Never Think Impossible

Fantasia Film Review: Geek Girls

Geek Girls Director and writer Gina Hara travels from Tokyo, Japan to Austin, Texas and everywhere in between including Toronto and Montreal trying to capture geek culture from a female perspective. Japan turns out to be surprisingly closed to outsiders, where the stigma of being otaku still lacks social acceptance.

In the western world, we meet bloggers, comic book artists, programmers, cosplayers and gamers who share a common trait besides being nerds and being females: they’ve each had to endure levels of harassment, mostly online directed at them from behind the wall of anonymity. It’s a shame, because as blackgirlnerds.com blogger Jamie Broadnax states, they’re not here to infringe your space – they’re here to add more to it.

Aerospace engineer Anita Sengupta is particularly amazing. According to her wikipedia page, she was the lead systems engineer of the team that developed the revolutionary supersonic parachute system that was deployed during the landing of Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity. She shares the tender times of watching old Star Trek reruns with her father, and what that inspired her to do.

It’s enough for Miss Harvey, Canadian Pro Gamer, to give us a peek at her timeline to be repulsed. She’s aware that everyone gets flack online, but the level of insults she receives is specifically targeted at her gender. It’s misogynistic in both vocabulary and intensity. Death and rape threats permeate it like toxic waste. As she states, she’d rather get the kind of harassment that guys get (of course, she’d rather not get any at all, but if she has to choose between two evils, she’d choose the lesser one).

The label of geek and nerd has been turned from outcast into cool. Even so, the former outcasts that were excluded once from the cool kids table should be the last to prevent women and minorities to theirs. And yet they are some that feel the need to exclude women as some sort of fake geek status. Don’t be fooled of how much cosplay is female dominated, because as Gina points it out admiration is not acceptance. Cosplay can be sexy, but it does not require male gaze approval to be cosplay at all (also, cosplay is not consent, as people still need to be reminded of that in 2017).

Highly recommended if you are into anything at all. The documentary does show these content creators of manga, games, cosplay and more in their element. You will recognize games and characters from all franchises. Inevitably, the exclusion of them means they don’t feel welcome to share what they can do with rest of the world. Thus, it needs to be addressed and they need to be accepted. It would be a shame for the world to miss on what they do.

That will do for now.