08.12.12 // Live Blog: Geek Girls in Popular Culture

Hey again! Shubz here and I’m back live blogging at Geek Girls in Popular Culture in room 301/302 with Cecil Castelluci, Sarah Kuhn, Sarah Watson, Stephanie Thorpe, and moderator Javier Grillo-Marxuach!

Questions
Why do you think that level of interest in science and mathematical persuits are less desirable in female characters?

Cecil Castellucci (CC): That character is usually designated as a sidekick.

Sarah Kuhn (SK): Is this female protagonist a good role model?

Sarah Watson (SW): I don’t think geekiness and sexiness is separate.

Is the role-model trope restricting characterization?
Stephanie Thorpe (ST): People don’t like feeling stupid in general. When someone comes across as smart, they may put on an air of condescending. We want women to be likeable, adorable, and cute. Smart tends to go with aloof a lot of the time.

Headless Heroine: Has all characteristics that can relate to a wide range of reader.

Nancy Drew as a headless heroine. Many authors have depicted her differently.

Are there any characters that you identify with?
ST: I’m influenced by the X-Files. Dana Scully was that lightening bolt – she’s a skeptic, she’s intelligent, and her scientific background. I want to see more strong characters like her.

SW: I loved the Goonies, Martha Plimpton.

CC: I loved Daria!

Thoughts on editing geek girls
ST: Depends. Sometimes they want more nerdy, sometimes they want less.

SW: I’m more of the middle man.

SK: Not a lot less nerdy notes [in scripts], but I did make notes like, “What does this mean?” Is it a reference?

CC: Made a love story about a Klingon and a Jedi. Writing a geeky character made it easy to have a demand for more geeky media and characters.

Lisabeth Salander
ST: She is a strong female lead. She’s not necessarily someone I look up to or want to be like, but I enjoy spending time reading about her.

Star Trek Characters
CC: It’s subjective. Uhura in classic Star Trek, not a nerd. Uhura in the recent film, language nerd.

Love stories with geek girls
CC: Amidala falls apart when love is threatened.

SW: Hermione is intelligent and a fighter despite her obstacles.

Changing genders in iconic characters
ST: (RE: Elementary’s Watson) If they’re doing it to add a romantic element, I’ll be disappointed.

SW: I’ve seen it and it’s fantastic. Lucy Liu brings a nurturing role to Watson.

SK: There’s a new interest piqued when you introduce new elements or changes.

CC: I’m excited!

Any socially unattractive female geek characters?
SW: In TV, everyone’s really attractive. Books offer you to create what they would look like.

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