Blog 6 – When You Actually Have Data to Look At

My survey closed Wednesday, August 6th at noon. Overall, I received 176 responses, which is a lot more than the three I had right after Comic Con!

Look at all the pretty responses I got!

Look at all the pretty responses I got!

Unfortunately, NVivo for Mac really sucks and can’t import spreadsheets, so I’m having to code by hand in Excel and then load into SPSS. This will take a nice, long time, but I have several geeky movies to have playing in the background.

Having actual data makes everything real. Before this I just had impressions from the few journal articles I read that dealt with gender in geek culture. Most of my literature were actual blog posts people wrote in response to the “fake geek girl” controversy of 2012. My mentor from last summer, Dr. Suzanne Scott, had a great piece about the invisibility of women in comic book culture, but for every voice trying to show the visibility of women in the geek community, there are ten more dudes talking over them, thinking their audience is just more dudes like them. Dr. Scott research showed even in academia any studies on comic books and their consumers has the preconceived notion that comic books are primarily read by men.

The argument about women in subcultures such as comic books, science fiction, or television shows has always been there; in the early science fiction magazines that are the origins of fandom, many of the writers in the letter columns were women, involved in some of the first circulated fan discussions. Some male writers were resistant to letting women into the science fiction world, afraid they’d turn their “scientific” literature into melodramatic romance (one of the most vocal was a young Isaac Asimov).

Women being shut out from geek culture isn’t a new thing, it’s just that as geek culture goes mainstream, people who don’t fit the traditional “white and nerdy” description of straight male geeks want more visibility – this includes people of color (geeks of color?) and queer geeks along with women. I really don’t expect my data to deviate from the dominant experience of geek girls – exclusion and gatekeeping. We’ll see what happens when I begin to code my data.

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