I have been a fan of The Doubleclicks for many years now. I feel almost proprietary about them sometimes because I live in the same town, go to their small local shows and feel like I can say “I knew them back when they FIRST opened for Paul and Storm!” There is nothing not to love about them and their music. My favorite for several years running was “Velociraptor” — until a few months ago, when they released the brilliant “Impostor,” about Curiosity, the Mars Rover. That moment when we all watched him land on Mars together –with the NASA/JPL guys just as anxious as we were– was like this bonding moment for space geeks worldwide. The DoubleClicks brought all that together in their amazing song about the rover – because really, we’re all faking it.
But TODAY, they released their newest song – “Nothing to Prove.” We knew it was in the works because they’d sent out an appeal for Geek Girls to send in videos of themselves. But the final product is just …beautiful. “Nothing to Prove” is the ultimate anthem for girls and women who face censure because they dare to work and play in a male dominated world… and they are good at what they do. Just like the Female Athlete, the Female Geek has long been sidelined with comments about not being a “real” Trekkie, or that she can’t “really” be a gamer because… vagina! This video is the voice for the whole community – male and female geeks and nerds alike.
The video is a stream of messages from women of all ages and backgrounds declaring their pride in what they love and who they are. Some also testify to how they have been shunned just because they “wear a pink skirt.” Fantastic cameos by some of our favorite geeks: John Scalzi, Paul and Storm, Amy Berg, Adam Savage, and Wil Wheaton add to the message that this isn’t only about girls — this is about all of us. Declaring that any world is off limits to anyone is not cool. But somehow, this has become okay in many corners of geekdom. The video is an excellent chaser to Aisha Tyler’s new book Self-Inflicted Wounds. Her Nerdist interview with Chris Hardwick a couple years ago was one of my favorites because she talked about the open letter she wrote where she did NOT apologize for being a female gamer. It is about time girls get to stop having to defend themselves. Like the Doubleclicks sing: we have nothing to prove.
I was six years old when my dad took me to the theater to see “Star Wars” in 1977. It is one of the clearest memories of my childhood. I remember so few girls in the audience, but my dad was awesome, and I was brave – it was my first Big Person movie (not a cartoon). And from the first moment those words scrolled across that giant screen, I was found. My world exploded with possibility. In some ways, I was lucky because my dad was in the Air Force and I grew up on bases where I could ride my bike to the flight line and watch super cool jets take off. In fact, we were stationed in Hawaii back when astronauts still fell out of the sky into the ocean and were scooped up by the Navy and brought to the Air Force base to fly home. Yes, I was the only third grader who brought for show and tell my most prized possession: an autographed picture of the earth from space – a picture taken and autographed by Jim Lovell himself:
But I grew up in the 70s, and despite it being the first full decade of actualized feminism, I still lived in a world where my interest in space and adventure and science fiction was discouraged in favor of growing up to be a good wife and mother. I idolized Dorothy Hamill, not because of her pretty ice skating outfits, but because she could fly through the air and she didn’t need anyone to help her. I religiously watched Linda Carter in Wonder Woman and I thought about what it would be like to jump over buildings. But I considered Space Camp out of my league. I let those other voices creep in, and slowly I became more intimidated by math and science. I read scifi in private and didn’t join in with my brother be to learn to write in elvish or speak random lines of Klingon. I watched the stars through my telescope as a hobby but never thought I was smart enough to take a college class in astronomy. Why?
I know not all GenX Geek Girls let society stop them – there are some incredible women my age who have forged the path for nerdy women and girls. I was a full grown adult before I started to not care anymore and let my internal geek once again blossom. I’d channeled my geeky tendencies into the social scientists and became a huge history and political geek until I became a teacher and earned 2 masters degrees in the stuff. I grew through my experiences as a human rights worker, and when I became a mother. Now as a single Geek Mom, my son and I spend hours with Zelda and we play Settlers of Cataan together religiously. Our book shelves overflow with random Magic cards and Lego spaceships. I’m proud to be a Geek Mom and whatever my kid geeks out about is awesome.
Even when I hid who I was because it just wasn’t the “girl thing,” through it all, Yoda was on my back. There is a reason I take my personal motto from him (and why it is tattooed on my leg in Gallifreyan): There Is No Try. It is no longer a world where girls should feel ashamed OR afraid of the multitudes of universes available to them. There is no reason not to jump into the fray of whatever you love and love it well, no matter what close-minded people think. And it’s also okay to be just a little over 40 and still proud that when you were 15, you got to sit in the actual Batmobile when your dad took you to the car show.
I’ve already procrastinated doing my research work this morning by watching this new video a dozen times. I’m really hoping they’ll be in Seattle this October at Geek Girl Con. “Nothing to Prove” from The Doubleclicks is awesome, because it says it all: there is no reason why any of the women and girls featured in it should ever feel censure or silenced – nor should any of us. It’s time we not only said it but believed it: We have Nothing To Prove.