I love finding new ways to get my geek on, and sharing it with my teens and online. Yes, I am a geek and a nerd. It was NOT easy growing up with this nerdiness and geekdom in an extremely small hometown (think of a high school containing grades 9-12 having a little over 300 students in TOTAL), in a time when 8-bit and 16-bit games just hit and anime was just flat-out WEIRD, and being a girl and knowing about comics was simply unheard of.
Yeah, I was THAT person, and hid it to a good extent. Luckily my husband, friends, and family completely get me, and I have found like-minded souls online as well. Today I want to share some of these communities with you in the hopes that by sharing them, you in turn can share them with tweens and teens (and adults) who need them as well. We’re still out there, and need our hiveminds.
Black Girl Nerds is one of the most awesome all around sites around: they blog, podcast, tweet, and do far much more than a lot of sites I have found. Launched in 2012 by Jaime Broadnax and now having a host of contributors and coders, here is how they describe themselves:
Black Girl Nerds is a place for women of color with various eccentricities to express themselves freely and embrace who they are. This is not a site exclusively for Black women. It’s for ALL women who are just as nerdy as we are and the men who love and appreciate us. I named this site Black Girl Nerds because the concept of Black women as geeky-dorky beings is somewhat of an anomaly. It’s against the order of things in the “Black Girl” world. We represent a wide array of diverse women who embrace all cultures and refuse to conform to the status quo.
This community does not have an exclusionary purpose. The term “Black Girl Nerd” is not intended to be derogatory nor is it racially biased. It is a term of endearment to all women like me who have been attached to a stigma that is not an accurate representation of my personality or my idiosyncratic behaviors.
This is a website for every nerdy girl that can finally come out of the closet and tell the world that they are PROUD to be who they are—no matter what anyone says, does, or think. This is a place where you can truly be yourself and not be judged by others. This site welcomes girls of all races, but it was called Black Girl Nerds because it is a term that is so unique and extraordinary, that even Google couldn’t find a crawl for the phrase and its imprint in the world of cyberspace. The mission is to put an end to that and know that many Black Girl Nerds exist on this planet.
They span the geekdom between TV, comics, movies, film, beauty, and beyond, and are witty and honest- something that can be rare in the online community. They talk about anything and everything, and while some may not be appropriate for teens or tweens, a lot is spot on. To know that this community is there has been a godsend for a lot of my teens, especially when they feel that no one out there thinks the way they do or no one understands. Check out a podcast, a review, or tune into a twitter account related to their blog, such as @blackgirlgeeks! Often you can find a bunch of us livetweeting about shows such as Gotham (for past comments, search out the tag #yunggotham).
I got into comics at a young age in part because I grew up with a sci-fi and comic-movie/tv-show-loving househould, and in part because my uncle and godfather had a comic book store and would bring me comics. There was no other was I was getting exposed to the media otherwise because they were NOT in our little library, and we did not have a comic shop nearby. We didn’t have a stop light, let alone a grocery store, so actually having comics somewhere (like you see on TV) was an alien experience. That may be why I’ve been so determined that in every library I’ve ever worked in, we’ve had comics and anime available, and I’ve carved out space for them in both the youth and teen sections.
When I got to college, I thought things would be different. After all, it’s college. It’s the escape, right? Comic shops embrace all! Um…nope. My experience was just like the founder of Girls Like Comics:
So I was pretty sick and tired of the way things are when you’re a female comic-book fan. You think girl gamers have it bad? Walk into a comic-book shop. One of the down-home indie ones. Go on. I dare you.
The way my male friends talk about comics and go to comic-related movies annoys me, just because I apparently have an instant invisibility cloak that I can’t control.
So I pawed at Twitter for a while, was RT’d by Everyday Sexism once, and then a completely unrelated incident made the camel’s back shatter into a trillion pixelated pieces and we thought….
Screw this. Screw them. Screw YOU – if you’re one of those guys who’s disappointed that girls in real life never look like Wonder Woman and secretly you think they’re not trying hard enough – I’m going to write comics and everyone can go to get eaten by bears or something for all I care.
My first step on the being an out n’ proud female comic-book fan was to set up a website where I shall briefly review comic-books of all shapes, sizes, platforms and level of virtuality. At least that way there’ll be another woman somewhere talking about comic-books – and seeing as a lot of the comics I read are born and bred here in Ireland, people’ll hear about them too. Super.
So Girls Like Comics was born.
Girls Like Comics embraces everything comics- reviews of comics, interviews with comic creators, webcomics, comic news, academic papers on comics, and all from the female reader perspective. This is especially important when women are a huge demographic not only in comic book shops, but also as the readers of comics and graphic novels in libraries. I get a lot of comic-based news from Girls Like Comics, and I’ve been able to use their reviews as a resource to add comics to my collections. They’re on twitter and tumblr, as well.
My last resource (for today) is Women Write About Comics. From their site:
Women do write about comics, folks. Seriously, a lot. Especially these women.
Our beat is comics, creators, and geek culture from a feminist perspective, and we are committed to both intersectionality and internationality (our diverse staff and contributors hail from Canada, the UK, Switzerland, Brazil, and the United States). While all of our writers are women and non-binary people, 60% of our readers identify as female or non-binary. We take this seriously: WWAC exists to be a safer space for us, the staff and contributors, and for marginalized peoples…
WWAC reviews comics, zines, movies, TV, anime, books and games in their unique style, calling out the wrongness in the industries and what needs to be fixed, as well as applauding what is going right. They have commentary about race, LGBTQ, character design, diversity, and more. “Lifestyle” articles range from cooking and cosplay to fail-better (such as remembering instead of making resolutions) and fashion. One article reviews the Batman vs Superman breakfast cereals’ eatability while another reviews In Real Life by Jessica Love. They are one of the best blogs I’ve found that addresses both the feminist and the non-binary viewpoints on the geekdom/nerddom intersection and places it all on the web. While some of the material is inappropriate for some teens, this is definitely an important resource for teen librarians and specialists to utilize. They are also on twitter.
What resources do you use to get your geek on? Share in the comments!