If you want to find a polarizing figure in geek circles, look no further than Anita Sarkeesian, a vlogger from California whose videos calling out the gaming industry on its sexism have made her a target for pretty much all the trolls on the Internet.
Image by Andy Dobson
From time to time I will post link lists showing what I’ve been reading recently and what has been happening in the discourse about women in geek and fan culture. These collected links are to be seen as artifacts of geek culture, and have value beyond just being blog posts about stuff that interests me.
- GeekGirlCon Blog on Why Role Models are Important and Some Empowering Action Figures for Girls
- The Daily Dot on Doctor Who and Sexism
- Web Kunoichi on Codes of Conduct at Gamer/Fan/Geek Conventions
- Ladydrawers Collective at Bitch Media on How to Market Comics to People Who Aren’t Straight White Dudes (last part of a series on the comics industry that begins here).
- The Mary Sue on Lev Grossman’s The Magicians and the Mainstreaming of Fan Culture (I should note that Grossman is the author of one of my all-time favorite mainstream articles on fan fiction, “The Boy Who Lived Forever“) and Today in Adorableness: Itty Bitty Padme Amidala Cosplayer Meets Anakin and Leia
- The Geek Anthropologist on Scholarly Hipsters, Scholarly Geeks Part I and Part II
- Finally, Bon Jovi Making Sunday’s Game of Thrones Episode Even More Awesome [SPOILER ALERT!]
Hello all. As this blog is partially supposed to be an assignment for the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Center (UROC), I will be making posts based on assigned questions. These will be supplemented with posts about my research, including readings, and links to posts I make as a contributor to The Geek Anthropologist.
The past few weeks have been spent working on my Research Planning Guide (RPG) for UROC, as well as my IRB application for California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB). One thing of note about my research is that I’ve decided to focus on interviewing/surveying attendees at conventions rather than conduct an online survey. Marie-Pierre Renaud of Laval University in Quebec city, Canada has already surveyed geek girls online, and I’m curious to see if, by focusing on fan conventions, our findings are similar or different. I’ll be piloting my survey at San Diego Comic-Con, and adjusting my surveying instrument for data collection at GeekGirlCon in October. Because my research data won’t be collected until October, I am spending the summer preparing for graduate school applications so that I have them completed by early October, and will then be able to use my free time to analyze the data I find.
The other source of data I will be using comes from documents (mostly blog posts and online articles) pertaining to the wider “fake geek girl” discourse, in particular doing a content analysis of John Scalzi’s “Who Gets to Be a Geek? Anyone That Wants to Be” post and the related comments. This, however, is of a lower priority to the interviews and surveys.
This first post is supposed to be about my research environment. What is the culture of the institution I’m studying at? What is the climate like? How is disciplinary community formed on the campus? As I am at CSUMB, the culture is the same that I experience during the school year. I’d like to say that it is a more relaxed culture, but while everyone is friendly and casual, research is taken seriously. I report to both my research mentor, Dr. Crystle Martin of UC Irvine, and my faculty mentor, Dr. Sam Robinson of CSUMB, and will be having them both approve my IRB application and survey questions. The climate is welcoming, and the librarians at the Tanimuria and Antle library already know me. I am mostly alone in my field, as my faculty mentor is in my general discipline of media scholarship but not my particular field of fan and geek studies. My wider community comes from reading the tweets and blog posts of others in the fan studies field, and friends like Marie-Pierre of the Geek Anthropologist blog, though she looks at the subject from a strictly anthropological lens.
Coming up next week I will be completing my RPG, and submitting a fan auto-ethnography for The Geek Anthropologist blog. I will be preparing my IRB application as well, then my time will be spent looking up blog posts on Felicia Day and Anita Sarkeesian and viewing these posts as artifacts documenting the ongoing discourse about sexism within geek culture.