My 4-year-old daughter likes pink. She likes Frozen. She likes My Little Pony. But she also likes green. She also likes superheroes. She also likes Star Wars.
One of her latest dress up outfits is Rey from The Force Awakens. She makes a really awesome Rey. I even tied her hair in Rey’s distinctive three buns, and got her a proper Rey lightsaber toy (a blue one – the pink FX in the picture is courtesy of DorkDaddy).
The reaction she got wearing this outfit was amazing. Shop assistants, little girls, little boys, older girls, parents – all were smiling or commenting on how cool she looked. We don’t see many little girls running round in Star Wars outfits here. Lots of Annas and Elsas, very few Leias and Reys (basically, my daughter).
But one reaction was interesting. It was from a man, younger than me, probably in his twenties. He was also admiring her outfit. Said she’d be great at a comic-con. But then he started to ask her questions. Questions he obviously knew the answer to.
He pointed to the lightsaber.
“Do you know what’s inside there?” he said.
“A battery.” she answered.
“Haha. No, I mean a real lightsaber?”
She paused. He was about to say something, but then she said “A crystal.”
He was surprised. “That’s right!” he said, then continued “But do you know where they get the crystal?”
“The Jedi temple.” she answered.
“Uh, wow – yes, that’s right.” He’s a bit stunned now. What else can he ask?
“But do you know how they put lightsabers together?”
“By using the force.” she quickly answered.
He was dumbfounded, and looked a little in awe.
He may have merely been trying to make conversation. But my daughter gets this reaction from men a lot, never from women.
He was testing her.
The Fake Geek Girl trope – an assumption that women only pretend to like geeky things to get male attention – is male fandom at its most insecure and pathetic. This disbelief that girls can like geeky stuff too bleeds into wider perceptions of women and girls.
So guys, stop assuming a girl doesn’t know her shit because she’s a girl. This applies equally to little girls and adult women.
Try sharing your fandom. It’s more fun than trying to defend it from those pesky females.
How a girl chooses to engage in a fandom is her business, and there’s as much room for overweight men in tight t-shirts as for women in Slave Leia outfits.
And little girls dressed as Rey of course.