For some nerds, it can feel like judgment and gatekeeping is simply a part of the territory. But if you're a woman who's interested in stereotypically "geeky" topics, you might notice that the judgment you get is a bit different.
1. "I read books on break when I have union construction jobs. I like horror. Two different fellow coworker men on two different job sites asked me if I’ve read 50 Shades Of Grey, and one said he was thinking about starting to read books and that it would be his first. I did not initiate conversation, for I was reading. I’ve never read 50 Shades of Grey, but I'm not interested unless there are demons."
3. "I had to change my Gamertag on Xbox just to not be randomly messaged bs like, 'You belong in the kitchen,' or 'Make me a sandwich,' or some awful sexual thing. I lost it after some kid, who sounded like a 10-year-old, sent me audio messages talking shit about me being a girl, so I told him to fuck off. My Xbox Live rights were suspended for three days because I violated the rights by cursing. Seriously? No, I didn't do the right thing, but there's only so much someone can take."
4. "I do not talk while gaming online because the sexist comments don't stop when anyone hears a girl's voice. God forbid you aren't first place and racking up the kills, then they just use that to justify their nonsense by saying all women suck. I also hate that female characters are way too sexualized in video games."
5. "I love to play video games. One time, I was in Home Depot wearing a shirt that said 'Gaymer' in rainbow letters. One of the male employees complimented it, and then followed up with, 'But do you ACTUALLY play video games, or did you just buy it because you like the colors?'"
6. "A female friend and I used to go to a 24-hour diner and drink coffee for hours ('90s teens did this a LOT), and there was a group of nerdy guys who were there now and then to play Trivial Pursuit. One night, they invited us to play, so we did. We played teams, and I and my friend won. One of the guys was so absolutely convinced we had to have read all the cards before and memorized them, because how did he get beat by GIRLS? It was hilarious."
7. "Being a female geeky video gaymer and former tech support agent, lemme tell you. It's obnoxious. I've taken calls from men calling in for tech support who immediately ask to be transferred to a man because there was no way I was going to be able to help them solve their issue. Bitch, I got the job because I filled out the tech proficiency test better than most of the people they'd hired. But sure, I'll transfer you, so I don't have to deal with your sexist ass."
8. "I play a lot of Ark, and it’s horrible how much men want to 'help' as soon as I say things in chat when they see my name has 'lady' in it. They want to give me all the answers, and assume that I haven’t been playing for the seven years I have been playing."
9. "I worked at a board game cafe as a game guide whose entire job was to recommend and teach games to people. I was incredibly fortunate that a solid 99% of the people who came in were wonderful, as were my coworkers. But I distinctly remember one time a cis guy came up and very obviously avoided me to go ask my cis male coworker about a particular moderately complex game he wanted to try (Scythe). My coworker, who knew that Scythe is one of my absolute favorite games and I both love and am very good at teaching it, immediately called me over and told the guy, 'Oh hey, she's really great at Scythe; she can totally help you!' It was a fantastic example of how men can hold each other to higher standards so the burden isn't always on women to call it out."
10. "The gatekeeping is absolutely ridiculous. I'm a huge Marvel fan. I mentioned once that I have an Iron Man tattoo, and was met with 'probably just because you think Robert Downey Jr. is hot. You've probably never even read a single comic. What's your favorite comic storyline with Iron Man?' First of all, if I DID just love RDJ's Iron Man, bite me. Second of all, I actually have read a shit ton of Marvel comics, and I do have favorite storylines and favorite runs. But I don't owe you that information because as my girl Captain Marvel said, 'I have nothing to prove to you.' Men, if you see your friends do this shit, shut it down."
11. "I regularly cosplay, go to conventions, everything, so I’m sadly used to it all. But I think the crowning moment for me was a few years ago when I was literally in the middle of teaching a class, and a substitute teaching assistant noticed my Captain Marvel poster in my classroom and felt obligated to interrupt me so that he could start grilling me about whether I actually knew Marvel movies, or that character, or Marvel comics in general. I literally cosplay Carol Danvers, have the symbol tattooed on me, and I’m in the MIDDLE OF TEACHING a lesson to 15 high schoolers, but sure, let’s do this now, my dude. And he wonders why I won’t speak to him four years on. Hm."
12. "I’ve noticed that at my local board game shop, the nerdy guys aren’t that nice to me until I buy something that can only be played alone. My friends noticed that the nerds are nice to their boyfriends and not to them either."
13. "I once got quizzed about rock/heavy metal music by a man old enough to be my father. It was such a fun night."
14. "It’s so weird how they will straight up go from attacking your opinion to attacking you. I said something about the new Boba Fett series, and a guy got so mad he said he wished my mom would get cancer. Women can have an opinion on your nerdy crap, too!"
15. "I'm really into animal, science, and dinosaur documentaries. Multiple times, guys have been like, "Well, if you haven't seen 'documentary title,' then you can't claim to be a fan of documentaries.' Yes, they gate-keep documentaries."
16. "I'm a 41-year-old mom of six, and way more into the culture than they are. I'm into gaming, Sailor Moon, LOTR, Harry Potter, etc. My husband constantly tells me to calm down about things, as no one cares from Mortal Kombat to LOTR, to Marvel and Harry Potter. I'm not 'supposed' to be into this stuff as I'm a mom, and I'm just going with it because it's popular. This was from my husband. Like dude, I have been into this since before I met you. I was at the opening night of Fellowship of the Ring, and I was one of two girls in that theater."
17. "I put on my Tinder that I really love Marvel, and it seems like every other message is some guy trying to secretly quiz me 'cause they think I’m lying or just like it for the 'hot superheroes.'"
18. "I used to play Garry's Mod all the time, back when youtube gamers played lots of Prop Hunt and TTT. I ended up on a Prop Hunt server with these guys who seemed pretty chill, and we played together for a good few hours. I mostly stuck to text chat but started to feel pretty comfortable after the few hours we'd been playing together, so I turned on my mic. Big mistake. I barely got two words out before one of the dudes was like, 'Wait, you're a chick?' My response was something like, 'Yeah, so?' and from then on, all the dudes started making fun of me and saying other really disgusting things. Dudes that were on my own team started killing me at the beginning of every round.
"I left a couple of rounds later, turned my mic off again, and went into another server, but one of the dudes from the previous server kept chasing me around different servers until I just quit the game altogether. I played GMod with some dudes that were genuinely my best friends and I knew wouldn't give me any shit.