The Momicorn: Because Geek Moms DO Exist.

ImageA smattering of things that I know:

  1. Han shot first. (Duh) He was also the only non-jedi in the original trilogy to ever wield a light saber.
  2. That high elvish is actually based on a nearly extinct dialect of Finnish
  3. That I am Green Ajah.
  4. That George R. R. Martin, outside of Game of Thrones, also penned one of the most believable vampire origin stories of all time
  5. How to use power tools correctly and safely.
  6. How to make minor fixes to my own car.
  7. That “god particle,” is a misnomer, and why…
  8. That, despite the gorgeous graphics of Twilight Princess, Majora’s Mask is still my favorite of the LOZ titles.
  9. How to troubleshoot my own computer.

10. That it’s bigger on the inside.

Anyone who knows me is not surprised by these things. Anyone who read these facts out of context would probably assume that I am a man. I find this fact, (and it is a fact) bewildering. There has been a lot of talk lately about “geek girl culture,” or, “fake geek girls.” I had never really given it much thought. It is all in the company you keep, I guess. For the women I know and love, most of these things are second nature. We grew up reading Tolkien, nerding out when Robert Ballard found Titanic, clamoring for the next installment of Goosebumps, or Wheel of Time, or Clan of the Cave Bear. We discovered these things on our own, just like boys, most of us were loners, or needed a means of escape, just like boys, and most of us were bullied for it, just like boys… But, with the advent of the vocal, attractive, and intelligent “geek girls,” like Felicia Day, Clare Grant and Team Unicorn, even Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, we are being bullied by the men-who were the boys-who were bullied… (Wow. The mind-blowing psychological implications of that statement alone…) who seem to believe that geeks girls who don’t “fit the mould” are all liars, paid actresses, or freaks of nature. In short, that we don’t exist.

Mostly, I sat back, and rolled my eyes at the shenanigans when this all began. I occasionally spoke up when people would accuse Clare Grant of being a “fake geek girl,” because we’ve known each other since we were fifteen, she’s my family in a sense, and she is the real deal. (As are her partners in crime.) I was, however, tucked away safely out of the spotlight, and assumed that it really didn’t concern me. Then I became a mother…to daughters…super smart daughters who are already showing a love of and interest in comic books, science, video games, and all things geek.

Then, one day at the park:

Imagine if you will, a group of 6-ish year old boys, wielding sticks, and running through the park screaming, hitting things, and generally being boys. My eldest, Wonder Woman (see previous post for explanation of name) walked up to them and said, “Can I play with you?” One of the boys answered, “No, we are playing knights. Girls can’t be knights.” So my girl, (MY GIRL!!!) said, “Eowyn was a knight.” To which the young gallant replied, “whatever,” and ran away with his fellows in tow.

Now, sure, they’re six year old boys, and regardless of context, probably aren’t really interested in playing with a four and a half year old girl. That is not in dispute. What rattled me, and made me take notice was the assumption, on the part of the boy that, “girls can’t be knights.” (I should insert a disclaimer here. My four year old has NOT been read LOTR, nor has she seen the movies. She expressed interest in knights, and so we told her the kid friendly version of Eowyn’s story. When she is six we’ll tell her about The Maid of Tarth. (I kid. We’ll wait until she’s seven.)) It made me realize that I am, in fact, deep in the midst of the “geek girl,” quandary. I am a member of a subculture of a subculture… I am a Momicorn, (Unicorns, like geek girls, are not supposed to exist.) and I shall sound my barbaric “YAWP!” (Ahem, “yawp.”)

But what does that mean to be a “Momicorn?” What are my unique responsibilities to my geeklettes, beyond the obvious stuff like showing the movies in the original order, teaching that all Robins are not equal, representing Tesla as the OG that he is, making sure that they avoid the Twilight books like the plague, embroidering onesies with Frodo lives, schooling them that female objectification is not necessary in the creation of a heroine (Thank you Jane Eyre). As I see it, there are three biggies, and the rest is semantics.

  1. Sometimes people are assholes. If you know with all of your being that what they are saying is wrong, and (this and is important) no one is being hurt (Offended does not count. Affronted does not count. Scandalized does not count… I mean hurt…) by what they are saying or doing, then ignore them. Yes it will be hard. You will have opinions. You will want to be vocal, but haters love to hate, and haters quickly escalate to outright bullies. Don’t let them drag you in to their Thunderdome.
  2. Follow your Chucks. (Because in my mind all geek children wear All-Stars.) When I was in second grade my mom got a call from my teacher who was worried by my reading selections. I had recently become obsessed with the macabre. Sure, a second grader reading books about Jack the Ripper and the Hindenburg is a bit odd in hindsight, but this reading led directly to my interests in psychology, religion, philosophy, history, and many, many other wonderful magical subjects. To the credit of my teacher (and my parents) no one freaked out. They certainly began paying more attention, and steered my interests where they could, but they never told me that I was “wrong,” or, “weird,” for being in to those things. So, I grew up a nerd, never knowing that I was a nerd. I got all of the perks of geeky nerdom, without the pitfalls of the stereotype, and I think that is the main thing to take away from the vocal minority of geek girls out there right now: If you’re a geek, you just are. A geek. Avoid the stereotypes…unless that stereotype is your truth, but if it is, then OWN it. Don’t apologize for it. If you get defensive because you are secretly ashamed of who you are, well…maybe that’s not who you are.
  3.   Everyone is a nerd for something. Respect the inner nerd. Whenever you think to mock someone’s interests, look to your own. (I feel like I should end that with, “the night is dark and full of terrors.”)

I don’t know all of the answers. I am sure there are lots of things that I am missing, and lots of ways that I will mess it up, but I know this…I DO exist, and so do my girls. The interwebs may not like it, but there’s nothing I can do about that huggermugger. What I can do is read my children to sleep with the help of Tolkien, Rowling, and Beagle. I can teach them that everyone is fallible, and everyone is perfect. I can give them much and more that was given to me, walk with them as they discover new worlds, and hope that if they leave, they’ll come back often, and with stories to tell.

“For still there are so many things that I have never seen:
in every wood in every spring there is a different green.
I sit beside the fire and think of people long ago,
and people who will see a world that I shall never know.
But all the while I sit and think of times there were before,
I listen for returning feet and voices at the door.”

-JRR Tolkien

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