Marvel Comics Editor Heather Antos dared to share a selfie with her coworkers online. And then trolls attacked her because of that. Fake Geek Girl is one of the many accusations that she’s faced since she dared to share her Milkshake. But what’s all this hate towards geek women? Why all the harassment online? Heather Antos is one of the many women working in comics. But you don’t need to work in comics to face such slash online or offline. Although comics, as gaming, have been thought to be male areas during many years, reality tells otherwise. There are women working in all fields, and enjoying geekdom like never before. Let’s face it: women are here to stay. Not only they have money to spend in these geek niches, but they also work in them! And most importantly: they are geek and want to show it up everywhere.
So, what’s really going on?
I talked about the topic years ago, but here we’re at it again. For some reason, if you’re a female in a geek field, you’re exposed to either the test, or the fury.
What is the Test? If you are a geek girl you might have been subjected to the Test. It can come in a subtle way (lists or references to what the male considers you do not know because you are an outsider), or a direct way (a bunch of questions about the geeky topic you’ve talked about and surely you don’t really know). In both cases, the Test happens when a geek male resists to believe that there is a true geek girl in front of him. Thus, he starts asking questions until you fail one. In that moment, his pre-made idea about you is re-inforced. (Never mind that you are a geek or that you might know more about Batman than he does.)
The Fury, however, is painful. The male feels threatened and attacks the female in several different ways. The mildest is stating that she is a fake geek girl. But tantrums can go beyond this and unleash all the fears they have inside. Thus, they end up harassing women in the hopes that they will shy away from the field.
It is this male fear that women are going to rule them all like Sauron that shows up the problem existing in the Geek/Nerd community when a woman expresses openly her geekiness. Stereotypes surrounding women make it difficult for them to comfortably enter and enjoy the same status into the geek/nerd subculture as their male counterparts do. True, many men feel that geekdom it’s a “boys club,” but Lulus are in the club too! We’re not knocking on the door to see if they may let us in. We’re already in enjoying all the fun. Can we just share it?
So, when women show up in public their geekiness in areas that were traditionally male realms, some men feel threatened and react throwing tantrums online. They’re compiting for space in their heads instead of sharing it with us.
So, what to do if you end up having a horde of men trolling your social media just because you dared to be a geek in public in a way that does not conform the “geek girl” stereotype they have in their minds?
First of all, please be aware that those who are trolling you are but a fraction of the geek men out there. This tiny fraction are the ones making all the noise. If you start digging, you’ll realize that there are geek men out there who cherish the change and welcome you with open arms.
Second, it seems that trolls have nothing else to do in their lives that hating their peers online. Today they’re spending hours harassing you, but tomorrow they might target someone else. Pity them, since their lives are reduced to hate and writing hateful messages online.
Third, stand up your ground and know your surroundings. Block if necessary, and delete without hesitation. And if you feel like it, slash! If you get troll comments in your blog, be happy since it’s easy to just push a button and get rid of those. Think about all the time trolls wasted writing their hateful comments and how easy it was to delete them from your life!
Finally, nurture and groom yourself. Take milk shakes and share them on your social media, cosplay, share your favorite ships online, fangirl like crazy!
Whatever you do online, remember a simple thing: trolls will always make you think that you don’t belong in the group. They’ll try to put you down, and make you think that you’re living in 1984. But the reality is that you’re an awesome human being who is surely opening the doors of the future.