Fangirl Unleashed: The Biggest Myths About Girl Geeks

Hello and welcome to my first column for UnleashTheFanboy! Having ranted and raved on all things geeky for a few years now (you can check out my personal blog over at ) I was delighted to be offered another platform to proclaim my love of sci-fi and fantasy, because really, a girl can never talk too much about Star Wars. Over the next few weeks and months, I’ll be looking at the geekverse from the female perspective (which is, let’s face it, pretty much the same as the male perspective, only with occasional added squee-ing and the odd dose of feminist ire. No, wait, come back, I’m kidding…)

So to get us started, and by way of introduction, I thought I’d dispel some of the most popular and pernicious myths about us geek girls. Not that guys as cool UTF readers believe them, of course…

We’re either frustrated chubsters in Twilight t-shirts, or slinky Cosplay minxes in gold Leia bikinis

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with either of those things – a gal has the right to rock whatever look works for her – but thinking that all female fangirls fit into those tired old tropes is as annoying and inaccurate as saying all male geeks look like Sheldon Cooper or Comic Book Guy. I can’t count the amount of times someone has done a double take when I tell them I’m a self-proclaimed geek, just because it isn’t obvious from how I dress. Why should it be? Female fans come in all shapes, sizes and guises, just like guys do – that woman in the £200 heels with the Mulberry handbag might have a copy of SFX inside it. At its best, the world of science fiction and fantasy is wonderfully inclusive: so let’s not judge what the fans should look like.

We’re only into sci-fi because of our boyfriends or to Meet Guys

 Puh-leeze, people. I was into sci-fi before I noticed boys existed. My last serious partner hadn’t even seen Star Wars (of course, that meant it couldn’t last – you can’t date a man who, when taken to a cinema screening of the original trilogy, turns to you and goes ‘remind me, Darth Vader is the badguy, right?’ – but that’s a whole different story…).

And if anyone has found a way of attracting guys with my knowledge of geekdom, I’d be keen to know! I have never been chatted up in comic book shops, at screenings or conventions (and I’m totally looking, so if you see me, feel free to say hi).

We only like romance stories and don’t like “proper” sci-fi

This ‘women don’t like spaceships and ruin sci-fi by making it all about relationships’ is one of the most annoying myths around. It insults both sexes (because men can’t appreciate emotions, obviously – are the people who believe this actually friends with any geeks?) and results in such nonsense as channels like Syfy editing trailers to cut out the, y’know, science fiction-y bits of shows lest it scare off us easily afrighted females, or New York Times columnist Ginia Bellafante actually refusing to review Game of Thrones properly –Game of freaking Thrones, people, the biggest programme of the last year – because ‘women don’t like fantasy shows’ (She also, charmingly, implies that women are too stupid to keep track of all the characters in a multi-layered show like this, thereby proving that it’s not just men who don’t understand the fangirls). A quick straw poll of my female friends shows an overwhelming love for Battlestar Galactica and hardcore horror movies, and a belief that the only place for Edward Cullen is at the end of a pointy stake: so by acting otherwise, decision makers are not only insulting us all, they are alienating a huge potential audience.

We’re spoilsports who don’t like ‘sexy’

Again, not true – we have no objection to the woman in the tight red dress or the Lycra costume, or even the anatomically impossible proportions of the comic book heroine. We just don’t like it when that’s the only option on offer, and when creators – of books, games, comics, films or TV shows – think that all they need in the way of character development for female characters is deciding on cup size. We also may have a broader definition of sexy than the studio execs: Kara Thrace, messed up and sweaty in a vest, is sexy: Ripley kicking alien ass is sexy. But then you probably think that, too.

We just want to swoon over shirtless vampires

 Oh, no, wait, that totally is true. Or maybe that’s just me…

I’ll be writing Fangirl Unleashed columns fortnightly from now on, so see you in a couple of weeks!


  • Joemomma

    My angus is peppered

  • Jennifer

    Hits the nail right on the head. Thank you for a great first post! I look forward to more…that is, if I can manage to stop watching the latest film version of Star Trek. How many times is too much? Once a month?

  • Tracey Sinclair

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen that movie! I own it on DVD and still watch it whenever it comes on TV…

  • kevin rockhead

    even though i’m a guy i completely agree with everything in this; did make me chuckle. can’t wait to read your new posts.

  • Lucy

    Although I have a splash of geek in my personality, it’s cleverly concealed behind a gooey, touchy-feely facade. And I’m not that familiar with the culture (finally saw Star Wars decades after it came out, when my sons forced it on me — but please don’t block me from this site…), so this entry was an education for me. I’m totally with you on the need for more fully dimensional girl geek characters and role models, and am happy that you provide one via your Geek Goddess blog — on which, I can attest, the fashion and glamour goes well beyond the Spock-Eared Santa Hat (though that was on there too). May this new and very important addition to the blogosphere finds its audience.

  • Jess

    You forgot to mention that being a geek gives you so many more interesting Halloween dress-up options than ‘slutty cheerleader’ and ‘slutty nurse’.

  • Dane Ingham

    ^^^True…nerd chicks can be “slutty Chewbacca” or “slutty Vulcan”.

  • Ian

    A fun read, who really holds these opinions?

  • Tracey

    Jess, Dane – true, I forgot the whole Halloween thing! Thanks for the feedback, guys!

  • Dane Ingham

    Tracey…excellent job on your first article! Looking forward to many more!