Thursday, November 18, 2010

Geek Mama Grizzlies - UNITE!

I know I've posted a boatload of stuff today, but I have to post about this because - well, just because.

First, read this blog post.  Or, if you're too lazy - Katie is a first grader who took a Star Wars water bottle to school - because it matched her Star Wars lunchbox and Star Wars backpack.  A group of obnoxious little maggots boys teased the poor girl because (ahem) Star Wars is only for boys.

Take a minute to let that sink in.  Then go beat the stuffing out of your nearest convenient pillow.  I'll wait.

This story is similar to something that happened to me in kindergarten.  When I was a kid, I LOVED the Ninja Turtles!  I watched the cartoon every time it was on and my mom would rent the videos for me to watch.  I had some of the comic books and Leonardo was my favorite - I thought the swords were cool (yes, I know they were katana - but four-year-olds don't quibble about details like that).  Now, living on a farm outside of town, I didn't get much interaction with kids my own age.  Oh, I knew kids in my Primary class and from preschool, but we didn't get too much into things like favorite cartoons and stuff like that.

When I got into kindergarten, however, there were more kids that I didn't know, but I didn't think much of it.  I proudly proclaimed that I was a Ninja Turtle fangirl (in not so many words, but yeah).  I distinctly remember a group of girls sneering at me for it.  Like "Ew - Ninja Turtles are for boys!"  And the boys weren't much better - they'd rather eat dirt than let a girl play with them (which, they probably ate dirt anyway, but that's not the point).

It made me feel terrible - like there was something very, very wrong with me because I liked the Ninja Turtles.  I kind of starting backpedaling, like "Ha ha, just kidding - I don't really like the Turtles," but that didn't work.  If anything, it caused me more heartache because the girls I played with weren't the kind of girls I should have been friends with (boys may like to beat each other up, but girls are just cruel and catty and that's 100 times worse than getting punched in the nose, in my opinion).  I eventually learned my lesson, returning to my roots and telling those mean girls to bug off.  That was the beginning of my "weird" reputation - a badge of honor I proudly wear to this day.  Over the years, the same girls (and boys) that teased me for my odd choice in TV softened in their outward attitudes, but they found other means of tormenting me - the girls especially.

There comes a point where you realize that you don't need to deal with that sort of crap.  So what if I'm a cute little five-year-old whose favorite cartoon hero is a giant turtle?  So what if Katie is a stinking adorable little girl with a Star Wars lunchbox?  This new generation of geek girls is lucky in that the internet has made it possible to know that we are not alone.  Dude, there's an entire blog of dedicated geek girls who are into this stuff!   Even so, it's tough when no one in your immediate circle of acquaintances shares the same interests as you.  It's even worse when they belittle you for it (especially when it's snot-nosed twerps doing it.  I've said it before - kids are among the cruelest beasts in the universe).

There is a good side to this story.  If you didn't notice, Katie's mom asked for other females who like somewhat-geeky things to share their stories.  I added my two cents, but I was amazed by the sheer volume of comments she was getting!  And this blog requires you to have an account to leave a comment!  (Here's a different blog that doesn't require an account to comment - and the similarity between her title and my title is purely coincidental, I swear!)

And the other good thing - the kind of treatment I received from these kids actually spurred me on to enjoy other geeky things (sort of a "Take That!" to the established idea of what little white Mormon girls in Utah should like).  I learned that the more people tell me I should/should not do something and it's something I actually want to do (that last one is the key here), the more I'm motivated to participate in it.  So, in a way, those little snotwipes I had to deal with in elementary school did me a favor.  Nowadays, I chalk it up to a character-building exercise.  Maybe I should thank them.

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