The Limited Acceptability of the Female Geek

Robin Thorsen, who plays Clara on The Guild, would likely have to buy "geek shirts" in men's sizes. We expect geek women, but not geek men, to look a certain way, and then we wonder how we've created a culture full of superficial posers. Image: Brian J. Matis

Yesterday geek icon Felicia Day shared an article by Tara Tiger Brown on Forbes. She wanted feedback on the article and I felt compelled to comment. Not a “me too!” but an actual thoughtful comment.

The point I was trying to make is that style is replacing substance in geekdom, and nowhere is that more obvious than in the expectations of geek girls. Felicia Day’s projects sell merch through Jinx which, like many sites that cater to geeks, have only a limited range of women’s sizes. An XL women’s shirt on Jinx fits a 38″ bust, while an XL women’s shirt at Old Navy fits a 45″ bust, and a 42″ bust at American Apparel. That’s a significant 4″ to 7″ difference.

The message is pretty clear: acceptable geek women have to be a certain size, and that size is slim. What Tara Tiger Brown is lamenting, this twisting of geekdom into a trendy fashion accessory that can be adopted as long as it gains the wearer the right kind of attention, is part of the story of geek women being marginalized in geek culture. Can you really limit the acceptability of geek girls to slim, young aesthetically pleasing girls, and then turn around and complain that there are all these trendy female posers in geek culture? You make “hot geeky girls” something trendy and desirable, and then complain because all these women are adopting the trappings of geekdom for attention without embracing the culture. I think the posers aren’t the problem, but the symptom.

For instance, in The Big Bang Theory the guys aren’t very attractive. Any woman who loves these men will love them for their geeky, geeky brains and not because they are studly. Yet the women they are consistently paired with are extremely attractive. The one exception is Amy Farah Fowler, who is relegated to a sexless relationship with a man who is emotionally and socially immature. Geek women are only acceptable if they meet certain appearance standards, and if they meet the standards for appearance then they can be accepted as geeks without actually embracing that culture. Penny is accepted almost as an honorary geek, with the guys bending over backwards to aid her in navigating her half-hearted forays into geekdom, even though she doesn’t actually embrace the culture and has little personal interest in geek subjects.

What Tara Tiger Brown laments is the rising tide of people who adopt the label, symbols and mystique of geek culture without having any real interest in it or taking the effort to to research, analyze understand or master the geek niche they have adopted. How familiar this sounds to religious people! How often in Paganism do we lament the people who take on our labels and symbols without making any effort towards educating themselves about Paganism, both spiritually and culturally?

When we value style over substance, we do ourselves a real disservice. We give an excuse to shout down those who are genuinely thoughtful, interested and digging deep, and create a culture where the shallow image is revered.

In the internet age, genuine geek cred is easily come by. While I agree with Tara Tiger Brown that it enables too many people to become shallow “experts,” it also nullifies any excuse for poser geeks. If you’re genuinely interested in being a Trekkie, all of the episodes are on Netflix. Watch them. Discuss them. Think about them. Analyze them. Watching the new film and thinking Chris Pine and Zach Quinto are the alpha and omega of Trekdom is lazy. There is no excuse for it. A t-shirt with Zoe Saldana on it does not alone a Trekkie make, and there is nothing wrong with saying that.

There’s no litmus test for geekdom, nor is there one for Paganism, but there’s also no excuse for ignorance. Anyone can use Google. Anyone can find forums to exchange ideas in. Anyone who has a desire for knowledge has the ability to pursue that desire at their fingertips. It’s easy to tell someone with a genuine desire from a poser. The former asks intelligent questions, the latter asks lazy ones.

If you want to cure geekdom of it’s “poser problem” then you need to create a culture where people who ask intelligent questions are prized above those who wear form-fitting t-shirts with Iron Man on them without having an interest in comics. You need to portray characters like Amy Farah Fowler as getting the hot guys who find her intelligence sexy. You need to portray guys like Leonard Hofstadter as dating a chubby, bespectacled woman who’s a bit socially awkward and a brilliant neurosurgeon.

And sites that cater to geeks, like Jinx, need to carry products that real geek women can wear. One of my favorite characters that Felicia Day has created is Clara, but I wonder if Clara could find a The Guild shirt in her size? And who would get more attention from other geeks: the serious gamer and kick-ass Frost Mage Clara dressed normally, or a tiny casual gamer girl in a tight t-shirt?

And while we’re at it, why are we still referring to ourselves as girls? I pay taxes and get mammograms. If I’m any kind of geek, I’m a geek woman.

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About Star Foster

Polytheistic Wiccan initiated into the Ravenwood tradition, she has many opinions. Some of them are actually useful.

  • M.H.

    I find it somewhat easy to spot the posers among men lately.  I have a Voltron shirt (my all time favorite show growing up) and all these people who buy the unisex shirts from Think Geek always say “Hey, cool transformers shirt”.  When I tell them it’s Voltron, they say “What’s that?”  One of them even owned a Voltron shirt and thought it was transformers.  It’s japanamation robots, it’s all the same, right???
    Also, I would not call myself a Trekkie, but based on the knowledge most of the proclaimed Trekkie’s I know possess, I am a guru among them.  I know the witty navigational directions Kirk gives at the end of each movie, and I know what a Tribble is… that makes me a fountain of information compared to those who pass themselves off as Geeks (note capital G).  I think the closest to a litmus test there is would be the ability to laugh in the right places to a Weird Al song, do you laugh at the pimping thugs running away from him, or the Star Wars Christmas Special VHS he bought in a back alley?  Another test for someone who claims to love Tolkein is to have them describe Tom Bombadil’s character, if they fail to answer correctly or answer with “who?” they really only loved Peter Jackson’s special effects and the super sexy stars of the movie franchise.
    And I know this a Christian, not a Pagan reference, but I think it’s fitting of a religious poser, and an awesome movie quote from Alan Rickman, “Tell a person that you’re the Metatron and they stare at you blankly, mention something out of a Charlton Heston movie and suddenly everyone’s a theology scholar!”

  • bibliophile1984

    “It’s japanamation robots, it’s all the same, right???”
    “the ability to laugh in the right places to a Weird Al song ”
    “have them describe Tom Bombadil’s character”

    Love it. (I’m obviously not a Trekkie, so I do have to miss out in some of Weird Al’s references!)

  • bibliophile1984

    I really like the evolved link you make between two otherwise dissimilar areas: Geekery and Paganism. There’s always been the issue of what to do with and for the girl geek. Speaking more from gaming (because that’s the area I’m most familiar with), the question of female appearance has only recently been developing into a much more deeper experience. Before marketing attempts to get your whole family playing a console or the Facebook age of mini-gaming, the area was very dominated by young adult men and the gaming experience was catered to their tastes. Now, we have more female characters being put into gameplay. Lara Croft is, of course, a prime example (and I have to say that I detest the reboot of her, very much). Obviously she was designed for male consumption, but the fact that she was a playable female character who went on dangerous adventures was what lured me into searching for more depth and “relate-ability”. Even more so in the RPG genre. It started out as a male adventurer, but now a good RPG either has to have the option of gender in character development or a strong story-line to back up choosing one gender over the other. But I could write a book on the observances I’ve seen and experienced in the course of gaming development and the female player.

    I’m a (plus size) gamer-girl Geek (amongst other Geeky loves) and I say “girl” only because I feel that “guys and girls” phrasing denotes a casual, group feel. The less I feel that I have to carefully weigh labels and place myself inside one so people understand me within an already labeled subgroup, the more fun can be had. There’s girl geeks and guy geeks, nothing more complex please. No man geek or woman geek. No teenage geek or elderly geek. Italian geek or Japanese geek. In the end, we’re all “dudes” when we play anyway. Less politics of language, more fun. 

    Look at me still talking when there’s Science to do…

  • Danielle

    The other day I called my daughter a geek when she was debating the merits of different Pokemon.  She told me she wasn’t a geek and didn’t want to be called one.  I told her she should be proud because being a geek means she’s passionate about something.  She then told me the reason she didn’t want to be called a geek is because all the popular girls at school call themselves “geeks”, that they tell people who aren’t popular they can’t be geeks, and that she wouldn’t want people to think she was a snob like those girls.  I was taken aback–how times have changed since I was in school.  I told her she still should be proud to be called a geek and that true geeks are always happy to find other geeks because its nice to know other people who are passionate about  things that interest them.

  • Tegan

    If you’re genuinely interested in being a Trekkie, all of the episodes are on Netflix. Watch them. Discuss them. Think about them. Analyze them. Watching the new film and thinking Chris Pine and Zach Quinto are the alpha and omega of Trekdom is lazy.”

    But what is wrong about enjoying only the newer movie? There are definite changes in production quality and overall feel between all the Star Trek ventures, and just because you enjoy one over the others doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy that world or even label yourself as a Trekkie. Geeks don’t have to be downward compatible.

  • W Keith Baldwin IV

    It’s more about knowing the subject material.  If you have no idea who Walter Koenig is, then get into a discussion about Star Trek with a longtime fan, you’re going in inadequately armed.  It’s less about liking the classics, than having some basic grounding in them.

  • Star Foster

     Exactly. I’m not a fan of Deep Space Nine, but I know who Avery Brooks is and some basics of the main cast. If someone says they as as slippery as Odo, I know what they are referencing.

  • Star Foster

     Do you know that I rarely out myself as an actual woman when playing MMORPG’s?  It’s just easier to let other players assume I’m a dude, because then they treat based on gameplay. The moment they find out I’m a woman their attitude towards me changes 90% of the time.

  • Star Foster

     That is horrible. That is the epitome of what Tara Tiger Brown was talking about.

  • Star Foster

     I was so disappointed that Jackson left “God” out of the films. I understand why, but I’d love to have seen Tom and Goldberry on the big screen.

  • bibliophile1984

    I certainly know what you mean and a lot of other ladies I know don’t make a point of mentioning it either, which, as of late, is beginning to get on my nerves. Why should it matter? Why should we have to hide it or at the very least feel nervous about how others react to playing with a chick? Sometimes my username or gamertag makes it obvious or those that actually read my profile, but I have noticed that if someone realizes I am female, they will (sometimes) either change their attitude or become highly competitive. “You play like a girl” or “You suck because you’re a girl” taunting or the slightly more aggressive hating of “being beaten by a girl”. Then there are those that just want to friend request you because they somehow think that because there’s a female player, that equates to trying to have sex. Why can’t I be female and just want to play the same game that thousands of other people are playing. Why should I have to hide that I’m a female gamer? Lately, I’ve taken the mentality that if others can’t handle another gender playing, then they don’t need to associate with me. And I’ve made more male friends online because I don’t take the BS anymore. You joined our party and only want to try and hit on me (from hundreds of miles away, no less, knowing that I’m married and my husband is playing too?) or trash talk, you get muted. I’d rather potentially not hear your warning and get knifed in Battlefield 3 than listen to you the entire time. 

    Sorry if that got off in the direction of a rant. I just don’t like the idea of having to hide gender because of how other people react and I’ve been thinking on that a lot lately. To tie it back to your connection,  I don’t play video games and brag or announce that I’m a chick, but I don’t hide or deny it either. The same as I don’t brag or announce that I’m Pagan, but I don’t hide or deny it either. I just am. If you discover that, then good for you and don’t make it an awkward thing.

    Oh, and I read Patton’s article and I really loved it. Even going along with the slightly climactic idea of oversaturating pop culture until it explodes.

  • bibliophile1984

    No one is saying that you can’t enjoy the newer movie, but it’s hard to say that you are a die-hard fan/Trekkie if you don’t experience the original from which the newer movie was based on. Just because I enjoy Monty Python movies doesn’t mean that I’m a hardcore fan. I can certainly appreciate the humor and culture that they created, but I might not be as on board to watch their old TV shows. I can appreciate and enjoy them, but I’m not going to call myself a huge fan. 

    I personally think that Geeks/Otaku are backwards compatible (I don’t know if that’s the term you were looking for instead of “downward compatible”, but that’s the one I prefer) because it’s only a natural progression. When you are so into something, you keep digging deeper and deeper and that usually leads to going back farther and farther. When you use “geek” or “otaku” in the form that these articles are discussing, then yes, you are backwards compatible.

  • Tegan

    I guess that’s what it comes down to – the definitions of the terms used. To me, “otaku” is a completely different level from “geek,” and is in no way interchangeable. Maybe I’m just a part of this newfangled generation with weird outlooks on geekdom. 

    I love me some Firefly, but I’d have trouble naming all the actors and all their credits – and I think that’s fine. I don’t really care to know those things (and am terrible with names), but I love the world that was created, and I love other creative ventures that have come out of it (Marian Call’s Got to Fly, anyone?). I like Doctor Who, but I haven’t seen much of the older series, partly because it doesn’t interest me as much. I don’t think I need to see them to appreciate the current products.

    In my opinion, there’s not a clear, hard line between a “normal person” and a “geek.” It’s all shades of grey.
    po-tay-to, po-tah-to, backwards compatible, downward compatible. In the end, it doesn’t matter. Everyone just needs to do what makes them happy.As a side note – I fully agree that the women’s sizes are crazy (let me get this straight – more money for less fabric? And they’re thinner to boot?) and I have always been a bit bugged by the Big Bang Theory’s view on women.

  • John Beckett

    Like anything pop culture appropriates, it’s all about style and little about substance.  For the most part, pop culture’s version of geek girls are just mainstream standards of attractiveness made a little more exotic.

    When pop culture moves on to the next shiny toy and “geek” goes back to being undesirable, the real geeks will still be here. 

    Captain Pike and Number One forever! (showing age as well as geekiness…)

  • Tegan
  • Kauko

     Awww come on! I love DS9! :P

  • Kauko

     Interesting, I play Everquest 2 and in every raiding guild I’ve ever been in everyone knows who is male or female in real life and it’s never seemed to make a difference to people. Maybe it’s different in different games.

  • Star Foster

     It’s a good show. I like aspects of it. It just never fired my imagination like some of the other ST series have. I like it much better than Enterprise, if that’s any consolation.

  • Kauko

     One thing about DS9 that I’ve always liked is that it seems less afraid to deal with religion that the other Star Trek series, specifically the Bajoran religion. Even then, though, it follows the general Star Trek tendency to only deal with the religions of non-humans. The silence on what the religious lives of humans are in the ST universe has always bothered me. I’m sure they avoid the subject because religion can be so contentious. Comparing it to another Sci-fi series, though, the recent Battlestar Galactica, one of the things I loved about that was that it dealt with religion and accepted it as a part of the story.

  • Star Foster

     Yeah the Bajorans were one of my fave things about DS9. Religion and mythos was also one of the reasons I fell madly in love with babylon 5.

  • Kauko

     I’ve always regretted that I didn’t watch Babylon 5 when it was on. It was on Netflix streaming a year ago, but they took it off before I got a chance to watch it. Funnily enough, the day Babylon 5 was taken off Netflix streaming was the same day that all the Star Trek series were added.

  • bibliophile1984

    You know, after I posted I started thinking about that and I think it’s completely true that different games develop different responses to gender in socially interactive ways. I’ve played WoW and did decently playing only with my husband and sometimes a person or two who just had a similar quest we were working on. Never got to the point where I needed huge guilds since I didn’t play it that far, but it never got very personal 

    But when I played Ragnarok, getting groups of people together (especially on private servers) was a whole lot easier and usually much more friendly. We shared more of ourselves because we were more socially aware of making buddies who knew different niches in the game or who had a class that was best build for whatever we were doing and MvP.

    I think that different genres of games will also often determine the attitudes and treatment of people. FPS (First person shooters) are going to get a lot of testosterone-filled trash-talk more often than TBS (turn based strategy) or defense tower games. 

    I’ve gotten to know several people over the past 10 years or so from a game/pet site I played as a teen. We all are now friends on Facebook and it was great always playing and chatting and talking about life with people that enjoyed a similarity. It certainly has to do with the people you decide to keep around. Building a group or guild takes those trial and errors with how people treat others, too.

  • Kauko

     One area that has been frustrating for me in MMORPGs is the amount of homophobic language you encounter all over. If a chest drops and has crappy loot in is, it’s ‘gay’. People have no problem with calling each other ‘faggot’ etc I could go on and on. For a long time it really wore me out being offended every single day seeing that over and over. Finally, I found that to enjoy playing I just had to stop caring about it. And it kills me to be that way, because deep down inside I do care, and I do think that that kind of language is hateful even if the person using it has no problem with gay people.

  • bibliophile1984

    That’s kind of part of the point the articles were making though. That “geek” is used too casually and applied for decoration, accessorizing, to be socially cool, or just used too frequently without having the depth that it really means to geeks and otaku. That there’s a difference between being a fan or liking something and being a geek or otaku about it. I’m a fan of Dragon Age, but I’m not geek for it. However, I am geek for The Elder Scrolls series. I know the two different languages that have been created for it’s universe, I know massive amounts of history, mythology, and theology from the game so much so that I bet my husband I knew where the next game would take place (either Skyrim or Elsweyr) before it was announced. I’ve gotten into debates about the how good or bad the Tribunal were. And on and on and on. 

    You might enjoy, like or love Firefly, but that doesn’t make you a Firefly geek. The point is to show that there is a difference. It’s fine if your not a geek, but it’s almost a sort of mocking/grumbling feeling to those that are to say your a geek about something when you aren’t. To use a more extreme example, it would be like saying someone watches a ton of ER shows, but that doesn’t make them a doctor. There’s a huge level of involvement and investment of time and learning that differentiate the two.

  • Tegan

    In that case, where is the boundary? And why does it matter? In order to officially geek out about a show, I have to know the bios of all the actors? I mean, I get what you’re saying – if you’re very passionate about something, you are very involved in that community and have a deep connection to it. Having the label “geek” confirms that connection, and it seems to minimize your devotion when others use the term in passing. It’s sort of like how the word “love” became something said in passing (e.g. “I love me some firefly”).

    The thing is, language is always changing, and it just seems a little arbitrary to me – the line separating “geek” from “fan” will always be different for different people.

    I was in the honors (read: nerd) dorm in college where I met the most wonderful friends from all realms of geekdom. From what I’ve seen, there are more positive outcomes from being lenient with the geek label than negative ones. If I say I am a geek and don’t really give a rat’s ass about any deeper meaning in a show, at the most I am annoying. If I say I am a geek but am ignored in a discussion because I don’t know a trivia question, as worst I feel shot down and don’t try to connect to other people about the topic again.

  • bibliophile1984

    “Having the label “geek” confirms that connection, and it seems to minimize your devotion when others use the term in passing.”Again, that’s a chief point of these articles. That the term is used by many people to coin themselves as something they are not.

    Language does change. As an amateur etymologist, I completely understand that. But words hold power and meaning as well. And the use of those words may differ from how a majority views and uses the word versus how people who use the word much more personally do. A great example would be too look at the standard definition of a witch or of witchcraft. I would say that hardly anyone who actually labels themselves as a witch or practitioner of witchcraft would agree with those definitions. “A woman thought to have evil magic powers” etc.

    Basically, if you say your a geek for something, you really should have the ability to back it up. And no, it’s not just about knowing trivial questions… It’s totally fine to just be a fan or like something. You don’t have to go way out there. But if you say your a geek “and don’t really give a rat’s ass about any deeper meaning in a show,” then you aren’t a geek and are doing exactly what geeks are talking about. You’re using the label without the substance.

  • WhiteBirch

    Keep looking, you can find groups where that’s not acceptable. I play in two guilds where one homophobic slip will get you a strongly worded warning and the second will get you an unceremonious boot. The same for causal “R-word” references. And we like it that way. :)

  • WhiteBirch

    What about geek general rather than subject-geek? I’d consider myself a well rounded type of geek. :P I can give you a brief bio on most characters in any Trek series (for example) and can get pretty in depth with the actors from the series’ I like best, though I get pretty lost in the ones I don’t like as much (Voyager). I can tell you the minutiae of the Star Wars movie and game universe, but I flounder in the EU.  I have a working familiarity with most types of tech-geek devices –major game consoles, handhelds, smartphones, tablets, etc. I can reach into my computer and yank out a malfunctioning part and replace it, if it’s not too complex, and I know what kind of video card I have without looking (Nvidia GeForce 130M – shut up, I had to have a laptop for school). But I don’t go to the ultimate “geek out level” on any of those things. I don’t build my own computers, crack software, learn Klingon or go to conventions… much. (I was at GenCon in 04.)

    I feel like you’d be calling me a poser, when I certainly consider myself a card-carrying member of geekdom. (To see how I measure up to the litmus tests discussed below, here’s my favorite reference on Tom Bombadil though I wouldn’t know a Transformer from a hole in the wall, I’m not into the whole robot thing and I freely admit it.)

  • bibliophile1984

    I certainly would agree to a general geekdom. That’s the geek culture. A jack of geek-related trades, if you will. Computers, video/computer games, classic fantasy and/or sci-fi, manga, comics, anime, D&D, RPG, arcade, DOS, programming/coding, etc. There are things that I would consider are not able to be labeled as “geek” or “nerd” because of the culture of the group. Working on cars, sports, almost all musicals (with the exception of Rocky Horror Picture Show), etc. Here is where I’d suggest reading Patton Oswalt’s article Tara mentions.

    I’m not trying to say you have to be totally absorbed by something to claim the title (you would if you say you’re otaku), but you do have to have some depth in it. That you can locate and replace you’re video card is more than a couple folks I know that would call themselves computer geeks. That a gaming geek knows the significance of WASD is basic. Just as I wouldn’t say that I’m an expert in Paganism, I would consider my knowledge to be larger or more substantial than someone who has newly discovered it. As Star said: “How often in Paganism do we lament the people who take on our labels and symbols without making any effort towards educating themselves about Paganism, both spiritually and culturally?” 

    Geek is (was) a term that signified a subculture. A guild or group of it’s own. Outside of the general societal requirements. You got teased because you played video games (speaking as a female, this was especially so), now everyone and their grandma plays them. It feels overly saturated. It becomes marketing tactics rather than an enjoyment or passion that not everyone is talking about around the water cooler when they “have a case of the Mondays.” It’s about your freak flag.

  • bibliophile1984

    For some reason my post didn’t go through so here’s the gist of what I said:

    As an amateur etymologist, yes, words are always changing. However, when the actual culture that uses the word isn’t the active changing force, it becomes an issue, especially when it becomes marketable. Think of the general definitions of a “witch” or “witchcraft” that you would find in a dictionary. I doubt that anyone here would agree that the standard definition of “A woman thought to have evil magic powers” (via Google) is THE definition for a witch let alone the best or most accurate within Paganism. I’d wager that 90% of Pagans would disagree with that (or more). 

    If you claim to be a geek but “don’t really give a rat’s ass about any deeper meaning” to anything, then yes, that, I would say, is overstating your interest. You’re a fan, not a geek. There is a deeper interest to just naturally know more and absorb more about it to a geek. And it’s not just about knowing “trivia question[s].” I really enjoy Game of Thrones, but I wouldn’t say I’m a GoT geek. I don’t know most of the character’s names yet or the cities/map/layout of the world. Nor have I read the books (though I really, really want to). Doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy it, but it does mean I’m not a GoT geek.

  • Caravelle

    Is it though ? Tara Tiger Brown was the one telling some people they couldn’t call themselves geeks. Is the problem that those are popular girls using the term ? I don’t think this kind of hyper-protectiveness of the term is that helpful. It’s not even as if “passionate about something” is THE definition of the word anyway. I mean, considering the concept is so ill-defined it’s as good as some others, but there is much more to the word “geek” than just “passionate about something”.

    (that said I DO agree with everything Tara Tiger Brown says about T-shirt sizes, the objectification of geek women, and Sara of The Guild)

  • Star Foster

     Tara said nothing about t-shirt sizes or anything related to The Guild. That was my contribution to the conversation. Glad you liked it.

    The problem is people who don’t embrace geek culture are using the term, or the geek label is being used as a fashion trend. For instance, Mayim Bialik is just as scientifically geeky as her character: Amy Farah Fowler. Robert Downey, Jr. isn’t a comic book geek for starring as Iron Man. To try to portray Downey as a geek for a marketing ploy would be wrong.

    Most of the “geek spokespeople” would likely agree with my definition, including Wil Wheaton, Adam Savage, Simon Pegg and both John and Hank Green.

  • Caravelle

    Oh dear sorry, I’m very sleep deprived. That explains a lot though, as I wrote that I was thinking it was weird of Tara to have such disparate subjects in her post :)

    As for “geek spokespeople”, yeah I could certainly agree on some of those if I were to choose a geek spokesperson but I don’t think such a thing can exist, so I guess we’re just not on the same page. And insofar as they adopt that definition I’d disagree with them too. I don’t have anything against the definition, I think it’s a good definition in many respects. I think my main problem with it in this context is that it tries to be a Unified Theory of Geek. Which I don’t think exists. And insofar as you try to build one (such as by taking that definition as gospel instead of a guideline), like many grand theories that are too simple for the phenomenon they try to describe you’ll exclude a lot of geek stuff and include a lot of stuff that isn’t usually considered geeky.

    Which is all rather tangential, but I guess still a bit relevant to the concept of who should get to be called a geek. It’s not even that I disagree with you in principle on the fashion statement thing, it’s just… sleep deprived I guess :p