A perspective flip

By , May 28, 2010 3:47 pm

No, I'm not pretending I'm the cute blond in the middle.

A few months ago, I was having dinner with some friends after our circus class. We were chatting about relationships – I was bemoaning my lack thereof – and someone mentioned how her boyfriend was an awkward geek. I said, “Well, as an awkward geek myself, I feel obligated to stand up for my fellow geeks.” Both of my friends turned to me, and simultaneously said something along the lines of, “You’re not awkward. And you may be a geek, but you’re a hot geek.”

I don’t say this to toot my own horn, because I didn’t (and don’t) particularly believe them. But I do bring it up to talk about a perspective flip I’ve had over the course of my transition: I’m now seen as the cool, geeky, girl.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this as I’ve been watching The Big Bang Theory. I think the show is pretty funny, as I’m a sucker for a show that makes good, accurate jokes about comic books, general relativity, Lord of the Rings, particle physics, video games and more. It’s funny even if you don’t get all the references, but their jokes are obviously well researched and even funnier if you know what they’re talking about.

At the same time, the gender relationships of the show are kind of predictable: four smart-but-awkward boys befriend their pretty-but-uneducated female neighbor. And I find myself very torn over who to sympathize with when they butt heads.

Because I’m so used to being the dorky guy who doesn’t really understand the rules of socialization, but that’s not actually who I am anymore, or at least not how I’m perceived by the world. So I simultaneously sympathize with the guys in the show when they’re ridiculous to women, and sympathize with the women who are being treated ridiculously by these guys.

This flip in perspective is something I’ve discussed before, although in that previous post(s) I was talking more about being on the giving or receiving end of harassment or sexist jokes. In this case, although it’s also about gender dynamics in social situations, I feel like I’ve gained power in transitioning. It’s not a consistent power, and it definitely relies on the awkward deference of the awkward men in my life, but it’s an odd feeling. To join the ranks of the women in the world who realize that their gender affords them some amount of power, even if it’s really unfair and ridiculous power.

5 Responses to “A perspective flip”

  1. John says:

    And remember that with great power comes great responsibility

  2. RadDyke says:

    Personally, I always root for Sheldon and the boys. Maybe it’s because, as a fellow geek, I get their jokes, and it’s so hard to find someone who appreciates a good particle physics joke nowadays, or maybe because Penny is a bit to “uh…huh?” for me, but I always root for the geeks. While gender does afford some privilege in geekery, no matter your gender geeks, I always root for you to win a head butt!
    Fun post…but brings up a good point. Love it.
    I have a friend who is an aerospace engineering major (and straight, cute girl). Major geek in all of the possible ways one can be geeky. But yet, at the same time, she’s cute to non-geeks. Whereas my geeky male friends are only cute to other geeks. It’s quite interesting. Of course, then there’s my anything-but-a-geek roommate who wishes Sheldon wasn’t a TV character because he’s her type…but she’s the only person I know who is a non-geek who consistently is attracted to geeks. And people are always FLOORED to find that out. Hm…an issue to be explored further, I hope.

    • Rebecca says:

      Yeah, upon further consideration, I think you’re right: I usually end up rooting for the boys in The Big Bang Theory, even though I have a better understanding of Penny’s situation than I might have a few years ago.

  3. I think there is nothing wrong with a person who is a geek. To me it shows the willingness to learn new things and intelligence. It is also nice to be able to have a conversation about something you might not normally have a conversation about.

    I say be proud and let your geek flag fly. Just don’t let it define you exclusively.

    The only thing I worry about being a cute geek girl is…well…getting cute geek guys to actually talk to me. 😉 LOL!

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