“Mr. P says that in ten years of teaching Science Fiction, this is the first time he’s had a class with more girls than boys.” Kiki told me as I drove her home from school. I had been startled to learn that a high school had a Science Fiction Literature class at all, but it does, and Kiki signed up for it. Apparently so did many other girls. Kiki has geeky girl friends who will agonize with her over Avatar The Last Airbender or the latest video game story. I had male friends who would talk these things, but no girls. None of the girls I knew really got it. Or at least they didn’t seem to.
In high school I was in full geek girl stealth mode. I borrowed Esprit sweatshirts from my friends, had slumber parties, went to dances. I enjoyed all of this things, but there was a whole list of things that I also enjoyed only at home. I watched Star Trek and Doctor Who. I played Dungeons and Dragons with my siblings. I read fantasy books. I wonder now how many other geek girls there were out there, also stealthed.
My daughter’s geek girl experience has been different. She and her friends have video game parties. She wears a Halo hat to school. She carried a bag embroidered with dice and the words “Bag of Holding” and got compliments for it instead of ridicule. She has never been teased for any of these things. She never felt like she had to hide these things in order to successfully navigate the social scene at school. It is possible that she is braver than I was, more geeky. However I also think there has been a significant social shift which makes it okay for girls to like these things. This shift is evidenced by the Sci Fi Lit class which now has more girls than boys when ten years ago it was exclusively male.
I’m glad for my daughters that this is so.