She passed the Fake Geek Girl test. But she shouldn’t have to.

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.

*Saber-drop.

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.

13 thoughts on “She passed the Fake Geek Girl test. But she shouldn’t have to.”

  1. She’s a very impressive person. I especially like her initial answer “a battery”, very “why are you asking me such silly questions?”!

  2. It could also be that he was impressed she was so young and knew the answers. He may have been dumbfunded by a little boy knowing the same. I was like whoa – and I adhere to the belief that there’s no such thing as a fake geek girl.

    1. Yeah, it’s possible. It’s just part of a wider thing I’ve noticed with men quizzing my daughter about the geek stuff, and then surprised when she knows the answer. I’ll admit it’s some in depth Jedi knowledge for a 4yo (we saw the story arc on The Clone Wars).

  3. I hate this (the testing, not your post!). I’m a woman, who works in a technical job and is thus surrounded by men. I like sci fi and superheroes and things generally not considered usual for women. I get fed up by constantly having to prove that yes, I really do like it, it isn’t just an attempt to fit in it get attention. Very sad. You should be proud of your daughter, so cool.

  4. You’re being unfair – whether it was a little boy or girl, the guy was trying to make conversation and pass on some cool Star Wars facts. I don’t think anybody would expect a 4 year old of any gender to have known the answers to those 3 questions, kudos to your daughter! Your ire is entirely misplaced.

    1. It’s a cumulative feeling. She gets it a lot from men, testing her about who’s on her t-shirts – then being impressed when she knows. Her male peers are not quizzed in the same way.

    1. There was an arc on the Clone wars cartoon. She particularly liked it because it was about a group of younglings getting their first lightsabers, and showed what they had to do to create them. She kept saying after that she wanted to hunt in a cave for a crystal so she could make her own lightsaber. 🙂

  5. Sadly the attitude is not limited to Geekworthy topics. I just got grilled condescendingly about my reel lawn mower by a repair person. It’s the superior male version of the teenage eye-roll and there’s no mistaking it for a more general query. Someday we won’t have power/privilege games, I hope soon for your daughter and mine.

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  7. That’s brilliant! I’ve not allowed my son to watch Star Wars yet but I bet that when he does watch it, he’ll love it! It’s nice that ‘geekness’ is no longer looked down upon! Thanks for joining the #weekendblogshare

  8. Good grief, it would never cross my mind that a woman would feign geekdom to make herself appeal to men. I’ve met many a geeky woman in my time. In my experience, they excel at it!

  9. I love her answers but I’m sad the questions & weird reactions are still going on. I got into comics in my late teens & all through my 20s & 30s and into my 40s I still got surprised looks from guys in the comic store when I went to pick up my standing orders – surprised looks turning into incredulous ones when the shop assistants greeted me by name or started chatting to me about a title or film. I’m sure more than once that guys would then check what I was buying & be surprised again on seeing Transmetropolitan, Hellblazer or The Boys and not, I don’t know, something with kittens or My Little Pony. 😉 As irritating as it can be I suppose there’s also sometimes pleasure to be found in confounding expectations & it sounds like she’s starting early!

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