Words such as ‘nerd’ and ‘geek’ have been used to bully and stigmatise for decades. Humans, it seems, don’t like people who are ‘different’. Thankfully, these terms are beginning to be reclaimed by a new generation. Indeed, geek culture has even become trendy or something to aspire to. Technological advances have made the likes of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs household names. The internet has allowed us all to broadcast to the world. Just ask Justin Bieber. However, as Gina Hara’s documentary Geek Girls attests, this doesn’t mean that all otakus are equal.
The first logical step Gina Hara takes is to travel to Japan, home of geek culture and the aforementioned otaku. Where she expects to find many eager participants, all she discovers is silence. Despite being arguably the tech capital of the world, Japan is still a very conservative society. Outsiders are shunned. Especially when these otakus are female. As gamergate so horrendously demonstrated, the online world is often a misogynistic and male dominated world.
Geek Girls focusses on the women excelling in their field. Whether that milieu is gaming, social media, comics or building spacecraft. Hara uncovers the trials and tribulations faced by females who choose to put themselves forward in the online world. It’s an awful area of modern society which doesn’t get anything like enough coverage. Geek Girls does a great job of illustrating the problems faced by women in their respective disciplines. Its slightly rough and ready style only add to its charm.
The World Premiere of Geek Girls takes place at Sheffield Doc/Fest on Sunday 11 June.