Once upon a time while having conversation over lunch about our mutual nerdiness and geekdom, the words “you were so totally nerd candy weren’t you?” were said at least twice. This was back when the Nerdmate and I were still just friends, but the moment is still relevant. I paused for a moment before realizing that yes, I was actually ‘nerd candy.’ Now nerd candy or geek candy is basically a girl who gatekeeper nerd boys allow to be a part of nerd/geek culture without actually participating because they want to sexually fantasize about them and say that they do in fact know girls when told that they can’t get any action. Now I’m sure that there are people out there screaming that this can’t possibly be real, but I’m telling you right now that it is most definitely true.
Nerd Culture is Problematic
Nerd culture, which is a notorious boys club no matter what they’d have us believe, is so incredibly misogynistic and unsafe for women, and yet it touts itself as a place where the ignored and downtrodden can find escape. It has spawned a whole class of entitled men who call themselves ‘nice guys’ and spew hate and abuse at women who do not reward their so-called kindness with sexual attention. This is absolutely disgusting. These are some of the men who make it so that the internet is not a safe place to be a woman.
Dear Gatekeeper Boys. Nerd Candy Doesn’t Want You.
Gatekeeper boys of this culture tend to single out women who show any interest in things like comics and video games and declare them fake. They will interrogate girls wearing Captain America shirts looking to test their knowledge and then accuse them of only being interested in Cap since the movies came out because Chris Evans is sexy. They will attack women who say they enjoy playing video games and ask them to name five games that aren’t Mario Kart and Sims. They will verbally harass and threaten women who dare critique media based on feminism, screaming that they were made for men anyway and women have no place here. These are the same people who claim to be ‘nice guys’ and demand female attention.
Dear Gatekeeper Boys, what exactly do I gain by being a fake nerd girl or geek girl? I ask you this with all sincerity because I just don’t get it. Why would I pretend to like these things just to invade your domain? Do you seriously think I’m doing it to get your attention? Do you think that I am faking it so that I can get with you? Do you really think I find you that incredible and attractive? Because I don’t. It wouldn’t be worth it. I’ve got better things to do, and I don’t want your mouth breathing fedora wearing ass anywhere near me, ever. And get this, just because you consider yourself a nice guy and maybe don’t get the amount of attention you think you deserve, does not give you the right to treat women you see as ‘invaders’ in your territory like sexual objects.
Stop staring at the girl behind the counter of your local comic shop; she knows you’re looking at her boobs and it makes her uncomfortable. She can hear your disgusting comments about what you’d like to do to her and they make her fear for her safety. Stop brushing against the woman in the superhero movie; you aren’t being subtle you gross piece of crap. Stop it. Stop it or you deserve whatever violent reaction she has. I don’t care if she straight up hits you in the face. I hope she pepper sprays you. We aren’t faking interest in nerdy or geeky things because we want this kind of attention. Screw you.Dear Gatekeeper Boys, what exactly do I gain by being a fake nerd girl or geek girl? Click To Tweet
What does it mean?
And this brings us back to the topic of ‘Nerd Candy.’ Like I said earlier, being nerd candy means that a girl has been basically accepted into the realm of nerd culture but only as an object–a trophy really–and not a person who has legitimate interests or feelings. She gets to sit and watch without being personally ridiculed–they’ll continue to make fun of the fakes in front of her–but she will not be allowed to actually participate. She can watch the guys play video games or even tabletop rpgs like Shadowrun and D&D, but typically she won’t be invited to join; if she asks to join in the activity they invariably lament that they’ve already started and maybe next go they’ll have time to teach her. She’s just there to be present so that they can say yes they know a real life girl. Sometimes she’s someone’s girlfriend, which was my position, and sometimes she sits on someone’s lap and giggles at the jokes. But her job is to be there and be female, nothing more. And that’s just as big a problem.
Now I’m not saying that I’ve been somehow traumatized by my nerd candy status; after all these were my friends, and I loved them dearly. But I fully recognize that it was highly problematic, and that it was unfair of them to treat me that way. And so I have decided to reclaim the title. I am Nerd Candy. I am a grown up nerd girl, and I’m proud of it! I have a right to be. And so does every other Nerd Candy girl out there!