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Regarding "Fake Geek Girls": Don't Let Others Define Who You Are

Tara Brown is a geek. All through her article in Forbes she makes this readily apparent. I'm glad she's a geek! I'm glad there are women as well as men involved in "geek culture". There always have been, but because of societal standards they have tended to not be well-known in the past. So, I'm happy to see that Brown ardently clings to a geek identity and attempts to change for no one. However, in her article she seems to be trying far too hard to keep out the new age of geeks.

Although in her writing she sticks the term geek with anything which someone has a huge interest in. Games, scuba diving, sewing, or whatever can be geeky pursuits if you have enough vested interest in them. How much interest or obsession is enough? Well, apparently only Tara herself can state for you if it's enough. Right there that's a huge red flag. In particular to gamers she states: "Now if someone sticks a video game into their XBOX 360 console, they self-label themselves a ‘gamer.’" Wow. What in the world is this?

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We've seen this sort of attempt to distance ourselves from each other in the gaming world. Supposed hardcore gamers try to show they are anything but casual. They aren't playing Peggle or every iteration of Madden - they are the legitimate gamers. Since we've seen this ridiculous argument for so long though we realize it doesn't really hold water. Yes, many of us may think that people who only play smartphone games aren't "real gamers" but there's no doubt that they are indeed playing a game. And if they decide to call themselves a gamer then so be it. It isn't our role to enforce our standards of "gamer" on anyone other than ourselves. That's why I take so much issue with Brown's article. She seems to think that she can define what geek is to everyone, not just herself.

If nothing else, she believes she has the right to point out what is not geek. The title of her article shows this superior attitude plainly. She knows that many geek girls are "fake" geek girls. Because the term geek is now cool there are many girls posing to be geeks, apparently. There have always been and always will be people out in the world pretending to like things in order to be liked. It is not specific to women nor is it specific to geek culture. To try and enforce some arbitrary standard of geekdom is absurd. Why can't we be what we feel we are? We owe no one proof.

Because I am bad at a great deal of video game genres does that mean I'm not actually a gamer? Is the fact that I don't really enjoy Mass Effect or Final Fantasy or Call of Duty reason to cast me out of the gamer community that I so enjoy? Is the fact that I lust after pink controllers proof that I'm not serious? Does the fact that I rarely buy triple A (or any games) on release date something to hold against me? I have a feeling if I said these sorts of things to Brown she would dismiss my "gamer cred". I can't be a real gamer if I don't love these hugely popular franchises and don't spend dozens of hours a week playing. Of course not. Except for the fact that I do enjoy calling myself a gamer and that I do know a fair bit about games. I adore games and peg them as my favorite hobby. To me, I'm a gamer and that's the only person I need to justify it to.

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I also enjoy Peggle

There's something else strikingly odd going on in this article as well. Although Brown shares her reasons for believing she is a geek in the first paragraph she then defaults to all the reasons of other people define her as one. Is isn't enough for her to be justified of her own accord but to require the ideas of others to solidify that geekdom is something earned. It's something you must work toward always and cannot at all obtain just by being who you are.

For one, she uses the example of a young sewing geek - Luna. Brown is awed by how casual this 13 year old is about her skills. Apparently, anyone who makes a fuss about their hobbies isn't a geek but simply an attention-starved poser. She then makes a judgment call that NO ONE who takes pictures of their hobby for social media would ever be "taking a class on Saturday to improve their skills." How on Earth do you know that, Tara? Way to pass judgment on people who may actually be attempting to join the geek world!

Things get a bit more confused when we reach these two paragraphs:

"Girls who genuinely like their hobby or interest and document what they are doing to help others, not garner attention, are true geeks. The ones who think about how to get attention and then work on a project in order to maximize their klout, are exhibitionists.

If you are otaku-obsessed about something, keep doing what you love and share with others that have the same passionate interest as you."

At once she condemns who she views as the attention seekers. Right after though Brown then suggests sharing your passion with others. The statements seem to conflict quite strongly. How are you going to be able to share your passion with others if you must also *not* share it? Does this also only apply to women? Apparently men need to take no time to think about how they present their love of all things geek; only women.

It's true that the world of geeks is still predominately male, but they are not free of the stigma of being "not enough of a gamer/geek" either, at least within the community. If someone outside of geeky interests sees someone calling themselves a geek then they will probably believe it. It seems only Brown (and those with similar thought processes) are attempting to define geek as something perfectly quantifiable and that there are right and wrong ways to be one.

Saying "I'm such a geek!" to absolutely everything may be a bit of an annoyance to those who consider themselves actual geeks and gamers. However, there's really no reason to call people out on it. IF people who say this truly are not geeks then everyone who is will see through them quickly. There's no reason to decry this individuals; their lack of passion will be seen right through. Why should we have to have some barometer however to measure if we are really what we say we are? Why should it ever be suggested that we can only be what we are if others say we are? It's a ludicrous statement. Brown says she is a geek and I believe her. I just don't believe that she should be able to define for others what they are.


I find it funny that this person has to argue her point on why she is a geek and others aren't. If she didn't care and wasn't seeking attention then why would she choose to define what is and isn't one? If you are doing something because you enjoy it, why should a simple label make any difference?

Is she trying to garner the spotlight because a lot of people deem gamer chicks as awesome and cute and such? Honestly who cares? She contradicts herself multiple times throughout her article and is pretty hypocritical.

If I enjoy doing something, such as playing games, being labeled as a geek or not will not change the fact that I still enjoy playing games. So I must ask again why does a label matter? Unless you are just looking to gain something from it, which she is trying to do...it really shouldn't matter.

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I remember reading this article awhile ago and whilst I agreed with a few things the general overview I disagreed with. Yes I find people dressing up on a theme night wearing thick rimmed glasses & white shirts calling themselves 'geeks' really annoying. As that's a stereotype that is somewhat dated and never accurate to begin with (like most stereotypes).
I do believe however that you can be a geek in anything. As I tried to explain to my friend. The fact that he can name every footballer & manager in the premier league proves that he is a football geek. It was only when I asked him who won the F.A. Cup in 1978 & he answered correctly and told me by how many points did he then reluctantly agree.
I've never been one to favor labels. I just like being myself and I have an extremely wide area of interests, so I'd never tag myself into one particular group. When you try to label people, you are just creating social barriers. Most self-proclaimed geeks are really narrowing themselves down too much. It's also somewhat annoying when "hard-core gamers" talk smack about casual gamers. I really don't see what the problem is. Just play what you enjoy and stop trying to act like you are better than someone else because of the type of games you play.

It's also somewhat annoying when "hard-core gamers" talk smack about casual gamers

Oh that does my head in! I find it infuriating! Especially as those titles have only really been brought up in this generation! Apparently everyone has to have a label nowadays! I refuse to be labelled! *Now labelled as labelless*
You each made some really good points. Respond on, great responders!!!

I think this girl (because she very definitely does not seem mature) is a bit lost in herself. What we should be doing is striving to see and appreciate the commonalities that bring each of us together, no matter the category/hobby/genre.

So is she a geek? Maybe, but I don't really care either way. She doesn't seem like someone I'd like to hang out and talk about games with, and I'm a girl-gamer myself. What she certainly appears to be from your interpretation of her article, is conceited, and she seems to have that down pretty well.
The main problem with this, with all of this, is that a lot of people feel like they have business with deciding what other people's identities should be. See, Tara Brown is a geek. Not because I say she is, but because she says she is. That's the thing about identities: you decide them. These "fake geek girls," when they decided to self-identify as geeks, became geeks. People need to keep their fat snoots out of other people's identities.

The main problem with this, with all of this, is that a lot of people feel like they have business with deciding what other people's identities should be. See, Tara Brown is a geek. Not because I say she is, but because she says she is. That's the thing about identities: you decide them. These "fake geek girls," when they decided to self-identify as geeks, became geeks. People need to keep their fat snoots out of other people's identities.

Based on your avatar and regarding your identity, I can only assume that this whole time you have actually been Will Smith posing as some guy named Marshall Henderson. So clever, but I'm on to you now!

I think you're mostly right though, to an extent. The individual does hold some power in choosing how he or she presents him or herself to the world. How that individual is received, however, is based on mostly unspoken interpretations and (I hate to say it), assumptions and judgements. We each may self-proclaim to be video gamers here, but our "self-proclaimed" statuses change with the environment. At a job interview, I am a well-spoken, well-dressed, educated individual. In a school environment, I am a quiet student who internalizes most of what is occurring. Here on GP, I am a relatively anonymous gamer who finds kinship in other self-proclaimed gamers.

Since the identities we present to the world vary considerably based on circumstance, I think its especially important we do latch on to those commonalities rather than divide ourselves based on our differences. Humans are so complex that it becomes far too easy to criticize differences than it is to embrace them and seek out the common ground. This kind of extends in a broader sense to how people view nationality, religion, and culture. We should respect each other's uniqueness in all its complexity; in the end, after all, the greatest commonality we all have is that we are all human.




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