There is a strange and pervasive cultural myth that geek girls are like unicorns—we’re rare and mythical creatures who can’t possibly be real. This anxiety over gender is deeply tied to nerds’ concerns about the mainstreaming of geekdom.
Wonder Woman first hit the comics page over 70 years ago—but her story and personal history has changed dramatically with each new generation of artists, writers, and fans.
This show explores Wonder Woman's origins and impact over seven decades. The LA-based Homemade News crew talks about the strange story of her creator William Marston, then we analyze her Amazonian origin story with an excerpt of an article by Stevie St. John. Then, author and scholar Jennifer K. Stuller heads to San Diego ComiCon to talk with comics fans and publishers about what Wonder Woman means to them. Finally, we look to the future of Wonder Woman, as DC comics team Cat Staggs and Amanda Deibert talk about the new Wonder Woman comic book they're creating right now.
More ways to listen and individual show segments are below the cut.
In addition to thinking of nerds as people who are intellectually focused and slightly obsessive, I'd argue that a lot of us attach a gender (male) and race (white, South Asian, or East Asian) to the stereotype of a nerd. When I asked for suggestions of who pops into mind when you think of the idea of nerdiness, white guys accounted for most of the answers I received. And just do a quick Google image search for "geek"—most of the results you'll get back will be pictures of skinny, white men in bottle-bottom glasses.
My name's Jarrah Hodge, creator of the feminist blog Gender Focus. I've been calling myself a feminist since I was 15 and I've been called a nerd for much longer than that, so I'm really excited to get this opportunity to start this guest blog on feminism and nerd/geek culture for Bitch! Over the next couple of months I'll be looking at a range of topics in geekdom, including gender and racial dimensions of the nerd/geek stereotype and feminist analysis of different facets of geek culture, from fanfiction to libraries to board gaming.
Every time I go to download files from a BitTorrent tracker site I am constantly bombarded with ads for sex/dating sites or straight up pornography and I'm sick of it. Women are engaging in online technologies as well and we are repetitively told that we don't belong.
“When I started out, gaming was a geek thing,” says Sean (not his real name), a 38-year-old senior director of product development for a major electronic game publisher. “Now, it’s totally mainstream. It’s clear there’s money to be made.”
It’s not like there’s any nostalgia in his voice. With a six-figure salary and a generous bonus, Sean is one of those making the money. Electronic games—which encompass both computer games and console-based games—generated nearly $10 billion in revenue last year, thanks in part to top-selling titles like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Madden NFL 2005, ESPN NFL 2K5, and NBA Live 2005.
Given the fact that electronic games have their roots in geekdom, the sheer jock/thug appeal of the above-listed games is striking. You’d think that geek boys, having been a) persecuted by jocks and bullies and b) heavily involved in the production of electronic games, might take advantage of the latter to redress the former. But somewhere between Pong and Madden, those geeks began spending their days and nights creating universes in which testosterone rules, in the process reinforcing the gender roles that made their young lives hell.