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?
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.
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.