The fake problem of fake geek girls, and how to be a sexy man nerd
My friend Rachel Schutt recently sent me this Forbes article by Tara Tiger Brown on the so-called problem of too many fake geek girls stealing the thunder and limelight from us true geek girls.
The working definition of geek seems to be someone who is obsessively interested in something (I would argue that you don’t get to be a geek if your obsession is art, for example, I’d like to define it to be an obsession with something technical). She also claims that “true geeks” don’t do something for airtime. From the article:
Girls who genuinely like their hobby or interest and document what they are doing to help others, not garner attention, are true geeks. The ones who think about how to get attention and then work on a project in order to maximize their klout, are exhibitionists.
I kind of like this but I kind of don’t too. I like this because, like you, I have run into many many people (men and women) who loudly claim technical knowledge that they don’t seem to actually have, which is annoying and exhibitionistic. And yes, it’s annoying to see people like that doing things like giving things like Ted talks on “big data” when you seriously doubt they know how to program a linear regression. But again, men and women.
At the same time, there’s no reason someone can’t be both a true geek and an exhibitionist, and it seems kind of funny for a Forbes magazine writer to be claiming the authentic rights to the former but not the latter.
If there’s one thing I’d like to avoid, it’s peer pressure that, as a girl geek, I have to have a certain personality. I like the fact that girl geeks are sometimes shy and sometimes outspoken, sometimes humble and sometimes arrogant, sometimes demure and sometimes slutty. It makes it way more interesting during technical chats.
What’s the asymmetry between men and women here? According to Tara Tiger Brown, women think they’ll get attention from men by acting like a geek but my experience is that men don’t think they’ll get attention from women by acting like a geek.
I think this is a mistake that man geeks are making. For me, and for essentially all my female friends, being really fucking good at some thing is extremely sexy. Man geeks are, therefore, very sexy, if they are in fact really fucking good at something and not just posing. Maybe they just need to realize that and own it a bit more.
Next time, instead of apologizing for doing something nerdy, I suggest you (a man geek I’m imagining talking to right now) figure out how to describe what skill you mastered and talk about it as an accomplishment.
No: I’m kind of tired today, sorry. I stayed up all night playing with my computer. Should we reschedule?
Yes: Last night I implemented dynamic logistic regression and managed to get it to converge on 30 terabytes of streaming data in under 3 hours. And it’s all open source, I just checked in into github. That was awesome! But now I need to sleep. Wanna take a nap with me?