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Random Thoughts On Geekdom
Posted Sep 29, 2010 - 11:25:33

 The Geek subculture is a complex thing, and it's a topic I've always been fascinated by. I know I've talked about Geek Culture quite a few times in the past, but recently I wrote a post about how I'm tired of people acting like I should be shocked by the existence of Geek women. That whole post was how I found women to be quite common in the Geek culture at large, and how I thought pretending it was rare was preventing true social integration.

In the comments for that particular blog entry, one person misunderstood though what I was defining as Geek culture -- seeing the culture as merely reflected in the parts they interact with (the IT industry largely), and I think it's a good representation of how many misconstrue what Geek culture exactly is. Geek culture is not the IT industry culture. There are geeks in IT, but there are non-geeks as well. In fact I can think one job dominated by geeks that I feel is a far better representation:


I'm sure there are non-geek Librarians, but lord knows I haven't met them yet (and I know a surprisingly high number of Librarians and Library Science students).

My point is that the Geek subculture is huge, and it's bigger than a lot of people think. Self-identification as a Geek or a Nerd has been on the rise, and this growth (or at least un-closeting) is due to our ability to network these days. Conventions have existed for quite a while, but the advent and rise of the internet over the last several decades has allowed people with niche interests to connect. This has, in my opinion, increased socialization significantly in Geekdom, and while there are quite a few socially awkward among us, there is actually a positive atmosphere available for these people to learn to integrate that didn't use to be out there.

Geekdom is about a lot of things - It's about the valuation of intelligence, it's about the acceptance of those who are rejected from society just for being awkward, it's about enthusiastically researching and learning about a topic, it's about liking things and not being ashamed about it just because it's not considered "cool."

We are a large portion of society at large, and we are organizing more and more every day.

The interesting thing is just how unnoticed we've gone by people. Sure, ComicCon makes the news, but there are hundreds of conventions across the globe that no one pays attention to. Over a thousand geeks gather here, another two thousand gather there... and it generally goes unnoticed. The fact that I have to explain what a convention is to some people outside geekdom tells me how invisible we are. Internet Geek groups only get noticed by outsiders if someone from said group does something destructive. Think about the fact that the media has given more coverage to Anonymous, yet barely acknowledges the existence of the much larger and more popular site (4chan) it sprang from.

America still thinks that shows like the atrocious "Big Bang Theory" are accurate representations of Geekdom. They don't get that something larger is happening here.

And believe me, something is.
- Traegorn

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If there are as many girl geeks out there, why aren't there enough girl geeks to go around? Anytime there is a single girl at any of the parties at the manor, all the single guys end up in a cluster around her trying to get her attention at some point because EVERY other girl there is taken. 

And I like The Big Bang Theory. You may think it's cliche and overdone, but spend a day in my lab. People do talk and act like that.
You're forgetting there's a large number of socially awkward, single women too.

They just don't come to the parties. :P
If there's such a small difference in ratios, then the number of awkward single nerd guys who go to parties shouldn't so vastly overwhelm awkward single nerd girls. I just know far more nerd boys than nerd girls.
You're forgetting that they socialize separately too -- a lot of them only hang out with other women.  There's a pretty big tent here I think you're neglecting, and only looking at the portion of geeks you personally interact with.

Socially awkward males will interact easily with socially affluent males - which is what you're seeing.  Socially awkward women are far more likely to stay home though. You have to understand how inclusive I'm being in my definitions here, and that I'm cutting my swath fairly large.

I go back to Geek.kon's attendance numbers - half of it's attendees were women.  In my experience, they've been a fairly good indicator of geek demographics between the ages of 18 and 30.

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