I’m not trying to rant. I even made it a point to keep this post short and sweet. What concerns me is our daughters. The girls who are grilled by their male peers when they claim to like video games or are made fun of because they read comic books and watch British television. So what? In the long run, we are all individuals with the capability to make our own choices and develop our own, unique values. Rendering invalid the passions of others will never strengthen one’s own resolve.

xoxo

The Collectiva Diva

Tweet me  @collectivadiva

 

**images are not mine**

11 Comments

  1. corinthialynne

    My spawn (a 9 year old girl-child named Ripley after Ellen Ripley of Aliens) is a devoted fan of the Amulet graphic novels by Kazu Kibuishi; she quotes Sherlock (usually Moriarty); her knowledge of the Doctor Who universe surpasses her knowledge of her own universe. It never occurred to me to stop her from participating actively and deeply and slightly obsessively with whatever she chose (thank God it wasn’t something tedious). Knowing she will eventually understand the concept of fandoms, I’ve involved myself in several to get the gist of what it’s like for girls.

    It’s rough. It’s really rough. I’ve had candid conversations with her about elitism in geekdoms and the importance of the golden rule (which in my house is “don’t be a d*ck”). I’m ever grateful for people who raise their children with the passion of geeks in whatever genre they choose. Good for you for raising your child right and for acknowledging the potential heartache she may encounter as she braves the Age of the Geek.

  2. acollectivemind

    Riley sounds awesome. Baby Diva doesn’t consider herself a nerd, which I find fascinating. She thinks she’s cool, and that makes me incredibly proud. She refuses to associate with those that make her feel that her hobbies or interests are stupid. She surrounds herself with dorky kids who like the same stuff she does, or, even better, don’t give a rip about her Doctor Who obsession because they love her for the sum of her parts. All we ever want is for our kids to not be assholes, to treat others with respect and to do some good in the world. I don’t think this is too much to ask.
    Parenting: You’re doing it right!!

  3. Kate's Reviews

    Wow, such a great article. I grew up in a book loving, star trek, star gate family and I am proud to say I am a nerd/geek/whatever. High school can be difficult however I have found that if you are confident in who you are people won’t care if you like nerdy things.

      1. Bec Graham

        See, if I could guarantee myself a kid who loved to read and thinks British men are the greatest gift to the world of entertainment, then I would consider it. There’s just too strong a chance of ending up with a Belieber.

      2. acollectivemind

        Trust me. There is a give and take. She went through a Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana, not the tongue thing) phase, is still in a One Direction phase, and she loves Joey Graceffa??? Whoever that is. I take the little victories, such as her obsession with Doctor Who and the fact that she now loves the idea of cosplay. They will never be exactly like us, but I hope the good stuff rubs off. My mom taught me to pick my battles. Thank CHUCK she is not a Belieber tho–that would suck.

      3. Bec Graham

        Hannah Montana is OK. I don’t mind that show. (Though shhhh :P) I’ve never heard of this Joey character.
        Cosplay is a cool concept. If I ever end up at a convention (maybe Oz Con in Sydney) I soooo want to go as River in that black dress with those red shoes. It’s my favourite River moment. Flying out of the TARDIS because she knows the Doctor will be there to catch her.
        OK, I got sidetracked…where was I.
        Picking your battles is a good strategy. I reckon my mum is secretly thrilled that I inherited her love of Elvis 🙂

      4. acollectivemind

        I will go with you on a tangent through all of space and time about River Song! But seriously, If she’s a fan, I’ll bet your mom loves that you love Elvis. That is actually adorable 🙂

      5. Bec Graham

        River Song = amazing. I THINK she’s going to pop up in season 8 but I can’t remember if I actually read it or I’m just making shit up haha.
        Yeah…I’m pretty sure she does. She’s kinda adorable

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