Love Yourself: The Secret Loves of Geek Girls Interview at NYCC 2016
What’s your secret, girls? At New York Comic Con, The Secret Loves of Geek Girls and her creative team were met with much love and fanfare during their signing at the Dark Horse booth. So, what are their secrets and why are they such? Depends on who you ask, considering the book’s large and impressive repertoire of contributors.
The book is a new nonfiction anthology crowdfunded by awesome people like you, published by Dark Horse, and featuring written works by badass nerdy women like Margaret Atwood, Sam Maggs and (not to brag but) GEEKPR0N co-founder Jess, with editing and project oversight by Hope Nicholson, a former member of our website’s family.
Dark Horse was so kind as to let us catch up with Hope as well as two more fabulous women with credits on the book, Fionna Adams and Megan Lavey-Heaton. Picking the brains of these three women shows us how far nerdy women have come, as well as where we go from here.
GEEKPR0N: How would each of you define being a geek?
Hope: I think there’s a lot of different ways to do it. There’s a focused type of obsession, on genre material as well as science fiction or technology. I think it can be pretty broad and you almost determine what isn’t, better. Things like sports, or painting that isn’t within the comics community. So there’s focus on things that are insular.
Megan: I feel like, there’s an intense passion but I think it can be for any subject. You can be a sports geek or a NASCAR geek or specific sports. I think if you have an intense passion to that point of obsession, you are a geek!
Fionna: It’s funny saying it like that, because with that kind of definition I feel like I’m not a geek. The only thing I’m really obsessed with is Pokemon. I grew up at a time when a geek was a bad thing to be. It’s hard for me to self-identify with it, but it’s about passion and being really into something. But I don’t think the best way of looking at it is “you’re not a geek because you don’t know everything about this thing” but more like, knowing different things about it. I have a Pokemon podcast, and I have people on who just watched the anime, or only played the trading card game, or only played the video games. All kinds is good.
GP: How do you feel, or hope, that the book will contribute to the voice that nerdy women have?
Hope: Well, I grew up reading things like Seventeen and Cosmo because they were there, in doctor’s offices and the like. I’d read the entries about dating, and feel like it wasn’t for me. Like, “oh no, my boyfriend plays too much video games!” – but how much is too much? Even though geekiness is a weird that doesn’t technically exist as a label, what these women were saying didn’t relate to me at all. But when I was getting together at comic conventions and book signings, I did feel like I was finally relating to people and that my experiences weren’t that weird.
Megan: When I was growing up with film and literature, you always had geeks, or nerds in this hugely negative, stereotypical way. You were destined to never find love, or be grossly obese, have greasy hair, horrible acne. My hope with this book is that girls, especially teenage girls, learn that they don’t have to change who they are to love somebody, especially to love yourself.
Fionna: I’ve had people approach me at events thanking me for my story. My short story is me talking very frankly about the fact that there’s not a lot of people like me. There are trans women, but not a lot of intersex trans women, so my transition is very different from everyone else’s. It’s showing an array of different types of relationships and people, that you can sympathize with or fall in love with, and we can see that all over the world.
GP: Socially, we are starting to move towards it being okay for girls to like nerdy things. And (hopefully!) a start on less taboo with sexuality. With those trends in mind, how do you see the ‘Secret’ fitting in with the loves of geek girls?
Hope: I thought it sounded good. We talk about it a lot, but I liked the flow of the title!
Megan: For me, for the longest time, how I met my husband was a secret. I have the background as a journalist, working on a newspaper. When I met my husband everyone assumed I met him through the paper. I would say, “I met him through my writing”, “Oh, you met him through the newspaper?”, “…yeah”. Because me writing fanfiction was something I’d never mention in the office, I kept it under wraps, I had a pen name and everything. I was only after getting married, meeting more people and seeing them accept fanfiction more that I finally admitted it. I met my husband through fanfiction because we liked the same ship! Lina and Gaurry from Slayers.
GP: If you had carte blanche to direct or produce any superhero or comic adaptation, what would you want to do?
Fionna: There is a webcomic, called Goodbye to Halos by Valerie Halla. There’s not a single straight person in it and a mostly trans cast. It has a magical girl style and her art is gorgeous. If I could get that an animated feature with an unlimited budget, I’d love it.
Hope: I’d love to see a Love and Rockets film. It made me feel good about myself when I read it, and I’d want to share that to others.
Megan: I should say I want my own comic done! I do a series called Namesake. But I think I’d do some Doctor Who stories. Starring River Song, because she’s my favourite character in the series.
GP: What advice would you give to women in fandom trying to build a career?
Hope: Go to events, talk to people. I’d say the same thing for dating – get comfortable talking to as many people as you can and be aware of opportunities. When someone says they need an artist, get in there and pitch yourself.
Fionna: That’s literally what happened to me!
Megan: Nurture your social media. Don’t neglect Tumblr, Twitter or Facebook. Especially if you’re an artist, cultivate your social media. You won’t even begin to imagine the connections you’ll find there.
The Secret Loves of Geek Girls: Expanded Edition is now available in paperback and digital.