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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

question of the day: Is geek culture female friendly?

Echoing a question that Jezebel asked earlier this week: Is geek culture female friendly?

The answer, whatever it may be, goes well beyond whether there are lots of women at science fiction conventions (as was pointed out by commenters in this recent thread about how many men are astonished to learn that a woman likes science fiction). Women make up the majority of moviegoers, a larger majority than we are in the general population (as I noted in last week’s Week in Women column), but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Teh Movies are necessarily female friendly.
What attracted me to geek culture originally, when I was a kid, was certainly not female friendly. Girls and women were not much beyond tokens in the SF that I read or watched on TV or saw in the the movies, and that’s mostly still true today… though some in-roads are being made, particularly with shows such as Battlestar Galactica and Caprica. Still, women are no better represented in the genre than they are in the entertainment universe overall. The literature is a lot more inclusive than it was in the 1970s, but while videogaming may be enjoyed by lots of women, it’s also sadly lacking in representations of women (see: this bullsht excuse as to why there are no female soldiers in battle games).

And as for the fans themselves… there may be lots of women who are into geek stuff, and lots of women who attend SF conventions, but I’ve certainly encountered more than a few geek guys who still don’t value a woman’s opinion as much as they value a man’s, who will interrupt a woman who’s speaking but will let a man talk on, and so on. Not all men, of course, but the incidence of sexist, clueless jerks doesn’t seem to be much less among geeks than among the general population.

What do you think: Is geek culture female friendly?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)



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