The “fake geek girl” meme is one that has been popular on the internet among nerdy boys for some time now. This meme furthers the idea that if a girl is interested in geeky things or geek culture, she is either a) doing it for attention or b) not a real fan. Because if you haven’t read all 900 issues of one comic series, you MUST be faking it. And if you’ve never heard of Dick Grayson before, then you must not love Batman. If you post a picture of yourself with glasses on and the word “nerd” written on your hand, clearly you are a disgusting, filthy piece of trash and we should condemn you for being so fake. And so we enter the world of the “fake geek girl”.
A fake geek girl is defined as a girl who pretends to love things in geek culture when she actually does not or knows very little about it. The term seems to stem from nerdy boys who, naturally, condemn everything a girl does in their oh-so-secret, boys-only-club culture. The idea that a girl could actually like video games and have a decent knowledge of them is almost impossible to imagine. Even if a girl has limited knowledge of geek culture, nobody has the right to make them feel bad for enjoying video games or comic books to the extent of their knowledge. People will even harass girls on XBOX Live, such as in Call of Duty where you can talk to the other players.
What makes this all hilarious is how boys always complain about how there are no girls who like things in geek culture. Take this situation, for example:
A girl walks into a comic book store. She is wearing a Loki t-shirt and Batman Converse. After looking at the comics for a little while, she picks up an issue with Thor on the cover. She loves the movies and wants to start reading the comic books. As she reads the first couple of pages, a boy wearing a fedora and a V for Vendetta t-shirt comes up to her.
“So, you like Thor?” he asks her, eyeing the comic she holds in her hands.
“I really like the movies,” she answers, happy to see that someone struck up a conversation with her, “but I’ve been meaning to read the comic books.”
“Are you kidding me? You haven’t even read the comics? And you’re wearing a Loki shirt? You’re so fake. You don’t even know what Asgard is, do you?”
Upset, the girl leaves the store and doesn’t plan on returning.
The next week, the same boy complains to his friend while reading a Wonder Woman comic.
“Aw man, why are there never girls in comic stores?”
This kind of story, while fictional, is far too common. Whether a girl is cosplaying at a convention or buying a video game at a store, she will almost always be judged and ridiculed as a fake geek girl. I’ve seen guys look at my various video game t-shirts and sneer, almost as if I don’t have the right to wear them because I am female and, therefore, don’t know anything about the game at all. How many issues of Superman you’ve read, how many indie games you’ve played, or how many Lord of the Ring movies you’ve seen doesn’t effect your value as a person. Automatically diminishing girls for being interested in geek culture ruins our chance of enjoying it. I hate walking into my local comic and video game store by myself because I know I will be judged when I look at a new video game series or comic. I can’t wear a Bioshock Infinite t-shirt without people assuming I haven’t played the first two games or that I bought it for the attention. News flash: GIRLS DON’T DO EVERYTHING FOR GUYS’ ATTENTION! We can actually enjoy things on our own WITHOUT the consent of a male. Even people of other genders fall into this category of being “fake”. It seems that, unless you’re a straight white man, you can’t enjoy geek culture.
There is also a very loose definition of what a geek actually is. If you cosplay as Harley Quinn in a revealing outfit, you’re not a geek. You’re just a slut. If you play easy games like The Sims or Animal Crossing, you’re not a gamer. You’re just faking it. No matter what, it seems that girls can’t be accepted in the overall geek culture without being shamed for everything they do, especially cosplaying. People shame you if you’re plus-sized and wearing a Wonder Woman costume. People shame you if you’re big-breasted and wearing a revealing Catwoman costume. It’s time for us to stop shaming girls for wearing what they want and enjoying what they want.
So if you’re looking for a fun and rage-inducing time, Google “fake geek girl”. You’ll be amazed at some of the repulsing and sexist things that come up. DC Comics used to feature an ad called “The Imposter”, which featured a doodle of a “fake geek girl”. The ad was taken from collegehumor.com and ran on the back of a Wonder Woman comic (that’s right, Wonder Woman – a strong, positive, female heroin) for at least a month. Imagine being an avid, female comic book lover and coming across this ad while reading a comic. That would be hurtful and humiliating. This happens to girls all the time, and prevents them from wanting to be involved with geek culture at all. And yet guys complain when girls aren’t interested in the same things as them. If us geeks as a whole want geek culture to be taken seriously, then we have to stop the ridiculing and ostracizing of geek girls. You never hear about a fake geek boy, do you?
Albinwonderland did a great video about the concept behind “fake geek girl” and the infamous Facebook status from Tony Harris, which you can see here. You can also read a great article about “fake geek girls” here.