When Will We See Some Female Geeks?
The last movie I saw in 2007 was Juno, a heart-warming comedy about a quirky teenage girl who winds up pregnant after having sex with her geeky best friend/true love. (OK, technically, Juno was the second to last movie I saw in 2007, as I caught Invincible - the true story of a down-on-his-luck Philly bartender who winds up playing for the Philadelphia Eagles after an open try out – which I also enjoyed, but that’s not the point.) Juno stars Ellen Page as Juno and Micheal Cera as the geek, a role he also played in the summer hit comedy,Superbad, which followed on the heels of Knocked Up, another movie about hooking up with geeks. I adored Juno (it’s one of the most humane movies I’ve seen in ages), and while I suspect I’d find Knocked Up and Superbad as uproariously funny as everyone else seemed to, I never made it to either of those films. Geeky guy hooks up or tries to hook up with hot chicks? Yeah, I’ve seen that movie about a zillion times before. I’ll catch the yucks on pay-per-view at some point.
Entertainment Weekly got it right (as usual): 2007 was indeed the year that “the geek was king.” Male geeks? Totally getting love from everyone on TV and in movies. Female geeks? Nowhere in sight, as usual. I mean that literally. You can’t see a depiction of a girl geek pretty much anywhere except in your imagination. My favorite geek heroine, Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter books, continued to kick ass in the last Harry Potter novel. In the books, she’s described as possessing frizzy hair and buck teeth. However, in the Harry Potter movies, Hermione is played by an utterly adorable actress. It seems that even a well-known girl geek character is not acceptable on film unless she’s super cute. (Or animated, like Lisa Simpson in The Simpsons Movie.)
Many people have noticed the inequities between male and female geeks. Freelance writer and blogger Sarah Seltzer wrote an article for the Winter 2008 issue of Bitch Magazine called, “The Geek Girl Stands Alone,” which documents the number of male geeks positively featured in TV shows and movies and laments the utter lack of lady geeks. Seltzer notes that even when girl geeks are depicted, their hobbies and interests serve more as “an outlet for pain,” as they’d rather be doted on at the prom. (Examples sited: Ten Things I Hate About You, She’s All That, Never Been Kissed.)
Of course, us female geeks and dorks are out there. If Hollywood would give us the chance they threw to boy geeks, I bet they’d find there’s an audience out there. For example, Tiffany Bridge blogs:
I’m a geek. I’ve been geeky most of my life- in high school, while other kids were making out in the student lounge or playing hacky-sack out in the parking lot, I was hanging out with my geeky friends in the computer lab.
As a result, I have a whole sack of jokes sitting around that I will never be able to tell except to my friends. Stuff like:
“Your company uses newsgroups as its primary support vehicle? Wow, you guys are so old school you’re wearing clocks around your necks, aren’t you? Do you have Grandmaster Flash on Tier 2?”
“Did you hear about that security ‘expert’ who said that games like World of Warcraft are helping terrorists get training on weapons that look identical to the real thing? Yeah, I guess I’d better watch out for the guy on the airplane with a staff that has tentacles on the end of it. I’ll cast my Rank 12 Shadowbolt on him.”
I’m hoping that maybe some of you will get it.
Yes, Tiffany. A lot of people get it (although admittedly, I am not one of those people, as my geekery runs toward other topics, but that’s not the point). Many of the geeks who fall down laughing at Tiffany’s jokes are featured in the book and blog She’s Such a Geek: Women Write about Science, Technology, & Other Nerdy Stuff.
Since not all women geeks are into technology, geek sugar nominated Mary Lynn Rajskub, Jenna Fischer, Tina Fey and Kristen Bell as “some of the hottest and most popular female geeks of '07.” Because non-hot female geeks – why bother? (Incidentally, Entertainment Weekly included Tina Fey in their “geek king” article as well.) Still, it is nice when brainy women get a shout-out when the airways and pages of media are clogged by Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian, who are famous for not being smart and doing nothing.
Diablo Cody, the hilariously brilliant creator of Juno (who blogs at her myspace page) is working on the screenplay for a new teen sex comedy. This time, though, the main characters are girls who are looking to get laid. I don’t know if they are also nerds, dorks, or geeks, but the concept of a girl-centered teen sex comedy is so novel that I almost don’t care. If this woman could bring us wise-cracking Juno (who my friend thought was a geek, although I thought she was just sarcastic), I have some hope that we’ll get a story told from American Pie’s band girl dork’s perspective. And maybe we can usher in the year the geek was queen.
Suzanne is a proud dork who also blogs at Campaign for Unshaved Snatch & Other Rants