Today, The Doubleclicks premiered a video for their song “Nothing to Prove” and I’m proud to have been a (small) part of it. You can see my cameo from 1:43-1:47! So today, I wanted to take a bit of time to share my story.
You see, pink is not my favorite color. I’ve never been super-over-the-top girly. But I’ve found that people don’t often get that someone can be feminine and geeky at the same time, so when designing the branding for my site, I decided it needed to be pink. BRIGHT pink. I went more girly than I am in real life because I want to embrace that. I love board games AND makeup. I love sci-fi AND baking cupcakes. I love shopping for comic books AND shopping for clothes. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
I have a pink pencil skirt that I wear often, and I initially bought it because it’s the perfect shade of “Geeky Hostess pink.” I had the privilege of attending GenCon last year in a marketing capacity, so I wore the skirt with my company’s button-up shirt for the first day of the con. (I wanted to look professional, after all.) I was introduced to someone in the world of miniatures gaming who, when finding out I was a marketing person (and not just brought along as a booth babe), asked me a bit about Kickstarter. Should he consider it for his next projects? Oh boy. My face lit up. I started to ramble. I was using buzzwords. Kickstarter is a sweet spot of mine: it’s something I have experience in, I’m fascinated by, and I could talk about forever. His response? Cutting me off by saying “You sound smart for a girl in a pink skirt.” My colleagues were silently appalled. I laughed it off. But it stuck with me. Why the qualifier? Why was he so surprised I would be smart? What is it about the color pink, my gender, or the fact I’m wearing a skirt that would make me stand out as not being intelligent?
From then on I’ve vowed to wear more pink. If I can surprise a few more people into realizing a “girl in a pink skirt” can be smart, then my job here is done. Hopefully it won’t be as shocking next time they encounter it.
This wasn’t the first time I’ve encountered something like this. People often assume I’m working a convention instead of attending it, and when I’m actually working booths at conventions, people assume I’m there to model, not to give them information. It’s often honest mistakes and their reactions aren’t meant to be rude or insulting. So instead of taking them as so, I laugh it off with them, inform them what I’m really doing at the con, and engage them in a conversation about the geeky topic at hand.
Moral of the story? There are a lot of people out there that still don’t quite “get” that women can hold their same interests or intelligence. Getting mad about it or tweeting about it probably won’t help them. Correcting their misinformation in a friendly and informative way will. Lead by example–be friendly and welcoming to those in the geek community, turn offhanded half-insult/half-compliments into an opportunity to chat about your passions, and if someone is being rude or threatening, walk away. And if you want to wear a pink skirt, wear it with pride.
Have a #NothingtoProve story you want to share? Leave it in the comments or submit it to The Doubleclicks’ Tumblr!
That is the BEST reason to wear pink I’ve ever seen! I need to redress my lifelong avoidance of the colour.
The whole “for a girl” thing is a fairly common misconception in motorcycling as well, and it reflects (to an extent) the reality that of the few women riders there are, most don’t do maintenance or take the leap to becoming biking enthusiasts. Or maybe it’s just that we don’t hear about them all that much.
I once worked in tech support and was walking an older gentleman through a software update when we fell onto the topic of bikes. By the time I’d told him a few of my riding stories, he’d uttered “A lady mechanic?” and “A lady motorcyclist?!” in increasingly high-pitched tones. He was amazed, and once he’d got over the surprise, delighted to hear about my adventures. People are always shocked when I tell them I’ve ridden anything bigger than a scooter.
I’ve come across the same incredulity in geekdom, and am always amazed to meet people who seem to have never even heard of female gamers, bikers, or anything other than secretaries, clothes shoppers and mothers! That we might be all of the above is often too much for them to comprehend, and the only way to fix that is to educate them.
This was such a lovely post. 🙂
Great post, great song. Thank you, Tara!
I have run into much resistance luckily, at least not for being a female geek. But, I also haven’t really come out of my geek-shell much. I mean, people who know me well know that I’m on the geeky side, and of course my family knows as they only have themselves to blame (it’s what happens when you raise a kid of Star Trek and computers). I haven’t really gone to many events or engaged with others in geekdom. Not that I don’t want to! I just haven’t. I don’t think the city I live in is very geeky, and also I’m afraid I wouldn’t be geeky enough for the others? (Too geeky for the people I’m around daily, but not geeky enough for the geek community??)
Oh god, I’m rambling… To wrap up my run-away thoughts here: I’m inspired by people like Tara, The Doubleclicks, Jennifer Landa… and I want to get more involved in things.
If I may, I’d like to jump in and provide encouragement to Kristin. I too was raised on Star Trek and computers (and a host of other “geeky” things), but I never really understood how much of my core-self was formed by my geeky persuasions. I was always the geekier of my groups of friends, they loved me for it, but then I met my current boyfriend and then met his friends and attended my first convention.
I haven’t looked back. The community I have found in the geek community has made me feel more whole and more in touch with my true identity than ever before.
My experience at conventions has been, if you don’t know about something (D&D in my case) most people are very excited to show you. They want to share their passions with others. Sure there are people who will try to make you prove your geekiness, but I have rarely encountered them.
Find a friend to go with and have fun!
You are all so lovely! Thank you for the fantastic messages. And for what it’s worth, everyone I encountered at SDCC was absolutely fantastic. Even if they were incredulous that I was a geek at first, they were positive about it and our conversations would quickly turn back to us talking about geeky things and never felt competitive or judge-y. The geek world, it’s a changin’, and I feel really good about it.
I work in the resource industry, a job that requires a lot of stomping around in the mud, hauling heavy equipment, cursing, encountering bears, and other blah blah blah rooaaaarrrr!!! tasks. I wear a lot of pink during fieldwork, and tag my equipment with pink, for two key reasons: 1. With so few large expanses of pink in nature (flowers), my gear is remarkably easy to find when I set it down; and 2. Manly men don’t steal pink tools. …and maybe a tiny bit of 3. If you’re going to be sexist and irritating to me, I’m going to be obnoxiously over-the-top feminine back at you. 😉
I experienced something similar a few weeks ago. I went to a comic book shop to meet my “little brother” who was in town for a few days. I was wearing shorts and a tanktop because it was during the Seattle heatwave. After I came in and said hi to my friend, I sat down to watch him play Magic the Gathering, because I have been learning to play it. One of the guys in the comic book shop asked me how soon after I came in did I realize I was going to be bored. I let him know that I’m actually learning to play Magic and wasn’t bored at all. In fact, I had been in the shop the previous day buying comic books. He was surprised and didn’t really know how to respond. It’s like if I’m not wearing clothing with nerdy references on it, people don’t believe I’m into nerdy stuff, just because I’m a girl. So I’m right here with you helping correct silly misconceptions about what women can be interested in.