Sunday, October 2, 2011

Female Geeks: Carving Our Own Fashion Niche

Picture a female geek in your head. What does she look like? Is she wearing glasses with thick lenses? Braces? Dowdy clothing? Or did you picture the opposite stereotype of a busty woman in a tight costume?

For years, female sci-fi fans have had an almost impossible time showing their geek pride. With the Her Universe line (among other retailers), it’s becoming easier, but still a challenge. I can’t walk into a major retailer and find a Star Wars shirt in the women’s department, though there are plenty in the men and boys sections. I remember the excitement I felt with Hot Topic began carrying Star Wars shirts for women. It is rather frustrating, though, that only specialty stores carry these types of items for women.

There is an unseen benefit to this annoying limitation: we can create our own style beyond the T-shirt and jeans regime by letting retailers know what we want.
Think about what type of products you want outside of the shirts and hoodies category. For example, jewelry. Her Universe currently sells two different types of earrings and a charm bracelet for Star Wars fans and a toaster necklace for Battlestar Galactica fans. The jewelry fits well with almost any outfit.

The options go beyond jewelry. I’d like to see a line of handbags and totes from any manufacturer. Even socks, undergarments and pajamas would be neat to own.

Male geeks face their own stereotypes: overweight or super skinny, greasy faces, dark jeans with tattered T-shirts and old Converse shoes. It’s a stereotype that many hope to escape and one I don’t want to fall into.

While both female and male geek styles can overlap, they need to be two separate entities. Forcing women to wear the same or similar “geek style” as men stops us from being taken seriously as a group. It’s almost like squeezing us in an overstuffed bookcase. The book doesn’t fit correctly, but it will do.

None of us wants to be that book.

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