I blame it all on my father. He made me this way. He created the geek that I have become. He was the one who introduced me to the 1966 Batman series (thank you, reruns!), old black and white vampire movies, and Star Trek. I was four years old, he was home on sick leave for a year due to a back injury. We watched a lot of television.
As I write this, I realize I have been a fan of sci fi and fantasy for 40 years. My childhood was filled with fairy tales, superhero cartoons, action adventure television, and mysteries. I don’t know how many hours I spent curled up next to my Mom in our green recliner watching shows like Quincy, MD and Columbo or scooting WAY down in that same chair so she wouldn’t catch me watching James Bond with my Dad when I should have been in bed. Loving these shows and devouring illustrated children’s versions of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Sherlock Holmes, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court didn’t seem unusual to me. My parents were cool with it and never told me that certain books or TV shows were “for boys.” One year, Mom bought me a Bionic Woman Halloween costume, even though the plastic face mask of Jamie Sommers freaked her out every time I wore it. And it goes without saying that I was the happy owner of Wonder Woman Underoos, which I proudly wore while spinning around my house.
I’m not sure when I realized that some of my interests were considered unusual. I knew the girls in my class didn’t watch some of the same shows I did. And the boys didn’t always want to talk to a girl about Spider-Man, not in elementary school anyway. I wasn’t an outcast, I still had plenty in common with my peers, even though I was told many times I was “weird,” which I chose to take as a compliment. I just realized that there were some things I couldn’t discuss with them, like Doctor Who, without them looking like an alien was coming through my chest, which, by the way, is a classic movie moment. Fortunately, geek attracts geek and by college I had a solid group of friends who liked the same things I did and was happy to introduce me to even more geek treasures, like Dungeons and Dragons.
Fast forward through my early twenties (don’t we wish we could all do that sometimes) to now. Although there were times when I wished there were more women’s clothing that featured Marvel and DC characters, a fellow mom or two to discuss the awesomeness of Buffy or Firefly while at a kid’s birthday party, or even a show with a woman at the helm of a spaceship (pre Janeway), I was never angry or bitter about the fact that the industry that produced all of these wonderful things, didn’t consider me or women like me as a part of their demographic. I just loved what I loved and, if necessary, shopped in the boys department. Things are better now. So many girls and young women are not only embracing this world, but leading the way into the age of the geek. It’s exciting to see strong female characters on TV and in film while mini-Darth Vaders run around wearing tutus. It’s wonderful and it’s about damn time. And yet, I’m still out of the demographic. This time, I’m on the other side of the age group. I’m not hating it. I enjoy watching shirtless men work out on a salmon ladder or brooding teenagers play lacrosse every week.
I would love though, for a women’s size V neck shirt to be made for someone that has a middle age spread and given birth, because V necks don’t accentuate my double chin. Or to see a more mature woman not only handing out warrants to a good looking group of space bounty hunters, but also leading a ragtag group on a quest to save a kingdom. One day these things may happen, but in the meantime, I’m not going to be quiet. I’m going to talk about what I like and what I don’t like. I’m going to voice my opinion on the things I geek out over and I’m not going to wait for people to accept the fact that I’m too old or too feminine to like these things. I’m going to be like that cool aunt you have or want to have, the one that you like to hang out with but still embarrases you. I’m going to be Auntie Demographic.
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