SDCC 2010: Hey, That's My Cape! Geek Girls Exist!

Females and their visibility in geek culture. It can be a highly controversial topic. I won’t bother to point out the fact that there are girls out there who enjoy the same things geek guys do. I think this crowd is a bit more enlightened than that. But unfortunately, not everyone is. It’s one of the things I’ll be talking about in depth this week at San Diego Comic-Con.

I’m very excited and just a wee bit nervous heading to SDCC (in fact, I’m writing this in a plane on my way there). Why? I’m on two panels. One is called “Geek Girls Exist,” the other, “Where Are the Action Chicks?” So I’m not just talking about this subject and more with my friends, which I have at length, I’m discussing this with others who feel it’s worthy of discussion and debate.

I have to admit, up until a few years ago I didn’t really label myself as a “Geek Girl.” I was just a geek. I didn’t see there being any difference. I still don’t. For me it’s now an affectionate term. Before I started my blog, I wanted to come up with a fun nickname for myself and make sure it wasn’t something already being used. My blog doesn’t have a female focus but several others I came across did. That was when I found the culture within the culture and realized they were having some difficulties being taken seriously. Some were being denied “geek” status while others were accused of “playing geek” just to get attention. I mean, really. Of all the things girls can do to get attention, do you really think she’d pretend to be part of a group known for being made fun of?

There was a guide to Comic-Con published last year that got several of us in an uproar. It basically involved chasing after boys the entire convention and was a humongous insult to those who attend SDCC year after year for comics, video games, toys etc. Were there girls there drooling over Robert Pattinson? Sure, just like there were guys there drooling over Olivia Wilde.

Like I said, there are plenty of enlightened men out there, but don’t think for a second that we’re exaggerating when we say we have been shirked and scoffed at by strangers when we talk about our geeky loves. It’s the same reason girls feel uncomfortable walking into comic book shops. Guys are stunned to see them there and occasionally are downright rude. That includes the employees. Hence, the “Geek Girls Exist” panel. I truly hope we get an even 50/50 mix of males and females to really hear what both sides think. Do women want the distinction? Should there be one? How do the men feel?

There’s no doubt geek girls exist, we just want to talk about what that means. At the “Where Are the Action Chicks?” panel we want to discuss the lack of female action heroes, specifically superheroes. Women like Ripley, Buffy and Xena were all strong, lead characters that were equally successful financially.  Where are our new female action stars? They are few and far between if present at all. (Which is weird when you consider how awesome girls look while kicking ass.) You can make an argument for someone like the Bride from Kill Bill as a more recent action hero but movies like Catwoman and television shows like the remake of The Bionic Woman crashed and burned. Although the CW’s new version of Nikita and USA Network’s Covert Affairs hope to find success. I’m not holding out much hope but I’m going to try and check out the Nikita sneak peak here at SDCC. Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

But what I’m really looking for in the next few years and beyond are the female superheroes getting their turn. In truth, there has only been one female, live-action superhero film made in Hollywood and that was Supergirl back in 1984. Sure it bombed but that was over 25 years ago. The Spirit and others tanked, that doesn’t mean they stopped making male driven superhero films. I mean, geez, they even gave the Hulk another shot at box office glory, how fair is that? Either way, you can bet we’ll be discussing why the most famous superheroine of all time still doesn’t have her own film. Perhaps that has something to do with new Wonder Woman writer J. Michael Straczynski joining us on stage.

See you in San Diego? Or if not, leave us some thoughts here and perhaps I can bring them up at the panel.

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