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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Blog 5 – New Challenges and Comic-Con Picspam

As I mentioned in my latest Semi-Scholarly Linkspam post, I’m doubling up on my official blog posts so I have them completed by the end of summer. This week’s official blog post is about what new ideas, challenges, or issues I have encountered in the research process. To be quite honest, nothing I’ve read or did recently has really been new to me. I could talk about being retweeted by Orlando Jones and the power of networking over social media, but that isn’t exactly remarkable – networking is the reason why social media exists, so of course my network of friends, professionals, and fans came together to bring more subjects to my research. Continue reading

Blog 4 – What’s New and Post Comic-Con Recap

It’s been over a week since I last posted about Comic-Con, and I think I’ve mostly recovered since the convention’s ending Sunday. Because I got a really bad seat, I live-tweeted the Community panel while my friend (and fanartist) Julieta took pictures with my really nice camera from the fourth row. Unfortunately I haven’t uploaded many of my pictures from either my phone or my camera (will post when I do), so here’s a picture of cosplayers dressed as Cowboy Jeff and Geneva I tweeted:

Continue reading

Blog 1 – Institutional Environment

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.