August 1st, 2013

knives

Proving ourselves, over and over again.

Someone commented, in reading the responses to my "stop checking my credentials" post of yesterday, that it was somewhat distressing how many people seemed to feel the need to go "yeah, I may not X, but I Y, I Z, I A B C D I am an alphabet I am a geek don't dismiss me." And it is distressing. It distresses me. I am distressed. Because I do the same thing when my credentials are challenged in an area that I can't match: I start rattling off things I do know, waving flags that prove my geekdom like I was going to be thrown out of the club. I can't stop myself. I think many of us can't. It's distressing to me, not because it makes us collectively a bunch of braggy over-achievers, but because it represents how many times, collectively, we have had our right to exist in our own spaces challenged.

The first challenge is met with confusion. The second with contention. The third, and all others, with exasperation and desperation: see me, let me be, leave me alone, allow me to exist.

Every cred check, or even shadow of a cred check, is starting to lead to this defensiveness: we're not looking for common ground anymore, we're just looking for the right to keep the ground we already have. And there's the concern that this is going to start driving new female fans away, because all the women who are already there have these laundry lists of "I am a fan because I ________," and some of them are just like "uh, I watch some TV shows?" That's not good. We don't want to lose the next generation of female fans, both because they have a right to this ground, too, and because it would show the cred checkers that they can win: push us hard enough and we go away, or at least stop coming, which can look like the same thing.

I don't think the laundry lists are going to go away. They're bruises, left from being hit too many times, and bruises don't heal instantly. But we should be aware of why the bruises are there, and promise each other not to cred check.

You are safe here. No matter what kind of geek you are, or whether or not I understand your passions.

This ground is yours.