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Is it less socially acceptable for women to be geeky?

(88 Posts)
mumwithdice Wed 19-Oct-11 09:25:11

The reason I ask is because I am both a geek and a SAHM and I have yet to meet any mums like me.

I suspect that there are some, but they are not as open about it as I am. This makes me wonder if there is a certain amount of societal pressure for women not to be seen in that fashion.

So, I suppose the real question is, if this is the case, why? Thoughts?

AMumInScotland Wed 19-Oct-11 09:41:40

I guess it depends how you define "geek"! I think a lot of the things that get men classified as geeks have to do with obsessive behaviour/interests and lack of social skills, rather than just being interested in technology, comics, steampunk, computer games, whatever.

So it may be that women who have "geeky" interests manage to still come across as "socially competent" and so don't seem as geeky?

Rogers1 Wed 19-Oct-11 09:41:51

mmwithdice I am seen as the same (compared to my sisters & most friends). I have friends but not best friends as I am 'different' somehow. I enjoy crafts & family my friends are partying etc.

Hopstheduck Wed 19-Oct-11 09:46:25

What do you mean by geeky?

I'm interested in technology and I like video games, same as dh. I got all interested in that thread about what to buy a geeky dh though and that was all star wars and the like, which wasn't really my idea of geekiness.

BertieBotts Wed 19-Oct-11 09:48:57

I'm the same, though not quite the "level" of geekiness that DP is - I refuse to get sucked into the big MMORPGs because I know they would take over my life, but I love fiddling around on the computer, seeing what I can do on photoshop, making custom items to go into my sims games etc, playing around with a bit of programming (which I suck at, TBH) and generally being online. I seem to know my way around a computer more than most women I know, although of course most people are at least semi-computer literate now.

I'm just reading Delusions of Gender at the moment and there's an interesting bit in there about computer science and gender. Apparently, before the likes of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs etc came along software programming was very much a female domain. But now it's almost exclusively male and there's almost this element that it's not something women are good at. It is very maths and logic based.

mumwithdice Wed 19-Oct-11 09:54:39

Sorry, I forget that it is a subjective term. I'll say what it means to me. When I was in the later stage of pregnancy, I spent time learning programming languages and playing computer games. I happen to love Star Wars and steampunk and my MN name refers to the 20 sided dice (d20s) used in roleplaying. I know several other women like this, but no other mothers.

Of course, I'm not terribly socially competent myself so my opinion may be irrelevant.

Hopstheduck Wed 19-Oct-11 10:00:18

'I'm not terribly socially competent myself so my opinion may be irrelevant.' don't be so self-disparaging! Like you said, it's subjective.

I bet if you went on forums for like minded geeky types you would find more mums.

BertieBotts Wed 19-Oct-11 10:03:13

I have found a few "geeky" women who are mothers online (where else? grin) Mainly in the US and Canada, at least the ones I've come across. It's cool to be a geek online wink

One of my friends' soaps that she used to make (she ran out of money sad) - I think you would appreciate grin

AMumInScotland Wed 19-Oct-11 10:03:52

Maybe then it's that when women become mothers they feel more pressure (internal or external) to fit in with societal norms? That it's ok when you're young to be into that sort of stuff, but that becoming a "mother" means you have to fit in somehow?

Hopstheduck Wed 19-Oct-11 10:07:20

i think also, when you have kids, you get busier and I found that I no longer had much time for my own interests. I used to play the flute and clarinet before I had the kids, and then I never had time.

mumwithdice Wed 19-Oct-11 10:18:09

I suppose I've noticed though that fathers don't do this. The majority of the time, it seems to be women who give up things. Though to be fair, I think geekiness isn't necessarily something you need to give up.

I have also found that since I've become a mother, I am more determined to be myself than ever and if that means I don't quite fit in, so be it. I want to teach DD to be herself no matter what as I've spent too much of my life trying to please everyone and fit in.

TheRealTillyMinto Wed 19-Oct-11 10:56:21

I am a geek. My name is the Real Tilly Minto and I am the Queen of IT.

I dont think it is acceptable for women to be geeky (which I do care about) but for myself....

...I dont care what other people think. Today I am wearing a skirt with socks and trainers. Comfortable!

Why would I want to be a 'normal'? (I am truely a proper geek.... I understand computers much better than most other geeky people. I intuitively know if something something is possible or the right solution. DP says i am Borg.)

My friends accept me as i am & if someone doesn't like me, it probably says something about their personal need to fit in rather than anything about me.

Society expects women to be compliant & fit in. Women should be accomodating.

mumwithdice Wed 19-Oct-11 10:59:30

TheRealTillyMinto you can't be Borg unless you've said "Resistance is futile." Unless you are the Borg Queen, in which case, you are awesome!

CMOTdibbler Wed 19-Oct-11 11:07:20

I'm a geek - a physicist by training, career and inclination who spends far too much time with programmers, engineers and other physicists. I don't roleplay, but DH does, and yesterday I built a PC from scratch.

I guess that in 'mum' situations there is a lot of subtle pressure to be the same as the others (just as the dads onlt talk about cars, football and rugby), and certainly at school thats about fashion, and the children. Discussing the merits of GPUs is not suitable apparently hmm. In fact, beyond how many seats a car has, you can't talk about those either.

ninjasquirrel Wed 19-Oct-11 11:09:51

I was interested to read this morning someone on another thread saying in India IT is not particularly considered a male thing and there are lots of female graduates.

Ephiny Wed 19-Oct-11 11:13:47

I think there's definitely a 'geeky men' subculture which is not usually very welcoming to women (and can sometimes be really quite misogynistic). So as a female geek you can end up in the rather lonely position of not fitting in either there or in more 'mainstream' culture. Not sure if that's the same thing as it being 'less socially acceptable' though.

mumwithdice Wed 19-Oct-11 11:22:40

I'm not sure either Ephiny hence why I posted here. Could one argue that possibly the misogyny in some geek culture results from the same thing that misogyny in mainstream culture does? That is, a fear of women.

I'm fortunate though in that all the male geeks I know think of women as people first and foremost though they may sometimes be a seventh level mage as well. But I'm in a self-selected group as it was DH who helped me to accept my own geekiness.

CMOT, I'm typing on a computer that DH built from scratch.

BedatHogwarts Wed 19-Oct-11 11:30:57

I think it's more socially acceptable for women to be geeky, partly because they seem to be able to achieve a better balance between the 'geeky' and 'normal' parts of their lives, partly because they are in a minority so their 'geeky' pastimes give them ample opportunity to mingle with the opposite sex, and partly because womens clothing and style is much more varied, so they don't obviously look geeky, unlike male clothing which is much more polarised and tribal.

I know plenty of women, including some mothers, who would be classed as geeky by the points above - owning collections of multi-sided dice (ok, that's me), playing Cthulu Mythos, running a steampunk jewellery business, attending Buffy cons, writing slashfic (or whatever it's called), but unlike most of their male counterparts, they have some concept of personal hygiene, are capable of conversing about subjects other than obscure 1980s horror movies, and are no longer virgins.

mumwithdice Wed 19-Oct-11 11:37:26

The clothing point is a really good one. DH is a software developer and a geek, but he always wears either a suit or a nice shirt with a tie to the office so as to counteract that stereotype. His only geeky attire is his tricorne hat which he tipped to me when we first met.

TheRealTillyMinto Wed 19-Oct-11 11:54:06

mumwithdice yes....resistance is futile..... grin

i like maths as well. DP & i play number games on long train journeys. counting up in prime numbers etc.

if you are a male, geek, there are more fellow male geeks. if you are a female geek, you are more isolated.

my female friends are not geeky at all but they are individuals (journalist for a national paper, soon to be professor of psychology, SAHP) so we are common in our differences.

left to my own devices my clothes can be a bit of a shambles. for smart work/social events i use a personal shopper. know what you are good at & know what you arent!

my geekiness is : IT, maths, DIY (it is engineering really.... i have built walls!), pop sci fi (BSG etc.)

MaudLebowski Wed 19-Oct-11 12:11:00

Can I join please?

I'm a specialist in a fairly obscure bit of construction regulations and I must confess to finding social interaction with other mums a bit of a strain. I've learnt not to tell people what I do unless they tell me they do something similar first; I've literally had people back away when telling the truth!
I've got lots of friends but none of them local but I don't feel young enough to go and get introductions at the local comic shop like I used to so just end up keeping myself to myself.

I love being a geek but it's quite a lonely path, online life is either a godsend or a way of avoiding life depending on how you look at it.

I tend to threadkill on here so please don't leave me hanging, I'm nice really honest!

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 19-Oct-11 12:14:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

stickylittlefingers Wed 19-Oct-11 12:17:42

It shouldn't be. But board gamers who go to board game clubs seem to be male (and often look like comic book guy from the Simpsons grin). I like beating a load of lads at board games though.

I'm not a proper geek though. I have a logical mind, but not a proper mathematical one. I find I can only go so far, IYSWIM. I'm jealous of you proper physicist/IT/mathmo gals envy

TheRealTillyMinto Wed 19-Oct-11 12:19:21

SGM i like superhero movies too. simple plots plus action & special powers.

stickylittlefingers Wed 19-Oct-11 12:20:09

bedathogwarts we also have a lot of multisided dice. Some bought at the Stuttgart Spielmesse, and a load came with Formula De (which is a great game to play with children and to get them thinking about probability)

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