'Geek Girls' And #MeToo

Past events would strongly suggest the geek world isn't ready to have it's #metoo moment. (Mentioning the given name of said past events is like saying "Voldemort" so I'll decline to elaborate further). But here's another perspective.

"Maybe we started this whole thing in 2014?!" Gina Hara, director of upcoming documentary Geek Girls says. "The women who have made their passion their career, the women in science, tech, gaming and comics – these women have been standing up and making noise long before the #metoo movement."

"It's only now their voices are being heard."

Haro says there is definitely a shift happening in the world right now, and #metoo is part of that.

"It's special not because people are speaking up, but because they are being listened to. And that is new."

But that doesn't mean it was easy for the women in Geek Girls to share their stories.

"At the beginning I didn't understand why," Haro says. "All these women have had experiences with cyberbullies and they just didn't want to be in the spotlight any more than absolutely necessary."

"The amazing women in the film were brave enough to decide to speak up for the common good, to share their experiences and tell people both about the good and the bad."

"I see these women as role models for all the young girls out there feeling weird and geeky."

Hara says Geek Girls shows "the other side", the voices of women quietly working behind the scenes in a world that was established by men to suit a male culture.

"For these women, not only is it hard to break in to these industries, it's even harder for them to stay there," Hara explains.

Hara has been working and experimenting with the moving image since she was a teenager. Starting with little video pieces shot and edited on VHS tapes led to a Masters Degree in filmmaking.

She says Geek Girls is an important film "on many levels".

"On a personal level it is a big deal for me to stand out there and talk things about growing up as a geek," Haro tells me. "Intimate things, embarrassing things. Things I was bullied about or things I ought to hide in order to fit in."

Haro wanted to educate people, and draw attention to how easily we judge or dismiss one another.

"Yes, Geek Girls is a feminist film about nerdy women, but it is also so much more," Haro says. "It's a film about acceptance and in our times, there is nothing more important than that."

And how important is having female role models in the geek space?

"It is paramount," Haro says. "I definitely feel the lack of women role models from my childhood."

"And not just the geeky ones."

When people asked Haro what she wanted to be when she grew up, she always said "a filmmaker".

"I remember sometimes people laughed at my answer and said 'but you are a girl'."

"It was in Hungary in the 90s, but still now, how many women directors can you name?" Haro says.

Haro says the discrimination is usually subtle or even invisible to her. Comments to her face are rare, but sometimes happen.

"Being interrupted, having less opportunities, not being included are just the most common examples," Haro says.

"Both as a geek and as a filmmaker my credit and knowledge are always questioned and I always have to work harder to be taken seriously, to be given a chance."

Are the fandoms themselves are changing to accommodate a growing, more diverse audience?

"As our society changes, all sub-cultures follow," Haro says. "Cyberbullies, gatekeepers and trolls don't live in a vacuum, they are our neighbours and cousins."

"We all need to keep up to work of educating ourselves and listening to the diverse voices around us. I would like to be optimistic."

Geek culture is becoming more and more mainstream and inclusive, Haro says. Geeks are less ostracised and our confidence is growing.

"There is a lot of positive change, but it's up to all of us to keep this up."

'Geek Girls' hits Australian cinemas March 19.


Comments

    I really don’t envy the position women in this industry are put in. There’s a large portion of the geek world that has “Women are mostly unobtainable to me and make me feel inferior, so I shall make inclusion for them in this community unobtainable and recklessly imply they are inferior” as a defense mechanism.
    And you can’t argue forward with those dudes. They don’t want their minds changed because their current mentality is the veneer covering their insecurities. So, instead we have these little shitheels that swing terms like “cucktaku” around in pre-emptive defensive strikes against those edging them out. It is a change adverse culture we have here.
    Being a beta male sexist is a real thing, dudes. It’s not just from memes. If you don’t like me saying that, it’s because you likely identify with the label. But you chose your place and want to languish in it at the expense of inclusion. It holds us all back.
    You may now prove me right by down voting my comment.

      I've never heard of beta sexist males as a thing. Care to elaborate on the meaning?

        No. It’s pretty straight forward. I’m not biting.

          I just Googled the term and all I could see is some Rick and Morty fan on Reddit throwing a tantrum. Not trolling you here mate, just want to understand what that term you used means.

            But it so self explanatory, mate! You’ve got a beta male, and stay with me Fi this next part; then you’ve got a sexist. I’m sorry it’s become a thing.
            I guess those Rick & Morty fans that went on that rant at the female writer are a good example, of that’s what were putting down.

        It's where you judge a male based on typical male attributes - aggression/power/confidence/sexual dominance - and find them to be lacking.

        It's very progressive.

    Encouragement is great, but inclusiveness shouldn't devolve into 'us vs them'. Let us not overstate the travails of 'women in video games' in general. There are a lot of people who have personal stories to share but we cannot lump them all together and regard them as a universal experience. I would be interested to know how many women are working in the video game industry and how many of them are having a positive experience. I would like to know how many women love playing games and participating in video game culture and are having a positive experience. Unfortunately, we only see the negative side as reported by the media. Sharing positive experiences is not seeking to lessen the importance of sharing negative ones, we can still identify areas where work is needed to encourage inclusiveness, but it's sad to see an entire industry, culture and hobby tarnished because we can't take a more holistic view.

    Last edited 02/03/18 12:19 pm

      But how can we evolve empathetic viewpoints for other groups without acknowledging that “us vs them” is a thing? It exists whether we like it or not.
      Every step forward in balancing society pisses a portion of the demographic off. Noise gets in the way of progress, which is tricky, because we want everyone to be heard. But the we can’t say the industry has rising value if we aren’t honest with it’s improvement opportunities.
      It’s not tarnishing the industry to acknowledge these disparities; it’s respecting it.

      Yeah I agree with you. I do think we need to focus a little more on the positives. Not in a way that downplays or tries to hide the negatives. But we do need some balance. There's no better way to encourage inclusivity than with encouraging stories. If all anyone ever hears about an industry is doom and gloom, why on earth would they want to be a part of it?

      Trust me, no one wants there to be an "us vs them" situation, but that's up to the people making life tough for a particular group of people because of their gender, I suppose.

      Just as an aside - 9/10 of the stories I write about women in STEM are positive and solutions-focused, providing solid role models and referencing programs and initiatives to address the issues each industry faces. I'm not about "doom and gloom", there's enough people telling that already. I'm about what the next step is.

        That's cool Rae, I wasn't having a go at you or Kotaku. I guess it just goes with the territory of people stepping forward to tell their stories, that many of the stories will be negative. They say a negative experience will stick with you for vastly longer than a positive experience. Unfortunately - and I guess this is human nature - we tend to generalise and compartmentalise to an extent which boils everything down to perhaps an oversimplified degree.

          where

          show us

          show us these awful examples outside the 98% male dominated backwash of content

    you all need to know the gaming industry, is the lest sexist industry, hell Atari had 3 founding member who where woman that coded.

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