Capital Geek Girls launches in Ottawa
You don’t have to pay very much attention to geek culture nowadays to realize that it isn’t always the most welcoming place for members of the female gender. Whether it’s the sexual harassment of female cosplayers, online interactions that appear on sites like Fat, Ugly, or Slutty, the fake geek girl labeling, or just the general unease of getting creeped on at the local comic shop, nerdy ladies have had enough of it. Writer, teacher, and lover of all things geek Jordan Danger decided she wanted to be part of the solution, not the problem, and thus Capital Geek Girls was born.
Celebrating their official launch on February 2nd at a local Futureshop in Ottawa, Ontario, Capital Geek Girls writers welcomed throngs of geeky guys and gals with food, games, and prizes. Capital Geek Girls started as a Facebook fanpage to unite geeky females who felt excluded from the community, but has evolved in the last year into a webzine showcasing great articles by over a dozen geek girls. President and founder, Jordan Danger, was inspired to create CGG after becoming aware of the trend of “calling out fake geek girls,” and is determined to maintain a safe-space for people of all genders. “The new blogazine promises to be a place online where geeky girls can feel represented in the geek community,” says Danger. “It’s also a great place to start your geek girl journey, if a woman is just beginning to explore areas like sci-fi, comic books, and gaming.”
However, the launch party wasn’t the first event in the city that Capital Geek Girls has had their hands in; they also host The Comic Book Shoppe’s Ladies’ Nights which are half party and half after-hours shopping experience solely for female-identified geeks. Although the events garnered a little bit of controversy when some complained that excluding those of the male gender was unfair, Shoppe owner Rob Spittal defends the events. “At least once a week I’ll be ringing up a female customer and some guy will come up and starting hitting on her. I’m tired of it.” Spittal argues that the systematic unfairness that women face in the geek community on a daily basis earns them the right to have an all female shopping experience every once in a while, even if that after-hours event is a little unfair to the guys. “It doesn’t interrupt my regular hours, so it really shouldn’t affect them. I had men on Facebook trying to get me to turn it into a dating event; that shows you how much people can miss the point sometimes.” For years, Spittal has been dedicated to turning his store into a safe-space for everyone, and the ladies nights are an extension of that philosophy. “We’ve always supported women in the geek world,” says Spittal.
So while everyone was snacking on Cici & Co. Bakery cupcakes, playing video games on loan from Microplay on Futureshop’s big screen TVs, and playing board games on loan from The Comic Book Shoppe, the mood was positive and fun. Six lucky attendees even won prizes, including gift cards to The Comic Book Shoppe, an Xbox 360, and sets of tickets to this spring’s Ottawa ComicCon. People of all genders were present to celebrate the harassment-free inclusion of women in the geek community.
Even in the middle of the launch, Jordan Danger has her eyes set on the future. “My next step will be to build connections with geek businesses and make a living list of geek-girl-friendly businesses across the globe.” The website even has tips for businesses on becoming more geek girl friendly and is actively looking for sponsors. She hopes that getting the Capital Geek Girls’ stamp of approval is a goal businesses will actively strive for.
While Capital Geek Girls is just starting out, and certainly has a long way to go, its mission is something that everybody should be able to get behind. Comics, sci-fi, games, and other kinds of geekdom should be open to all, and the current environment often fails to embody that ideal. Hopefully Capital Geek Girls and other groups like it will achieve their goal, making the geek community a better place for everyone.